Milan Design Week’s Salone del Mobile is wrapping up this weekend with another impressive field of new furniture collections gracing its exhibition halls and the international design stage for the first time.
Furniture design has been an increasing hallmark of the architectural trade beginning with the advent of the Baroque Revival style in the 1890s. Iconic pieces from Charles and Ray Eames, Mies van der Rohe, Arne Jacobsen, and Isamu Noguchi have become heavily-copied household mainstays as a result. The 60th Salone was a showcase of architects’ continued experimentation and theorizing within that tradition, featuring designs from OMA, Zaha Hadid, and several other leading international studios.
Every piece in each collection strives to be an individual work of art that carries forward the discipline using the exhibition theme of Design with Nature developed by president Maria Porro. The 2022 Salone has 2,000 exhibitors overall. Scroll down to see our selection architect-designed furnishings and other products featured in this year’s fair.
Kengo Kuma Associates for Salvatori
Description (from Kengo Kuma): Koushi is a modular furniture system made up of a series of wooden cubes. Bridging high-end design with customizable decor, Koushi is an exciting addition to Salvatori’s offerings whose concept is drawn from the way the home has evolved during the pandemic and Japanese architectural traditions of modularity and impermanence. Offering versatility and multiple interpretations, the modules can be arranged as a coffee table, bookcase, room divider and more, allowing it to adapt to any part of the home.
Inherent to the concept is the juxtaposition of materials and the role each plays. Every material is optimised and placed with consideration for how it works with the others to create a cohesive effect, despite the contrast in colours, solidity and texture. Above all, however, Koushi offers an extraordinary level of customisation. It can be likened to creating a vocabulary through the choice of materials and grammar by how they work together as a system, so that others can use this to express their own wishes and create their own furniture prose.
Zaha Hadid Architects for ILLULIAN
Description (from ZHA): The ‘Natural Field’ Collection re-interprets the journey of the Himalayan wool and silk – from raw fibre to spun thread and woven rug – a process undertaken by skilled artisans. ILLULIAN described this metamorphosis as ‘transforming a chaotic agglomerate of fibres into pure art’. ZHA designs emerge from this adaptation, manifesting as a series of patterns that emulate dense, undulating networks present in nature.
The ‘Architectural’ Collection employs multiple stretched perspectives, exploring the physicality of the weaving process – knotting, pushing, pulling, stretching – to ultimately define each composition. The designs articulate these perspectives and incorporate relief to enhance the illusion of three-dimensionality.
The resulting collections have evolved from ZHA research and practice, as well as their investigations into the materials and manufacturing process of ILLULIAN’s handmade rugs.
OMA for UniFor
Description (from OMA): The fundamental concept of PRINCIPLES is to provide furnishings that can be used by anyone, at any time, to best support the flow of operations and communications required by the contemporary workplace. The collection is composed of more than one hundred elements – in the sizes S, M, L, and XL and organized into different categories – which can be configured in limitless ways for working in groups or independently.
Exploration of technology and materiality is integral to the development of the collection. Fabric for high-tech sportswear, extra-thick color core laminates in carefully selected tones, and specially designed microperforated sheet metals for acoustic performing surface have been deployed to create the highly functional furniture.
The pieces have been reengineered and optimized into a highly modular and customizable collection. The resulting collection combines OMA’s design ideas with the precise application of UniFor’s technical and manufacturing expertise.
Studio Libeskind for Colombini Group
Description (from Libeskind): LIBESKIND022 pursues and captures the poetry and strength of light in architecture, giving rise to three-dimensional surfaces, where light and shadow play on ephemeral shapes, responding to changing conditions and to the textured appeal of each piece. Libeskind drew his inspiration from the historical uses of cabinet-making to protect precious objects.
The design is minimal and concurrently complex: it changes constantly depending on how the light strikes it, creating a dynamic surface that integrates contemporary life.
UNStudio for LaCividina and DeltaLigh
Description (from UNStudio): Soliscape influences the productivity and wellbeing of users by allowing more intuitive control of their spaces in a scenario-based development. The system enables the user to adapt the lighting and surrounding factors in order to optimise working conditions.
Node+, designed in collaboration with LaCividina and developed with UNSx, UNStudio’s in-house multidisciplinary team, is a structured range of padded pieces, backrests, dividers and accessories that can be used to design micro-architectural systems that encourages relaxation, work, privacy and socialising. Padded pieces in a range of shapes and sizes form the cornerstone of the collection. They can be put together in endless arrangements that satisfy all of the needs of living rooms and public spaces.
Snøhetta for Fornace Brioni and Studio Plastique
Description (from Snøhetta) During Milan Design Week this year we are physically launching a project that exemplifies this collaborative spirit, where Snøhetta together with Fornace Brioni and Studio Plastique have explored what it takes to make waste valuable through our Forite project. Forite Tile 01 and 02 signal a clear push towards a new form of aesthetic driven by resources and honesty in material use. The project aims to prove feasibility and create new value for an abundant yet largely unused group of materials: glass from electronic waste.
In an industry that demands transparency and consistency as a standard, Forite embraces the variance and complexity embedded in waste materials. To us, Forite is just the beginning and an example for us and others to learn from. The potential in materials that are currently not used efficiently due to restrictions, regulations, old habits, and systems, or lack of political incentives is enormous.