With hundreds of thousands of designers, architects, journalists, and design aficionados filling the streets of Milan in search of discovering new concepts, designs, and visions, the 61st edition of the annual Salone del Mobile returned to a sense of normalcy, both in its return to its traditional Spring dates for the first time in three years as well its sprawling size, numerous events and exhibitions, and crowded attendance.
From the fair-proper to the city's numerous events tied in with Fuorisalone's and numerous offshoots and happenings in various locales, the expansiveness of Milan Design Week presented a vastness that proved challenging for even the most curious and organized to digest. While the size and scope of the week's attractions have often felt as if they were meandering further outward and covering more disciplines and typologies within the world of design that it is difficult for one person to consume it all, this year's edition began to seem wholly overwhelming in the sheer volume of experiences to consume.
Within the week's bustle, the sense of uncovering surprises, delights, and new visions for the future of design energized the team from Luminaire to explore the offerings at the fair and in the city. As Luminaire has for over 40 years, we set out to foster existing and new partnerships with key vendors and designers while always keeping our eye on the pulse of the fair to gauge the themes, trends, and stories that left their mark on our imaginations.
In the city, we explored Via Durini and its surrounding streets. The area serves as an epicenter of design where a clustering of showrooms representing Italy's iconic furniture and design brands are located. Here, Cassina debuted a wide-ranging series of new introductions from contemporaries like Patricia Urquiola, Antonio Citterio, and Barber Osgerby and reintroduced iconic products in their i Maestri range which celebrated its 50th anniversary. The Cassina Perspective also featured the introduction of several new lighting designs, with the standout being Carlo Scarpa's modular system of linear elements.
Nearby, Porro opened its new showroom with an interactive exhibit that saw guests don special colored glasses, allowing the user to see the past, present, and future of design within their custom wallpaper. Across the street, Living Divani's gallery space featured metallic leathers applied to icons of their collection, creating a visual tension between maximalist coverings on minimalist structures.
Within the enchanting and extravagant architectural background of Poltrona Frau's palazzo cum showroom, the storied Italian brand released the Duo Collection in partnership with Ceccotti Collezioni. The collection expresses both brands' shared creative vision and elevates each to a new innovative and conceptual significance by partnering the excellence of Ceccotti's wood craft with Poltrona Frau's incomparable upholstery and leatherwork.
In Brera, we discovered a timeline of bathroom history with Agape, who explored and reinterpreted key moments from their history in vignetted organized by decade. Nearby, at Boffi Solferino, we took in the latest details, materials, and concepts for the kitchen and bath.
Away from the showrooms, we escaped to Rossana Orlandi Gallery to discover young talent and experience an installation by Studio Mandalaki, whose Halo lighting created an inviting and luminous world.
Further out, we ventured to Paola Lenti's forthcoming Milan showroom to discover the harmonious hues and exciting materials that are identifiers of the expressive Italian brand. Indoor furniture was displayed in the in-construction space, presenting a clever juxtaposition of sophisticated finishings and materials with the roughness of the space. The outdoor range saw expansions in the variety of materials and fabrics offered. In both areas, the signature stylings of the brand were on display, inviting visitors to explore Paola Lenti's vision for living.
At the fairgrounds, we took in the displays from several partner vendors, where we discovered new introductions, materials, and ways of living with design. Zanotta, with a collection balancing icons of design history with youthful and energized contemporary products, unveiled new solutions for the home. MDF Italia expanded the Cosy sofa range with a delightful outdoor version, rounded seating elements, and a distinctive tubular structure.
Nearby, Glas Italia once again challenged the possibilities of glass, pushing the boundaries of the material at the hands of designers like Nendo and Patricia Urquiola. Nendo's Drift collection of sideboards and cabinets was a highlight of the show: a sublime design, each piece featured a black oak wood box that seemed to float weightlessly on acid-etched extra-clear glass. A poetic and joyful vision gives life to a collection of storage furniture with a powerful - yet ephemeral - presence.
Visitors intermingled with innumerable mirrored columns and walls at Edra's expansive stand. This elaborate and effusive set provided a stage for experimental and daring designs that continue pushing the boundaries of what's possible by combining elegance, comfort, and innovative technologies.
Also showing in the fair stands was one of Luminaire's newest partner brands, the renowned Spanish outdoor brand Kettal. Imagined as an art gallery by Patricia Urquiola, the stand featured an architecturally inclined design that utilized Sonotubes, the heavy-duty cardboard tubes used to form and construct concrete, to create various internal spaces for visitors to discover the range of products from the line.
This year's Salone featured Euroluce, the biannual exhibition of contemporary lighting. Here, Davide Groppi's minimalist and refined designs demonstrated his exceptional ability to use light as a version of poetry. With a palpable zeal, the brand released numerous new designs which were inspiring and meditative interpretations of material, technology, and illumination.
Overall, the fair provided fertile ground for new iterations, concepts, and themes for Luminaire to discover. As we reflect on our discoveries, we look forward to including many new introductions in our showrooms.