Every April in Milan, droves of design lovers and industry insiders gather for Salone del Mobile alongside a blitz of events held as part of Milan Design Week. As the massive furniture fair kicks off in Milan this week, we share the collections to covet and the installations that inspire.
Running from April 17 to 22 this year, the 57th edition of the annual fair showcases the latest collections from leading brands from around the world, as well as emerging design names to watch. Here’s our pick of the pieces and collaborations to keep an eye on this year.
1. Perfect loop
Add this covetable seat by Cassina to your to-buy list. First designed in 1927 by Dutch architect and industrial designer Gerrit Rietveld, the Beugel Stoel features a distinctive looped steel frame that supports its curved seat.
Cassina’s reissue of this design makes it more ergonomic, and it pairs the plywood seat with black tubular steel and a range of finishes that include black, taupe, petroleum green and red.
2. Cosy cradle
Settle into the welcoming embrace of this curvy couch, designed by Shanghai-based practice Neri & Hu for Italian furniture maker Arflex. It’s part of the Cradle collection, which comprises a sofa (pictured here), an armchair and a small table.
Each design features a triangular construction and a cowhide strap that wraps around the back, as well as elegant legs that make it appear to float above the ground.
3. Present perfect
The old and the new meet at the Typecasting: An Assembly of Iconic, Forgotten and New Vitra Characters exhibition by Swiss furniture manufacturer Vitra, which will be situated at La Pelota, a former sports arena in Milan.
Curated by Paris-based designer Robert Stadler, the showcase features 200 objects from the Vitra archives, next to prototypes, special editions and new products, with each piece reflecting the social function of furniture. Leading designers such as Konstantin Grcic, British practice Barber Osgerby, and Paris-based design duo Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec have also contributed their ideas for a collective living space.
4. Starstruck glow
Created for his eponymous furniture and lighting brand, British designer Lee Broom looks to the stars for inspiration for his new Observatory collection. The collection consists of seven new lighting products including Orion (seen above)—tubular pendants with opaque and solid spheres in gold, which can be connected and expanded horizontally and vertically to create a constellation of lights.
5. Soft and snug
It’s hard to imagine Scandi-chic going out of style anytime soon—just look at sleek new additions such as pieces produced by Danish manufacturer Gubi. The work of Danish-Italian design duo GamFratesi, the Bat lounge chair was inspired by the mammal’s curved wingspan.
This seat pairs its minimalist form with a wide variety of upholstery, including the blue velvet (pictured here); choose from either a brass or chrome finish for the chair’s metal frame.
6. Creative angle
Last year, Israeli designer Ron Gilad put a playful spin on the humble drawer with the Teorema collection for Italian furniture brand Molteni&C—he created modular units with compartments that can be stacked askew to create a faceted silhouette.
The newest addition to the collection features taller units with rotatable glass compartments that can be placed on a 45-degree axis. It is available in two finishes: Canaletto walnut and eucalyptus.
7. Gather around
As part of Chiara Andreatti’s first collection for Italian furniture brand Lema, the Milan-based designer has created the Taiki lounge chair and the Bulé marble table (pictured above). The chair’s oak-tinted structure hints at its eastern inspiration, while the table features a lazy susan and a circular form in celebration of Asian-style feasts.
8. Infinite pairings
Myriad arrangements are possible for the modular sofa; seating combinations include options with or without armrests and even an S-shape format designed as a conversation starter for spacious common areas.
9. Bamboo art
This year, Visionnaire draws upon nature as one of its key materials. Its newest collections feature an earthy palette, various uses of bamboo and a touch of Asian influence. Take, for instance, the Kathryn chair by Italian designer Giuseppe Viganò; the outdoor seat features a pebble-like shape that’s paired with a curved wood structure and backrest, with interwoven cords.
10. Forms of life
Founded by Japanese architect Oki Sato, the prolific studio Nendo is always one to watch for its inventive and playful take on minimalist design. This year, the practice will present a series of 10 collaborations at the fair, as part of its solo exhibition entitled Nendo: Forms of Movement.
11. Inside out
A collaborative collection between design duo Lanzavecchia + Wai and Italian maker Exto, the Clockwork sideboard collection features decorative handles inspired by the mechanical parts and hinges of clocks, matched with solid wood in a natural or a semi-gloss coating.
Its interior features integrated LED lighting and can be clad in leather or an opaque lacquer finish. “Clockwork’s handle is inspired by the mechanism of a clock and makes the opening and closing movement almost playful,” shares Francesca Lanzavecchia and Hunn Wai, the duo behind its design.
12. Force of nature
The work of Florence-based design practice Dondoli e Pocci, the Tangle table from Italian furniture brand Bonaldo features branch-like details inspired by the wild foliage of tropical jungles. Its sleek table top forms a stunning contrast to the complex design of the tubular metal base; it features bevelled corners and is available in wood, glass or ceramic.
This story was originally published on our sister site, Singapore Tatler.