Florence, Venice, Bologna… Northern Italy has been a continual source of inspiration for us, sparking the launch of several collections. Our recent line of terrazzo tiles, to name but one, was directly rooted in this storied region. This month the design cognoscenti descend upon Salone del Mobile, the largest and arguably most celebrated of the home furnishings fairs, which takes over Milan each April.
The city is an enthralling place – that rare combination of industriousness and artisanal craftsmanship – making it the perfect home for the world’s most innovative designers to showcase their vision for the future. It’s in that spirit that this year’s fair places a focus on ingenuity: building on the past, looking toward the future, and designing in a way that “contributes to the wellbeing of man and society” as the newest amendment to the fair's Manifesto declares.
We wholeheartedly agree that good design can bring about wellbeing, even in the simplest form of an awe-inspiring moment when you see something beautiful or innovative that moves you. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a shortlist of the exhibits that we are particularly excited about this year:
Nilufar - India Mahdavi returns for the second year with Chez Nina, a chic yet imaginary private club. For New Sculptural Presence, Libby Sellers curates a collection of bronze and ceramics in an exhibition designed by Patricia Urquiola. And for Piano Nobile, Michael Anastassiades, Martino Gamper and Brigitte Niedermair transform the gallery into an immersive set.
Rossana Orlandi – Contemporary artists Ashley Bickerton, Carsten Höller, Jwan Yosef and Tony Oursler present a series of fine art carpets made in collaboration with Henzel Studio. Plus world-renowned designers showcase one-of-a-kind pieces made entirely from recycled plastic in the Guiltlessplastic exhibition.
Wallpaper* Handmade – celebrating its 10th anniversary, this exhibition pairs established designers and upcoming talent with makers and manufacturers to bring their concepts to fruition. Exhibiting at Salone dei Tessuti, this year’s umbrella theme is love and will include works by Paul Smith, Chan + Eayrs and Sebastian Cox. Plus look for “Planetaria,” a new collection by Lara Bohinc shown at Kasthall.
Six Gallery - showing vintage and contemporary furniture expertly curated by David Lopez Quincoces and Fanny Bauer Grung is a must. At present a canopy of 38,000 ears of wheat hang from the ceiling for an installation of new pieces - the first collection designed by Quincoces & Grung.
In the Brera design district, celebrating it’s 10th anniversary, look for Samambaia, an exhibition of Brazilian inspired furniture and wallcoverings from London-based Maresca Interiors and Fromental. Plus Hidden Rooms, a new installation from Salvatori featuring work by Piero Lissoni, John Pawson, David Lopez Quincoces, and Elisa Ossino.
Also on our radar, Barber & Osgerby will be showing a new collaboration with Hermes, Dimore presents Gabriella Crespi Visoni and Dzek is slated to unveil a new line of volcanic ash-glazed tiles, called ExCinere, that we are particularly keen to see.
Speaking of tile, we’re always excited to see what Fornaci Brioni and Cristina Celestino produce. Look to their colourful shell tiles for something truly unique. This year Celestino has a patisserie in the pipeline, Caffe Concerto Cucchi, which pays homage to the belle époque tradition of café chantchant, in Celstino's whimsical fashion.
In the meantime, we’ll be stopping for un cappuccino at Bar Luce, the Wes Anderson designed café at the Fondazione Prada with it’s retro decor, sherbet colours and what else? Terrazzo floors!