Every April the design world heads to Milan, where designers showcase their wares at Salone del Mobile, exhibiting everywhere from the fair’s exhibition halls to the city’s palaces, piazzas and gardens. For the interior designers and critics who attend, it is a feast for the eyes – and the moment when overarching themes and trends gradually become apparent.
And this year? Well, there were few straight lines to be found in this edition of the Salone. The minimalist aesthetic is receding as furniture becomes curvier, more textured and more colourful. Concerns about sustainability meant that new biomaterials were on display – from tiles made using fish scales to fabrics developed from processed seaweed. And the natural world is also inspiring our designed world, from the shades of green that dominate colour palettes – lichen at Flexform in Antonio Citterio’s sofa Perry Up, mossy in Sebastian Bergne’s designs at Pierre Frey – to the organic and floral motifs creeping into works from Fornasetti and Sara Ricciardi for Texturae and Karpeta.
Earthy materials were everywhere. Furniture crafted in finely textured wood continues to be a key trend, from David & Nicolas’s chair at Nilufar to Norm Architects’ handsome table in smoked ash for Origin Made. Clay was seen in its rawest form at Nilufar, where Patricia Urquiola constructed a bench, wall and lantern using the Jali brick tiles she designed for Mutina, and at its most polished in the form of the Midnight Flowers porcelain collection produced by the fashion house Marni in collaboration with the design brand Serax – or in Ronan Bouroullec’s glazed Flos light, an expression of the designer’s new focus on ceramics.