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Milano Moments & Trends – An Insider View of Salone de MobilePosted by:Denise Butchko,
I’ve just returned from Salone de Mobile in Milan Italy.
I know, lucky me!
It’s been a goal to attend this show for several years, so finally manifesting it is fantastic and was a feast for my eyes and my soul (not the mention the Italian feasts my mouth got to enjoy).
This “super show” (over 400,000 people) is the premiere exhibition for furniture and kitchen and bath design and products.
Here are my top 10 Milano moments for (I hope) your inspiration and fun:
1.Black is the new black
Seriously, the amount of black I saw had me longing for other colors. And the black I’m talking about is from products featured in the exhibits, not the wardrobes of the fine fashion mavens who go to (or live in) Milan.
Featured were black on black, black with white, black with brown, black with brown and white and, even still, a small amount of black with grey.
Grey has run its course.
For that desire for color, the dominant choice (if you can call it that) is yellow.
Honestly, not excited (at the moment) but I get it. I didn’t groove on brass when I saw that showing up at KBIS in 2013.
Black can be a harsh color. It’s dense and heavy, so hopefully, that’s grounding for people.
I can see adding an accent touch in with medium brown, especially if that brown is real walnut.
2.My love of metallics is front and center. On trend. Metallics are the new neutral
And I couldn’t be happier about that. These gun metals and antiqued shades can be brought in with strong hardware. So, hey, closet industry – we need rods and we need accessories. Otherwise, oil rubbed bronze is going to have to be the choice for “blending” and “disappearing” into closets – unless we’re designing with doors.
3.The Lighting is to Love For
Oh lighting! Let’s continue to drive ourselves and our industry forward so we’re brought into projects at blueprint level. Then we can specify where we need whips, outlets and access.
Lighting up closet spaces not only looks uber cool, it’s a real component of making life easier. As we age, and things are harder to see, lighting drawers, shelves, sections, all with a sense of style, is essential. Be gone little puck lights. We’ve loved you so, but LED’s are shining brightly now.
4.Sometimes You’ve Gotta Walk Alone
I walk a lot of trade shows “solo”. When I’m at KBIS or NEOCON, I’m typically there by myself, often wishing I had someone to bounce ideas off of and share design opinions.
Touring Salone de Mobile was a team effort with two fellow closet designers (Sally Hart from Clever Closet Company in Australia and Lee Kaufman from Gotham Closets in Manhattan). And doing this was fantastic AND it showed me that I need balance. Some floor/show time collaborating and ideating, and some alone, focused on the mission of what trends I see and what turns me on.
5.Prosecco is the Answer to Everything
At the risk of sounding like this “trend research and networking” trip was all fun and frolic, I feel compelled to share our mantra – which became “Prosecco is the answer to everything”.
Tired feet – sit – drink Prosecco
Waiting for colleague – cafe – Prosecco
Walking through a booth and you’re thirsty – take them up on their offer for a complimentary glass of Prosecco.
Deciding where to go next – needs direction provided by Prosecco.
6.Mix and Match is Where It’s At
I mentioned seeing black with brown and black with white. I also saw brown with yellow. Black with yellow. Brown with seafoam green (yes, seafoam!).
And this mix and match approach goes beyond changing the color of an island. Put on your designer sunglasses, be courageous, and propose something a bit more “mixed up”.
You can do this in a simple way by adding an accent section or set of doors in brown or black to predominantly white project. Then the color can be changed out without destroying the whole project when trends transition from seafoam to kelly green (yes, that’s coming!).
7.Traveling with Colleagues Changes the Whole Experience
I love being a part of something bigger than myself. And collaborating with two other design pro’s created an experience that was bigger and deeper than I ever could have achieved solo. You have similar professional interests, so it makes selecting what to do and see and where to go pretty easy. And that allows for more meaningful, specific conversations that provide help both personally and professionally. I highly recommend it.
8.Does Fashion Lead Design or Does Design Lead Fashion?
It used to be that fashion lead design and it would take months, if not years, for those trends to reach the US consumer market.
Now I see them as neck and neck (or couch and couch if you prefer). Because things can be shared so quickly in the digital environment in which we live, trends can be translated almost instantaneously. So if you want to see what’s going to be happening in hard lines (home furnishings), take a look at Vogue or any runway fashion show online.
9.A Top Insider Logistics Tip
If you ever attend the show, stay close to the “Lotto” train station in Milan. It will get you to almost any place you want to go in just one train trip. No transfers. Huge time saver and peace of mind creator.
10.Luxury Drives Design
Face it. We’re in luxury business. People all over the world survive without organized closets and high functioning kitchens.
And as a closet professional, function is top priority. As is practicality. And those design engineered solutions are of the utmost importance.
But when it comes to what’s featured, romanced and exhibited at the largest industry show known to designers, it’s the luxury elements that are featured. We do now see these elements translated into tech (which is just another flavor of luxury in many ways). But the delicious colors and textures and combinations are luxurious. And that’s a big part of what draws nearly a half million people to this show.
It’s a show that I hope you get to go to. It’s worth every element of energy invested – including really comfortable shoes and multiple bottles of Prosecco!