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Truly time-poor? Key trends are written in BOLD!

Monday, 18 April 2011

MY EDIT: Milan Design Week 2011... standout pieces and trends

Light Tray by Andreas Engesvik and Daniel Rybakken at Spazio Rossana Orlandi - my favourite piece!

It's hard to distil the many thousands of products on show at the Milan Salone and its numerous satellite events into key trends. Inevitably it's going to be my personal take on what was there and, if I'm honest, what I would like to see more of but, heck, the personal take is what blogs are all about!

In a way, it's easier to say what was not big news. It seemed like there was an absence of colour, pattern, print, plastic, slick, glossy looks and seamless finishes. Instead, an awful lot of pieces sat somewhere on this scale: Simple > Plain > Functional > Utilitarian > Industrial.

This time Milan was all about integrity of materials, a certain honesty of construction and a wider respect for traditional methods and aestheticsForm followed function: in many cases chairs etc. were devised or reissued with chunky wooden legs where construction joints were the key feature. Likewise, there were many lights - generally glass or metal - that made a feature of flex or bulb: a new utility aesthetic

Barely seen in its raw, unpainted state a decade ago, wood was huge, generally smooth and blonde but looking unfinished with matt coatings. White was popular too, with lots of combinations of white and unpainted wood within single items to create a clean and beautiful contrast. There were many beautiful marble pieces, although fewer than I would have predicted, but hopefully they are on the rise.  

The industrial was very much present with stunning metal storage lockers and Tom Dixon's brilliant kitchen full of rusting finishes and exposed pipesThe industrial look could also been seen in more subtle forms, with metal being used as wire / lattice / chain / mesh in the construction of numerous sofas, tables, etc.

By contrast, there was a huge emphasis on comfort (see my previous post on comfort and the Bouroullec's Ploum sofa here). Sofas had a 'come on, dive in' quality, places to cosset oneself rather than make a style statement. There were even a few sofas with high backs - which look weird in the era of the low-rise but are often regarded as a more comfortable design. There seemed to be a lot of gorgeous tan leather, stretched tight, thin and matt over chairs and sofas, while chunky knits remained popular too. In an age of mass synthetics, such quality (and responsibly sourced) animal fibres and hides represent true, meaningful luxury. Also seen were lots of woven materials (on everything from rugs to chairs to table-tops), rope and, interestingly some straw marquetry (as seen in Miami, here).

Of course there were decorative devices, but these were generally within time-honoured traditions and thus felt familiar and comfortable rather than brash or crass. So there were dashes of precious metal (brass, again), studded chairs and lots of 'turned' forms, inspired by those seen in humble everyday furniture for centuries past, and used in Milan on everything from lighting to chairs. 

All in all, it was Seriously beautiful...

Hula Hoop lamp by Adolf Loos for Woka
Picture courtesy of

Calabash pendant light by Komplot for Lightyears

Modo Chandelier by Jason Miller at designjunction

Knotty Bubbles Chandelier by Lindsey Adelman for Roll & Hill

Fisherman light by TAF for Zero

Tripod lamp by Lukas Dahlén at Superstudio Più

Paddle task light by Benjamin Hubert for Fabbian

Position floor lamp by Rooms for Moooi

Bala side tables by Jaime Hayon for  at Spazio Rossana Orlandi

Arflex / Tablet tables by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Arflex

Perpignan by Jasper Morrison for Marsotto Edizioni

Puck side tables by Benchmark at designjunction

Handcrafted furniture by Amandine Chhor & Aïssa Logerot

Kimble from the Windsor Chair collection by Matthew Hilton for De La Espada

Beverly chairs by Antonio Citterio for B&B Italia

Ginger by Roberto Lazzeroni for Poltrona Frau

Flow chair by JM Massaud for MDF Italia

Nub by Patricia Urquiola for Andreu World

Gothic chair by Studio Job for Moooi

Bamboo-steel chair by Nendo for Yii design

Lounge chair from the Pippa collection from Hermès Maison
Picture courtesy of

Klara chair by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso

Tufty Too sofa system by Patricia Urquiola for B&B Italia

Favn sofa by Jaime Hayon for Fritz Hansen

Chester Moon, revisited, by Paola Navone for Baxter

DZ Job Cabinet by Studio Job for Lensvelt

Randomito by Neuland Industrie for MDF Italia
Picture courtesy of

Beam kitchen by Tom Dixon for Ekoij 

Pieces from the +Stone collection by Michael Sodeau Partnership for Sienave
Picture courtesy of

Pina, Dina, Gina, Mimma by James Irvine for Marsotto Edizioni

The Hourglass by Marc Newson for Ikepod

Mountain Spot rug by Donna Wilson for SCP 

Yachiyo metal rug by Philippe Malouin

 Rugs by BCXSY at Spazio Rossana Orlandi