Salone del Mobile 2022 Day 1 - new design trends unveiled in Milan for the first time in three years

Seating that helps forge human connection, a new take on geometrics and the home office that closes at 5pm - here is an edit of the latest design trends

yellow sofa in a grand modern living room
Marenco sofa and Delta armchair, both by Arflex
(Image credit: Arflex)

Today was the first day of Salone del Mobile, the (ordinarily annual) furniture fair which hasn't run fully since 2019. And there was so much excitement in the air - crowds literally buzzing to see design in real life again, perhaps for the first time in years.

This is where new trends launch, where the biggest design houses in the world showcase their products which then filter out to the wider world, setting interior design trends for everyone else.

Today was press preview day, where editors got a first glimpse at new launches and lines. We'll be returning to the fair for the rest of the week, and scouring the city for new ideas, bringing them to you here all week. Here are just a handful of some of the new trends that caught our eye.

Classical meets geometric

Luke Edward Hall cushions in purple and yellow for Rubelli

(Image credit: Rubelli)

Geometric prints, on their own, have been feeling a little too strong lately. Haven't we all been craving shapes a little softer, edges a little rounder, to soothe us a little more?

Step forward Luke Edward Hall's new fabric designs for Rubelli, which cleverly blends his signature Greco-Roman inspired art history vibe with geometrics in sorbet shades. And the result was a kaleidoscope of patterns that drew the crowds, leaving us with an understanding of where graphic prints sit in decor today. Next to something a touch more academic.

Furniture that forges human connections

low black and beige armchair in a polished hallway

Delta Vienna lounge chair by Arflex

(Image credit: Arflex)

We've been enjoying the trend for conversational pools of furniture the last few months - interior designers Robert Stilin and Brigette Romanek are masters of this. They gravitate toward low chairs that invite you to sink in and gather round, placed so that they angle inwards to each other, encouraging you to engage with your friends and family.

Arflex have taken this idea and elevated it for the graphic Delta Vienna lounge chair, made from solid wood and rattan. Seen from the side on the stand it's almost triangular, and architectural in its presence. But placed alongside the plump roundness of the Marenco sofa, seen at the top of the page, it becomes somewhere so much friendlier and welcoming. 

And trying it out on the Arflex stand at Salone, the way it leans back demands you to look up, ever so slightly, to catch the eye of those sat opposite you. This is what furniture wants us to do now, to connect with those around us.

The home office that closes when office hours end

home office in a foldaway cupboard

(Image credit: Porada)

The trend for working from home is going nowhere, but that comes with it an unfortunate trend for messy desks being left on display at the end of the working day (just me?). 

It's perhaps no surprise that Porada's desk-within-a-closet got so many gasps, is it? The Savio may look like an ordinary armoire when closed, but open, it's an incredibly chic desk and storage space that is as functional as you could possibly need. Leather pouches and wood shelves combine to make this work space where creative thoughts happen. And then, when you don't want them to happen anymore, just shut it away and relax.

Savio home office desk closed

(Image credit: Porada)

See you tomorrow for more design trends decoded, direct from Salone del Mobile in Milan

The editor of Livingetc, Pip Rich (formerly Pip McCormac) is a lifestyle journalist of almost 20 years experience working for some of the UK's biggest titles. As well as holding staff positions at Sunday Times Style, Red and Grazia he has written for the Guardian, The Telegraph, The Times and ES Magazine. The host of Livingetc's podcast Home Truths, Pip has also published three books - his most recent, A New Leaf, was released in December 2021 and is about the homes of architects who have filled their spaces with houseplants.  He has recently moved out of London - and a home that ELLE Decoration called one of the ten best small spaces in the world - to start a new renovation project in Somerset.