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September 2023 | Home

Home sweet home

From the Milan Furniture Exhibition (Salone Internazionale del Mobile) a glimpse into new lifestyles and the challenges ahead in the near future.

Home sweet home

From the Milan Furniture Exhibition (Salone Internazionale del Mobile) a glimpse into new lifestyles and the challenges ahead in the near future.

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan is a great showcase of contemporary living which every year brings together, in an intense week, the latest innovations from all over the world. An opportunity for comparison and exchange for an entire sector but most importantly, on closer inspection, a sort of compass able to indicate trends and tell us more about how we will live in the future. Far from being an exhibition for insiders only, what passes through the Salone is its more social and inclusive declination, the Fuorisalone, which concerns us closely because design now interacts with each and every aspect of our lives and, ultimately, has much more to do with our well-being than we imagine. What challenges await us in this increasingly digital and connected scenario? From the last design week we gathered a number of suggestions that opened up a vision of the near future.  

All-round sustainability

The Salone del Mobile has once again confirmed that the world of design is firmly focused on green, with concrete and tangible actions: from the choice of materials to production techniques and packaging, the brands’ increasing commitment to a circular economy, the use of recycled and recyclable materials and the conversion of the entire production chain to energy efficiency is evident. Unquestionably one of the most interesting trends concerns repairable, expandable, modular furniture: the concepts of long life and second life (intelligent reuse of objects once the purpose for which they were produced is over) are as basic today as usability and aesthetics.

Increasingly democratic design

More and more brands are turning to capsule collections in collaboration with famous designers, aiming to offer quality, functional and aesthetically pleasing furniture at an affordable price. An ethical and responsible approach that looks to the future but actually draws on the lessons of the great masters of the past and the ultimate aim of design: to improve people’s quality of life. 

Less digital, more real

Unplugging was one of the most evoked concepts of this edition. According to recent studies, people are looking for manual, authentic activities to counteract the (too) much time spent in front of a screen. ‘Digital fatigue is real,’ confirms Lisa White, creative director of UK analyst firm Wgsn. We get so much from social media and digital but sometimes we have to take a break. Technology brands are starting to produce environmental devices that help reduce stress by taking on certain tasks autonomously and providing more gentle notifications’. According to a recent analysis conducted by Wgsn in Canada, France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, 47% of respondents said they seek downtime from connected devices due to digital fatigue.

Colour colour 

In line with the Japanese concept of “momijigari”, which celebrates all that is autumnal and cosy, warm shades bring a breath of freshness and newness to rooms, inspiring feelings of positivity and joy after years of colour restraint. 

Research by Taskrabbit confirms an interest among respondents in warm shades such as terracotta and burnt orange: 38% of respondents said they would introduce these colours on their home walls during 2023. 

Round is better

A number of researches agree that the human brain is prone to associate roundness with happiness and relaxation. This may explain the great comeback of furniture with soft, enveloping shapes that give dynamism and fluidity to rooms. Curved armchairs and sofas, tables with rounded corners, quilted fabrics and beds with headboards as cosy as an embrace invite relaxation, breaking down all physical barriers and angularity. A trend that partly evokes the vintage design of the 1950s, reinterpreted in a contemporary key. 

Glass and mirrors

Among the rising trends are reflective textures. Due to the increasingly reduced spaces and the demand for bright environments, the Salone del Mobile celebrated the return in style of mirrored surfaces – in extralight glass or proposed in sandblasted, etched or antique finishes – in combination with light-coloured furnishings and accessories. A powerful celebration of light in all its forms.

Superstar metals

Among the most popular materials is metal, especially in a burnished finish. Metal in this particular declination breaks previous furnishing schemes and brings personality to rooms thanks to a striking change of colour intensity. 

At the Salone, several brands presented their interpretation in the form not only of furnishings – coffee tables, chairs, tables – but also of entire decorative walls and elegant partitions.

Linked to nature

The pandemic and the month-long lockdown have made us discover a love of green, especially among the younger generation. The growing interest in gardening is set to increase as it becomes part of our daily routines. Whether it is a vertical green wall in an interior or a small vegetable garden on the terrace to look after, it seems that plant care will keep us company for a long time to come. And still linked to this “green” trend continues the liaison with wood, especially in natural finishes and textures, for more than just a visual but also a tactile immersion in nature.

Nose-up ultradécor

Both Instagram and Pinterest, the social networks most closely linked to images and aesthetics, are influencing the furnishing choices of younger people who are looking for hints and inspiration online. One of last year’s trends concerns ceilings, which are increasingly the focus of creative restyling. Whether it’s painting the beams in a contrasting colour, covering it with wallpaper or lighting it up to achieve an effect, the so-called fifth wall is bound to escape from anonymity and receive the same attention that has been devoted to vertical surfaces for years.

Fragrance power

Candles and room fragrances have settled into our homes and the trend is no secret to marketing, which has even coined a term, scentscaping, to define the power of fragrances in creating emotions and sensations linked to a place or an experience. Scent, after all, is able to connect with deep emotions and remain imprinted in the memory much longer than images. Olfactory marketing will become increasingly important in the future to influence people’s purchasing decisions.



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