It was an exciting week in the world of luxury furniture when the team and I headed off for our annual pilgrimage to Milan recently. The Salone del Mobile Milano exhibition – otherwise known as The Fashion Show for Furniture – is, as always, the place to be when you want to know what’s new in the world of fantastic furniture and interior design.
Milan was as beautiful and welcoming as ever, with her party face on ready for the influx of some 350,000 extra visitors from 165 countries, all looking for inspiration and an insight into furniture trends for the coming year. Staying at the classic 5 star Meliá Milano Hotel, we were only minutes away from the designer district and the exhibition with its 20 halls of the world’s most fabulous furniture and lighting.
So, what can our discerning clients expect to see over the next twelve months? Interestingly, on walking around, we noticed that some of our favourite innovative design features – ones led by clients’ ideas and incorporated in some of our recent projects – were being heralded at the exhibition, albeit on a small scale so far. Proof that, by working with the world’s best manufacturers, our talented interior designers stay one step ahead of the design curve.
As always, we headed straight for xLux, the part of the show dedicated to the world’s finest designer furniture, and a hive of innovation, quality and absolute luxury. The biggest stories this year were definitely gold, navy and ultra-contrasting pastels set against dark veneer high gloss woods.
Yes, gold is back big style. And we don’t mean pale, understated or rose gold. We are talking gorgeous, gleaming, extravagant gold. Deep, intense colours, suggesting luxury and indulgence on a grand scale, worked effortlessly with cool, soft pastels, dark wood veneers and stunning crystals to create fabulous, dramatic contrasts.
We were also fascinated by the mix of classic and contemporary designs in the same room, with no loss of focus. In fact, the unconventional and the traditional were combined with spectacular results, creating balance with a fresh, individual feel. Expect to see lots of marble and wood alongside modern materials, nubuck, luxurious fabrics and plush textures, reinforcing the theme of contrasts.
In fact, one of our favourite examples of this trend was the stunning wall panel shown above. Definitely a piece for high end budgets, the panel is very traditional in design but immaculately finished in a wonderful, hand-stitched nubuck, making it beautifully tactile and strokable. I couldn’t keep my hands off it, as you can see (yes, those hand marks are mine). Team with smoked mirrors, leather or glass and this is a perfect example of classic and contemporary in perfect harmony. In fact, we were so impressed with this unique piece and its breathtaking quality that we will be putting it into our Chelsea showroom ready for our new collection launch party later this year.
We couldn’t come to Milan without taking a look at lighting, and we certainly weren’t disappointed. The Euroluce lighting exhibition was like walking through fairyland, with an amazing and diverse choice of magnificent, designer pieces – from classical to high contemporary and everything in between. It really was an example of the best lighting in the world and we know how important this is to our customers.
One of the overriding themes throughout the whole exhibition was customisation. People naturally want to stand out from the crowd and these designers are going out of their way to turn dreams into reality. I have always known that our clients expect not only the finest furniture but also the option to create truly individual pieces for their exclusive interiors. We have always chosen our suppliers based on quality and flexibility and it seems that the whole luxury furniture industry is now catching on.
For me, this exhibition is always about strengthening relationships with our favourite manufacturers as well as exploring new trends and products that will appeal to all our customers. We feel that we work with the best in the world and this show only goes to reinforce that belief.
My final comment has to be how impressed we were by the standard of cuisine at the show; traditional Italian fare with fantastic fresh salads, tasty meats and cheeses and, of course, champagne – and all done in true Italian style. Touches like this make all the difference and elevate a work trip to a wonderful experience.