Milan Design Week Trend Report 2019

There have been many attempts to try and replicate the success of Milan Design Week. And yet of all the fashionable fairs, the Salone del Mobile continues to hold sway as the world’s most important design event. Over the course of 7 jam-packed days, design, fashion and big tech meet to dream up new ways for us to work and play. In this kaleidoscope of creative worlds, palatial residences become artistic playgrounds, as the cities most exclusive buildings are opened to the public. Every year, the Chaplins Team make the pilgrimage and we don’t stop until we’ve uncovered everything the fair has to offer. Spurred on by copious espressos and one too many paninis, our Chaplins Milan Trend Report 2019 compiles all the trends and ideas you need to know.

Our homes are evolving, amorphous creations. And yet, over the past five years, our digital lives have demanded a softer approach, with texture and form taking on an increasingly important role. This year’s Salone developed this sentiment, with gentle curves a ubiquitous feature at many of the bustling stands. Whether in the form of Porada’s Ninfea Desk or Maxalto’s Apollo Sofa, these soft shapes never failed to draw us in, a great tip to remember when trying to design a welcoming space. Such curves were particularly noticeable on this year’s selection of designer dining tables with many asymmetric bases engaging in a Yin and Yang style embrace.

Ninfea Writing Desk

Porada

Magnum Dining Table

Bontempi Casa

Apollo Sofa

Maxalto

Mellow Dining Table

Bonaldo

Tesaurus Cabinets

Maxalto

KN Collection

Knoll

Gran Soffice Sofa

Edra

Dragon Keramik Dining Table

Cattelan Italia

Screen Writing Desk

Porada

Smalto Dining Table

Knoll

Boboli Coffee Table

Cassina

Archibald Dining Chair

Poltrona Frau

Mary Bar Cabinet

Porada

This meditative, sculptural aesthetic was reflected in the sofas at Arketipo, Molteni &C and Moroso. Featuring generous backrests, their smooth silhouettes appeared to have been moulded by wind or water, offering a futuristic look that was deeply soothing at the same time.

Surf Sofa

Molteni&C

Surf Sofa

Molteni&C

Starman Sofa

Arketipo

Starman Sofa

Arketipo

Gogan Sofa

Moroso

Gogan Sofa

Moroso

In the swooping curves and organic forms, we couldn’t help but be reminded of another icon also on display at the fair.  This year, B&B Italia‘s iconic UP Lounge Chair  was presented in a stunning new striped fabric to celebrate its 50th anniversary and a giant sculpture in front of the Piazzo Duomo. Riven with arrows, the curvy feminine form revealed how, decades later, women are still under siege from sexism in society. As political now as it was then, the UP50 is a reminder for a whole new generation of men and women of the importance of the fight for equality.

UP50 Lounge Chair

B&B Italia

UP50 Lounge Chair

B&B Italia

UP50 Lounge Chair

B&B Italia

Fabric-wise, it was a toss-up between the perennial velvet and 70s style Bouclé textures; a beautiful fabric whose tactile loops feed into the desire for cocooning upholstery. Similar 70s prints could also be found adorning Fritz Hansen’s JH97 and Zanotta’s Oliva Lounge Chairs, each due for release later this year, and destined to be firm favourites.

JH97 Lounge Chair

Fritz Hansen

Oliva Lounge Chair

Zanotta

Oliva Lounge Chair

Zanotta

Wood as a decorative rather than structural element was another key trend and could be found adorning everything from luxury lounge chairs through to designer beds. For those who aren’t keen on florals, this is a stunning way to bring the outdoors in. We recommend checking out Gallotti & Radice’s 1968 Coffee Table and Porro’s Byron Bed for a closer look.

Costela Lounge Chair

Tacchini

Rewood Sofa

Emu

1968 Side Table

Gallotti & Radice

Byron Bed

Porro

Dock Sofa

B&B Italia

However, it was the selection of stunning new finishes at Cassina that really caught our eye. Under the direction of Patricia Urquiola, their Milan showroom was transformed into one of the most exciting venues in town, each room a colourful grid that set the stage for their vibrant new catalogue. Like an artist colourizing black and white photos, she dug deep into the context of several iconic designs, reintroducing the Cab Dining Chair in stunning saddle leathers with the option to add a hand-painted faded gradient. The Bramante Cabinets received a similar treatment, presented in a glossy red or blue lacquer that sung 21st-century chic.

Bramante Cabinet

Cassina

Cab Dining Chair

Cassina

Bramante Cabinet

Cassina

Of all the luxury sofas presented at the fair, the Dress Up was in a league of its own. Cloaked in Cassina’s new “On Trend” velvet, it featured grosgrain stitching, importing the precision of dressmaking into the world of design. Endlessly versatile, it’s wide-angled back promises to allow for the integration of a variety of elements, from generous chaise lounges through to handy central elements.

We left feeling inspired by the vividness and sophistication of each piece, clear evidence if ever it was needed of how Patricia Urquiola as Art Director is energizing one of Italy’s most important furniture brands.

Dress Up Sofa

Cassina

Dress Up Sofa

Cassina

Colour updates were also afoot at Vitra, with new categories (neutral, medium and bright) being established for their bestselling Eames Plastic Dining Chairs. An icon all over the world, the latest update ensures it stays in touch with the changing tastes of contemporary life. Fans of the Eames Fibreglass collection will also be delighted to learn of the addition of three earthy tones (dark ochre, light ochre and red) as well as the production of the Armchair version.

Eames Dining Chair

Vitra

Eames DSR Dining Chairs

Vitra

As expected, the influence of the Bauhaus loomed large at the Fair with cantilevered dining chairs emerging as an exciting interior power play. Tubular steel was swapped for brushed bronze to create an understated luxe look that chimed warmly with the use of Italian leathers. Of those on display, Arketipo’s Amy and Cattelan Italia’s Kelly Dining Chairs were our favourites.

Kelly Dining Chair

Cattelan Italia

Amy Dining Chair

Arketipo

Flamingo Dining Chair

Cattelan Italia

Nairobi Dining Chair

Gallotti & Radice

Metals with a gentler aspect could be found throughout the fair, with champagne hues and satin finishes replacing some of the brighter tones that were forecasted at the start of this year. Fiam, in particular, revealed the majority of their new collection with burnished bases, with Cattelan Italia also showcasing some stunning new sideboards in titanium or frosted bronze glass. We also fell in love with the handcrafted Alchemie light from Catellani & Smith, which consisted of two discs in brass and alabaster that mimicked the solar eclipse.

Kayak Sideboard

Cattelan Italia

Waves Console Table

Fiam

Carnaby Sideboard

Cattelan Italia

Alchimie Table Lamp

Catellani & Smith

Voyager Sideboard

Cattelan Italia

While maximalism took somewhat of a backseat this year, surrealist prints and nebula-like finishes gave many lovers of colour the feeling that they were lucid dreaming. Ranging from LondonArt’s labyrinth of statement wallpapers to Moooi’s new Nordic Carpet series, they represented some of the boldest offerings on display. Of particular note from Moooi’s latest collection is the Walking on Clouds by all female-collaborative, Front, which adorned the room sets on display. Having studied representations of clouds throughout the ages, they presented a statement carpet which compiles the very best into one compelling cloudscape.

Athena Wallpaper

LondonArt

The Beach Wallpaper

LondonArt

Havana Wallpaper

LondonArt

Walking On Clouds

Moooi

Nubila Screen

Paola Lenti

Bissu Drape

Paola Lenti

Growing awareness of the Circular Economy meant that upcycling was used to great effect. Czech lighting brand Brokis debuted their stunning new BrokisGlass finish, crafted entirely from broken shards collected during the manufacturing process. The result is a selection of glass-crystalline panels, that can be used to infuse old classics and new releases with a gorgeous dimensionality.

Night Birds Pendant Light

Brokis

Geometric Pendant Light

Brokis

Geometric Collection

Brokis

GAN’s Nuances Rug and Pouf by Patricia Urquiola also broke new ground. In collecting discarded fabric cut-offs she was able to merge them together to create a stunning felt with a terrazzo-like finish. Transgressive yet beautiful, the wow factor lies in the optical illusion, in the expectation of a flinty surface which, upon touch, reveals itself as a gentle, tactile upholstery.

Nuance Collection

GAN

Nuance Collection

GAN

Nuance Collection

GAN

The focus on customisable lighting that can rise or fall within a space represented another interesting development. Flos’ Wireline and Belt collections both featured adjustable suspension systems in a move that celebrates rather than rejects the use of wires and cables. Connection and customisation was also evident in Michael Anastassiades hotly anticipated My Circuits series, which features curvilinear forms that can be arranged to create unique circuits of light.

Wireline Pendant Light

Flos

Belt Pendant Light

Flos

My Circuit Pendant Light

Flos

My Circuit Pendant Light

Flos

It’s a trend that wasn’t just confined to the world of designer lighting. Almost every brand revealed a selection of stunning “upgrades” and the chance to personalise your product — the way you might a luxury car. At Cattelan Italia, it was evident in the expanding selection of Keramik’s and edge thicknesses, each of which can be swapped in or out accordingly (the new Malaku finish is one to watch).

Skorpio Keramik Dining Table

Cattelan Italia

Saturno Keramik Dining Table

Cattelan Italia

Ribot Keramik Bistrot Table

Cattelan Italia

Moooi’s BFF Sofa, on the other hand, can be configured online using their futuristic software which transforms the art of bespoke furniture into a glamorous game of Tetris.

BFF Sofa

Moooi

BFF Sofa

Moooi

Meanwhile, over at Molteni&C, the Twelve AM Bed was released with a wide variety of add ons, ranging from side tables to desk attachments which elevate it beyond a bed into a multifunctional hub.

Twelve AM Bed

Molteni&C

Twelve AM Bed

Molteni&C

Twelve AM Bed

Molteni&C

Twelve AM Bed

Molteni&C

Our final stop at the fair was to the Paola Lenti Gardens, hosted as usual in the atmospheric Prada Fondazione building. Always one of the highlights of Milan Design Week, her chromatic creations were resplendent both inside and out, further blurring the distinctions between indoor and outdoor living. New additions such as the Walt Sofa echoed the trend for sculptural modular seating while the Portofino Dining Table shattered our expectations for the kind of finishes possible with wood.

Couture Drape

Paola Lenti

Walt Sofa

Paola Lenti

Silent Bed

Paola Lenti

Kanji Dining Table

Paola Lenti

Bistro Parasol

Paola Lenti

Toku Canopy

Paola Lenti

Orbitry Lounge Chair

Paola Lenti

Float Easy Lounge Chair

Paola Lenti

In many respects, Milan Design Week 2019 was one of the most innovative yet. The need for sustainability in manufacturing led to an explosion of experimentation in both fabric and textile technology, with the overriding aim to create a home that looks and feels good. At Chaplins, we consider it an honour to be able to introduce these designs to a UK audience and have already begun adding some of the new releases to our online store. If you were thinking about starting your own design journey, make sure you pay us a visit online or in-store where you can shop all your favourite brands under one roof.

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