Sunday, 14 April 2013

Milan 2013: The Fiera

So we're back from a long week roaming the halls of the Fiera and the cobbled streets of Milan and now we're gathering our thoughts. What did we think of this years design extravaganza? 
Budri Italian marble inlay
Overall, the Fiera itself felt quieter than usual. Perhaps the Euro crisis is finally catching up with the Italian producers, but there seemed to be less bluster, less pizazz than normal and visitor numbers seemed to be down. Of course, this is based solely on the fact it was easier to walk through the aisles without meeting a traffic jam, and not on official figures, so it will be interesting to hear what the organisers have to say. The perceived reduction in visitors made for a more pleasant experience - you could actually stop, look and try the new products on offer.

The colour palette was fresh and light on the whole with zingy bursts of pinks, blues, yellows and the occasional orange on white or pale grey backgrounds. Light woods, brass, copper, marble and gradients appear to be the finishes of the moment. 
Arper stand design architectural plant wall
Eames Hang It All in new colour palette by Hella Jongerius for Vitra
Amidst the ubiquitous names of Urquiola, Bouroullec, Nendo, Starck et al a new name emerged - Sebastian Herkner. Slowly building his name for the last few years, this feels like the year he finally broke through. His Bell table, while not new, was much lusted after and the new Bell lights (both for ClassiCon) struck a fine balance between function and aesthetics. In the city you could find his marble and copper Salute side tables for La Chance. Watch him become a design star. 

Moroso is always a bellwether of the state of design. New designs came from Atelier Oï and their wonderful, fantastical Oasis system, the child-like Dumbo by Tomek Rygalik and a new collection of soft seating and tables called Cradle by Benjamin Hubert
Cradle by Benjamin Hubert for Moroso
Oasis by Atelier Oï for Moroso
Dumbo by Tomek Rygalik for Moroso
Claesson Koivisto Rune continue to lead the way for Swedish designers. Their Kelly series for Tacchini (inspired by the US artist Ellsworth Kelly) - pure, vibrant colour and organic shapes coincided with a new Cromatique direction for the brand. Use the large ones in reception, the low ones in a break out area and the relaxed one in a lounge - perfect!
Kelly E and Kelly H by Claesson Koivisto Rune for Tacchini
Galleria bench system in wood, fabric and marble by Pearson Lloyd for Tacchini
Konstantin Grcic's new Traffic system for Magis is both modernist and modern. The intricate exposed frame contain solid blocks of colour.

All in all, a good year for the Salone, not a great year. Let's see what 2014 has to offer.  

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