Milan showed off its bestside with sunshine, spring and lovely weather during the design week. This year’sFurniture Fair - Salone del Mobile - at the fairgrounds in Rho was complementedby the Bathroom Fair - Salone Internazionale del Bagno - and the Kitchen Fair -EuroCunica. In addition, there were a number of showrooms and exhibitionslocated in no less than eleven districts around the city.
 ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 

A photographer presents the Milan Furniture Fair

Milan showed off its best side with sunshine, spring and lovely weather during the design week. This year’s Furniture Fair - Salone del Mobile - at the fairgrounds in Rho was complemented by the Bathroom Fair - Salone Internazionale del Bagno - and the Kitchen Fair - EuroCunica. In addition, there were a number of showrooms and exhibitions located in no less than eleven districts around the city.

There is not a chance to see everything at the fair, which is part of the charm. You will see and experience different things depending on time and interest, but you will always encounter something new, unplanned and amazing. In this newsletter I am pleased to share a selection of things I saw and experienced during this year’s design week. If you would like to see all the details, click on the pictures to view them in a larger size.


Welcome to the smallest booth at the fair

As visitors, we usually like the biggest and most spectacular manufacturers. That’s why I looked up kriskadecor with the fair’s smallest booth of just 40 sqm, which had both an open and welcoming feel.
The largest booth was from Minotti with a total of 1,200 sqm (of which a large part was on two floors), giving an altogether different status. From the outside it’s closed, and you’re only let in if you have a booked meeting. Not even visitors with press cards (which I have) are allowed in so the picture below is taken through a glass window from the outside.


Colors of the fair

The colors of the year are not as easy to pick out as they were at the furniture fair in Stockholm, where everyone obediently follows the same path. Here you have them all; those who take the lead, those who are stuck with “thinking inside their box”, and those that can’t really decide.
But often colors appeared in a scale of red and a yellow. If you want to deviate from that color scale, you can complement with a floral pattern and marble, even on large conference tables.

Let it Snow

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of the chair Snow for Pedrali, the designer, Odo Fioravanti, has produced four special versions of the chair using the name Let It Snow, of which you can see two here. Each is based on a piece of music.

Three-dimensional furniture

The Italian artist Manuela from Crema has been working exclusively for Galleria Rossana Orlandi since 2011. Her special technique is to mold plants, small figures and anything else she finds in clear plastic. It gives her furniture a special luster and a three-dimensional depth.

Tense in marble - Best in show!

The marble table, Tense, from P & M Cazzaniga for MDF Italia has been around since 2009, and back then it was a technical sensation featuring a thickness of only 35 mm. The table is available in sizes up to 1,500 x 4,000 mm. Nowadays, Dutch Arco and Swedish Swedese have made similar tables, but not with these gigantic measurements.

The news at this year’s fair is that the Tense table can be completely clad in marble! The surface is made of marble dust blended with adhesive that covers all surfaces with 3 mm without seams. The table top’s pattern is made in intarsia according to the rules of the famous theory “point line plane” by Wassily Kandinsky.

The kitchen fair was strict

Certainly there were country-style kitchens, but the vast majority of exhibitors, and especially the largest, featured slim and shiny kitchens. Like Valcucine with its kitchen Genius Loci above, designed by Gabriele Centazzo. For those who do not have full ceiling heights, the hatch comes in a jointed version that in the raised position can be folded up above the cabinets. 

In the rear of the kitchen exhibition halls was a department featuring kitchen technology.
When you afraid of  cooking, there’s an app for your mobile that does (almost) everything.


Marble as far as the eye can see

Even at the bathroom exhibition, there was no rural romanticsm to be found. If you like marble and want to go all the way, Italian I Conic can help you. They deliver custom bathrooms with floors, walls and storage entirely in marble. And we are not talking about a thin surface.
This is real, thick stone through and through.
Below to the left is the sensational waterbed Zerobody launched by Starpool, which nowadays is called “Wellness a Dry Floating Experience”. Swiss manufacturer Laufen showed toilet seats with many built-in features.


Milan’s palaces were brimming with design

During design week, many manufacturers moved into some of Milan’s beautiful palaces.
The downside was perhaps that the amazing rooms stole focus from the featured furniture. However, Das Gubi displayed with bravura at Palazzo Serbelloni at Corco Venice 16
(to the left above), where they managed to showcase their furniture as well as the rooms.

In the 1,200 sqm inner courtyard of the same palace, Swarovski Palazzo was presented in a custom-made greenhouse. There was a lot of news from several of the world’s greatest designers, such as John Pawson and Nendo, as well as Patricia Urquiola, whose bowls are visible in the image on the right.

Below is the Adnet Coffee Table by Jacques Adnet, one of Gubi’s new offerings for the fair.


Nendo was the best!

At the Superstudio in Zona Tortona, Nendo showed ten concepts based on movement in a mysterious black maze in an 800 sqm exhibition.
Below to the left is one of the ten rooms where thin metal blades slowly protrude and unfold when they get a customized power supply. Above we see the long queue for the exhibition, where many had to wait for up to an hour. But the exhibition was worth waiting for! Unlike most other exhibitions, only a few visitors were admitted at a time. So, everyone was able to see and experience everything without stress or feeling crowded. An extra high five for that!

Another show at Superstudio was “Crystal Rain” by the lighting artist Takahiro. There, the piano manufacturer Kawai displayed a transparent grand piano floating on waves of water. When the piano plays a tone, a drop of rain falls in sync with each respective key.


Design with attitude

At Rosanna Orlandi, Nika Zupanc showed her Soulcare for Flikka Bords. The production uses recycled EPS foam with vegetable epoxy and flax fiber from sustainable EU production.

In Herman Miller’s permanent showroom at Corso Garibaldi 70, we received a preview of the COSM work chair from Studio 75. The chair adjusts all movements according to the user’s weight and is to be launched in the fall.

Two of the best

Paola Lenti was exhibited at Via Orobia 15, next door to Fondazione Prada. It was their second consecutive year and at least as amazing as last year. Here you can see the revolving outdoor armchair, Orbity by Victor Carrasco (left).

Also, for DePadova and Boffi (right) this was their second time. They were featured in a permanent showroom on Via Santa Cecilia,7. The venue, the products, the details and everything make it Milan’s finest.

Lava from Mount Etna is turned into new stone

The floor from Nero Sicilia is lava from the slopes of the volcano Mount Etna. It is burned at extremely high temperatures and molded into tiles. During the entire treatment no enamel or chemical treatment is added. Only fire lets the lava rock regain its natural state.

The new sun house, Toku from Paola Lenti, has a frame from impregnated cedar wood for a tough outdoor environment. Two fixed and two adjustable sunscreens can be moved as needed.

Concrete moved their office to Moooi

The architectural firm, Concrete from Amsterdam, was free to create an office with Moooi’s products in their exhibition at Zona Tortona. During the design week, fifty employees moved in and worked there while the visitors thought (before we knew) that the “extras” acted really well.

This year, Moooi expanded its range of wallpaper with a number of custom fabrics. Patterns and structures are inspired by drawings of unique extinct animals discovered in dusty libraries around the world. Several patterns can be mixed and matched to blend together.

What did everything look like at Moooi? Click here and you can take a visual walk around the room and see everything for yourself.


Toiletpaperbar and soundproofing wallpaper

In the library Mediateca Santa Teresa (left) Toiletpaper Magazine together with Lavazza opened a Toiletpaperbar with coffee tasting.
Glamora produces wallpaper where the patterns can be customized and scaled to the wall. Once you have decided on the pattern, you can choose from three structures, one of which has soundproofing properties. To the right you can see a part of Glamora’s new showroom at Via Solferino 27.

Ventura Lambrate resigned and resumed

After eight years, the Ventura Lambrate district resigned from its activities at the fair. The reason was increased rents due to higher social status in their area, something the young designers and students who were the foundation for the exhibitors, could no longer afford.
But the district resumed on a smaller scale in two new areas; Ventura Central at the Central Station and Ventura Future at Bar Basso. It is a well-known bar where EVERYONE gathers very late in the evenings, although everyone is well aware that there is a tomorrow ...

In one of the halls at Ventura Centrale, David Rockwell designed “The American Diner” a pop-up bar and restaurant environment that you recognize from movies like “Grease”, “When Harry Met Sally”, and “Pulp Fiction”, as well as TV -series; “Arnolds” from “Happy Days” and “Pitch Pi” from “Beverly Hills 90210”.

Salone de Mobile increased by 26%!

The Roh fair this year welcomed 434,509 visitors (it’s like combining the cities of Malmö and Lund!) from 188 countries. This is an increase of 26 % compared with 2017 and 17% compared to the equivalent edition of bath and kitchen from 2016. The number of exhibitors increased by 27% to a total of 1,841, divided into 33 countries.

In order to accommodate so many visitors, many displays had a reception desk where you could get press releases and news information. You could also search for contacts for your own country. The picture is from MDF Italia’s booth. In order to see the reception desk, the photo was taken shortly before closing time, otherwise it would only show a large crowd.

Arrividerci Milano!

Next year’s furniture fair in Milan will be held on April 17-22, See you then!
See more from Milan at Instagram 

Part of what did not get shown here you can see on my new Instagram.      Click here
Read all the newsletters again

If you want to read this, or any of the previous newsletters,                          Click here
they are now listed under News on my website.
Lasse Olsson Photo photographs interiors, architecture and lighting. My newsletter is published 6-8 times a year. It presents photographed projects and reports from furniture fairs in Milan and Stockholm.