MILAN — More than 300,000 visitors from 160 countries are expected to flock to Milan to the international design and furniture trade show Salone del Mobile, running April 9 to 14 at the Rho-Pero fairgrounds, with events scheduled concurrently around town. Design helps generate around 200 million euros, or $260 million at current exchange, in tourism in the Lombardy region, according to a study by the Chamber of Commerce.
A total of 1,400 exhibitors will showcase their wares on an exhibition area covering 1.6 million square feet. Innovation will surely be key as the Italian furniture and interiors industry is looking for business outside national borders.
While Italy continues to be affected by a stagnant economy and local demand has almost halved since 2007, China, South America and the United Arab Emirates are brimming with real estate and building activity.
Exports gained 4 percent last year and are expected to grow 5.2 percent to 13 billion euros, or $16.9 billion, in 2013, according to a study by Salone organizer Cosmit and industry association FederlegnoArredo. The industry last year generated sales of 28.4 billion euros, or $36.3 billion at average exchange, compared with 32 billion euros, or $42 billion, the year before. Another 4.5 percent drop is expected by the end of 2013 compared with 2012.
The biennial lighting and workspace exhibitions, Euroluce and SaloneUfficio, respectively, will also take place this year, with a total of 550 exhibitors.
At SaloneSatellite, 700 designers, including students from 17 international design schools, will present their works.
Once again, a number of ready-to-wear fashion brands that have delved into the home design world will unveil their latest design pieces during the Salone del Mobile.
Some of the highlights:
A bold chair named — what else? — Donatella, after the creative director of the house, and designed by the Haas Brothers. The honeycomb brass and black leather upholstery seat has a futuristic and rock ’n’ roll touch in sync with the Maison.
The new Giove round dining table with an onyx top comes with legs in vintage brown oak and metal feet in pale gold. Every table is unique, as the onyx always varies depending on the original slab.
Colorful poppy patterns brighten up Missoni’s tufted wool rug with carved edges, as well as a plethora of poufs, pillows and chaise longues.
With a stand at the fairgrounds, Blumarine will introduce the new Jack sofa in blue velvet, with leather pillows in a fleur-de-lis hue and perforated flower patterns. Gold metallic plates add an edgy touch.
Gold Murano handblown glass spheres are part of the new Roberto Cavalli Home collection, to be celebrated on April 10 with an event aptly called “Gold, Excess and Love.”
Designed by Philippe Nigro, the Groom’s metallic structure is covered in walnut wood with functional yet stylish details such as shelves for bags or shoes, and jewel boxes.
Bottega Veneta will launch its third collection of sophisticated boxes created in collaboration with renowned artist Nancy Lorenz. The set comprises 25 one-of-a-kind leather and suede boxes entitled “Skies and Beyond,” signed and numbered.
When off, the aluminum chrome surface finish of Diesel’s new Glassdrop suspension lamp has a decorative mirror glass effect. When on, its warm light filters through the handcrafted blown glass.
In keeping with the French brand’s bold new aesthetic, Kenzo Maison has introduced a multicolor logo, adding a playful touch to its minimal Icon cylinder vases.
THE KEY TRENDS
• Vivid and Bright: Shades ranging from emerald green and electric blue to orange and hot pink are mixed and matched for a playful, bold look.
• Graphics and Florals: These patterns liven up wallpaper, carpets, cushions and curtains for a mood that’s either powerful or sweet and romantic.
• Inside and Out: Home furniture comes in natural materials, including wood and stone, bringing a green feel to interiors.
• Functional Beauty: Living in small spaces is de rigueur today, so chairs, sofas and tables are conceived to be functional yet still easy on the eyes.
• Clean and Streamlined: Banned are frivolous accents that evoke Baroque and rococo influences. Interior design goes back to basics, opting for geometric lines and solid, clean shapes.
• The Golden Touch: Combined with solid colors on sofas and chairs, gold adds sparkle and glitz to home decor.
— Alessandra Turra and Matteo Aceti