After a two-year hiatus, the Mobilia team recently travelled to Italy to attend the hottest event in interior design: the Salone Internazionale del Mobile Milano, widely regarded as the premier showcase for all the latest trends in décor and design. Our buying team had a fantastic and informative week, eager to share everything they learned.
THE REFERENCE IN DESIGN FOR MORE THAN 60 YEARS
First, some background: the Salone Internazionale del Mobile Milano was founded in 1961 and, over the years, has grown to become one of the most crucial industry gatherings. As part of Milan Design Week, the exhibition welcomes established and up-and-coming designers from worldwide. Initially, the show was intended to be a vehicle for promoting and celebrating Italian designers. Over time, it became so popular that experts from far and wide started to attend. Today, the Salone is where major design trends are born. The 2022 edition’s theme is sustainability, and over its six days, it welcomed more than 2,100 exhibitors and 300,000 attendees from 173 countries.
SPOTLIGHT ON COLOUR
Make way for earthy tones! 70s-inspired colours like beiges, greens, yellows, browns, and oranges were big draws. Though evoking a retro feel, these colours nonetheless felt fresh and modern, whether they were vibrant or muted. Another prominent colour turning heads was beige in all its forms, from milky creams to warm, sandy pigments. Ultimately, this palette spells good news for anyone looking to remodel a room, as these colours complement just about any space and style of décor.
Perhaps the colour that stood out most was orange — what a delight it was to see this juicy hue back in the spotlight, infusing energy into any setting. Be on the lookout for deep, punchy oranges coming in hot. Safe to say we’re crushing. Ultimately, what we loved most about this earthen palette was that all the colours harmonized beautifully. Best of all, these will be easy to incorporate into your home
CURVES ARE IN
Curved pieces have been having a moment for quite some time. Based on what our team saw, the curvy trend is here to stay if the sheer volume of rounded pieces of furniture and accessories has anything to say about it. Furniture with soft and sensual shapes and layers of enveloping materials were everywhere. Stacks of cushions, curved armrests, and arched armchair backrests were all in as if to say the trend is no longer reserved exclusively for accent furniture. Even tabletops seemed more circular. It looks like sharp edges and straight lines are a little passé.
With round pieces, the retro feel of furniture and accessories is undeniable. Despite this obvious nod to the past, the furniture and accessories exhibited at the Milan shows were resolutely modern, designed to fit with today’s reality and needs. From a curved leather armchair to semi-circular wooden screens, or ovular wall decals, circular shapes showed up in a big way to capture the vintage aesthetic in a new light. Best of all, this trend invites the possibility to play with volume and create a sculptural interior, one that bends the design rules. From cushions, stools, side tables and sofas, we’ll all soon be going in circles.
The show’s undisputed star was wood, an organic material revered for its versatility, rich and delicate colours, wood grains and streaks, and durability. Maple, oak, ash, and walnut were trendy wood types used by many designers on both indoor and outdoor furniture and accessories. We saw wood pieces with matte or porous finishes that worked with the grain instead of hiding its imperfections. We even observed painted and stained wood pieces.
Transparent lacquers let the grain shine while bright paints played up the characteristics without “smothering” it. Whether solid or used in graphic patterns on larger pieces of furniture, one of the team’s most significant takeaways was that colour used on wood was done in the spirit of enhancing and not hiding its natural beauty.
WOVEN PIECES WORK WONDERS
While woven pieces have long been (and perhaps unjustifiably) relegated to the backyard, we couldn’t help but notice the lines between indoor and outdoor furniture were somewhat blurred. Woven fabrics (like rattan, braided leather, and rope) entered the home, imbuing the room with a softer, warmer vibe.
While these braided pieces are traditionally seen on benches or armchairs, the style appeared in unexpected places like woven lampshades and table bases made from rope. Woven backrests on chairs create warmth, no matter the material used to achieve the look. It’s possible to style a room with intricately braided furniture pieces, as they no longer form just a solid unit that feels imposing, especially in smaller areas of the home.
Yet another emerging trend at the show was the popularity of stones such as marble or granite with pronounced veins. Gone are the days of a plain, solid rock and delicate surface. This year’s exhibition demonstrated that flashy stone is trending in all its colourful, smooth, or porous iterations. Think tabletops in deep green imitation marble, countertops with bold orange veins, pink or black quartz with eyefuls of detail, or concrete or clay pieces for an industrial look.
Different stones are juxtaposed with unexpected materials, a look that’s sure to suit anyone’s taste. Colourful stone was one of the most popular materials at this year’s show, demonstrating its versatility in the dining room, bedroom, or beyond.
Glass pieces were also a big draw at the Salone. Whether artisanal or practical, glass was just as much a part of decorative accessories as furniture. Naturally transparent, colourful, or even topped with metallic appliqués to create a sense of movement, glass’s role in the home is to bring lightness and ethereal quality. The beauty of glass is in its delicate yet robust build. It works for many accessories, whether on tables, light fixtures, or vases.
Glass is also a key element of the 70s revival, seemingly everywhere, especially smoked glass in colourful tones that change ambient lighting. It’s clear (pun intended) that glass is here to stay.
Textures! Fabrics! We couldn’t get enough of them. It didn’t matter if it was light cotton or linen, striking velvet, or woolly, smooth-to-the-touch natural fibres. Patterned rugs with different textures, upholstered furniture with raw edges, and woven detailing with wavy fringe all caught our eyes. Virgin or recycled fibres were used to add dimension and texture to a room. We were happy to see the return of chenille —that fabulously soft, lustrous velvet, light-reflecting.
Plushy fabrics teamed up with linen. Wool and cotton coupled up. The big trend was mixing and matching all types of textures to create the coziest setting imaginable and let fabric have some fun.
The much-anticipated return of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile Milano enabled our designers and buyers to dive deeper into up-and-coming trends and to take note of what’s changed in interior design over the last two years. The shift towards earthy tones and more innovative textures left a mark. The overarching trend moving forward is that interiors should create an inviting, organic feel. Vintage and contemporary designs are here to breathe life into sustainable trends. Grazie Mille to our hosts for a sublime week of endless inspiration!