Highlights and Trends from Salone del Mobile 2019*

Milan continues to establish its leadership position as the world's capital of design - every spring in April Milan Design Week is the place where to showcase for the first time the world's newest ideas, concepts and products for the interior. And this year, too,  behind the doors of almost every palace, every yard and gallery there was a new discovery. During the week, global technology companies compete for attention with world-renowned fashion houses, and design worshipers from all over the world fill the city's streets and cafes with incredible vibrant energy. Whether you're an architect and design professional or an amateur, Salone del Mobile is always worth the trip, and its 58th edition was no exception.

The focus of the week was, of course, the historic Rho Fiera Milano International Furniture and Design Fair , the largest scale and the most influential fair in the world. Among the abundance of the fair and its numerous satellite exhibitions, debuts, installations, parties and meetings, one can hardly pick and see much of this variety of ideas and good taste. But this year's Design Week in Milan was different - the world marks 500 years since the death of the genius Leonardo da Vinci. 

Of all the cities he lived in, Leonardo spends most of his time in Milan - a twenty-year relationship that Leonardo explores all areas of knowledge and gives the city the best of hiscreative achievements.The 58th edition of Salone del Mobile celebrated Leonardo da Vinci's anniversary with two massive installations and numerous events. One of the installations visited by thousands queuing to see it was "Aqua, Leonardo's Vision", dedicated to his amazing research, especially those related to water. Located in the heart of Milan, at the beginning of the Conca dell'Incoronata, designed by Leonardo da Vinci himself, with a single LED screen with a constantly changing city silhouette, it acted as a window to the future of Milan, seen by the artist Marko Balic. 

The other installation in honor of Leonardo is De-Signo , located within the fair in Pavilion 24. It literally links Leonardo's achievements, his approach to the design and achievements of the Renaissance workshops with the achievements of modern Italian designers.

With many photos, documentaries and lighting effects, the installation of David Rampelo and Alessandro Colombo on an area of ​​400 square meters is witnessing much of what Leonardo's modern descendants are proud of - from the time of the great master to the present day. 

Long queues of patiently waiting visitors were in many places. Like at the entrance to the Palazzo Serbelloni, where Louis Vuitton presents one of the annual highlights - Objets Nomades , travel-inspired items. The collection includes a selection of products resulting from Louis Vuitton's collaboration with renowned designers over the years, as well as new things. Like the impressive Campana brothers' Bulbo Armchair  which looks like a cozy nest of multitude of colorful petals.

The famous British designer Tom Dixondecided this year to try a new way to present his collections by opening a restaurant in the heart of Milan. The Manzoni is both a showroom and allows visitors to get acquainted with the designer's products in an "active setting". Guests dine under smooth translucent globes Opal of Dixon, while sitting on elegant chairs of the new range Fat . 

A common trend demonstrated in most new products at the show is combinations, often unexpected, of different materials and textures.

... The new series of furniture Meeting Point of Italian designer Luca Nichetto for Sancal was inspired by the Milan subway station Turatiand is really a convenient place for conversation and rest. [Studio Nichetto]
The interesting sofa Gogan of Patricia Urquiola for Moroso is inspired by the soft form of stones, put ashore in Japan - hence the name. The company explains that they have found the textile for the upholstery in their archives from the 70-s, which have the characteristic of the embossed fabrics with a boucle effect at the time. This seems to be a tremendous trend in upholstery in general because most of the new sofas presented at the exhibition were with a similar type of upholstery. 

A visit of the famous designer gallery Spazio Rossana Orlandi is an obligatory element of every trip to Milan Design Week. In this small space, the courtyard is not only a green oasis among the noise and vanity of the event, but also a background for sharing interesting design solutions. 

Inside, the surprise is even greater, because the most interesting and original author's furniture and interior products - unique, hand-made, surprising with the choice and use of materials - are displayed on several levels. Many designers have gained international visibility due to the fact that they have been spotted by the founder of the gallery and shown first there.
photo T. Zaharieva
*This is part of my article published in Capital LIGHT. A detailed report on the trends and interesting new designs from Milan Design Week 2019 is available on request.

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