Sustainability, colour and high shine will dominate interiors, this year and beyond
Few would disagree that Milan Design Week is the design world’s largest and leading annual global event, and after a three-year hiatus, it was back with aplomb this June. The week weaves together the spectacular Salone del Mobile trade fair with a citywide celebration of exhibitions dedicated to furniture, lighting, accessories, décor, textiles and installations, and often steers the way for future trends.
You could well turn a corner into a historic palazzo only to be welcomed by a contrasting bold modern-art installation, as was the case with Philippe Malouin’s display of orange ‘Sacha’ chairs, which shone bright in an ancient courtyard.
There were instances of timeless Italian design, such as the ‘Silente’ noise-cancelling chair, and the fashion world forayed into the design world with the likes of B&B Italia and Stella McCartney’s collaboration to honour the 50th anniversary of Mario Bellini’s beloved ‘Le Bambole’ armchair.
And there were standout trends like coloured bouclé, high shine, gloss and lacquer, customised cocktail tables, sculptural lighting, slow design, unique stone, and candy-coloured accessories, marking an exciting year ahead for homewares and furniture design.
I don’t know about you, but I have a touch of bouclé fatigue. In the past year, white bouclé chairs have flooded my Instagram feed and nearly every retailer website I’ve visited. But this year’s design week saw refreshing updates on the fabric, elbowing white into the cold to be replaced by colour — mossy green, warm mustard and deep rusts, just in time for cosy days ahead.
There is a palpable sense of sustainability and responsibility in the industry, with retailers and brands taking more considered approaches to design — reimagining vintage works or making use of reusable materials. Design by Nature by Mario Cucinella formed the core installation for Salone 2022 with sustainability at its core. Fashion brand Loewe highlighted the beauty of age and repair with its ‘Weave, Restore, Renew’ installation, as did Tapis studio’s rugs using biodegradable or recycled fibres.
The lighting sector continues to be one of the most exciting categories at Milan Design Week, with brands releasing impressive sculptural forms in 2022. Flos’ limited-edition Arco K floor lamp with telescopic stem and crystal block was a stand-out, along with Lee Broom’s Requiem — six mesmerising lighting collections referencing places of worship.
Salone was all about reflections this year, and we don’t mean just mirrors. Tom Dixon’s mirror ball chandelier was a talking point, as was Dior’s classic Medallion chair with a shiny new look courtesy of Philippe Starck.
Customised cocktail tables
Just as the modular sofa took centre stage in the last few years, it’s time for the cocktail table to get a personalised stamp, with new offerings, colours, layers and materials being presented, such as Molteni&C’s curvy Cleo collection marked by geometry called an eclipse, and Luca Guadagnino Studio which puts an architectural spin on the trend with a jigsaw puzzle-like red travertine and black granite table.
Stone surfaces in various colours have been trending in a major way since 2021 and this year saw a new stone age incorporating colour — multi-coloured marble and terracotta, deep-veined patterns, porcelain, quartz, onyx all in various hues, bringing new life to the ancient material. Natural stone company SolidNature’s candy-coloured archway, made from nine different slabs of onyx, became one of the most Instagrammed pieces of the week, and Oma’s stone bed and bookcase, made from a stunning satin verde marble with shelves in orange, grey and tangerine onyx, were major talking points.
If the last design week was marked by neutrals, this year was the mirror opposite with an avalanche of colours, in particular candy hues. Electric pinks, sunny yellows, refreshing oranges and blues were seen across the board, from Louis Vuitton’s prime-coloured egg chairs and green sofa at Objets Nomades to Swarovski’s collaboration with Rosenthal featuring a fresh minty-green colourway and Studio Berg’s Candy exhibit featuring glass objects inspired by a candy shop.