Five design trends from Salone del Mobile 2016 that are set to redefine the world of interiors
Salone Internazionale del Mobile is an annual exhibition held in Milan to showcase the latest in furniture and design from across the world. It is considered a leading venue for the display of new and innovative furniture, lighting and other interior design ideas. This year, the 55th Salone Internazionale del Mobile saw more than 2400 exhibitors. The trends ranged from adaptable furniture to virtual reality and simple, natural forms. Below, the top recurring trends in furniture and interior design we noticed at the event
Multipurpose designs | Adaptability to space was the most prominent trend seen during the Salone del Mobile week. Smaller living spaces need furniture design which fulfills more than one purpose. Furniture designer Thomas Schnur presented a gridded storage system that also acts as a room divider, plant display, and wardrobe, while Bangkok-based Studio248 showcased a cabinet-on-wheels with multiple storage options. Keeping abreast of the digital environment we live in, Italian architect Carlo Ratti introduced ‘Lift-Bit’ at Salone del Mobile – the world’s first internet-connected sofa that can electronically reconfigure into a chair, lounge room or a bed.
Virtual reality. Digital domination of the world can now be seen in everyday designs as well. The line between real and virtual was fearlessly trodden upon by artists at Salone del Mobile 2016. Students from Swiss art and design university, École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne, used virtual reality to present everyday objects like brooms, books, and toasters in futuristic and interactive avatars. Swedish fashion retailer COS, in collaboration with artist and architect Sou Fujimoto, displayed an interactive multisensory installation called ‘Forest of Lights.’ The installation consisted of spotlights emanating from the ceiling that alternately turned on and off in reaction to the movements of visitors.
Leisure concepts | The ever-growing connectivity to the world has decreased the time people spend with themselves. Hence, Italian design studio Atelier Biagetti presented ‘NO SEX’, a pastel pink clinic for sexual rehabilitation. Designers Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari, through this project, look at the perception and accessibility of sex in the world around us. Amsterdam’s Dirty Art Department presented ‘Wandering School’, an interactive space created inside a former slaughterhouse. Space was described as “a place to sleep and dream, reflect and rave in”. It comprised multiple installations with a different one displayed on each day of the week-long Salone del Mobile 2016.
Iconic comebacks | Nostalgia was evident with various designers reproducing iconic designs and techniques. Karakter, a Danish furniture company known for recreating archive pieces, focused on Achille Castiglioni’s shelving system and display stand. Spanish architect Patricia Urquiola worked with graphic designer Federico Pepe to create ‘Credenza’ – a capsule collection of furniture which includes cabinets, screens and a low table designed for Milan boutique Spazio Pontaccio. All pieces from ‘Credenza’ feature geometric panels of blue, red and yellow stained glass, in semi-circular frames.
Natural forms | Natural materials and forms never go out of style. It was no surprise then that elements from nature featured in various designs at Salone del Mobile. Italian designer Cristina Celestino presented a stunning collection of delicate three-dimensional ceramic tiles in the form of iridescent bird feathers. Netherland-based Design Academy Eindhoven’s exhibition ‘Touch Base’ explored the power of touch in human life. It included everything from a petting zoo to re-appropriated pine needles, course nettle textiles and ceramics glazed with dairy products – emphasizing the need for more tactile surroundings in a time that is filled with screens, apps, videos and text. Michèle Degen showcased ‘Vulsa Versa’, a curved, hand-held mirror that a woman can use to look at her vagina. The mirror is created to eradicate taboos attached to intimate female parts, and to encourage women to engage with their own body.
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