Last month the city of Milan was flooded with events, presentations and exhibits of all sizes and content as the design crew hit the town for the annual Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano, otherwise known as Milan Furniture Fair. I spoke with Nicky Lobo, Editor of Indesign about the highlights this year.
Do you look at Milan in a trend forecast framework?
Milan is always a good indicator of global trends, however these must be translated for the local context. Concepts, forms, colours and textures may be popular in Europe, but many don’t make it back to Australia due to differing taste, suitability to environment, and sometimes due to compliance issues, in the case of tapware for example.
Is there a particular design influence or trend that stood out?
In terms of the furniture component, there is a strong continuation of a colour trend that we’ve seen for a few years now – the restrained, subdued, earthy autumnal tones. From Euroluce, the lighting exhibition, we identified a focus on materiality and also the quality of light. I believe lighting will be the next frontier of design that consumers will demand to be educated about.
Who excelled in product design this year?
In terms of who excelled, I really love the simplicity of Normann Copenhagen who consistently produce quality furniture, objects, tools and accessories for reasonable prices – it’s accessible items like these that can spark a lifelong relationship with design. But a real standout was the moooi carpet range. Marcel Wanders and Casper Vissers really know how to curate a collection of designers and this particular range uses brilliant techniques that reposition the parameters of rug design.
Which designer best exemplified thinking outside the box?
Patricia Urquiola always pleases the eye and the mind, which is what makes her designs so appealing. She is ubiquitous without being frivolous. For example, the ‘Cuna’ bath she designed this year for Agape is the result of research into thermoforming materials and production processes. Like a lantern, a load-bearing frame supports the form which seems to hang from the steel tubing like a cradle (which is the English translation of the Spanish cuna).
Which product showcased should we not live without?
We have good reason to be suspicious of packaged foods and personal goods, so the Toothpaster is a fantastic concept we could all benefit from. This kit, designed by Lund University student Olaf Janson provides everything you need to make your own natural toothpaste, in response to a concern about unnecessary plastic production and unnecessary chemicals entering our bodies.