Nina Tolstrup's Re-Imagined chairs
Nina Tolstrup's Re-Imagined chairs

What to expect from The Milan Furniture Fair

Jean Nouvel's trashes the office, Marc Jacobs endorses up-cycling and Tom Dixon disrupts, in Milan, 9-14 of April

It’s April, which means that the design fraternity is about to descend upon Milan in northern Italy from the 9th until the 14th this month for the 52nd Salone Internazionale del Mobile, known to its English-speaking visitors as the Milan Furniture Fair. Being the world’s biggest design trade show, this is the place to spot the next best thing in furniture and lighting. Product launches abound throughout the city, from the main fair’s attractions in (the Salone Internazionale del Mobile) to Ventura Lambrate, the city’s former industrial quarter, where experimental work will be on show.

This year’s theme is Interiors of Tomorrow, and the great French architect Jean Nouvel has been given the task of imaging better living spaces and workplaces for us all. His display, entitled Project: Office for Living, is bound to be one of the main draws. He’s got 1600sqm to play with in the International Workspace Exhibition, Salone Ufficio, and he has set about tearing apart the quotidian work cubicle to make it anew. “In 30 or 40 years' time we will be stunned to see just how unlivable most of today's offices really were: grotesque clones, standardisation, totalitarianism, never even the merest hint of being pleasurable to inhabit,” says Nouvel.

 
 

From  Jean Nouvel's Project: Office for Living
From Jean Nouvel's Project: Office for Living

Other important destinations this year are Euroluce, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, and SaloneSatellite, where around 700 young designers and design students have the chance to trumpet their talent. Some product launches to look forward to include the offerings from London furniture showroom 19 Greek Street. Their resident designer Nina Tolstrup has teamed up with Marc by Marc Jacobs to create Re-Imagined. Tolstrup celebrates the values of craft, up-cycling and sustainability, by buying up old London office chairs, stripping them down and remaking them in a wild new array of colours and designs. Superstudio Piu’s theme this year is ‘Global Design’ which has allowed the venue to bring together an eclectic group of brands including up-and-coming Turks, Demirden Design.

Age-old but and luxurious crystal brand Baccarat has new pieces on show from some of the hottest names in design, from Philippe Starck, Arik Levy and Philippe Nigro, to Jaime Hayon, the Campana Brothers, Jean-Marc Gady and Louise Campbell.

We may think of Designersblock as a London affair, but like all healthy businesses these days, it travels well. Its Milan selection includes traditional lace-inspired cushions by Jorunn Hustoft, and Illuminated Corolla vase – handmade from recycled glass by Sabatina Leccia.

 
 

Illuminated Corolla by Sabatina Leccia
Illuminated Corolla by Sabatina Leccia

After the success of MOST last year, Tom Dixon is at it again. He’s taken over much of the Museum of Science and Technology, giving his exhibitors the theme of "disrupting design" to work with. Participants include the Dutch outfit Studio Job.

As usual, there’s too much to absorb in a mere week, but the really interesting stuff may have a longevity, perhaps one day becoming design classics. To find out more, go here. For more insight into what does and doesn't make iconic design, consider our Design Classics collection, and for greater insight into the intersection of sedentary working environments and design, take a look at our Taxonomy of Office Chairs.