Milan Furniture Fair 2014

Coesfeld, May 2014 – It is more colourful, more homely again – this is the first impression in the Milan exhibition halls. Classics, partly presented as re-editions, provide familiar views and show: Everything that has gone before, every idea,Trends at the Milan Furniture Fair More colour, more homeliness.

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Konstantin Grcic

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Trends at the Milan Furniture Fair
More colour, more homeliness 

Reporting from Milan are Parador employees, who have been visiting the “Salone del Mobile” on a regular basis for many years and keeping an eye out for current trends.

It is more colourful, more homely again – this is the first impression in the Milan exhibition halls. Classics, partly presented as re-editions, provide familiar views and show: Everything that has gone before, every idea, fashion wave or trend phenomenon that influenced and shaped the world for a certain period, comes back. Not in identical form, but with modified nuances, new approaches and adjustments that correspond to the current attitude towards life. Some trends caught the eye in particular: colours are creating a good mood, the natural material, wood, is asserting itself even more, surfaces are embossed with textures and metal gleams in many places.

Colours are fun!

It is eye-catching in the truest sense of the word: the halls of the Salone del Mobile are colourful again. Bright accents in bright yellow, may green, petrol, aquamarine or red draw the eye, whilst pastel shades in soft pink, apricot, lilac, light green or blue form large, striking areas of colour, primary colours and colour gradients, which look almost faded, are real head-turners. In place of a cool detachment, a colourful closeness has taken over that makes people feel at home. The new sense of homeliness is also accompanied by furniture landscapes in brown, subdued colours or warm shades of grey, which are broken up here and there by colourful points as an optical highlight. What was noticeable in this context was the exhibition by MDF Italia. Until now the design label has been known above all for creations in black and white, yet this year it showed off a living environment in brown-grey. The playful freedom and new sense of fun with colours are illustrated by a table from Meritalia: depending on which angle it is viewed from, it changes into different colours. 

Scandinavian wood and walnut

Many manufacturers are opting increasingly for wood; sometimes only as an accentuating feature to break up a large area, whilst in other places you also see full sets of furniture or arrangements that are completely made of wood. Light timbers in the Scandinavian style are used, such as bleached oak, ash and Douglas fir in a composed, simple assortment. Alongside this, walnut is also gaining in importance. 

Rustic wood moves into kitchens

Wide planks and timbers in a primordial assortment have been an important trend in the flooring market for many years. The preference for rustic timbers has now also gripped the kitchen designers. Kitchen units can be seen that play with old and new trends, such as an architecturally bereft carcass, which integrates elements made of naturally looking wood or polished stainless steel combined with age-old wood. In the installations created by the big kitchen manufacturers, this trend is also encountered with timid steps, where the elegant furniture is equipped with accessories that are already tattered; in other words old, well-worn wooden stools or rudimentary side tables with a long history, which generate an exciting contrast in the exhibition.

Touch, feel, see: Textures stimulate the senses

Homeliness is not only defined using colours. Material qualities, which provide sensual and aesthetic experiences, shape the atmosphere of a space. In Milan you could see that many creative people had applied themselves sensitively and with the greatest attention to the quality of surfaces – regardless of which material they are made. Wood of course is nice to feel, signs of ageing are desired and are finely brought out with precision and devotion using expert craftsmanship. That also applies to the textiles used. Fine, sophisticated fabrics, which invite people to touch, clear woven textures, embossings just like optical patterns or unexpected materials such as real furs provide a lot of variety and offer wide scope for individuality.

Glittering sights in copper, gold and brass

The great desire for what is genuine and tangibly beautiful is equally found in the current preference of creative people for pure metals and alloys. It is noticeable here too that the sensitive treatment of the surface has come to the fore; the material is brushed, polished or finished using special techniques from the goldsmith's art to make masterpieces. At Moroso you can see hints of copper, at Kartell everything gleams of gold. Accessories made completely of copper or brass glow on many exhibition stands, tubular constructions made of copper turn from their pure purpose into designer elements, whilst metal threads weave their way through high quality textiles. 

The materiality of things undergoes appreciation. If an aspect of sustainability has been in the foreground in recent years, which focused above all on preservation, then you can now sense that thoughts are turning more to the value of the existent. What is naturally present is considered with ultimate respect and enhanced, for example, by particularly appropriate methods. And: things are boldly being combined. The mix of materials especially creates oscillating tensions, which repeatedly lead to fascinating results.

Records and beautiful weather

Claudio Luti, president of the trade fair organiser, Cosmit, appeared exceptionally satisfied and announced records once again: 357,212 visitors were counted – a plus of 13 per cent compared to 2013. 1,737 exhibitors were admitted, and, as Luti reveals, there are still plenty of manufacturers on the waiting list. In cooperation with the city of Milan, a support programme that could hardly be overlooked took place alongside the fair once again, where one event took over from the next. The colourful impression of this year's Salone del Mobile was also matched by the weather: radiant sunshine lit up the whole city.

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