MILAN — “With the high quality of the Italian and international companies exhibiting here, the Salone del Mobile confirmed its leadership as the most exciting and interesting appointment for the industry,” said Claudio Luti, president of Salone del Mobile, which closed here Sunday. “Also considering the myriad of events organized in the city during the week, we can definitely say that Milan is the international capital of creativity.”
Hosting 2,000 exhibitors, 34 percent of them international, the six-day furniture and interior design trade show registered 343,602 visits, up 10 percent compared to 2015, when Salone del Mobile featured the same biannual events dedicated to lighting systems and office furniture.
Luti also said that a range of Italian politicians, including the country’s Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni, visited the fair for the first time, showing the government’s attention to the sector. “I saw great openness in everybody and I think they are all aware of the importance of helping the system to collaborate, especially with the goal of increasing the exposure of Italian companies on the international markets.”
“We are very happy with this edition of the Salone and for the first time we had to limit the number of people accessing the booth because it’s impossible to work properly when it’s overcrowded,” said Molteni product development director Andrea Molteni. “What’s extremely interesting is that the quality of the visitors is very high and the Salone returned to be an occasion to do real business, not just a showcasing of great ideas.”
Molteni also highlighted that, while the Asian and Middle Eastern markets remain very strong, the company registered a large return of European, North American and South American clients.
The company celebrated during Milan Design Week the opening of its new flagship in central Milan, which collects all the firm’s product lines, including the luxury Dada kitchen collections.
“We registered a strong presence of Asian and Brazilian clients,” said Sebastiano Langé, chief executive officer of interior design firm Baleri Italia, which is relaunching under the art direction of Aldo Parisotto, cofounder of Milan-based architect studio Parisotto + Formenton Architetti. “For the relaunch, we put the accent on some of the brand’s most iconic pieces, which we re-proposed in a contemporary, fresh version,” Langé added.
Baleri Italia and Parisotto focused on a new, chic color palette of powdery tones, which combined well with the soft appeal of the Tato Collection of flexible polyurethane poufs covered with removable bi-elastic fabric. The Juliette lightweight chair, first introduced by the company in 1987, was also re-proposed in new glossy and matte metallic versions, worked in a range of colors, spanning from pale mint and wood greens to peach and sky blue.
“For our group, the 2017 Milan Design Week represented a very important moment to present our collections and our unique craftsmanship at the best to an international audience,” said Giovanni Giunchedi, chairman and ceo of Richard Ginori, which made its debut at the trade show this year. “We are very satisfied because we registered a strong interest in the new collections and themes we presented, which confirmed Richard Ginori’s unique know-how and heritage. In particular, we saw strong attention from Asian and Middle Eastern clients.”
Among the range of new products, the company enlarged its Aurea art de la table collection with giftware, including trays, vases and porcelain eggs, all coming in an indigo tone with accents of orange, white and black. The new hand-painted Perroquets line of plates, table lamps and vases featured the flamboyant colors of parrots’ plumages, while the limited-edition pieces included a reedition in four versions of Gio Ponti’s signature “The Hands” sculpture.
Richard Ginori, which was acquired by Gucci in 2013, operates flagships in Milan and Florence, along with corners in the U.K., South Korea and Brazil.
Among the fashion brands featuring an established home division, Trussardi Casa had a booth showing a sophisticated setup focused on light, neutral tones.
Among the pieces designed by architect Carlo Colombo in collaboration with the luxury company’s creative director Gaia Trussardi, the A-Round armchair, featuring a tubular metal structure, was presented with a new covering, showing the stylized images of Trussardi’s signature greyhound logo creating concentric circles for a chainlike effect. A standout of the collection was the elegant Cleto table, which featured a smoked glass top with a golden steel structure.
“Numbers are definitely satisfying. The orders are up 50 percent compared to the previous edition and the goal is to have Trussardi accounting for 10 percent more of the total business of Luxury Living Group,” said Alberto Vignatelli, president and ceo of Luxury Living Group, which manufactures and distributes the Trussardi Casa and Fendi collections. “Our stronger markets — Europe, the United States and China — continue to be very interested in the line. Our clients appreciate the Italian quality of the collection, the details and the high-end research of leather and fabrics, especially the second generations who are looking for sleek furniture featuring a clean, rational design.”
At the trade show, Diesel Living set up a stand re-creating a hotel, including different areas as a reception, a lounge, an elevator and a hallway, each leading to different furnished rooms. According to Diesel licenses’ creative director Andrea Rosso, the new collection is based on a “desert modernism” theme, inspired by a road trip he took with his team from Phoenix to Los Angeles. “It was nice because Arizona’s desert landscape was extremely inspirational,” Rosso said, mentioning the colors, the lights reflected by metal elements and the region’s typical natural elements. In keeping with the theme, Rosso splashed the sofas and the armchairs with prints showing images of the desert, cacti and stones, flanked by monochrome furniture featuring metal elements and rendered in warm, sandy tones.
The Italian brand has over the years teamed with prominent design names for each product category, developing partnerships with Moroso for furniture, Foscarini for lighting, Scavolini for kitchens and bathrooms, as well as Seletti for home accessories. Recent collaborations have been inked with Berti and Iris Ceramica for wood flooring and ceramic upholstery, respectively.
Rosso said the product range is “90 percent completed,” but there’s still space for new ideas. “Wallpapers are missing, along with curtains, carpets and storage systems, which are very important for me,” he said.
For the first time, Diesel Living installed a pop-up home in Milan’s central area, in addition to presenting the collection at the fairground. Installed in a space previously occupied by a goldsmith’s atelier, the unit showcased the entire range of Diesel Living products, combining new offerings with the brand’s best-selling items in a cozy apartment, which will remain open to the public for six months. “Since 2008, we’ve been adding a new product each year, so now we have almost a complete house….It was definitely time to set up one,” said Rosso, explaining the idea behind the new format.
At the international trade show, German footwear company Birkenstock introduced its first line of beds.
“The step from the footbed to the bed was quite natural for us,” said Birkenstock ceo Oliver Reichert. “Our mission has always been to have people standing as comfortably as possible, now we want them to lie and sleep in the most comfortable way.”
Birkenstock, which last month presented its first line of natural skin care, developed both bed structures and sleeping systems. In order to offer solutions for all body types and needs, the company delivered three different mattresses in various materials, including natural latex, cold foam with a natural plant-based oil and a micro-pocket spring style. An extra cork and latex layer is included in each mattress to guarantee extra comfort.
In terms of bed structures, Birkenstock designed six styles crafted from a range of materials, from wool felt to saddle leather. The complete systems will retail from 7,000 euros, or $7,444 at current exchange rates, to 12,000 euros, or $12,761. In addition, Reichert revealed that Birkenstock is working on the development of a collection of office furniture.
Italian lighting firm Nemo presented a range of new offerings as part of its Masters and Contemporary collections, both realized in partnership with well-known designers. New collaborations with Maison Pierre Paulin, Massimiliano Locatelli and Martino Gamper were introduced next to consolidated partnerships with Jean-Marie Massaud and Arihiro Miyake, among others.
“These are beautiful projects, all very different from each other,” said Nemo’s ceo Federico Palazzari, explaining that the spirit of the firm is to explore different ways of expression. “Our goal is to give a coherent message, elaborated by different authors.”
Maison Pierre Paulin contributed to the Masters collection with the reinterpretation of the Elysées range of wall and floor lamps. First conceived by the late Pierre Paulin in 1969 for French President Georges Pompidou, the two options both feature essential lines, combining a tubular support with a rounded top, now equipped with an LED light source. Named Orbit, French designer Jean-Marie Massaud’s new system showcases an essential ring serving as a lighting source and providing a directional and diffused light. Massaud’s goal was to reproduce the light of candles, which he described as “the right one” for its sparkling, warm and enveloping features.
“The first talks [with Palazzari] were all about the source by itself,” said Massaud, explaining how the idea was conceived and developed in six months. Available both as a table and pendant lamp, the design features a single diffuser made of hundreds of micro-LEDs, installed in an aluminum structure with a slate finish. The pendant version can also be customized with the addition of architectural elements in braid straw, paper or thin sheets of wood, in order to let customers choose the quality of the light’s reflection according to their own tastes.
In 2016, Nemo’s sales climbed 32 percent compared to the previous year, totaling 15 million euros, or $15.9 million. The company’s biggest markets are France, the U.S. and Germany, along with Italy.
Meanwhile, a range of companies from the fashion and luxury industries promoted a series of initiatives during Milan Design Week.
- Moschino teamed with Italian design company Gufram to launch Moschino Kisses Gufram, a capsule collection of ironic and provocative furniture pieces. The limited-edition line includes Zippered Lips, a special edition of the lips-shaped Bocca sofa designed by Studio56 in 1970. Moschino’s creative director Jeremy Scott revamped the piece, crafted from polyurethane covered with a red fabric, with the introduction of a gold zipper holding together the lips. Gufram and Moschino also conceived the wheeled Biker cabinet featuring all the elements of a biker jacket, such as studs, zippers, collar and pockets, as well as High Heels, two high-heeled shoes including a seat and a cabinet.
- Roberto Cavalli hosted a cocktail reception at its Milanese flagship on Via Montenapoleone to celebrate its new Wings, a graphic armchair in a slightly futuristic design, which combines a steel structure with a range of coverings in precious materials, spanning from rich kidassia fur and pink shearling to luxury fish skin dyed in a teal tone. Roberto Cavalli Home also presented at the fairgrounds a collection inspired by the colors and atmosphere of the jungle with tropical prints juxtaposed with jaguar motifs and snakeskins.
- Marni installed a colorful playground in its venue on Viale Umbria. Colored sand and PVC braided toys, like baskets and cones with inflatable balls and rings, dominated the space, which was open to the public. In addition, a series of limited-edition furniture, including chairs, stools and rocking chairs with armrests conceived for storage, was immediately available to purchase. Produced in Colombia by local women artisans, each piece was handmade in metal, painted wood and braided PVC.
“Marni has a unique DNA,” said Renzo Rosso, founder of OTB Group, which owns the label. “The interior-design segment is important for us, also because I would like to start expanding and giving the brand a more complete lifestyle,” he added, underscoring how this strategy now plays a key role in maintaining the loyalty of consumers for the most prominent labels. “It has been four years we’re on board but it seems yesterday, as there are so many things to do,” Rosso said, explaining how the first step since the acquisition of the brand was to develop such a “beautiful, artisanal company” into an industrial reality. “Of course now we need to explore and reach other areas,” he concluded. Marni’s founding family Castiglioni exited the company in October. The fashion brand is now designed by Francesco Risso.
- Agnona, the women’s division of the Ermenegildo Zegna company, collaborated with furniture firm Giorgetti to deliver a collection of textile accessories for the bedroom. Blankets and cushions were presented in three different options, including taupe, gray and kale double-faced alpaca; textured cashmere in white and gray shades, as well as a dégradé plaid in camel hair. Agnona also decorated the entrance of its boutique on Milan’s Via San’Andrea with two limited-edition armchairs covered with long-hair cashmere.
- Antonio Marras collaborated with Humberto and Fernando Campana to create Bandidos Iluminados, a series of lamps crafted from tambour stitching frames embroidered with the portraits of both international and Sardinian bandits and decorated with the designer’s signature artistic métissage patchwork. The designer’s Milanese venue, called Nonostante Marras, also hosted “The 80 Little Orphans of Marras,” an installation realized by Marras with vintage petticoats, which he deconstructed and reconstructed to create poetic installations. In addition, for the duration of Milan Design Week, Marras installed a temporary restaurant in his showroom. Offering traditional Sardinian dishes, which were revisited in a more contemporary key, the restaurant had floral arrangements by Tonino Serra cascading from the ceiling and tables decorated with crystal glasses, precious vintage porcelain plates and a wide range of candles. “The restaurant is actually a success. We already have reservations for next year,” said Marras, who plans an encore in 2018.
- Missoni celebrated the launch of its first wallpaper collection developed in collaboration with specialist Jannelli & Volpi with the “Take it Easy” installation at the brand’s Milanese showroom on Via Solferino. The venue’s walls were completely covered with a magnified version of a zigzag pattern designed by the late Ottavio Missoni in 1969. “I’m so attached to this motif, I could live immersed into this,” said Missoni creative director Angela Missoni, who also created posters of the wallpaper which visitors were able to bring home after having customized them with a stamp.
- Italian linen, home furnishings and loungewear company Frette staged a creative presentation at its Milanese showroom, developing a concept inspired by the seven deadly sins. The venue was divided into monochromatic rooms with different product setups, each of them representing a sin, including pride, sloth, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony and greed.
“We’re entering in a different phase, trying to show an evolution of Frette toward a more modern expression,” said the company’s ceo Hervé Martin, underscoring how the brand is focusing on making its image more appealing to younger customers. Along with its seasonal offer, the label introduced the Golden Deco capsule collection and the Audrey limited-edition line. The former features a golden fern motif embroidered on towels, bedsheets, pillows, linen place mats and tablecloths, while the latter reinterpreted the tree of life’s symbol on a range of numbered duvet covers and pillowcases. “[These] kinds of collections, launched twice or three times a year, help to open new creative doors and attract new customers, which is our goal for this year,” said Martin.
- Massimiliano Giornetti, the former creative director of Salvatore Ferragamo, who exited the company last year, made his interior-design debut through a collaboration with Turini & Werich, the luxury furniture line founded by Carlotta Turini and John Werich. “I combined the rigorous lines of the Thirties with touches of exoticism inspired by the end of the 19th century,” said Giornetti, who designed a range of elegant pieces, including a bar cabinet, a console table, a side table, night stands and an armchair, all crafted in Tuscany from a combination of precious materials, such as marble, crystal and high-end woods.
- Spazio Krizia, the brand’s cultural venue, reopened with a show of lights dubbed Foundation by Studio Formafantasma, founded by Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin and based in Amsterdam. Farresin addressed the continuity of Spazio Krizia, which for years displayed works by Ingo Maurer. “We were a little intimated to follow in his footsteps,” admitted Farresin, “but this location is perfect for us.” The collection includes luminous objects from the Delta collection designed for the Galleria Giustini/Stagetti and Galleria O. Roma, and a number of experiments for the independent art center Peep-Hole, in Milan. At Spazio Krizia, Formafantasma previewed a new collaboration with the TextielMuseum in Tilburg, Netherlands, due to bow next year. “We are interested in adding colors to light, saturating them,” said Farresin. The designers also work with mirrors and glasses to bring new effects and depth to lighting. One example is the Reflector ceiling lamp, which, with a suspended polycarbonate lens under an LED source of light, projects a circular reflection on the floor.
- BMW teamed up with Garage Italia Customs, entrepreneur Lapo Elkann’s Milan-based company specializing in vehicle customization, to unveil the two new and unique BMW i3 and i8 MemphisStyle Edition cars. They paid homage to the Memphis Design Group, the revolutionary artistic and cultural movement founded in the Eighties by designer Ettore Sottsass. “The most important thing is that there’s no nostalgia in this project,” said Elkann, chairman and creative director of Garage Italia Customs, underscoring his team’s fresh take, creativity and expertise. Realized in five weeks of work under the guidance of Michele de Lucchi — one of the members of the Memphis Design Group, the cars showcased bold combinations of graphic patterns and vibrant colors, featured both on the exterior and interior. Technical fabrics, Alcantara and Foglizzo leather were used in the upholstery and infused with bright, contrasting shades such as orange, purple, green and yellow. After the world premiere in Milan, the BMW i8 MemphisStyle will be exhibited at Frieze New York 2017 in May.
- Textile company Alcantara opened “Casa Alcantara,” a special setup at the company’s store on Via Verri. The location was decorated with armchairs and poufs by a range of Italian furniture companies, including Minotti, Molteni, Eumenes and La Palma. The pieces, collected in the Wanderlust line, were revamped by German designer Sebastian Herkner, who conceived the geometric patterns of the Alcantara material covering the designs. “Casa Alcantara” also showcased both fashion and interior design pieces by American artist Rebecca Moses. “It’s fantastic to create something, especially when it comes to collaborating with other personalities….Actually, Milan gives me the possibility to work with a lot of very passionate, very enthusiastic people, such as artisans,” Moses said. “I love going to factories, the real place where I can see the development of the products I design.”
- Value Retail, the designer outlet mall operator, presented the second edition of The Creative Spot. The fashion and design pop-up store is to be installed in the firm’s Italian outlet of Fidenza Village, a one-hour drive from Milan. In particular, Value Retail teamed with design retailer Rossana Orlandi to curate the design-oriented part of the project. Running from late April to August, the store will showcase offerings from both renowned and emerging names of the industry, including Alessi, Seletti, Emanuela Crotti, Mogg and D-Bros, among others. “Creativity is one of our core values and we have had many initiatives like this, at different levels,” said Value Retail’s president Desirée Bollier. “The digital world has broken down the walls among art, design and fashion: on a swipe of a finger today you live in that world virtually. So why not do that in your brick-and-mortar environment?” she added, stressing the importance of offering a surprising experience to the 3.5 million international guests Fidenza Village attracts every year.