26 April 2016 / Architecture & Design

Tips from the 2016 Design Week

After the Salone del Mobile and Fuori Salone in Milan, your wish list should now be full of art, design, ideas and dreams, from the highly practical to the strange and futuristic… thanks to this whirlwind of insights into the present and future of design.

The Milan Design Week - which this year coincided with the XXIst Milan Triennale "Design after design" - transformed the city into a huge showcase-cum-workshop. There were over 1,000 events dedicated to art, fashion and food, over 2,400 exhibitors at the Salone and Fuorisalone and nine city districts involved.

As usual, Design Week offered visitors a kaleidoscope of shapes, colours and ideas that point to the sector's latest trends, the vast creativity of its companies and designers, and the new directions that art, fashion and society are taking.

Design is always more than a modus vivendi. It is a way of expressing and giving concrete shape to our inner feelings and desires. What we design is a reflection of our experiences that gives any living space a unique sensorial depth and a relaxed, intimate and informal mood.

This year, green is back to enhance the colour trend palette in a wide range of tones from bottle to forest green and a variety of dustier shades bordering on blue. These hues have spread right across the furnishing world, from fabrics to furniture and wallpapers to sofas, and have even succeeded in establishing the house plant as an essential element of interior design.
This "green is great" trend is also present in a widespread eco-friendly approach that focuses on pure, unrefinedmaterials and fabrics with naturaltactile textures.

In terms of floor and wall finishings, wood and paper are popular, and porcelain stoneware continues to be a sector leader. It appears in countless formats, including classic terracotta that can be enjoyed in Leonardo's highly contemporary Waterfront collection, which combines terracotta and concrete in a unique hybrid of styles featuring the traditional warmth of terracotta and the archetypal modern minimalism of concrete. Porcelain stoneware is also at the heart of the elegant new trend of wood finishes that Leonardo expresses in the minimal chic style of its 3WOOD series.

Another fascinating new trend was on display at the Talking Minds exhibition, in which the Kartell brand paid tribute to its best known designers. a series of large coloured boxes, dedicated to Ferruccio Laviani, Tokujin Yoshioka, Alberto e Francesco Meda, Alessandro Mendini, Fabio Novembre, Philippe Starck, and Patricia Urquiola, told the stories of these great designers and the processes that led to their unique styles. Moreover, a number of these classic designs that helped the Made in Italy trademark conquer the world, are now on the market once again.

Like Kartell, Zanotta has also opted to tell its brand story by mixing emblematic products from the history of design with its latest creations by designers such as Frank Rettenbacher. We are talking about the “Mezzadro” seat, designed for Zanotta by Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni in 1957, and the monolithic “Fenice” table designed by Piero Bottoni in 1936.
Like the Phoenix (Fenice), this piece - the first table in design history to feature a central leg - has also risen from the ashes of Villa Muggia in Imola, which was bombed to smithereens during the Second World War. Using the original drawings preserved in the Bottoni archive at the Milan Polytechnic, Zanotta has reproduced the original concrete table in a Polimex version that brings new splendour to Bottoni's avant-garde masterpiece.

This celebration of brand history - currently fashionable amongst foreign companies too - can be seen as a conscious break between the present and the future of design. And the Milan Design Week, with its focus on both past and present designers and architects as the world's creative geniuses, showed that this new chapter has already begun. All in all, then, it looks as if 2016 will be a particularly happy year and more tips and ideas can be enjoyed until the end of September at the XXIst Milan Triennale Exhibition.

Last but not least, the area at the heart of Design Week, the Brera Design District, launched an important message: "Designing is listening".
In other words the basic principle behind every creative act is inspiration.

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