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From geometric outdoor islands to redefined button-backed sofas, here are our top picks from the 2017 Milan furniture fair.
It’s difficult to imagine that just two decades ago, outdoor furniture could hardly be considered sexy. Then along came Dedon, a German brand that manufactured unique synthetic fibres. These were expertly woven by Cebuano craftsmen into a myriad of forms. So it can be considered an audacious move for the brand to step away from its signature aesthetic, as it did this year with Brixx. It’s Dedon’s first fully upholstered range, without a hint of synthetic fibre. Realised as a system of simple rectangular modules, the flexibility allows homeowners to create endless configurations, both outdoors and indoors.
“If this table could be described in two words, they would be flared and lightweight," explains designer Piero Lissoni. Indeed. Like the insect after which it’s named, Grasshopper rests on thin, splayed legs, except there are four instead of six. The tabletop is equally gaunt, with rounded corners for a more inviting appearance. It comes in a selection of rare stones like Ruby Red marble, glass or wood. Ultimately, Grasshopper is a thoroughly modern concept whether used for family reunions or business meetings.
There was plenty of buzz surrounding Cassina this year, not least because the storied manufacturer is celebrating its 90th anniversary. Konstantin Grcic’s Soft Props sofa stands out for its exposed tubular rail reminiscent of Milanese subway handrails. Four interchangeable parts, linked by an invisible system of joints inside the tube, make up the rail. As a result, users can compose their own configurations: a standalone armchair or lounger; a two-, three- or four-seater sofa; or a combination of lounger and sofa.
4. Poltrona Frau
The Chester sofa, which Poltrona Frau founder Renzo Frau produced for the brand’s first catalogue in 1912, graces innumerable stately homes around the world. Its classical guise drew inspiration from an Edwardian-era archetype. But times have changed and the Chester – now dubbed Chester Line – has changed along with it. This contemporary version features an open architecture to suit casual social settings. There are five elements: chaise longue, armchair, pouf and two corner sofas, which can be mixed and matched arbitrarily.
So popular is the Scandi-Modern aesthetic that even the Italians have fallen for its charms. Many brands exhibiting at the fair referenced the style’s colour palette or silhouette. Think pastel tones, blond wood and soft, inviting shapes designed for maximum hygge – the Danish concept of cosiness. Case in point: Zanotta’s Judy, which features a padded back with extended armrests that create a protective, cradling sensation. A choice of different woods and metal painted legs combined with a variety of fabrics and leathers allow for a high degree of personalisation.