MILAN — After two pandemic-disrupted years, the 60th edition of the Salone del Mobile furniture and design trade show closed Sunday on an upbeat note.
The weeklong trade show drew 262,608 attendees at the Rho-Fiera fairgrounds, 61 percent of them hailing from abroad, to discover the latest collections by 2,175 exhibitors. The attendance tally compares with more than 386,000 visitors in 2019.
The overall sentiment was positive as highlighted by Claudio Feltrin, president of industry association FederlegnoArredo, who praised the fair’s better-than-expected outcome. The executive touted design companies’ resilience and investment prowess and sounded optimistic about prospects despite the current geopolitical instability and supply chain challenges.
“The sector is witnessing a transformation process within society, spurred by the pandemic, that had people rediscover the value of their houses… it’s not a volatile trend, it’s a structural change,” he said.
While the city center was animated with cocktail receptions, glamorous parties as part of Milan Design Week’s roster of side events, reportedly attracting 400,000 visitors in town, most of the business action happened at the fair.
Reflecting the brisk activity, in 2021 sales of high-end design furnishings reached 40 billion euros, up 14 percent versus 2020 and 7 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels.
According to an Altagamma and Bain & Co. market monitor, the sector is poised to reach 60 billion euros in revenues in 2026 leveraging the second wave of urbanization in China and a growing trend for the wealthiest in the U.S. to move out of cities, a phenomenon described as “wealth ruralization.
As suggested by luxury goods executives, homes are becoming tools of self-expression and customers are looking for functional and hybrid spaces serving different purposes, from shelter to hospitality and work.
Claudia D’Arpizio, senior partner and global head of fashion and luxury at Bain & Co., said after a decade-long underperformance compared to other luxury sectors, the category is booming in light of customers’ renewed interest in their homes.
“In this context, the sector’s companies are required to strategically retool, evolving from manufacturers into retailers to tap into evolving consumption trends, embedding rental options and circularity,” D’Arpizio explained.
There is a growing appetite for branded products, too, which could give way to a renewed interest for luxury brands’ home and furniture divisions, as well as branded residential complexes.
Here, WWD rounds up some of the latest home and furniture collections by fashion luxury brands seen at the fairgrounds.
Bulking up its home furnishings offerings, Diesel Living returned to the trade show with a trippy-themed collection, as Andrea Rosso, creative director of the OTB brand’s design division, put it.
“We observed that customers are looking for high quality in their private homes, in the lighting and arrangement choices, for example, and in the renewed attention to energy consumption and to sustainability,” Rosso said. “Home décor choices are geared toward well-being and wellness,” he added.
The Diesel executive noted that the experience with the branded residential complex in Miami’s Wynwood district provided additional insight and in light of the upcoming Diesel apartments to bow in Las Vegas’ Arts District, the home division is expected to grow further.
Diesel Living generates 60 to 70 percent of its business in Europe and the remainder in North America. He forecast revenues will increase 20 percent in 2022 compared to the year prior.
Relying on its long-standing partnerships with Lodes for lamps; Moroso for furniture; Scavolini for kitchens; Iris Ceramica for tiles; Berti for flooring; Seletti for tableware; luxury home textile producer Mirabello Carrara, and the recently added Wall&Decò for wallpapers, the brand has expanded its universe.
The 2022 collection was all about psychedelia and included Cloudscape wallpapers and sofas, the latter developed with Moroso using recycled polyester velvet and recycled cotton, as well as a special edition sofa crafted from the same distressed denim with a furry effect that appeared on Diesel’s fall 2022 runway.
A punkish aesthetic resonated in the new lamps, such as Rod with a stem in the shape of a construction tool and Spring, its structure inspired by safety pins. Nodding to the “social house” concept, which will be core to the Las Vegas condo development, the Get Together kitchen developed with Scavolini embeds Diesel’s industrial details, while the latest addition to the tiles collection is Pluriball, a ceramic rendition of the namesake material. Tableware with Seletti had dining sets acid-washed to achieve cosmic patterns.
At Roberto Cavalli, the “Queen of Cavalli Chair” design conceived by the brand’s creative consultant Fausto Puglisi took the spotlight. A limited-edition item available in 20 pieces, the chair was defined by a neoclassical frame in carved wood and with a black matte finish, which was jazzed up with upholstery splashed with key prints of the brand’s recent fashion collections. These included the label’s signature animal patterns, here rendered in vibrant hues such as yellow, purple, emerald green and fire red. Behind the backrest, each chair carried a metal plaque engraved with the name of the capsule collection and a serial number.
In addition to this exclusive design, which was also showcased at the brand’s flagship store in Via Montenapoleone, the Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors collections included new furniture such as the Assal leather sofa with animal printed cushions in matching neutral color as well as the Turkana and Ragali side tables made in the new gray Versilys marble.
Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors is licensed to Oniro Group since 2011, but the fashion house also has licenses for tiles, wallpaper, linens and tableware with Gruppo Cerdisa Ricchetti, Industrie Emiliana Parati, Mirabello Carrara and Arnolfo di Cambio – Compagnia Italiana del Cristallo, respectively. New products under these categories also featured pop animalier prints and opulent Baroque patterns.
Philipp Plein banked on Salone del Mobile to unveil its first home and furniture collection developed under license with Eichholtz.
As part of the brand’s most recent investments across fields including hospitality and Web3, it comes as no surprise that the designer and entrepreneur has tapped into the burgeoning and lucrative branded furniture market, offering its signature bold aesthetics and flamboyant style, with 3,800 euro dining chairs upholstered in colorful velvet and 12,000 euro dining tables with an integrated golden palm tree.
“It’s the result of work done with a high-quality partner,” said Carmine Rotondaro, adviser to the Philipp Plein Group. “We have talked with several players over the past years before finding the right partner, but everybody highlighted how the market was booming in terms of sales and CRM opportunities.”
Eichholtz, a business-to-business operator, found in Plein the ideal consumer-facing partner, Rotondaro said. On the other hand, the businessman sees the category as spurring “brand awareness and customers’ recruitment.”
“This is a very important lever to consolidate the brand and a touchstone signaling Plein’s appeal and value,” he said.
The 140-piece collection, which includes velvet sofas punctuated with golden studs, handblown glass lighting and logoed mirrors embedded with NFTs, is complemented by wallpapers developed under license with Italy-based specialist Zambaiti Parati.
The lineup caters to high-spending clients with bold tastes and Rotondaro outlined a strategy that sees the home division tapping into different geographies with the U.S. accounting for 10 percent of the business, Russian speaking countries for 15 to 17 percent, the Germany, Austria and Switzerland, or DACH, area for 15 percent and the rest of the world, especially the Far East, for 45 percent.
“Plein’s creativity has always trickled down to home and furniture. His ‘places,’ be it his houses, shops or showrooms, have always boasted a distinctive look,” Rotondaro said.
Asked about unveiling furniture in the metaverse where the brand has been making bullish investments, Rotondaro said: “We’re not there yet, nor the [metaverse] experience is ripe enough for this…but never say never.”
Etro’s love of colorful prints was toned down a bit for the brand’s home collection, which had exotic undertones and a vintage charm. The palette veered more toward neutral shades lit up with gold and sage green details, while carvalho wood, canaletto walnut wood enriched with golden details, marble, bronze and brass were employed as key materials.
This season Etro introduced an outdoor collection of seats with an iron structure made to look like bamboo canes. The natural theme ran throughout the collection, as the feet of the Delfi bed with the brass and button-tufted frame were also shaped like bamboo canes.
Etro’s paisley signature pattern lent its shape to the backrest and seat of the Shiraz chair and the Berenice chaise longue showed a light structure in a bronzed finish with cast brass decorative rings.
The Mekong sofa combined exotic nuances with a 1950s vintage-inspired design, with its curved lines reminiscent of the Asian trans-boundary river.
With its home division launched only two years ago in 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, Elie Saab Maison is gaining momentum and establishing itself in a new category.
In partnership with Swiss home design company Corporate Brand Maison, Elie Saab launched its 2022 collection during Milan Design Week in three different venues, each one with a distinct concept: the “Seduction of Design” showcased at the brand’s showroom in Via Sant’Andrea, the “Theater of Mirrors” at the trade show center and “Le Privè” in Via Martini.
Chief executive officer Elie Saab Jr. believes that the home collection gives the brand the opportunity to “go beyond the fashion label” and “complete the identity of the brand.” The license with CB Maison was signed in 2019, while the collection was launched during the lockdown in 2020. Despite the adversity caused by the pandemic, the brand registered steady growth.
“2021 was a great year for Elie Saab and during the first six months of 2022 we doubled the business. We noticed that because of the pandemic, our clients really invested in their homes, many changed houses for a bigger one so they needed renovation and restyling,” stated Massimiliano Ferrari, CEO of corporate brand Maison.
During Salone del Mobile, the fashion company also presented for the first time “Edhen,” its outdoor furniture, which caters to changing lifestyles and the desire to spend more time outdoors. Ferrari noted that “many of our clients bought villas or larger homes with gardens and patios during these two years of pandemic, so we noticed that they wanted to have outdoor furniture that could be stylish, elegant and cool.”
As working from home became more widespread during the pandemic, Ferraris said “customers are choosing the room in the house with the best view as their office. This is why this year, we decided to launch furniture for the office that can be personified and extendable.”
The collection is produced in Italy’s Brianza area — a key furniture hub in the country — and the company is evolving its sourcing of materials and the use of automatic systems in its lighting that will drastically reduce energy consumption.
Moreover, the brand has ventured into real estate with the completion of residential properties in Dubai (April 2019), Cairo (November 2021), London (December 2021) and Vietnam (June 2022) and will be investing in hospitality projects within the next year.
At the Salone del Mobile trade show, Missoni launched its new tableware collection, in line with the trend of luxury houses increasingly banking on the category. The range was displayed at the booth of Arnolfo di Cambio – Compagnia Italiana del Cristallo, the historic Italian company that has specialized in tableware since 1963, now Missoni’s new licensee. Crafted from materials such as fine bone china, blown glass and silver stainless steel, the collection encompassed teacups, mugs, dinner sets, glasses, vases and knick-knacks, all decorated in the brand’s signature multicolored patterns, including stripes and the zigzag motif. Cutlery was also embellished, with the graphics engraved on handles.
Along with tableware, Missoni introduced the “Gifting Capsule” range, also designed by Alberto Caliri, the new creative director of the division supervised by Rosita Missoni, after Filippo Grazioli took over the creative helm of the brand’s fashion lines earlier this year.
The limited-edition capsule collection included disparate items that ranged from soft armchairs and poufs to terry bathrobes and bags, as well as patchwork fabric coffee tables and stuffed animals. Coming in different patterns, colors and sizes, they made for unique pieces crafted from Missoni archival fabrics.
Scaled up to giant proportions, stuffed animals were also the protagonists of the two impressive installations Missoni staged in its showroom in the artsy Brera district and in the courtyard of the Università Statale university, dubbed “Welcome back dreams” and “Mega-Verso,” respectively.
Missoni’s joyful geometric patterns additionally covered the Kartell “Eleganza” chair designed by Philippe Starck — the result of a special tie-up between the fashion house and the Italian furniture company.
For this year’s Milan Design Week, Trussardi creative directors Benjamin A. Huseby and Serhat Işık teamed with three designers to create a one-of-a-kind home capsule collection, showcased at the Palazzo Trussardi venue in Piazza della Scala as part of a cultural exchange.
For the collection, Mark Grattan created a coffee table, an upholstered bench, a couch and a mirror using materials such as velvet and stainless steel. The designer is known for his unconventional and one-of-a-kind pieces and his home in Mexico City has become a mecca for interior designers. He added a European and Milanese flair to the collection, thanks to the inclusion of neutral tones and the predominance of gray. “Infiltrating the European market and expanding my reach makes me feel so grateful,” he said.
The chair created by the Brazilian and Milanese-based sculptor Kiri-Una Brito Meumann explores the artist’s cultural heritage and the use of materials coming from her native country, including natural rubber and cream silicone aged over several years. “The inspiration came whilst I was staying in Una, a small town in Bahia, Brazil last December. I spent most of the days crowded around the table full of food and family members and I realized that the most used chair is the dining chair,” explained the designer.
With his creation “Eclipse,” a mirror that resembles the “on/off” button on many devices, Prem Sahib wondered if the object reflects or conceals? “Does it appear ‘on’ or ‘off’? Is it looking back?” he asked.
This provocative and metaphorical creation was created using obsidian, a black volcanic glass the artist discovered “for the first time at the archeological excavation in Pompei.”