Salone del Mobile: Milano 2016

Published on: 19-04-2016

Last week marked the 55th year of Salone del Mobile, the most significant annual design fair hosted in Milan. Check out some of the top highlights from the 2016 show.

SDM © OMA - This is Knoll
SDM © OMA - This is Knoll

With over 300,000 visitors spread across 6 days, buzzing with the likes of young creatives, established designers and the who’s who of the design community, the city transforms itself into a festival. Apart from product launches and new innovations, Milan played host to numerous design-related events including Vitra’s pop-up shop at Corso Como and Nike’s first ever exhibition “The Future of Motion”, showcasing captivating sensory experiences by MAD architects.

Here are our top 7 eye-catching highlights from the design festival this year:

SDM Cos x Sou Fujimoto
SDM Cos x Sou Fujimoto

Cos x Sou Fujimoto Light Installation

An early conversation starter at this year’s design fair was the immersive interior light installation titled “Forest of Light”. A joint collaboration by fashion brand COS and Japanese architect, Sou Fujimoto, the project was set inside a 1930s cinema space that was inspired by the minimalist forms in the brand’s latest collection. Visitors were exposed to cone-like towers of light that responded to their movements around the space. To add to the experience, the surroundings were “multiplied” with the help of mirrors, sound and smoke creating the effect of an amplified forest.

SDM © Tom Dixon + Adidas
SDM © Tom Dixon + Adidas

Tom Dixon + Adidas Launch

One, an influential English design brand, the other, a German sportswear powerhouse, a surprising combination to say the least. This latest collaboration gave us a glimpse of the marriage between Tom Dixon’s design ingenuity and Adidas’ technical performance for the start of four upcoming capsule collections of design focused luggage, footwear and garments. From signature athleticism in footwear by Adidas to transformable monochromatic inspirations in garments from Tom Dixon, showcasing the depth of refined design from both brands.

SDM © Toyota - Setsuna
SDM © Toyota – Setsuna

Toyota Setsuna Concept Vehicle

Described as “an heirloom carved in wood”, the Japanese car manufacturer, Toyota, unveiled its new conceptual ride crafted entirely of wood. With a maximum speed of 28mph, the two-seater car is designed more as a symbolic gesture rather than a functioning vehicle. Made out of 86 handmade wooden panels, the car has been designed to be built without any metal fittings. Instead, it can be fitted together with the help of traditional interlocking techniques known as ‘okuriari’ and ‘kusabi’. This makes it ideal for remote maintenance and replacement parts without having to undergo a full overhaul.

SDM Lee Broom - Salon del Automobile © Dezeen
SDM Lee Broom – Salon del Automobile © Dezeen

Lee Broom Installation

Dubbed as the ‘Salone del Automobile’, British Product and Interior Designer, Lee Broom, created the most elaborate pun transforming the inside of a delivery van into an Italian palazzo. Complete with fitted pillars, baroque ornamentation and sleek spherical lighting – called ‘Optical’ – that was designed by Broom himself. Already shown at key design hotspots, Broom drove the van from East London all the way to the show in Milan and will carry on to other key events.

SDM © OMA - This is Knoll
SDM © OMA – This is Knoll

OMA for Knoll Pavillion

Rem Koolhaas’s OMA was commissioned to design Knoll’s new pavilion this year at the Milan design week. Cited as the ‘asymmetrical composition of movable partitions’ the scheme features a combination of materials including marble walls and glass panels to showcase the newest pieces from the furniture brand. The concept boasted an architectural reference to Mies van der Rohe which focused on using both transparent and opaque surfaces along with sliding walls that helped create an open central space.

SDM SMEG - Dolce Gabanna Hand Painted Fridge © Designboom
SDM SMEG – Dolce Gabanna Hand Painted Fridge © Designboom

Hand-painted SMEG refrigerators

Retro appliance brand, SMEG, showcased a special project with the famous Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana at this year’s Salone del Mobile. The artistic collaboration featured several unique compositions of hand-painted decorations on SMEG refrigerators which were inspired by the likes of Italian culture and the Sicilan heritage.

SDM © Marni - Ballhaus
SDM © Marni – Ballhaus
SDM - Loewe © Hypebeast
SDM – Loewe © Hypebeast

Interior collections from fashion houses

This year’s design week was undoubtedly the biggest and to add to the mix were a range of interior and furniture collections from global fashion brands. First up was Marni, a brand known for embracing vibrant colours, featuring playfully bold woven PVC furniture and using the same colourful inspiration on vases, lamps and tables. The brand transformed their space into a ‘ballroom party’ celebrating the Columbian Cumbrian dance with the help of dancers in their iconic colourful skirts. The other prominent collaboration was from the Spanish heritage leather brand Loewe whose Creative Director, Jonathan Anderson, proudly presented his reinterpretation of the fashion house’s leather marquetry techniques applied over the surfaces of early 20th century British furniture.


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