Summer is here and apparently we are in peak season of fairs. I am doing full reports on trends etc in the coming weeks. Milan, Copenhagen, Chicago, Frankfurt and of course also the things in Switzerland. I am here doing an overview of Milan and Copenhagen. More on things like colours will come later. So – overview. Here we go.
Two years of pandemic. Most of us are thinking about the circumstances for the design industry. Home decoration boomed, while contract furniture dropped. Have we learned anything? Are there new innovations or new behaviours? Packing for Milan and Copenhagen, I was really excited. Looking forward to see new things and meet old friends. Did it deliver??? Well, we will reason around that…
This year iSalone came back in full force. Last September we saw a special version called Supersalone, but now back on track. The fair had officially 2175 exhibitors and over 260 000 visitors. That is for the fair alone. Then we have the Fuorisalone, meaning all the events in showrooms etc.
It is obviously difficult to compare Milan with Copenhagen that had 200 exhibitions, but the event in Denmark is absolutley representing the field of design in the Scandinavian market.
iSalone gave me the hick-ups. I went to the fair on the opening day. Got on the official press bus from the city, jumped off at the fair grounds and had a coffee. Then out in the exhibition halls.
And it was all empty.
I go super scared. This fair is the first larger event in the design industry. And if the halls look this empty – does that mean that the design industry is dead?
But I was an hour early. I apparently arrived before the official doors opened.
In the afternoon, the fair was jam packed. Lines at some exhibitors and plenty of people.
The design industry showed up. Everything was back to normal. Both at Milan and Copenhagen.
Officially SuperSalone had 60 000 visitors in 2021. And in 2019 when things were more normal, the fair had 386 000 visitors. So, absolutely the fair had 120 000 fewer visitors, but still a lot of people.
The major thing I noticed at the fair in Milan was that many of the major Italian design companies were missing. They focused more on the events in the city. I didn’t see Foscarini, Cappellini, Moroso, etc, etc.
What about content?
When I look at the things launched at Milan and Copenhagen, the majority of things are about re-edition or relaunch, and colours. But there were things that stood out.
When trendhunting I look mainly for new behaviour or design solutions for our specific times. There were VERY LITTLE of that. One of the things that I liked was this office chair by Raw Edges for +Halle. This at 3 Days of Design in Copenhagen. Comfortable and something nice for an office after the pandemic. Cool work space. Nothing that imitates the home environment. Something new. Flexible.
At Eurocucina, at iSalone in Milan, I could see some new innovations. At several suppliers the kitchen went under a whole new transformation. With kitchen fans in the walls or in the induction stove you can save space. And also faucets can be pusched down. Stone could be induction stoves. All this means that the actual kitchen can be transformed and disappear.
Of course you see a trend material like white metal, but the concept of disappearing kitchens. That’s super fun and innovative.
And no electrical appliances on top… I seems like the whole kitchen will change and become something new. I like that.
But other than these two innovative solutions, the design scene is now obsessed with relaunches. There are things from every decade, every material, every look – as long as it has been produced previously.
I can’t help to wonder why this is. Obviously it is cheaper than asking a designer to do something new. But I had this conversation with another journalist and she insisted on this being very sustainable. And she could be correct. By relaunching design you show it is worth saving. You don’t have to produce a new chair, you just dust it off. No more consumerism.
It could be a look – or a sustainable solution.
Above from Tacchini in Milan.
Zanotta in Milan.
Getama in Copenhagen.
Gubi in Copenhagen
Lyfa in Copenhagen
Magnus Olesen in Copenhagen.
I can obviously continue for a while on this theme.
So, a bit of shortage on new things. What to do instead? You colour it up.
Mixed pictures from Milan and Copenhagen. Instead of launching new things – make it orange or yellow. Or both. I am of course exagurating a bit. And this could also be a bit sustainable. Don’t buy new thing. Colour it instead.
But design weeks like these are about meeting people. Finally.
Speaking of mirrors… Apparently a huge trend when it comes to installations. Both in Milan and in Copenhagen. Why mirrors? No idea, but perhaps it is something that drives pictures on Instagram? Is social media still important? Obviously. Or is it a sign of how vain we have become in this design industry??
Last note for this piece…
Two of the most important design weeks in Europe. Milan and Copenhagen. Lots of people and lots of energy. Basically back on numbers as before the pandemic. That means that there is an interest in design. It is still appealing.
Content wise it is a bit slow. I would have liked to see more innovation. New solutions. I liked how kitchen change and some (very few) designs solved our lives after the pandemic. But 99% of everything in Milan and Copenhagen was about relaunches and colours. Perhaps as lack of ideas?
For those of you liking re-editions. Enjoy it. We have reached peak now. Next year we will complain about too many relaunches. Simply because everyone is doing that. Do you remember a few years back when everyone included pictures of craftspeople and hands doing things?? Not so any longer. This too will pass at some point.
Sustainability is taking a step back. I will continue this idea later. But by sending signals that you don’t have to buy new things but rather save the old easy chair you had before, or go vintage hunting – you don’t participate in consumerism.
I think it is funny and interesting that the most talked about project and installation at 3 Days of Design was the house Fritz Hansen did. Noone looked at the furniture. Everyone had drinks and looked at the building – not the chairs…
More reports from these fairs to come.