All the fun of the fair
A whole city celebrated, exhibited and proudly presented their love for global product design and interiors last week. As the world's largest furniture fair, Salone del Mobile, part of Milan Design Week, is the hub for industry leaders in homewares and furniture design. If there's any one place to get an overview of emerging trends and inspiration, it's at the Salone.
There were trends I have written about over a year ago, thinking they had reached their peak - marble is a good example - and I had been convinced the material was on its way out, hand-in-hand with rose gold. However, at Salone, marble appeared in force, but in newer and more statement-making forms.
Having previously designed with The Conran Shop and Debenhams, head of design at DFS Alison Hill has been attending trade fairs for many years, saying that they leave her with the confidence that her trend predictions are relevant. "I thought it was a beautiful show," says Alison. "People worked harder and had to be really innovative - treating furniture display like the catwalk."
As you might expect, the trend for green of all shades featured heavily - mainly in plants and material, as did velvet and leather. Here, are five more trends that will be impossible to ignore.
Ahead with the curve
There was a clear move towards curved furniture pieces, especially for tables and armchairs. "I think in the traditional market, everything is square," says Alison of living-room furniture. "It's challenged [at Salone] with curves, promoting more personal space, like lobby furniture in hotels."
Just when I thought we'd waved goodbye to marble, Salone welcomed it back, in abundance. It's no longer confined to bathroom accessories and lighting: this is very much a 'go bold or go home' trend. Large marble walls acted as backdrops and marbled finishes topped coffee tables. If real marble slabs are a bit out of your budget, then look to wallpaper companies, like muralswallpaper.com, who have released their own range of coverings that are incredibly realistic.
"The table is over," says Alison talking about a trend she has coined 'The Ottoman Empire'. "The Ottoman truly is the most under-rated piece of furniture because it's so multi-functional." Tripling up as a coffee table, seat and somewhere to put your feet up, Ottomans are your must-have, if space is limited. They're also handy if you're just not ready for the large leather or velvet sofa, yet still want to play with trends.
Block is key
At Italian design house Belliani, colour blocking is set to make a strong return. However, keep things interesting by varying shades from the same side of the colour spectrum, like oranges and reds.
Get out there
If there was one trend I was happy to see the back of, it was whites and greys. We can expect a big shift toward brave colour combinations this year. Pinks and greens were seen sitting happily, side by side, a reminder that at last it's time to pull out a colour wheel and experiment with all the other combos you might have been reluctant to try before.
Anna Shelswell-White is editor of House and Home magazine
Carrara marble table by The Weber
White may be gone but marble is here to stay; the nuances in marble finishes avoid replication. Price on application; rolfbenz.com
Zapp pattern banquette footstool, €399
"The table is over," says Alison of living room furniture. "The Ottoman truly is the most underrated piece of furniture because it's so multi-functional"; dfs.ie
Celeste chairs by Cedric Ragot, €1,120
There's a shift from square furniture to curved pieces; roche-bobois.com
Vuelta high-backed chair by Jaime Hayon
Austrian design house Wittmann portray three major trends with this chair - curves, velvet and green. Price on application; wittmann.at
Puccio stools by Emilio Nanni
Showcasing hues from the same section on the colour wheel is the new colour blocking. Price on application; billiani.it