It’s easy to see why Italian design remains so seductive. While Silicon Valley sets its sights on drones, driverless cars and the rise of artificial intelligence, the very pillars of Italy’s furniture trade – those of quality materials, expert craftsmanship and generations-deep family businesses – provide a sense of tradition and a human touch often lost in the modern world.
Yet, as our report suggests, the nation’s success lies inits ability to look both backwards and forwards – and the next-gen of design talent is as progressive and agenda-setting as they come. We talk trends, new launches and the names to know.
THE COLOUR:rust red
It’s no secret that colour affects mood. During Milan Design Week, a pioneering exhibition by Google saw its visitors fitted with wristbands to measure physiological responses to space in the name of neuroaesthetics – a scientific field that determines the effect of design and environment on well-being.
And lo and behold, much like the ‘womb-like’, earth-toned section of Google’s show, rust red – here to soothe, cosset and cocoon – is this season’s big colour. Mix with ochre, terracotta and dried plaster hues for an autumnal palette that delivers.
Following a Milan Design Week installation by architect Arthur Mamou-Mani made entirely from 3D-printed bioplastic blocks, the move away from single-use plastic continues. And the Italians are determined to give the material not just a second life, but a stylish one at that.
A challenge by Milanese gallerist Rossana Orlandi saw designers develop new ways of recycling, with entries including textiles formed from plastic bags and furniture made using sheets of high-impact polystyrene
THE MATERIAL:coloured glass
A perennial favourite at Glas Italia, Piero Lissoni’s Sherazade Patchwork sliding doors reference both stained-glass windows and Bauhaus art, takingthe look in a new direction.
Over at Fiam, thebase on Simone Bonanni’s Theo dining table is formed from two fused sheets of tempered glass in shades of coffee and pink, while Studiopepe’s Design Week installation, Les Arcanistes, used violet- and chartreuse-hued melted glass panel partition walls and divisions.
THE MOOD:seventies fantasy
Last year, designers paid tribute to the hedonistic Seventies with launches fit for Studio 54, from Martini tables to Gufram’s Dance Floor rug. And while disco fever is here to stay, Milanese studio Dimore has imbued it with a sense of fantasy with the Dimoremilano collection (pictured below), complete with star-shaped lights, constellation carpets and surfaces in plexiglass and faux fur.
Flat surfaces that’ll wipe clean in one go? So 2018. Italian designers know the devil is in the detail, launching pieces with piped and plissé effects. Flexform proves the look works on upholstery with its Biarritz Slim bed., from €9,104, designed by Samuel Accocoberry.
See the latest kitchen design trends.
THE HERO PIECES
The buzz-worthy designs and standout furniture we’re coveting...
Linee rug, from £514, Valerio Sommella for Calligaris.
Big dining table 10th anniversary edition, £11,000, Alain Gilles for Bonaldo at Go Modern.
Etiquette bed, £6,528, GamFratesi for De Padova at De Padova Chelsea.
Peyote Keramik side tables, £610 each, Cattelan Italia at Chaplins.
Thomas Outdoor armchair, €3,016, Antonio Citterio for Flexform.
Shield screen, £8,424, Pietro Russo for Gallotti&Radice.
Ombra chair, £968, Piero Lissoni for Lema at Lema King’s Road, London.
Gentleman sofa, price on request, Marcel Wanders for Poliform.
Halo lamps, from £1,200 each, David Dolcini for Porada at Design Centre Chelsea Harbour.
the names to know
Who? Visit Milan’s Brera district during Design Week and Elisa Ossino will likely be the name on everyone’s lips.
Regularly behind the area’s chicest shows, 2019 was no exception, with Ossino and Josephine Akvama Hoffmeyer of File Under Pop designing a retro-feel apartment (pictured below).
We Love: Ossino’s designs for marble purveyors Salvatori (elisaossino.it).
Who? Milan-based Sara Ricciardi foundedher studio in 2015. United by a theatrical, avant-garde style, her work covers product, interior, performance and installation design.
We love: Ricciardi’s decadent interiors for Italian retailer LuisaViaRoma’s Florence store. An ‘intimate garden’ modelled on Eden, its shades-of-sundae design features a fountain with – what else? – pink water (sararicciardi.org)
lanzavecchia + wai
Who? Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai are the power duo the big names can’t get enough of, with credits including stints designing for Cappellini, Gallotti&Radice and Fiam.
We Love: The Pebble series for Living Divani (lanzavecchia- wai.com). New additions include coffee tables (pictured below), from £964.80 each at silveraltd.co.uk.
Check out more design trends from Milan.