Salone del Mobile, the annual Italian furniture and furnishings expo in Milan, Italy, is one of the most important and vibrant design spectacles our industry observes each year. This year–2018–marked the 57th year of the event and drew an attendance of nearly 435,000 from all over the world.
IDSA was thrilled to bring you the sights and sounds of Salone del Mobile through an Instagram Takeover from the talented eyes of Qin Li, IDSA, Chair-Elect and VP of Design at fuseproject. Over the course of two days, Li shared images straight from the furniture-filled floors and exhibition halls of Salone del Mobile. IDSA sat down for a quick interview with Li to hear her reaction and insights from the show.
IDSA: The show looked amazing! What major trends did you spot?
Li: I observed two key trends. One is the use of sustainable materials. Things like vegan design, algae materials and coconut fiber caught my attention, though they weren’t a big part of the show. The second trend was technology blended with lifestyle … the Google [exhibit] and Sony’s Hidden Sense products are an excellent example of this. They possess a lifestyle CMF (color, material, finish) and experience-focused technology.
Where did you find points of inspiration during your time in Milan?
For me, inspiration is in seeing the design details close up. Looking at the materials they used and how people design and execute. Take Louis Vuitton for example; they are truly the expert on using leather, the structure, stitches, edge painting, seams, colors and finishes. Nendo’s exhibit is always a highlight of the show. They also presented aspects of their design process, which was very inspiring to see how they execute the simple designs with a lot of iterations.
What did you see that surprised you the most?
A lot of designers. Lines were everywhere, even more than last year. Also, the addition of technology in the show from brands like Sony, Google, Panasonic and others.
Last question. Why should US industrial designers be interested in Salone del Mobile?
You can see the best design around the world in one week. It’s an educational vacation … and there is great food in Milan! The things you see there will help improve your design skills–attention to details, storytelling through exhibit experience, design for brand extension, the use of material, CMF and so much more. It’s also an excellent opportunity to network and meet other designers around the world.
Thanks so much, Qin! Now, on to the pictures– let’s take a look at what you saw.
Louis Vuitton’s exhibit
Alternative material containers are made by locally grown algae (left), coconut fiber (middle) and a stool made with vegan materials (right).
Moooi - A Life Extraordinary exhibit
You can see more images and videos from Salone del Mobile and Li’s takeover on the @IDSAdesign Instagram account.