Milan: The Year Change Happened

David Bitton is an architect and landscape designer based in Paris and active internationally. Last year he was quite the talk of the town with (probably) the first “pop up garden.” Designed along the same idea of the new pop up “here today gone tomorrow” stores, the garden encompassed an amazing green wall and cherry picked furniture designs. You can “watch” his gardens on YouTube.

This year I didn’t make it to Milan so I was eager to have David’s feedback about what caught his eye and interest at this year’s Salone del Mobile.

David, you are a regular attendee of the Milan fair, what struck you this year?

This year in Milan the atmosphere was of course very special as the show celebrated its 50th birthday.

On the design front, a few things were very obvious. First, a striking element was the clear shift in priorities designers are demonstrating. There were less design novelties but more focus on production values. After many years of paying token interest to ecological and sustainable issues, it seemed to me that this year designs really did integrate ecology at the heart of the creative as well as the manufacturing processes. We saw the massive return of natural materials and far simpler fixation systems so as to limit the number of intermediaries involved. Another aspect of this trend is also seen in the fact that the divide between “man-made furniture” and its surrounding is sometimes forgotten and “nature furniture” is increasingly found.

Collezione Vegetale by Angelo Grassi

In terms of colors and shapes what were the key learnings?

Another element of the show was how strongly colors are back after such a long period of black, white, and beige. As you can see from the designs I selected yellow, navy blue, red and green are now must have colors.

Dror Benshetrit

Serralunga‘s Barcelona chairs and the Canisse by Philippe Nigro.

Curves are again the new shapes to go for. Gone are the day of the straight, harsh very clean architectural lines. You can adopt this softer look quite easily with designs that will still fit in existing settings.

Clubland Sofa by Driade

Finally for those in love with design icons, we are indeed sewing more and more of them heading outdoors. For example, (besides Barcelona chairs pictured above):

Jan Plechac‘s wire icons series — the series revisits the Louis chair, the Red and Blue chair by Gerrit Rietveld and the Kubus by Josef Hoffmann.

These classics are sometimes revisited to add a touch of humor:

Mendini chair by Ron Arad

Thank you David!