Explore Milan Design Week 2019 through Italian brands at Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone events. From Agape to Zanotta, Italian furniture is as important as ever.
Milan Design Week is a marathon. Though it’s spaced out over one week and generally you’re walking instead of running, it’s an intense time for designers, architects, journalists, and visitors alike. From interviews, installations, and creating Instagram content to suffering FOMO since we are mere humans and thus unable to exist in multiple places at once.
However, it’s also a truly magical time of year. Seeing architects and designers promoting their projects can be inspiring for colleagues, students, and design enthusiasts. It’s a time you may even coincidentally run into people you admire. For instance, I shared the metro to RHO Fiera with Marcel Wanders. I didn’t badger him for an interview – everyone deserves a moment to themselves in transit, no? I’ll save my questions for another chance encounter with the dynamic designer.
As I mentioned in the 5VIE press preview, Salone del Mobile 2019 was initiated to promote Italian designers and architects to industry professionals. Over the years past decade, Milan Design Week has become much more. The Salone is no longer solely for industry insiders but has opened to the public. Fuorisalone events evolved over the years and have also become very international. This is a step in the right direction: to include those who are interested in design no matter their background or passport. Also, it’s a positive thing for the event to reflect the participants and visitors, who come from all over the world to experience the international capital of design.
That being said, Italian brands should not disappear in the international crowd. I’m sharing some highlights from the best Italian furniture brands, from Agape to Zanotta, both at Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone events from Milan Design Week 2019.
Best Italian Furniture Brands at Salone del Mobile 2019
Italian brands Agape and Wall&Deco collaborated this year on a project called “Havens”. Agape presented a new story and atmosphere through this project with the Rigo system designed by Patricia Urquiola as well as the Ell series and Spoon M both designed by Benedini Associati with Andres Jost and Diego Cisi. Wall&Deco featured their third edition of the essential wallpaper collection and style colors for 2019. The collection with Studiopepe and Wall&Deco founder and creative director, Christian Benini, highlights material textures as well as geometric patterns.
Next up, the Cappellini circus was indeed in town for Salone del Mobile 2019! Their colorful, contemporary Made in Italy furniture showed classics from the Low Pad armchair by Jasper Morrison to S-Chair by Tom Dixon, and featured the Dolmen table by Giulio Cappellini surrounded by 01 Chairs by Shiro Kuramata.
Flos shared a huge installation with B&B Italia and Louis Poulsen. An interactive installation depicted Italian design masters, such as Achille Castiglioni. Numerous Flos lamps, such as Chiara lamp by Mario Bellini and Bulbo lamp by brothers Castiglioni will be re-launched alongside innovative systems for indoor and outdoor by Patricia Urquiola, Formafantasma, Nendo, Piero Lissoni, Philippe Starck, Antonio Citterio, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, and Michael Anastassiades.
Minotti remains at the top of the Italian furniture game. They showcased their 2019 collection, which was displayed and viewed through a zoo-like glass window. Their new furniture included Wedge by Nendo, Quadrado seats and tables by Marcio Kogan / studio mk27 design, and Angie by Danish studio GamFratesi. The theme of ‘Shaping A New Vision’ came clearly into focus at Salone del Mobile 2019. “We have conceived a new stylistic code, a new vision of the interior with surprising suggestions ad atmospheres which play host to our new designs.”
Zanotta set up urban interior scenes with their contemporary Italian furniture at Salone del Mobile 2019. Their settings were styled by Studio Salaris, as inspired by international cities such as Paris, New York, Shanghai and Rome. The styles were really convincing and I could imagine the people living in each ambience. Their Made in Italy furniture was certainly in the spotlight. The designs date back to 1947 with the Reale table, edited by Zanotta with design homage to Carlo Mollino. The late Alessandro Mendini (1931-2019) designed the Calambobio dresser in 1985-99 and Achille Castiglioni created both the Cumano table (1978) and Joy bookcase (1989). There were plenty of new additions, as well, such as the Florin bed by Roberto Lazzeroni, Graphium table by Garcia Cumini, Echino small table by Sebastian Herkner, and Oliva chair by Constance Guisset.
Best Italian Furniture Brands at Fuorisalone 2019
B&B Italia presented an enormous version of their Up chair and footstool for Fuorisalone 2019 at Piazza Duomo. Italian designer Gaetano Pesce’s ‘Maestà Soffrente’ or ‘Suffering Majesty” installation draws attention to women’s inequality in a patriarchal society, with violence against women symbolized by the arrows sticking out of the armchair. B&B Italia’s Up series’ 50th anniversary was celebrated with this larger than life installation and political statement. Their showroom featured many colors and patterns on the Up armchair as well as Up Junior.
Patricia Urquiola curated the The Cassina Perspective installation located at the Cassina Milan flagship store on Via Durini.“The Cassina Perspective develops this conscious and futuristic approach with a broad and detailed panorama of configurations for the home where innovative products and Modern icons come together to create complete and, above all, welcoming environments, dialoguing according to a unique design code based on excellence.”
The Fornasetti style is inimitable and absolutely charming. I visited the Fornasetti atelier to check out the brand’s latest collection of rugs, composed of 11 classical and contemporary themed pieces. Each imaginative, whimsical rug is created with fine wools and silks as well as hand-tufted.
Molteni&C | Dada hosted their 2019 collection in the Corso Europa showroom with a visit by Belgian architect and creative director, Vincent Van Duysen. The space was sprinkled with art objects and decor curated by Caroline Corbetta for The Collector’s House, an art collection showcasing young Italian artists. An example is Blu Flower Mirror by Emiliano Maggi, a stunning acid-etched mirror with glazed ceramic holder, which follows trends of manipulated mirror surfaces and sculptural decor elements.
Ten years ago, Moroso created the M’Afrique collection. This year, the Italian furniture brand unveiled M’Afrique Detached at the Moroso showroom in Brera. The colorful scene was inspired by and handmade in Dakar, Senegal. Color and creativity are constant with this Italian furniture brand, which may inspire you to travel to Senegal or incorporate African design and style in your home interiors. I shared some time with the enigmatic Ron Arad and discussed his role in this particular collaboration with Moroso, a brand he’s worked with for 25+ years. Last year, Martina interviewed Bethan Laura Wood about her collection with Moroso for Milan Design Week 2018.
That’s a wrap, at least for now! Did you use our Milan Design Guide to choose where to have lunch, dinner, or drinks? It works year-round, so bookmark it for your next trip. If you weren’t able to make it to the annual event, find inspiration in these Italian design books.
Stay tuned for more Milan Design Week 2019 reviews and the release of the trendbook N/T issue 2!