‘Are you going to Milan?’ That’s the question on the lips of London’s furniture fanciers. With Italy’s style capital poised to host its annual furniture fest, the Salone del Mobile, next week, designers and manufacturers in the business are packing their portfolios and will soon be heading for their overpriced hotels.
Seasoned furniture designers such as Pearson Lloyd, Tom Dixon, Matthew Hilton and Ron Arad will be there in force, but every year a few new names creep in. Though hardly a newcomer, Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa , for example, has stepped up from being one of the stars of Swarovski’s chandelier sideshow last year to designing for Italian furniture manufacturer Driade and Swedish company Swedese, among others. Meanwhile, Scottish group Timorous Beasties will be showing its First Weave carpet designs for Brintons.
For genuinely new talent though, there is the Salone Satellite – the hub housing the work of smaller design groups and college students from across the globe. This event will celebrate its tenth year with an exhibition entitled A Dream Come True, tracing projects that have progressed from a showing there through to full-scale production.
The Milan fair offers inspiration through new ideas and the odd, wild excess. But there is the serious side and this year we can expect sustainability to be a recurring theme, even among the most stylish companies. It will be interesting to see how exhibitors balance responsible design with commercial needs.
The Milan Furniture Fair runs from 18-23 April