April is also the month of Milan Design Week: one of the world’s largest trade shows for furniture and design, which attracts thousands of people to my home town.
I try to go every year to stay up to date with the latest trends and products, and of course, it’s a lot of fun as well!
During this period Milan is bursting with energy, with events going on in the trade-show pavilions and all around the city, at the Fuori Salone (literally Outside the Trade-show pavilion). Here you stroll from one furniture shop to the other, visit pop-up exhibits, and see incredible art installations; all this whilst sipping a Spritz and snacking on parmesan cheese, or on other delicacies kindly offered by the hosts.
This year it was the year of Eurocucina, the section dedicated to kitchens and their newest trends. I started my visit at Comprex (one of my kitchen suppliers) and was welcomed with a strong espresso and some cannoncini (an Italian pastry that I guess all Italians living abroad miss) – very much needed after my early-morning flight from Brussels!
Here are a few of the highlights from my visit:
Big Kitchen Slates
Comprex, one of my kitchen suppliers, had displayed a “monolith” kitchen with doors, countertop and splashback all in the same material – Neolith (see below) – the cooking hobs and sink were also integrated, contributing to a smart, elegant design.
Drawers and accessories beautifully finished in Corian added to this sleek style.
Neolith and Lapitec were the two materials that were displayed with the kitchens. They are both sintered stones, meaning that the powders of stones are compacted to form a solid mass using very high heat. The atoms in the materials diffuse across the boundaries of the particles, fusing them together and creating one solid piece.
These materials are light but resistant to bending, available in large sizes, and resistant to high temperatures, UV rays and scratching. They are also easy to clean, with absorption close to zero, and are 100% natural and recyclable.
Instead of a regular skirting board, the Comprex “Rialto”- like Venice’s bridge – has feet that make the kitchen float and look more like living-room furniture.
This is a trend we see more and more, with the kitchen extending into the living room and blending in with sleek furniture.
This is a trend that has been going on for a while but has taken a whole new turn, with small greenhouses forming part of the kitchen. They keep the plants at the right temperature and provide the appropriate light – you can have your fresh veg within arm’s reach!
New Classic in the Bathroom
I went to visit Archeda, another of my favourite suppliers for bathroom furniture. This year they had displayed several different kinds of vanities, ranging from a new classic to one integrating cement tiles within the vanity itself.
My favourite classics were also there – this time presented with interesting combinations of materials.
Lamps as the Feature Elements
Next year is Euroluce, the section dedicated to lighting. However, lights always play a key role in creating the atmosphere of an interior. Here are some examples I liked.
Just in time for dessert I visited Bora, an Austrian company who have created a cooktop extractor integrated in an induction top. They are leaders in the market, with cutting-edge technology and design.
A client of mine has introduced me to this and so I was intrigued to understand how it worked and to see it in action.
I arrived during a cooking session, which explained how the extractor sucks away the smells before they can diffuse into the room. To demonstrate, some chefs were cooking an Austrian dessert with butter, eggs and other yummy ingredients. The air was clean and my stomach was happily full, so I fell in love with Bora!