Suzanne Barnes visits Milan
MILAN FURNITURE SHOW
by Suzanne Barnes & Alison Haigh
The Suzanne Barnes Design Partnership
Salone Internazionale Del mobile is the largest trade furniture fair held annually in Milan. Since its humble beginnings in 1961, when it was created to promote Italian furniture design for export, it has grown to become the leading global showcase for new designs from world renowned companies.
With this in mind, the SBD Partnership headed off to the stylish northern Italian city to be inspired and to investigate new trends. The show is huge covering more than 140,000 square metres of exhibition space. It has a fabulous cosmopolitan buzz about it and you’re jostling with more than 290,000 visitors from a great mix of nationalities. Even with the world recession and a slight drop in exhibitors, the 1,200 plus that are there put on an exciting and elaborate show.
The exhibition covers all areas of furniture design and is sub divided into the areas of classic, modern and design.
We spent most of our time in the design zone and the stand that stood out for us was Flexform, seen in the top right panorama shot. It oozed an alluring laid back style, contemporary lines with a luxurious yet welcoming softness from the fabrics.
We noticed the trend on many stands was to use many pieces to build up and create a single form. For example, rather than having a single piece coffee table, three or four were integrated with varying heights and textural finishes, creating a totally combined singular sculptural look.
The return of deco and decadence is also very much a look. Furniture pieces used strong curved and linear forms, a style predominant in the art deco period, mixing them with upholstered and veneer finishes to create decorated surface patterns. Finished off with bejewelled detailing, it was a little ostentatious for some, but pure indulgence for others.
A simple stylish trend that is emerging is the removal of upholstery from furniture legs. Although it is something we’ve been doing for a while on our bespoke pieces, it was seen more readily across the board on general furniture pieces. It looks fantastic.
Although this is a trade show, the general public can visit on the last weekend of the event. If you feel like being inspired and fancy a weekend away to one of the most stylish cities in Europe, then head out there; you won’t be disappointed. Just remember to pack some stylish flat shoes as you will be walking miles without even realising it.
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