For one week every April, anyone who's anyone in the furniture and design world descends on the second Italian city to launch, see, discover, wonder at and savour the delights of the Milan Furniture Fair. The spectrum of product presented covers everything from high-end one-off pieces, created with owners of superyachts in mind to experimental installations from precocious art-school students. One of the reasons Milan gets so much attention is the concepts, shapes, colours and materials presented filter through the design eco-system, influencing stylists, photographers, ad creatives, set designers and eventually the high street. Much of how the world looks over the next year will grow from seeds planted in Milan. Livingetc pounded the pavements of Brera, and trawled the halls of the Fiera to bring you its pick of the new looks, coming to you soon.
For a few years Forest Green has been in the style spotlight. Prior to that teal was in vogue. This year, the softer, greyer and, dare we say, more sophisticated tones of sage and eucalyptus are having their moment.
Their matt silvery finishes will be hugely influential, working particularly well on some stunning pieces at Gallotti & Radice.
Bontempi Casa blended a soft textured sage with white leather.
Spanish favourite Fama also showed off its sofas in a muted mint.
WHEN TWO BECOME ONE
Collaborations are the order of the day in Milan and this year was no exception, with some of the world's best design talents working with leading manufacturers on new projects.
East London icon Laura Bethan Wood created a bold fabric range for Moroso, blending her trademark quirky colour with a brand which has experimentation in its DNA.
Marcel Wanders brought his Northern European ethos to meet on Natuzzi's distinctly Southern Italian look with this wheelbarrow-inspired trolley.
India Mahdavi's collaboration with Bisazza wasn't short of wow factor.
DESIGN YOU CAN USE
Love metallics? Love working out? Love design? Then Giorgetti's dumb bells will have you building up those guns in style.
The Bontempi Casa drinks trolley has an elegant Mid-Century look and brings the bar (or the cake) straight to you.
This kitchen unit from Giorgetti starts out compact but unfolds into a handy kitchen station.
Canaletto walnut has long been the timber of choice for the big furniture names in Milan. This year there were some new woods on the, er, block. Porada has discovered Ash, treating it with a coffee or a honey finish which feels fresh and different. The chic texture of charcoal oak was making a new statement at Poliform and Gallotti & Radice.
Porada's Torii stool in Ash with coffee finish.
Poliform's Kensington table
Detail of the Gallotti & Radice Oroshi table
TWEED IS THE NEW LEATHER
For many years leather has been the luxury textile of choice for the major design houses. This year, many classic designs have been reworked in fabrics and the more texture the better.
Bouclé tweed was everywhere, on headboards, sofas, drum stools and chairs, bringing a more tailored and textured look to furniture.
LA VIE EN ROSE
There's no sign of pink power fading. However, this year there was a tonal shift from last year's blush towards the apricot end of the spectrum with rose-y hues, coral and subtle terracottas making soft statements.
Move over spots, checks and swirls, straight slatted lines were the geometric shape (and pattern) of the moment, bringing a zen-like, eastern calm to some beautiful new pieces.
Softly pleated tubular folds edged this Gallotti & Radice Nori coffee table.
The multi-purpose Ki screen at Gallotti & Radice has a touch of Indochine glamour about it.
Giorgetti's low-lying Fit bench works a minimalist zen vibe.
FORM? MEET FUNCTION...
Design can't just look good, it has to work too! Many designers showed their workings but disguised them subtly behind decorative details. The fine detail lines behind the headboard of Flexform's Adda bed are key to holding it in place.
THE NEW BLUE
Forget the softer powders and ciel shades of previous years, this year, designers went for bold on the blue front. You can call the shade Yves Klein, Majorelle, cobolt or electric, but what's in a name? It gives a shot of 80s glamour and punches above its weight whatever you call it.
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