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Trends for 2019 from Milan Salone del Mobile

Design Week
April 25, 2019

Trends for 2019 from Milan Salone del Mobile

The Salone del Mobile trade fair in Milan just wrapped up a few days ago.  It took place after much anticipation, hard work, creativity, and then delight for all who participated and attended. I cannot claim to be lucky enough to be nursing my sore feet after having visited the kilometers of exhibits covering the city, but I do have sore eyes after poring over dozens of articles and hundreds of images covering this design industry must-see. 

Post show, the media who cover this beast of an event have started to come out with their observations, reviews, analysis and opinions.  I have put together a summary of the trends that could be observed for 2019.  Some pertain to what was seen for interiors, but as is often the case, exterior spaces soon follow suit with designs that echo interior trends. So, grab a cup of coffee, or beverage of choice and take a journey with me to Milan and the world of design, and towards what we will be seeing coming towards our spaces here in Canada, and how it is relevant for our green industry. 

 What is Salone del Mobile?

“Considered the pinnacle of the world’s design fairs, Milan’s Salone Del Mobile is where the best of the best in the design world converge to present their newest products, statements, installations, and innovations for a week of pure aesthetic indulgence.









Over the years, Salone (as it's called for short) has evolved into more than a place to find the latest in design. It’s fittingly become a platform for the international exchange of ideas, because what is design at its core if not a functional solution to a need? As such, the fair has become a place for artists, brands and curators to come together to participate in conversations from everything from the nature of human connection to politics to the innovation of techniques and material—all through the lens of design.” Forbes

 Just over a week ago, 386,236 visitors packed the city for the 58th edition of the Salone del Mobile. The global furniture fair welcomed 2,418 exhibitors from 181 countries. Salone events taking place throughout city drew these hundreds of thousands eager attendees from all domains of the design industry, “many of whom stood in line for hours to experience larger-than-life installations and presentations of cutting-edge products.” Galeriemagazine

“These events are primarily trade fairs for industry to showcase new launches and innovations and for buyers to choose stock for the year to come. Journalists and editors also attend, as do bloggers, industry professionals and the public. Think of it as fashion week for furniture - you look at a lot of very beautiful, well-crafted and expensive pieces and after a while, trends begin to emerge.” Houseandhome

Some of the general trends

There were a few themes that emerged, and many revolved around a nod to the past and a celebration of warmth, color and nature.  We saw warm colors and greens, nature prints, plants galore, a focus on sustainability and eco-consciousness, natural weaves and hand crafted and vintage designs. Are these in reaction to the uncertainty in the world and of the dawning recognition of the centrality of the importance of nature to human existence, and its current fragile state? Maybe. Or maybe they are just born of our need to see change and are in response to the dominance of neutrals and high tech in years past. Either way, a welcome shift that synergizes well with our green industry!

 Colors - The orange color is coming

Orange was clearly the emerging colour of the Salone 2019.  Among other places, it was spotted at Flou Natevo, as bright orange on the beds and sofa coverings, at Kartell, on the Venice chair by Ferruccio Laviani, at Philippe Starck, on Eur by Fabio Novembre, and on the Sound-Track containers by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba. ddnblog










“The trend for peach, apricot and terracotta tones was unavoidable. These shades popped no matter where you looked and were utterly brand agnostic too – everyone was doing them. Houseandhome

The green color keeps on going

“Designers are continuing to use green, last year’s iconic color, often in shades of sage and other tones that are easy to match with other colors. In part, the pull of nature is another reason for the centrality of green tones this year. The influence of the natural world was felt throughout the fair in everything from color and pattern to sustainable materials and processes.” Houzz









 Images:  -

Examples of green seen at Salone include Flou Natevo‘s green profusion, with fabrics and leathers in different shades, as well as Nardi’s grass green modular outdoor sofa. ddnblog













Gardenzzz partner, ISIMAR, had plenty of both orange and green on display at their booth

 Shapes: The new shape - High-back sofa

“The high-back sofa – some were almost like an Elizabethan piece or an old Irish vernacular settle – stood out at several brands such as IOC (below) and Sitland. With clever elbow rests built into the version Carl Hansen showed, it was considered and comfortable too. This did, however, feel like a hallway, landing or occasional piece of furniture for me, as opposed to a full-on, get stuck in couch you could have a proper hangover on, but it was undeniably a beautiful new addition. I'd expect we'll see this silhouette coming through over the next year or so.” Houseandhome



Would definitely work well applied to exterior settings where that shape would protect you from the elements…

 Vintage styles: 80’s are back and Bauhaus is celebrated

“Vibrant pops of neon and rich jewel-tones, geometric prints, brass, glass, mirrors, and other reflective surfaces dominate the showrooms at Salone this year. The ’80s are making a big comeback, but with a contemporary twist, as seen in the showrooms of Nilufar Depot, Cassina, Louis Vuitton, Moooi, Studiopepe, Sawaya & Moroni, Dimore Studio and more.” culturedmag 

“It seems that subdued ambiances, monotone palettes and pieces made of single, continuous materials are now stepping aside in favor of the clean geometries and extreme functionality of Bauhaus interiors. Also reappearing is Bauhaus’ tendency to mix and match contrasting primary colors to create bold spaces with lots of character.” Houzz

 Outdoor meets indoor

Indoor comfort, attention to design and budgets applied to outdoor spaces. “More applicable to our European neighbours, perhaps, but garden goes great with furniture pieces that are more akin to living room pieces in comfort and style terms. This makes sense: instead of balancing on hard plastic or metal chairs that make you want to flee back inside to where it’s actually comfy, why not go for pieces that make your enjoyment of the outdoors better? That was certainly something that came through strongly at brands such as Skyline Design, Emu and Royal Botania, where comfort was key with lots of new lounging options and technical fabrics that can be left outdoors. Here’s hoping for a repeat of summer 2018 - fingers crossed.” Houseandhome



For outdoor areas, lighting was another area of strong innovation and design. Lamps from the companies Panzeri and Flos led the way, each presenting stylish designs for the outdoor segment that were also eco-sustainability and energy saving.



“Another clear trend in outdoor lighting: lamps that look like they were brought from the living room. Due to the increased marketing efforts of outdoor furniture companies to set up a “living room” outside, the need for suitable lighting is growing.” hgdesigns



“Particularly popular are models that can be placed independently of a cable, or can be hung anywhere on the corner of a terrace or in a tree. For example, the table lamp “Bellhop” by Flos or the “Firefly in the Sky” by Panzeri. Both are also available as a floor lamp and path light, are powered by a battery and usually are dimmable multiple times or have other nice gadgets, such as an adjustable angle. So there’s nothing standing in the way of a glass of wine on the terrace with these stylish lamps.” hgdesigns


The outdoor lamp “Bellhop” by design studio Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby for Flos.


 Outdoors comes indoors - not just via window views, but through indoor plantings rivalling mini-jungles

Plants are taking over – even more than before!

“Biophilia has been a rich topic over the past few years. As more and more people from the general public are starting to take an interest in how plants can benefit you, suppliers are meeting this demand. Some stands felt like you were walking into a jungle! With water sprays going off every few minutes to keep the jungle plants happy and even warm, tropical, humid air on some stands, this trend is only continuing to grow (pun intended)!” tsunami



“Plants are certainly not a new interior design trend, but they are becoming more of a feature than ever before, as people realise the health benefits they offer. The biggest example of this in Milan was found in the headquarters of fashion brand Jil Sander, where Australian landscape artist Linda Tegg created a living installation of wild plants, similar to the one she presented in Venice last year.” dezeen


Image courtesy of jil sander

When the exhibition is said and done, some of the plants will return to where they were harvested. others will be reformed into a permanent piece to be nurtured as a living entity within jil sanders studios. ‘the plants will stay with us. environmental issues seem, and need to be, more and more well rooted, rather than a trend,’ says lucie and luke meier. ‘we need to be ready to behave in different ways, even uncomfortable and inconvenient, to make a change. we need to find a way to coexist well with nature. the permanent installation of spontaneous plants will be a constant reminder, a catalyst for our awareness." designboom



 The strength of the human touch

Evidence of the human touch in creating objects for our spaces was seen across multiple exhibits. “Nilufar Depot, Molteni & C, and Ceccotti Collezioni, among others, were displaying raw, handcrafted sculptures and design objects consisting of materials like wood, ceramic, travertine, and marble. These objects reside next to sleek and sophisticated pieces of furniture, creating a stark juxtaposition between the process of machines and the process of human touch, containing a hint of wabi-sabi and speaking to the inexorable nature of human imperfection.” culturedmag

An exhibit that examined the contrast between the human and machine process was Studiolo Robotico RUR. There students from the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague presented a performance installation that pitted traditional craft against robotic manufacturing. dezeenumprum

Sustainability and Circular Design

“An increasing awareness of environmental catastrophe, and the urgency to prevent it, is inspiring designers to rethink the lifecycles of products. Circular design deals less with the recycling of an object and more with the reuse and repurposing of material to bring it new life and new meaning.

A successful circular design cycle works to leave no waste throughout the process of creation and use. If a user decides that an object no longer serves a purpose in their life, the object’s death will result in reincarnation as a new object or a contribution to the natural cycles of the Earth. A perfect example of this would be composting food waste that will be used as soil to grow more food. Eileen Fisher’s Waste No More installation at Galleria Rossana Orlandi demonstrates its zero-waste initiative by repurposing used clothing into works of art.” culturedmag

 Seeing a future in sustainable materials

“Clothing brand COS debuted Conifera, a large-scale modular structure by French architect Arthur Mamou-Mani composed of recyclable materials (700 bio-bricks in compostable bioplastic, to be exact) and produced with a 3-D printer. The site-specific installation was staged in the courtyard of the 16th century Palazzo Isimbardi.” galeriemagazine


Pine cones inspired the forms of the bricks


“‘Technology alone doesn't really matter, it's what you do with it, and to me it's only interesting if we are helping the planet,’ Mamou-Mani told Dezeen.

‘I wanted the piece to echo the circular nature of the compostable material and create a journey from architecture to nature in order to showcase how renewable materials, coupled with an algorithmic approach and distributed 3D printing, can create the building blocks of the future,’ he said.” dezeen

Three colours feature across the installation, from clear and white to orange and brown



“As people increasingly try to reduce their impact on the environment, off-grid living has become more popular than ever. The biggest example of this in Milan was a prototype of Casa Ojalá, a mobile home designed by Italian architect Beatrice Bonzanigo. The patented design is for a self-sufficient home that can be assembled in any location, in up to 20 different layouts.” dezeen

“Bonzanigo designed the house to offer an alternative to the ‘world of static architecture’, offering occupants an opportunity to connect with nature.



‘Casa Ojalá is a sustainable, minimal, compact and flexible product for a new comfort, away from TV or air conditioning,’ explained IB Studio, the studio led by Bonzanigo and partner Isabella Invernizzi.

‘The boundary between inner and outer space no longer exists. Outdoor is a substantial, fundamental and precious part of it.’


Walls are adjusted with a mechanical system of ropes, pulleys and cranks


Bonzanigo imagines the design being built in a variety of materials, depending on what is locally available. This would help the building to be both environmentally and socially sustainable.” dezeen


The building is designed to function completely off-grid


Maybe in a few years you will be reading the Gardenzzz Salone Trends Summary immersed in nature in your own Casa Ojalá. In the meantime, hoping you enjoy your time outdoors and connecting with nature this spring and summer any way you can and that you found something interesting to inspire and incorporate into your own 2019 season.