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Most years, being in Milan, Italy, in the springtime, means you can get a glimpse of the freshest new home designs — and predict the next hot trends in decor and furniture — at the Milan Furniture Fair, aka Salone del Mobile.
As you can probably guess, that did not happen in 2020. Or in the spring of 2021. But earlier this month, Supersalone del Mobile marked the return of the epic gathering of the international design community after 18 months of darkness due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The week-long show was a little smaller than usual, but more than 400 brands introduced new collections — and I got to go and see them for myself.
Sustainability was at the core of this year’s fair. Not only did it feature in the trends, but all of the brand booths were made out of recycled wood, and pieces could be assembled, dissembled, and recycled, since zero glue was used in construction. If you’re looking for fresh design inspo, Supersalone del Mobile definitely delivered. If this legendary show, which will celebrate its 60th anniversary next year, is any indication, here’s what the home decor world will be doubling down on in 2022.
Based on many of the new sofas, chairs, and tables that debuted at Salone, furniture’s about to go low again — literally. Many pieces from high design brands like Valmori, Minotti, Natuzzi, and more sported shorter legs, lower seats, and lower back heights. These sleeker shapes can help to make a space feel a little bit airier and brighter. Some sofas, such as the leather and chrome pieces displayed by Tacchini, were legless and sitting right on the ground itself.
Earlier this year, we started seeing Adrian Pearsall-esque mid-century-inspired platform sofas with built-in tables emerging in some brands’ collections, and I’d expect a little more of that for 2022, since several designs at Supersalone riffed on this version of the low-slung trend. What caught my eye the most? Designer Sabine Marcelis’ Block Sofa (pictured above) for Natuzzi Italia, which pushes the idea of a platform even further. Available in three-seater, armchair, and ottoman versions, Block combines soft upholstery with a rectangular, monolithic natural bamboo base that looks like it was molded from one “block.” I love the juxtaposition of hard and soft materials here, as well as the reference to Marcelis’ cube tables, the design she’s perhaps known best for aside from her IKEA lamp collab that dropped and promptly sold out earlier this year.
You’re probably familiar with the tulip base table, which Finnish-American designer Eero Saarinen popularized in the ’60s for Knoll and continues to be popular today (probably because its minimalist, elegant shape also has a compact footprint). Why have a table with four or more legs when you can have one clean-lined pedestal base, right?
At Supersalone though, I saw a slight design tweak to this familiar feature: pedestal bases shaped like cones. You still get the same space-saving benefits the tulip base offers, but this silhouette feels a little bit fresher and somewhat more dramatic. Not only did I see this on tables from several companies, including Acerbis (as pictured here above and on the left — they’re super low-slung, too!), but it popped up in lighting, too. Unveiled for the first time at Supersalone, Lodes’ very vertical Croma floor lamp featured a slender stem that flared out onto a conical base.
The green trend at Supersalone was two-fold. First, emerald, teal, and other mossy colors popped up in so many different brands’ collections, from chairs to couches and even sinks and carpets. These hues were particularly abundant in the outdoor furnishings present and in my mind have to, at least on some level, reflect the rediscovery of the great outdoors and love of nature many have experienced since the start of the pandemic.
Green also popped up in terms of green living. Andreu World unveiled their Nuez Lounge BIO by designer Patricia Urquiola, the world’s first fully sustainable lounge chair. Available in four colorways (and pictured in two of the four above), this sophisticated chair couldn’t be greener in terms of design: a sustainable bioplastic shell, upholstery fabric made from PET bottle plastics and textile waste, and a central wooden base made of FSC-certified ash. Because each lounger is assembled without glues, they can easily be reupholstered and even dissembled for repair (or recycled when and if it comes to it). Plenty of collections also explored the use of other more sustainable, recyclable materials like bamboo and reforested plywood, for example. It was refreshing to see so many companies carrying that torch with pieces that can hopefully last a lifetime and not end up in landfills.
With all the compact and portable lamps I saw at Supersalone, it’s clear that companies had telecommuting on the brain. Plenty of pieces appeared to be the perfect size for desks, and several designs were cordless and battery-operated, perhaps for people who WFH and like to move around throughout the day — or even take it outside for cocktails or conversation after dusk.
I especially loved the rechargeable, sculptural Easy Peasy from family-owned Venetian manufacturer Lodes. Designed by Luca Nichetto, these blown glass beauties offer a pretty good output of light, can last anywhere from 6 to 19 hours on a single charge (depending on brightness), and couldn’t be any cuter, with their bell-shaped body and colorful knob combo. All you have to do is twist the knob (the light is dimmable, too).
Curvy decor and shapes still won’t quit, but this year — and possibly next — expect the oval to eclipse the circle (I had to go there… sorry!), at least when it comes to new to market designs. I saw oval-shaped rugs plus pill-shaped sofas and seat backs. Cylinders might be bubbling up the surface, too. I saw a dresser that featured stacked cylindrical forms on its front as well as sinks set atop matching cylinder pedestals. I can’t wait to see where this one goes.