It might be a fallow year for Glastonbury this year as it takes a break from its hordes of 175,000 revellers – but not so Milan.
The worlds greatest design jamboree, Salone del Mobile, attracted more than double Glastonburys visitors to its 2018 exhibition pavilions. Imagine the O2, ExCel and Olympia rolled into one, stack extra storeys on top until its the size of a modern European airport and engulf it all in red carpet and mood lighting.
For the casual design-lover, each year Salones core focus on furniture and lighting is joined by eight city-centre design districts running their own programmes. Add to that the fringe pop-ups that occupy palazzo courtyards, showrooms, galleries, ateliers and studios and you find that one of the worlds great design cities is taken over entirely by the design world. Anyone can visit, just make sure to book accommodation early.
So influential is the festival that design themes, materials, colours, shapes, inspiration and innovation ripple outwards long after the masses have gone. Heres a snapshot of whats trending now.
Glossy Italian brands set the agenda. Many of the key trends were encapsulated within the maze-like room-sets of Molteni&C (find the London showroom at 199 Shaftsbury Avenue, molteni.it). Four key elements that hung together beautifully were the swivelling club chairs, stitched leather upholstery (which might cover cabinets as well as seating), marble-topped tables, and matt wood veneer cabinetry.
As for colour, natural earthy hues tied it all together – khaki, plum, lavender, terracotta, moss, biscuit and oatmeal. Fabrics were richly traditional, in the form of tweed-covered chairs and basket-weave cushions. The Italians have always been classy, but this year they were also confidently directional. With the absence of print and no concession to the maximalist interiors of late, this shows the way forward as conservative yet serene, establishing a mood of luxurious elegance and calm, with harmony and nature to the fore.
Dedon, inventors of the iconic 2011 Nestrest hanging lounger (dedon.com) and European brand Kettal (547 Kings Road, kettal.com) are the key innovators for toutdoors. So sweeping has the revolution been that anything bought even three seasons ago looks old hat by comparison (see John Lewis for some instant updates). Even if we in Britain get to use our weatherproof low-slung modular sofa barely twice a year, countries with a more indoor-outdoor lifestyle are blessed with hard-wearing, good looking materials.
Dedon has been busy launching its first fully upholstered collection Brixx, its first all-teak collection Tibbo, and its slingback chairs, Dean, are inspired by streamlined racing yachts. Its Mbrace range is the kind of luxuriously stylish furniture youd find at a far-flung Six Senses resort. Kettal, made in Spain where they are not short of long hot summers, takes outdoor lounging to new heights. It showed mood-boards of pastels, sea greens and burnt oranges in its vast range of fabrics, from funky geometrics to plains to weaves. Kettal outdoor room sets featured coffee tables and scatter cushions, plus side tables, rockers and even standard lamps for the ultimate inside-out look.