Innovative Ideas: Stylish and Sustainable Solutions

Every year, Milan attracts visitors from all over the world to attend the prestigious Salone del Mobile.Milano, the Italian furniture and design fair. This year, Bahraini-based architect Marilia La Marca attended the event on behalf of OHLALA and shared her highlights.

According to Marilia, this edition of the Salone del Mobile. Milano and Fuorisalone (the events and activations that happen outside the fairgrounds of Rho-Fiera during Milan Design Week) were back at their full capacity, with many people crowding the city to check the latest launches in the field.

At Salone this year, EuroCucina (kitchen focussed) and the International Bathroom Exhibition were the special biennial events. As stated by the event organisers, these two sectors are strongly committed to experimenting with new aesthetics and functions in high-tech projects oriented towards a sustainable approach.

THE CENTRE OF DAY-TO-DAY LIVING

The kitchen is everyone’s favourite place in a home and where the best memories are created. Hide-and-seek features are Marilia’s favourite solutions and here are some of them:

  • Integrated hoods are below the kitchen island. Yes, you read that right; the air suction is placed under the island. The German brand BORA has an innovative approach. This way, the area above the cooktop is finally free and leaves space to use decorative lamps, create more storage space and have a clear view of what is essential: good food and the people you love.
  • Hidden cooktops made possible by the intelligent use of induction systems are now widespread among the main kitchen design brands.
  • Concealed kitchen hardware helps to create a visually clean and tidy environment. With no appliances or cookware in sight, the room looks sleek and cleaner. ‘Pocket’ doors are a practical solution
  • Ergonomically designed using a system of push and pull panels and special hinges, allowing them to pivot and slide on the sides to disappear, which means anything can be hidden behind them.

BINOVA

The brand revealed the latest Bluna collection, presented in a new version, Bluna Grès, which owes its identity to the monolithic stoneware kitchen island in Pietra Piasentina Grigio Fiammato. The island concentrates the washing area and cooking area on a thick (8cm) top with the HiD (induction cooking system) with a retractable hob patented by the Elio Latini and C. Company. The operating area is completed by a stoneware tank with Gessi (a brand specialised in faucets) 316 Kitchen Meccanica tap mixer. Binova has always been very attentive to sustainability, and it unveiled the use of water-based paints awarded by the European Union with the life brand recognition for low environmental impact.
@binova_official

BORA

Another collection from Binova, called Hily+Bluna, amazed visitors with an innovative worktop accommodating a professional extractor hood from BORA, which helps to immediately extract vapours and kitchen smells. The ventilation from the bottom does not allow the food scent to go up and reach the hair or clothes of those who are cooking. But there is more: BORA Professional 3.0 Modular system, an innovative system of mix and match cooktops for your cooking preferences, from surface induction through gas cooktops to the teppan stainless steel grill, all of which can be combined with the extractor system, even when using one, three or more cooktops. You can basically tailor-make your cooktops according to your cooking style: you could choose to have one gas, one induction and one electric hob all in the same space configuration.
@boracookingsystems

THE PRIVATE SPACE

A bathroom – also known as a toilet, restroom, washroom or even loo – is the only place (if you don’t have small kids or pets) where you can be really alone.
The 10th edition of the International Bathroom Exhibition was all about new materials, aesthetic and design languages, nature, sustainability and a great desire for enhanced well-being at home. Eco-design has been in the spotlight for years; bathroom companies have been investing in research and innovation to develop products with low environmental impact. The entire process is taken into consideration, from raw materials and water footprint to production and disposal of leftover material.
The International Bathroom Exhibition 2024 also brought thought-provoking fixtures to enhance relaxation in the bathroom through furnishing, showers, faucets, toilets or bathtubs. Numerous brands showcased their take on bathroom furniture, accessories, shower cubicles, sanitaryware, radiators, taps and tubs, each capable of transforming the once-neglected space.
According to Marilia, the latest trends are saturated and muted colours and customising this room into a home spa oasis.

Casabath

Casabath have been manufacturing bathroom furniture since 1987. All the production departments are located within their plant in Tuscany, Italy. Their stand at Salone was attracting many visitors this year thanks to their eye-catching SPA bathtub carved from one single block of Verde Alpi marble in an elegant green colour. The product is also available in Bianco Carrara, Crema di Luna, Nero Marquinia and Rosso Levanto marbles. At Casabath, it is possible to combine endless materials, mix and match marble and monolith with wooden doors, aluminium structures and many other finishes and textures to create original and customised solutions to achieve a homemade version of your favourite spa.
@casabath

Ceramica CIELO

A leading factory in the production of ceramics for bathroom furnishings, the company has been able to re-interpret and take ceramics beyond their known limits, proposing unprecedented shapes, sizes, thicknesses, surfaces and colours to the market. The new Itaca collection designed by Luca Cimarra originates from the idea of an island.A range of monolithic ceramic elements of great aesthetic impact finds its maximum expression in the free-standing cylindrical washbasin that can be combined with a customisable wooden storage unit.
@ceramica_cielo

INNOVATIVE SURFACES

A trend spotted in many well-established factories (primarily in Italy and Spain) is putting together an in-house research team to create solutions to transform their production waste into innovative eco-friendly surface materials.
There are endless materials out there that are strong, innovative, entirely recyclable and have a nice touch. Aside from their versatility and durability, these creations are an alternative to marble because they are non-porous and resistant to bacteria and other pathogens. This makes them a great choice for dining tables and food preparation surfaces, and they are ecofriendly since they do not erode the quarries.

These are some of the brands with interesting solutions:

Laminam

The company puts sustainability at the heart of its strategic development vision, translated into surfaces created with recycled or completely recyclable materials. Laminam slabs are made from a blend of natural materials like clay, feldspar, silica and mineral colourings. These components are mixed together and then compacted under high pressure and temperatures.
@laminam

Florim

The CarbonZero collection from this porcelain tile and slab manufacturer invests in carbon-neutral surfaces to cancel out the CO2 emissions generated by their production and life cycle. The brand measures the environmental impact of its products, from the extraction of raw materials to disposal. To contain emissions from its activities, it reduces the use of natural resources and invests in making the process up to 100% sustainable in terms of water, electricity and recovery of raw production waste.
@florim_ceramiche

Neolith
A sintered stone is a material composed of natural products such as stone dust, minerals or pigments. The sintering process emulates the creation of natural igneous rocks, where minerals melt and solidify at high temperatures. At Neolith, they are inspired by this organic process, producing items by applying extreme heat and pressure. The result is an ultra-compacted surface that conquers with its beauty and great performance.
@neolithofficial

IN THE CITY

Fuorisalone is a series of events distributed in different areas of Milan during the days of Salone del Mobile.Milano.
The Fuorisalone is not only a collection of design product novelties or a networking platform but also an ideal stage for launching messages of profound social significance.
One highlight was the La Merenda Friulana event, which took place at the LeStanze showroom located in one of the design streets in the heart of Milan. During the event, the wallpaper company Spaghetti Wall presented Making Knots, an installation by Gian Paolo Venier conceived to support MADE51, a humanitarian programme that assists artisans fleeing war territories and the UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
The installation incorporates the creativity of a group of Afghan refugee women who have found protection in India and Syrian refugee women in Lebanon. They work with weaves and yarns, and Gian Paolo transformed their craft into pom poms and braids, adding them to upholstery. The pieces inspired Spaghetti Wall to develop a special collection of colourful wallpapers with the knots theme.
“We are entrepreneurs, architects, design enthusiasts, but we are first and foremost people, with values and a social responsibility,” said Federica Borgobello, CEO of Spaghetti Wall. “In this sense, we feel that our commitment must necessarily go beyond the decorative theme. With this initiative, we want to make our means available to support the many people who have lost everything due to armed conflicts. Thanks to Gian Paolo Venier and UNHCR, we have the opportunity to do this in the way that is closest to our identity: through colour and visual language.”
The installation not only created awareness and gave the artisans more opportunities, it also provided a way to raise funds to support the MADE51 projects through donations with a direct and dedicated QR code displayed in the location. A silent auction of some unique customised pieces was also part of the project.
@spaghettiwallpaper

For more information, please visit www.salonemilano.it/en
@isaloniofficial

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