11 standout creations at Salone del Mobile

  • Salone del Mobile

The joy of spring is palpable and every year, when the hordes of people descend on Milan for Salone del Mobile, the excitement is electric. This year’s 55th edition saw almost 400,000 visitors and 2,400 exhibitors, a significant increase from last year’s numbers. The increased attendance further buoyed the mood of optimism that permeated the most important event of the industrial design calendar.

The city was transformed into an art and design playground with hundreds of exhibitions and installations. Some were supported by car, fashion and technology companies. Trend-wise, the obsession with marble, brass and wood showed no sign of abating, although these potentially retro materials met their match with this year’s textile of choice, velvet. While exquisite leather detailing was in ample supply among offerings from powerhouse brands, these seem to be targeted at the more mature and well-heeled design aficionados. With the age of austerity seemingly a hazy memory, designers turned their hand towards all the accoutrements for a lush life. Here is the pick of the crop.


1. Valet Collection

Stellar Works

This 14-piece collection by David Rockwell is constructed from high-quality materials including black steel, brushed brass and cognaccoloured saddle leather. Rockwell’s reinterpretation of the valet for the 21st century is designed to be functional and serve a number of purposes.


2. CH22

Carl Hansen & Son

This lounge chair was part of Hans J Wegner’s debut collection for Carl Hansen & Son in 1950, but its complex construction soon put it out of production. This year, it has been reintroduced complete with the designer’s characteristic curving supports and a handwoven seat made from paper cord.


3. Grande Papilio

B&B Italia

B&B Italia’s most famed collaborators have issued special editions to celebrate its 50th birthday this year. Japanese designer Naota Fukusawa’s contribution is a sheepskin version of his iconic 2009 Grande Papilio armchair featuring a tall winged back and an accompanying footstool.


4. It’s A Wrap


International playboy and heir apparent to the Fiat empire, Lapo Elkann adds his signature panache to Kartell’s icons with a fun and limited-edition series using carwrapping techniques. Garage Italia Customs provided the expertise to emblazon a host of Kartell’s greatest hits with motifs inspired by the traditional colours of the automotive nations. Among them were Philippe Starck’s transparent Uncle Jim, Louis Ghost, Ghost Buster, One More Please, Tip Top, Lou Lou Ghost and Tokujin Yoshioka’s Invisible Side table, Antonio Citterio’s elliptical Glossy tables and Componibili by Anna Castelli Ferrieri.


5. Set


Screens don’t come lovelier than Giuseppe Casarosa’s Set, a set of two-sided panels which may be hung on a wall or used as a partition in either residential or large commercial spaces. Designed to allow for endless combinations and geometries, the panels are upholstered on an ashwood backing and hinged to each other.


6. Code


Code by Piero Lissoni offers an unlimited array of materials, finishes and containers for a bespoke kitchen. Materials such as precious fossil woods, marble, steel and recomposed stones literally ‘dress’ the kitchen so each completed composition is entirely yours alone.


7. Pli


The Pli side table by Victoria Wilmotte is an object of crystalline elegance and astonishing geometry. The bends and folds that gave Pli its name were wrought from high-gloss polished stainless steel tinted with the Inox Spectral method, while the crystal glass tabletop is an attractive contrast to the base’s facets.


8. Freeman


Minotti’s collection this year sees a relaxed attitude in line with today’s preference for natural environments. In keeping with this, Rodolfo Dordoni, Minotti’s artistic director since 1997, presented the Freeman collection. Comprising seating, coffee tables and storage elements, it may be utilised and combined in multiple ways.


9. Melt

Tom Dixon

One of the most elaborate installations in Milan this year was Tom Dixon’s collaboration with quartz-surface brand Caesarstone. The crossover production was called The Restaurant – where visitors had the opportunity to interact with the furniture and have a meal at the same time. It was also a golden opportunity to admire Tom Dixon’s new Materiality range highlighting the basic materials used to create its products, namely marble, wood, plastic, glass, iron, brass and copper. Encapsulating this perfectly is the sensual Melt range, a collaboration with Swedish radical design collective Front, which was updated with floor and lamp versions and emits a surreal, magical glow.


10. Rimini


Leave it to haute leather specialist, Baxter to create a luxurious outdoor collection which is unique, beautiful and luxurious. The Rimini collection, by design doyenne Paola Navone, is made in tubular copper matched with specially treated saddle leather that is meant to withstand outdoor use while keeping its lustre.


11. Segno

Reflex Angelo

Pininfarina’s Segno collection is characterised by undisrupted lines and dynamic shapes which imbue the Ferraris and Maseratis the carmaker is renowned for. This furniture range includes an integrated living system combining a modular sofa, table, cabinet, bookcase and two lighting fixtures.


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Published 15th August 2016