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Written Marianna Serini, CNN

After a year-long hiatus due to the pandemic and a reduced iteration in September 2021, Milan’s Salone del Mobile – an international design fair that has been held annually since 1961 – returned to full strength last week. Apart from the exhibition itself, which was filled with big names in the interior world, Fuorisalone saw how young creatives and smaller brands took over galleries, abandoned spaces and art centers across the city with exhibitions and installations, offering new ideas for what our homes are tomorrow may look.

From sustainability to innovative design and a focus on craftsmanship, these are some of the highlights and takeaways from the event.

Bringing outdoors indoors

Perhaps in response to the time spent indoors over the past two years, nature and organic materials have formed the basis of many of Milan Design Week’s most interesting works. In the Brera district, Brooklyn-based Calico Wallpaper, in collaboration with international interior design studio AB Concept, unveiled Japanese Alps inspired wallpaper in collaboration with interior design studio AB Concept, aiming to recreate an immersive forest experience, while in District 5 Vie Berlin Women’s Collective Matter of Course presented a series of interior items made of wood, clay and water.

Nature-inspired décor could be the next trend in interiors. "reflection forest" uses grass carpet and alpine-style wallpaper to create a serene space.

Nature-inspired décor could be the next trend in interiors. “Forest of Reflection” uses grass-like carpet and alpine-style wallpaper to create a serene space. Credit: Jonathan Hokklo

At Alcova, a traveling exhibition that occupied the derelict Centro Ospedaliero Militare di Baggio, natural stone brand SolidNature, in collaboration with Dutch designer Sabina Marselis and architecture studio OMA, reimagined home furnishings as monolithic onyx and marble slabs, creating a monumental bathroom, a functional revolving a closet and an impressive (though perhaps not very comfortable) bed.

Milan-based design studio DWA brought raw matter inside with a table made from soil and wild flowers; while industrial design students at Muthesius University used air as the design material for ten inflatable items, including a transparent suitcase and an inflatable seat.

The design show also featured futuristic furniture made from raw materials.

The design show also featured futuristic furniture made from raw materials. Credit: Matteo Parodi

The lighting also drew inspiration from nature, thanks to designer Maximilian Marchesani, whose exhibit featured hanging tree branches with LED flowers and fluffy light sticks wrapped in silk, a natural conductor of electricity.

Redesigned, repurposed, reinvented

Sustainability was a big topic during design week.

At Alcova, Italian acoustic company Slalom used recycled plastic bottles to build a muted, brightly colored room that could serve as a quiet space; and Californian company Prowl Studio presented a collection of living room furniture that uses sustainable materials and computer-generated upholstery. Meanwhile, at the Salone Satellite, a hub for emerging designers under the age of 35, some 600 exhibitors showcased work on the theme of “Design for Yourself in the Future” with a focus on sustainable practices.

Designer Maximilian Marchesani drew inspiration from nature in his branch-like lamps.

Designer Maximilian Marchesani drew inspiration from nature in his branch-like lamps. Credit: Maximilian Markesani

Non-traditional design materials have also appeared. Lighting design brand ServoMuto experimented with Lycra to create a collection of lamps. Meanwhile, at the art space Nilufar Depot, Dutch duo Odd Matter decontextualized the use of medical materials to create sculptures in fiberglass and crystalline plaster.

There was also a lot of recycling. London-based Italian designer Martino Gamper showcased a range of vintage furniture reimagined in a contemporary style at Nilufar Depot; and Ginori 1735 invited artists and international designers to give a second life to porcelain that did not meet the company’s quality standards by hand-painting it and turning it into one-of-a-kind designer pieces.

From fashion to furniture

Fashion brands have never hesitated to experiment with the interior. However, this year has shown that this trend will only grow.

Besides the usual suspects Loewe, Hermès, Ralph Lauren and Louis Vuitton all had beautiful installations to showcase their furniture collections (Hermes had house-scale paper lanterns, Ralph Lauren invited guests to his palace, Loewe sported an ambitious display). in Palazzo Isimbardi under the name “Weaving, restoration, renewal” with sculpted straw cloaks) – a group of famous brands ventured into the world of furniture design and practice.

Stella McCartney collaborated with wallpaper makers Cole & Son to create a stunning mushroom print for the home.

Stella McCartney collaborated with wallpaper makers Cole & Son to create a stunning mushroom print for the home. Credit: Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney hosted a cocktail party to unveil her first interiors partnership with Italian design brand B&B Italia and historic British wallpaper house Cole & Son. Paul Smith debuted a collection of colorful sofas, armchairs, coffee tables and more with DePadova; and Sunnei teamed up with design firm Bloc Studios to create a range of marble pieces designed for the dining room. And then there was Maison Dior, collaborating for the first time with Philippe Starck to reimagine their Medallion chair.

Prada, which used to be in furniture, went even further with a two-day multidisciplinary symposium curated by Formafantasma, a research studio that explored the relationship between environment and design.

Fashionable furniture was the main theme of the week and could be the concept of your next home renovation.

Floating objects and adaptable shapes

Design Week was rife with modular products and stackable home accessories, perhaps in response to growing demand for flexible work-from-home spaces.

The vases took on a new form in the presentation of the Salone Satellite.

The vases took on a new form in the presentation of the Salone Satellite. Credit: Isabella Del Grandi

Los Angeles-based brand Loose Parts presented a brilliant display of modular furniture that could be assembled, disassembled and reassembled – partly intended to reduce waste in furniture landfills and encourage reuse by playing with the idea of ​​new possibilities within the same interiors.

At the Salone Satellite, Marija Kojić from Belgrade showcased modular structures for children that can serve as both a play structure and a circular workspace, while Japanese designer Ryosuke Fukusada designed a range of lighting fixtures with countless styling options for the main exhibition.

Elsewhere, at the Rossana Orlandi Gallery – another treasure trove of great design – British designer Mark Wood has also unveiled two collections of lamps, Zig and Deco, that can be used as individual pendants or stacked together to form a variety of decorative patterns and creative elements. forms.

Mastery Rules

The future of home design may very well be a time-tested craft. Fuorisalone places great emphasis on traditional technology, with a focus on artisan creations from international manufacturers.

Two showcases in particular shone with their craftsmanship. Ro Collectible 2022 | Designers & Crafters, Rossana Orlandi Gallery, which showcased the work of international creatives such as Bethan Gray and Alvaro Catalan de Ocón; and the Doppia Firma, organized by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Skill in the historic Palazzo Litta, which featured a collection of works created through exchanges between designers or artists and artisans.

The Rossana Orlandi Gallery presents works by a wide variety of artists.

The Rossana Orlandi Gallery presents works by a wide variety of artists. Credit: Andrea Ceriani

From lamps crafted using Ghanaian weaving techniques and recycled PET bottles to a lounge chair meticulously embroidered with vegetable leather appliqué, the items at both exhibitions embodied heritage from different cultures, emphasizing a slower approach to design.

Top image: Flexible modular furniture from Loose Parts.

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