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Milan Design Week 2018: Milan immersed in interior design

Hotel prices rise, traffic is congested, and the whole city turns into an interior design paradise: once a year, the design-metropolis is taken over by the Milan Design Week. Well-known designers and newcomers present their ground-breaking trends in interior and outdoor design. Here are the trends and novelties we discovered.

Milan Design Week: Design is everywhere

During the Milanese Design Week, the city becomes a stage.

We visited many innovative installations and design events in historical city palaces, on public squares, in parking lots, and charming courtyards – many more than we could have beforehand imagined! Because of this, we decided on day one to discard our plan and go with the flow, so that we could catch any exhibitions that were not officially mentioned anywhere, and just breath in the vibrant atmosphere of the Milan Design Week. Here are the top three trends that we identified in Milan:

Milan Design Week
Milan Design Week
Milan Design Week

1. Mini Living: Built by All

Like last year, Mini Living presented a new visionary living concept at an old factory premise in the district Zona Tortura, exclusively for the Milanese Design Week. The installation, developed together with the London-based architectural firm Studiomama, showcased an innovative living space which makes it possible to live together in a small space – adhering with the core principle of Mini “creative use of space”.

The individual needs and characteristics of the inhabitants were a central focus. This was reflected in the four living units which varied in shape, colours, and materials. The living space, moreover, houses a shared area, including a kitchen, fitness area, and atrium. We already had the chance to explore Mini’s living concept in London, but we were once again impressed with the automotive company’s ability to reinvent itself and the concept of urban living.

The newly introduced concept “Factory of ideas” focused on the human being. Here, there were many possibilities for interaction. Visitors could become designers themselves and put together their personal vision for an urban living space using small, conceptual models. The resulting creations were exhibited for the duration of the installation.

An absolute must-see of this year’s Milan Design Week, confirmed by the huge number of visitors.

2. Modernity meets history: Scandinavian design set inside historical walls

The exhibition by the Danish furniture brand Hay in cooperation with Sonos, at Palazzo Clerici, was of great interest to visitors and especially to us. The historical architecture and lavish palace rooms are already an attraction in themselves. The minimalistic, modern design of the Scandinavian furniture was displayed in a sophisticated and impressive manner against the opulent backdrop of the palace rooms. Also, the new limited collection of Sonos speakers, One, with new colours created for the design label Hay, were presented here.

3. Typecasting: The special exhibition by Vitra

As a part of the Milan Design Week, Vitra presented “Typecasting: An Assembly of Iconic, Forgotten and New Vitra Characters” in the former sports hall La Pelota in Brera. The designer and curator of the exhibition, Robert Stadtle, selected around two hundred objects from the archives of the furniture producer, amongst which were Vitra’s newest additions, like the popular Chrome Edition of the Pantone Chair, as well as design classics like the Eames Lounge Chair and – especially interesting – prototypes and flops which were never produced on a larger scale. The exhibition pieces represented the past, the present, and the future of the design label. In sum: a clever mix of Vitra classics and old finds, which offered a piece of company history for everybody.

Vitra at Milan Design Week
Milan Design Week
Milan Design Week

Salone del Mobile: The world’s largest furniture fair

The Salone del Mobile, hosted on the vast exhibition grounds of Rho Fiera, is the most important annual get-together for the sector and the largest platform for design innovations. Besides the big names of the interior design scenes, the fair boasted many talented newcomers, who presented their prototypes at the special exhibition Salone Satellite. These are our three most remarkable trends of this year:

1. Orange is the new black

While at some exhibits single furniture pieces in orange could be found, Vitra showcased an entire room in the colour with the collection by Maarten Van Severen. The courageous composition demonstrated how modern design with natural materials can be combined with a flashy colour to create a harmonious atmosphere. An absolute eye-catcher!

2. Green Living

Still on trend and presented everywhere was green in all its distinctions, as well as plants. Both were part of every interior at the fair, proving that the trend towards nature is no longer reduced to specific rooms. Also, in the bathroom, plants were used to create a feeling of hominess. We are happy to see that the urban jungle remains a key theme in the interior cosmos.

3. Ostentatious rather than sleek

The motto “less is more” is history, today it’s “more is more”. Furniture and accessories that stand out with glitters and shiny materials, or unusual designs and décor are on trend now. Exactly the right thing when you are looking to change things up around the house and want to set purposeful accents in your interior.

Milan Design Week

This season’s kitchen and bathroom trends

Besides the furniture fair, the exhibition centre also hosted two parallel biannual events EuroCucina FTK and the International Bathroom Exhibition. The area FTK (Technology For the Kitchen) presented new built-in appliances and smart technologies that emphasized the benefits of a networked and automated kitchen. A retro-look for the kitchen could also be seen here. The producer of home appliances, Smeg, showcased its new refrigerators developed in cooperation with Dolce & Gabbana: powerful colours with flower décor characterize the design.

At the Salone de Bagno, one familiar trend stood out in particular: the bathroom is changing from a purely functional room to a personal wellness oasis. Here, the design has no boundaries: the bath no longer comes purely in subtle colours, but colourful, bright accents can now be found. 

Smeg at Milan Design Week

Did you attend the Salone del Mobile? What was your highlight? Are there any trends or events that you would like to hear more about? We look forward to hearing your comments.

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