Future Trippin with Heritage53
The trends we spotted at the Salone del Mobile. Milano 2022
Team Heritage53 visited Milan last week for the buzziest week in the international furniture and design calendar. After a hiatus of 2 years (other than the shortened version last year renamed ‘Supersalone”), this year’s edition of Salone del Mobile. Milano which coincidentally celebrated its 60th Anniversary was a fantastical delight showcasing innovation, creativity and new talent from across the globe with sustainability at the centre of all proceedings.
With our gleaming white trainers and Celine boots, we trapesed around the exhibition halls and the ancient cobbled streets of the city like excited teenagers let out in a gelato-fuelled kaleidoscopic wonderland of joy. Our mission was to meet with our existing brands, make new friends and uncover future trends to share with you.
Here is a tiny taste of what we found hot in a week that spun us around in a magical ecstasy of unbelievable interior inspiration as well as a sneak-peek into a vision of the future whilst holding the past sacred and revered.
Connection and conversation - make it modular
The need for human connection in a dizzying world of technology and years spent in isolation was apparent with many brands rejoicing in indoor and outdoor modular pieces arranged for actual conversation and social gatherings.
One of our favourite companies to work with is Essential Home which turn historical and cinematographic 1930s and mid-century references into modern designs. Unsurprisingly, our Ibiza soul was called to the Xenon modular sofa as the piece is named after the infamous 70s nightclub in Times Square. We think we would have fitted in perfectly with the glamorous guest list that included clients such as Andy Warhol, Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, and Elton John. This is definitely the sofa for the after-party.
Our next brand needs no introduction; Edras’ approach to decor may be a symphony of fantasy and fun but always has a story behind it too. We loved the Boa sofa by the Campana brothers, unlike anything you have seen before, it appears like a woven nest and implores you to explore the different ways in which to sit or lie in it—consisting of 120 meters of a tube filled with flexible and breathable polyurethane with a touch of goose feather it is covered in an almost iridescent velvet daring you to sink deeper and deeper.
Melting into the embrace of the iconic On The Rocks sofa by collaborator, Francesco Binfaré we loved the practicality of the moveable headrest that helps you pivot your focus and direction. Binfaré is also the man behind the Pack sofa, which makes you look twice due to the shape of a polar bear that appears to be lying on its back looking up at the sky. Both pieces have meaning and encourage you to be in the present moment, appreciating what is in front of you before it is gone.
Indeed, one of the most defining characteristics of a Blakstad design can be recognised by its desire to preserve the cultural significance of the island and its environment.
Living in colour – the great outdoors reinvented.
Continuing our love of all things al fresco and our passion for a riot of unexpected colours, we fell totally head over heels for Ames. Their designs are a collaboration between modern designers and traditional Columbian artisanal techniques and seek to always honour the country and the people.
We also came across the Komodo 5 modular outdoors sofa in this soft cheeky pink from the sunshine-inspired Italian brand, Nardi. Inspired by the branches of a tree, it’s the divine details that make this piece so exquisite.
Our friends at Vondom, in particular the charismatic and hugely energetic Miguel, took us around an exhibition displaying radical designer Karim Rasheeds’ pieces for Vondom over the past 20 years, titled Casa Karim.
We were also introduced to a new direction via the Pixel outdoor modular sofa range that comes in an exciting array of colours and textures, designed by Ramón Esteve for Vondom, it is inspired by the small elements of colour that make up an image, looking to connect the piece with the numerous possible outcomes that are generated as a result of how it is arranged. Our love of mixing things up in totally unexpected ways makes this collection so right for Heritage53.
Sustainability and the future way of living
No matter who we spoke to we learnt that sustainability and becoming more transparent were high on everyone’s agenda with an urgent need for furniture production and distribution solutions to become more ethical and ecological. One of the most spectacular and thought-provoking exhibitions we encountered was the 1,400 sqm installation curated by architect Mario Cucinella called, Design With Nature which showcased an ecosystem and the future of home living. The installation explored three themes: ecological transition, the home as the prime urban element and the city as a mine and highlighted topics such as the circular economy and reuse, exploring the potential of cities as ‘reserves’ of the future where raw materials are used in construction could be sourced.
Experimentation and innovation through materials and in particular surfaces gave us all a lot of wow moments. From oxidised floor surfaces to incredible glass structures, it seems interiors are getting more daring. We couldn’t get over the glass table and stools in different colours that held our gaze from visionary designers Santambrogiomilano.
The glass is 100% recyclable and made in Italy and durable enough to live in. Check out their glass house.
Heritage meets A.I.
Back to the future with innovation legends Kartell. Founded in 1949 by Anna Castelli Ferrieri, one of the first women to graduate from the Milan Polytechnic Institute with a degree in architecture in 1943 and her husband, Guilio Castelli a chemical engineer, the original vision was simple; ‘producing objects with innovative characteristics that could apply new manufacturing technologies, make economical use of materials and employ efficient processes’. In 1988 Kartell was revised under the new management of their son-in-law Claudio Luti Kartell Claudio. Whilst staying loyal to the original ethos he determined to bring in pioneering collaborations. Since then partnerships with the world’s best designers such as Philippe Starck, Ferrucio Laviani, Patricia Urquiola, Piero Lissoni and Ron Arad have driven the extensive catalogue and given Kartell that K-Factor. In 2019 Kartell broke a new frontier with their A.I. Chair designed by Philippe Starck using software developed by Autodesk via a process he described as “a lot like having a conversation”.
Available in a kaleidoscope of colours we particularly love the bronze and the orange – though we aren’t sure we will be taking ours to the ocean any time soon.
Textiles and rugs
Our hearts resonate with stories of brands that are deep into family heritage like ourselves and by some act of serendipity, we literally stumbled upon the magical world of Anna Maria Alois whose non-stop stream of breathtaking creativity has no limits and has swathed the chic interiors of many a luxury hotel and restaurant. Humble in nature her family have been involved in the art of weaving since 1885 and now she is very much at the helm of designing the most sublime colour and print combinations as well as ceramics featuring nature-inspired shapes.
We also loved and can’t wait to work with Nanimarquina who have been creating rugs that sing with individuality forming the soul of a space, holding everything together in a beautiful embrace. Honouring timeless ancient traditions by highly skilled artisans, their latest collection titled Re-Rug are exquisite rugs created from the leftover wool from previous pieces.
We visited them on their stand in Milan and the display of the leftover wool was startlingly beautiful and was well as a powerful reminder of how much waste we accumulate – the happy ending here was that it all gets reused. We can’t wait to unveil more of their collection hand-picked by us for you on our website.
The Exhibitions that blew our minds
As well as the miles of square space within the stands, Milan was pulsating with a plethora of exhibitions in and around the city and in particular the pretty cobbled streets of the Brera district.
By far the biggest street queue belonged to the Philippe Starck interpretation of The Dior Louis XVI Medallion chair and its magic oval, which is one of the symbols of the House of Dior. We were ushered in small groups into a near-dark room which could have been a ballroom it was so vast in the sumptuous 18th Century Palazzo Citterio and witnessed an immersive installation with a light display and a musical composition created by Soundwalk Collective much like a theatre experience that gave us all goosebumps.
British icon Tom Dixon’s show ‘Twenty’ chronicles his life’s work around materiality, sustainability, and design. Displayed in a neoclassical mansion that is also home to Sotheby’s offices and showroom offered a backdrop that let the pieces literally shine through.
Our renegade spirit rose in solidarity with the radical exhibition at the Triennale di Milano showcasing the work of the Memphis Group which was set up by Ettore Sottsass in 1981 along with other designers and architects who stood against the status quo, declaring that they should be “radical, funny and outrageous”. The Memphis Group, so-called not because they came from Tennessee but rather Milan, was named after a Bob Dylan song that happened to be on repeat during their first meeting together. Influenced by popular culture, pop art and art deco meant for a particular kind of kitsch characterised by squiggles, laminate and terrazzo surfaces and bright colours. Instead of straight legs, triangles and circles were preferred. Such was the impact and statement that the great late Karl Lagerfeld painted his Monaco apartment grey as a backdrop for his Memphis collection. In essence, Ettore Sottsass believed that good design should have a soul and we couldn’t agree more.