The 2018 Salone del Mobile (translation: furniture expo), April 17-22, has concluded in Milan and this means the design world is buzzing. Milan Design Week acts as a looking glass into future trends and products, which will surely be filling our social feeds over the next six months. It is one of the biggest trade fairs in the world and most certainly an international reference point for furnishing and design, so now is an important time to take stock.
This year was also the 22nd edition of EuroCucina, which is the biennial International Kitchen Exhibition. 2018 reflected the rising interest in the sector and, in particular, built-in domestic appliances and their evolution.
After visiting the fair and the city’s creative design districts, we have collated the highlights and trends from this year’s show. Molto Bene!
Let’s start with the headlines and that sentence is usually synonymous with British designer Lee Broom, who ruled the airwaves last year. Broom’s 2017 installation ‘Time Machine’ featured a haunting carousel beautifully showcased in a disused railway archway in Ventura Centura. This year Broom returned to Milan with ‘Observatory’, a pared-back showcase that cleverly places lighting right at the heart of the installation. The new stellar-inspired lights are designed to play with proportions of horizontal space and the refraction and reflection of light. Breaking tradition with Milan, which usually acts as a preview for future launches, Lee’s lights are available to buy now.
SWAROVSKI AND NENDO
Crystal giants Swarovski hosted a bejewelled experience inside a greenhouse, hidden within the courtyard of a neoclassical Milanese palazzo. The exhibit showcased new object designs from the likes of John Pawson, Patricia Urquiola and Pilotto – all of whom are famed for their crystal artistry. The new home décor collection from Swarovski also features home accessories from prolific designer Nendo. Nendo’s Softpond is a collection of organically shaped bowls inspired by water. Available in Montana blue or emerald crystal, the colours vary depending on the density of the crystal, creating a similar effect in ponds or lakes where the water goes from deep to shallow.
Looking at the colour trends throughout Salone del Mobile, we found ourselves in a 1970’s timewarp. Burnt oranges and greens were prominent colours throughout the fair and along the design trail.
2018 will be a year of exciting materials as we see a rise in the use of recycled plastics, vegan-friendly materials and kitchen design staples such as concrete and marble.
Concrete is fast-becoming a popular material for indoor use, particularly for kitchen surfaces, so it was great to see it taking centre stage on an international level. This year’s show championed the versatility of concrete by showing it in unexpected ways, such as furniture, accessories, tiles and – as seen below – even wallcoverings. The fair also played tribute to the rise in marble, especially in ways that help to show it as a practical and functional material, rather than simply decorative.
Another example is the Debatable table by Ilaria Bianchi. The console is beautiful first and foremost but also helps to show that marble is fundamentally a functional material for the home.
A big aspect of Salone del Mobile is tracing the digital evolution and how this impacts the way we live. Miele is the world's leading manufacturer of premium domestic appliances and expectations were therefore high. The brand showcased the Miele Dialog Oven, which features the revolutionary M Chef technology and is accompanied by the Miele@mobile app, allowing the specifications of recipes to be transferred directly to the oven. The Dialog is different from conventional ovens as it adds another cooking method: radio frequency. It uses the frequency to monitor how much energy the food absorbs and responds by adjusting the waves’ frequency, amplitude and phase. Essentially it talks with your food – hence the name.
Salone del Mobile will return next year from 9-14 April 2019. Slightly closer to home, we have Clerkenwell Design Week in London (22-24 May 2018) to look forward to.
If you want more design inspiration, request a copy of our 80-page brochure here or browse our blog and Instagram page for recent case studies. Alternatively, visit your local Harvey Jones showroom to discuss your kitchen design with our expert designers.