Courtesy Salone del Mobile.Milano
The world's largest interior design fair and the accompanying events, the so-called Fuorisalone, has always been a very important venue to keep track of new design trends and changes in the furniture and interior design. It is here that trends are formed, which are then visible not only on European but also on global markets, i.e. wherever fabrics are used.
This year's special edition of the Milan event, which unusually took place in autumn (from 5 to 10 September 2021), was particularly interesting due to its new, post-pandemic formula and the emphasis on ecology and sustainable development. Design trends remained somewhat in the background, although there were some interesting observations in this regard as well.
Limited stand areas, information about products transferred to the digital sphere, social distancing space layouts – all this certainly did not make it easy for Supersalone 2021 exhibitors to prepare impressive displays of new products and express the ideas behind them. It required imagination and creativity to reconcile the unified appearance of the stands (all made from recyclable wood-based panels) with ways to attract the attention of visitors.
In some cases, these were engaging multimedia presentations or the use of VR and AR technology (virtual and augmented reality), allowing to view non-existing spaces and objects using special goggles or applications. Sometimes ideas as simple as an “aerorplane” from the Italian brand Molteni & C proved to be successful. Everyone meticulously segregated rubbish into specially marked cardboard containers, and the trees and shrubs used to decorate the halls and fairgrounds were handed to the city after the event and used to plant green areas.
What design trends emerged at the Milan fairs and beyond them, in showrooms and at brand expositions? When it comes to fabrics, it was undoubtedly bouclé in various versions and varieties: single-colour, mélange, with smaller or larger loops. The popularity of this type of fabrics goes hand in hand with the current ideas for the shape of sofas and armchairs: rounded, organic, curved forms harmonize with a fluffy, pleasant-to-the-touch bouclé. White, shades of cream, ivory and light grey additionally emphasize the cosiness of such furniture.
Faux fur and long-haired fabrics still have a good run. This is a clear reference to the style of the 1970s, as well as characteristic, loose, crinkled upholstery appearing in the designs by numerous companies. Inspirations by the famous Togo sofa, designs of Pierre Paulin, Gaetano Pesce and Alessandro Becchi, were often to be seen, as well as round pouffes, rollers and modular structures. The renaissance of the disco decade also effectively maintains the interest in intense-colour velvet: red, purple, pink, orange, blue, and black.
Another colour scheme very popular this year in Milan were browns: warm, cognac, red, chestnut, terracotta, and straw. For example, Paola Navone, known for her love of Mediterranean whites and blues, proposed a brown total look in the Gervasoni showroom. Alongside and in duets with browns there is green, definitely natural, in slightly dimmed colours: khaki, moss, sage, and olive. This effect undoubtedly stems from the desire to create a very subdued, calming interior, soothing for the senses and the human psyche.
These tones form an excellent background for the living plants, which are a must. Flowers, exotic trees and plants are the only motifs that were more extensively accepted on fabrics. The exception to this rule were the creations of fashion brand home lines, which emphasized their pedigree and lifestyle character more intensely than usual, choosing their most recognizable clothing motifs for textiles: stripes, zigzags, leopards, monograms.
An interesting novelty is the marbling effect (i.e. dyeing using a special paint spilled on water). Although not pervading, it was selected, for example, by the trendsetting Moroso. Another highlight in the area of furniture accessories at this edition of the fair are the square “Valentino” studs – this time, they were not used on bags, shoes or belts, but on furniture. Other frequently seen accessories were details woven from thick rope: decorative, sometimes macramé-like braids on seats and backrests. Viennese wickerwork as subject to contemporary interpretations was also a popular sight.
Numerous exhibitions on historical design accompanying the fair clearly indicate that the interest in vintage design will not diminish. On the one hand, we want to deepen our knowledge of history, but on the other, environmental awareness prompts us to choose timeless models, renovate them and give them a second life. This, in turn, heralds the interest in fabrics that will match the retro style and give the furniture from the 20th century a contemporary feel.