AN ODE TO DESIGN

Salone del Mobile.Milano is one of the most anticipated home fairs in the world. The event happened recently in Milan, Italy, and we’ve rounded up some exciting showcases. Check them out!

Last year, OHLALA headed to Milan to attend the event; this year, we watched from afar. However, we have our favourite highlights.

Every two years, the Salone alternates a dedicated section to kitchens and bathrooms with EuroLuce, an exhibit dedicated to lighting. For 2023, EuroLuce was back and highly anticipated since the last one had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

More than ever, the interior design ideas presented at Salone are inspired by everyday life. A common narrative observed is that the brands based their concepts on family memories and habits, but also praising comfort with an elegant atmosphere banishing worry and anxiety from home spaces. There was an air of softness and gracefulness from lighting, sofas, storage units and bookcases. Surprising materials found a way of looking cohesive, such as leather and steel, and wood proved once again to be one of the prime materials. We noticed a tendency to use curved structures, supporting the concept of cleanliness and comfort. Ergonomic designs and eclectic usage were some of the characteristics also on display.

As seen lately, the concept of minimalism is giving space to homes with more character, and to support this trend, colour is one of the key elements. The use of different shades promotes a perception of positivity and a sense of well-being while also creating a difference between environments. Bold hues are used to add accents, but a well-coordinated mix of soft palettes helps to give dimension.

These are some of the brands with exciting concepts:

MILLA & MILLI
The furniture company celebrate design through their love for craftsmanship and mother nature references with a passion for architecture and wood. They also embrace environmental responsibility by planting a new tree for every piece of furniture sold, embodying their commitment to protect and respect our natural world.
Milla & Milli use fine Croatian wood, allowing them to create exclusively with solid material, pushing the boundaries of what can be done in the world of designer furniture. A mix of solid ash wood and simple yet strong steel compose their Eternel bookcase, Bloom coffee tables and Bloom ICON cabinet.

MDF ITALIA
For this brand, design is about shaping matter with ideas. Guided by the values of simplicity, lightness, challenge and wonder, MDF Italia creates furniture capable of coming alive and fitting in diverse environments. With the idea of being essential, functional and flexible, the products have no intention of stealing the aesthetics of the surrounding area but rather respect the spirit of every space they inhabit.
Their contemporary designs can be seen in indoor furniture such as sofas, bookcases, dining tables and chairs and various outdoor pieces. They also have a whole section of their work dedicated to the office world, catering to reception areas, conference rooms, open spaces, outdoor settings and more.

BLÅ STATION
The company is a family business located on the southeast coast of Sweden. They are driven by curiosity and continuously search for the unexpected, yet to be discovered. For a product to be considered new, it must demonstrate a different attitude towards shape, function, material or the industrial production process. In their view, a new piece of furniture should be better at something and offer an alternative to what is already available.
OM and Max are some of the latest characters in their line. OM is a chair with a generously slender seat supported by minimal construction. A moulded piece of plywood turns the hind legs into an accommodating backrest. At only 4.5kg, OM is a lightweight chair both for hand and eye. Max is a dressed-up variation of the Maximus chair presented in 2021. It offers soft comfort with moulded foam and an array of colours and textures.

AT EUROLUCE
Artemide showcased a customisable light line and Foscarini presented their innovative solutions. However, our favourite project is from Slamp with the Aria Infinita designed by Zaha Hadid Studio. Slamp have been at the forefront of creating original, eclectic and contemporary lamps since 1994, taking current inspiration from the natural world, architectural and sartorial genius and artistic trends.
To commemorate the 10th anniversary of Slamp’s collaboration with Hadid Design Studio, the iconic Aria takes on a new form in a modular version. The illuminated system undulates throughout a space with diverse polycarbonate layers that create fluidity. Aria Infinita is a dynamic sculpture that translates Zaha’s signature, composed of sinuous lines and fluid shapes. It is a floating, luminous element that allows light to flow in space, continuously changing shapes. Since the light can be replicated indefinitely, it enables designers and architects to customise the pendant.

FUORISALONE – MILANO DESIGN WEEK
The Salone trade fair happens at Fiera Milano Rho grounds, but the whole city of Milan embraces design and happenings around the theme occur around town. Even brands not related to homes embark on this journey with inspiring projects. These are the ones we want to share with you:

LA MANUFACTURE AT CASA MANZONI
La Manufacture is a luxury design brand, and this year, they showcased their contemporary creations at Casa Manzoni – a historical and prestigious residence where the Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni once lived. Immersed in a dream-like and frozen-in-time atmosphere, three new collections by Sebastian Herkner were presented, along with pieces by Neri&Hu, Nendo, Luca Nichetto, Patrick Norguet, Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance, Front, Ana Moussinet, and others.
Seven distinct rooms and an outdoor patio were the settings for the three new collections by German designer Sebastian Herkner called: Moss, Gem and Breeze, each united by a reference to nature and its elements. Every product features rounded lines that look as though they are composed of superimposed gems or stones. They support a large dining table or smaller coffee and side tables – the Gem series plays with shapes, sizes and colours, allowing the user to create infinite variations.

MAISON MATISSE
Maison Matisse invited the British designer Faye Toogood to interpret the black ink on white paper drawings from the book Dessins: Thèmes et Variations (1943) by Henri Matisse. The French visual artist shaped many art movements with a joyful optimism, a will to experiment and a quest to balance colour and form. With Maison Matisse, his universe continues to inspire and find new expression in design objects – collaborating with up-and-coming and renowned talents to interpret Matisse’s explorations.
The result of the collaboration with Faye Toogood is a collection of furniture for the living room or bedroom that reveals a less wellknown universe of the master and which Maison Matisse wants to bring out, a different perspective from the colourful work we are used to seeing – his black and white drawings. The results are sophisticated pieces with an artsy twist.

HERMÈS
The influential fashion house also offers a luxurious home collection. According to the brand, the aesthetics of HERMÈS’ creations are inspired by the authenticity of their shapes and the innate strength of their minimalism.
This year, the stage for the collection displayed a framework composed of iron rods and concrete. Grids and lines created a robust structure for the pieces consisting of unique elements such as blown glass for minimalist lamps, traditional upholstery for a simple, refined chair and virtuoso hand embroidery for rugs with highly graphic motifs. Bronze, glass, wood and leather were showcased in their most primitive manifestations or juxtaposed, highlighting organic materials. The muted colours support the expression of figures central to the house’s heritage. Equestrian celebrations adorn a porcelain breakfast service with cheerful lines, as well as rugs and blankets that burst with an imaginative glamour.
Danish designer Cecilie Manz conceived the Ancelle d’Hermès armchair made with a robust frame in solid wood with a sheet of leather that creates a soft and elegant seat. Heir to a Scandinavian tradition that merges robustness with minimalism, this armchair surprises with the perfection of its sleek design.

For more homes inspiration, connect with @isaloniofficial,
@millamillifurniture, @mdfitalia_official, @blastation, @slamp_official,
@lamanufacture_paris, @maison_matisse and @hermes

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