After a year and a half of postponements and cancellations, Salone del Mobile relaunched in early September, albeit in a slightly different guise. The leading furniture fair kicked off the fall design season with a dynamic offshoot that did away with the conventional trade-show format, swapping exhibitor booths for monolithic displays interspersed by trees and playful seating. Dubbed Supersalone, the retooled, pared-back expo was nonetheless robust in its offerings—especially remarkable, given how the event was developed in just three months. The Fuorisalone satellite exhibits, often the highlight of Milan Design Week, were consolidated in and around the city’s downtown; here, a slew of commercial and cultural players staged exuberant showcases and programs that provided youthful talents the opportunity to rub shoulders with established heritage brands. Taken together, the proceedings exceeded all expectations. After endless months of Zoom-based talks and presentations, Milan was a breath of fresh air.
AN Interior parses out three themes that guided this year’s fair. The prominent focus on Italian designers made sense, given the restrictions of the pandemic, which, lest we forget, is still ongoing. Perhaps for this reason, several manufacturers revisited their catalogs for classics to update. This isn’t to say that new designs didn’t make an impact. They did, thanks, in large part, to bold colorways and patterns.
A handful of figures—Patricia Urquiola, Piero Lissoni, and Rodolfo Dordoni among them—have defined Italian design for a generation. No surprise then that they were behind several of the product launches at Milan Design Week. Joining them, however, were a handful of newcomers, including artist Edoardo Piermattei, designer duo CARA\DAVIDE, and architect Pietro Franceschini, whose sometimes wily, sometimes immaculate wares formed an effective contrast to the old guard. Still, regardless of any divergence in form or function—Urquiola’s Nuez Lounge and Matias Saga-ria’s Bondo bar cabinet may share an affinity for the retro, but Nichetto’s Chroma light couldn’t be further from Barovier & Toso’s signature Murano glass candelabra—the participants were united by national pride. Likewise, mainstay Italian brands like B&B Italia, Living Divani, Moroso, Foscarini, and Porro made their mark, ensuring that this year’s Salone del Mobile was as homegrown as you could get.