Highlights from Salone del Mobile.Milano 2024

For the 62nd time, Salone del Mobile.Milano organized the world’s largest furniture fair at Rho Fiera in Milan.

An outdoor sofa from Fast. Photo by Chris Force

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May 8, 2024

For the 62nd time, Salone del Mobile.Milano held the world’s largest furniture fair at Rho Fiera, a 4.3 million-square-foot convention center. Since 2012 I’ve been getting lost in the fair’s long outdoor corridors, (who can ever tell which way is east or west?) slowly learning the intricacies of its layout and nomenclature, halls, pavilions, rows, isles, booths.

In its most basic form, the fair is a place to hawk the world’s most important furniture—with most of the wares coming from Italy and Europe—and ignite the industry’s economic engine. In its most advanced and truest form, the fair is the place to speak on design. Here, the major players influencing our everyday built environments come together to collectively share “how it should be done.”

This open-ended question has drawn the world’s most curious and inventive minds, spilling out into Milan Design Week’s programming, exhibitions, cocktail parties, home tours, bar nights, and private dinners where, at the root of each event, is a designer suggesting, “Hey, this is how you might want to live.”

With the draws of the city becoming more compelling, it’s harder to allot more than one full day to visit the fair itself. Despite staying nearly until the fair’s closing time (a first for me) I still felt rushed—there’s just too much to see, and the crowds make quick exploration nearly impossible. However, the fair remains the authoritative voice and main campus of Milan’s design education. If your goal is to swallow a taste of current design trends, it’s a must.

Well over 5,000 journalists covered this year’s fair, focusing mainly on trends, with recaps on new products and styles. While I’ve taken the same approach previously, this year, I’ve decided to share the most important things I observed: product, trend, or otherwise.

Perron Pillo Sofa for Knoll

Willo Perron is known as a French-Canadian creative director and designer. I think of him as the guy Ye brought home to edit his closet, so when I spoke with him at Knoll’s exhibition it was the first thing I asked him about. “When I first met Kanye, it was on a trip to Japan while he was shooting the ‘Stronger’ music video. When we got back, I went to Kanye’s house, and he told me to stake out everything I didn’t like. I was like, ‘Are you sure? Because you’re not going to like this,’” Willo told me. We chatted through the many high-profile musicians he’s worked with, including designing a sofa for Travis Scott that, after some iterations, become the Pillo Sofa for Knoll. The brand told me the sofa was designed to be “sat in, not on,” and they were right. It’s very comfortable, I recommend it.

Cosmic Collection by Faye Toogood for Tacchini

I like everything Faye Toogood does. When I learned she would be doing a collection with Tacchini, a brand I also adore, I was about as excited as you can get over new furniture.

The exhibition did not disappoint. The pieces feature names inspired by the cosmos, with standout pieces like the puffy Solar sofa and the Stellar padded mirror. Faye’s work masterfully remains playful without being foolish, and sophisticated without the pretension.

Origata Bench & Console by Nao Tamura for Porro

When I first started learning about Italian design, I overlooked Porro. Their design is subtle, functional, and easy to skip in favor of something louder. As I’ve followed their work more closely over the years, I’ve realized how precise and beautiful everything they make is. It’s elegant, but not stuffy.

The designer Nao Tamura, who first met Porro while exhibiting at Salone Satellite in 2010, debuted the Origata Bench and Console. “It was inspired by the method of kimono making. Kimonos are known for their distinctive ‘T’ shape. They’re usually made from a roll of fabric, cut in straight lines, and sewn together, it results in very little to no waste of material,” she said. Nao applied the same strategy to produce this perfect small bench.

Formafantasma’s Exhibition Designs

Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin have a superior facial hair game going. They’re also the brilliant designers behind Formafantasma, who created a clever conversation pit for a series of design talks called “Drafting Future.” This year, a circular conversation pit made stumbling upon a talk, or perhaps sitting down for a few casual minutes, a thing of ease. The area ran adjacent to the Corraini Mobile Bookshop, which also offered a nice break to shop and flip through a well-curated group of design books. It was all very well-conceived and executed.

Highlights from Salone del.Mobile 2024

Karimoku Case’s flawless craftsmanship is also enjoyable to see in person. The brand emphasizes craftsmanship, sustainability, and innovation in its designs with a goal of “making people happy.” The exhibition was curated by Norm Architects, the brand’s design director, and the architect Keiji Ashizawa.

Spanish design company Nanimarquina specializes in high-quality, contemporary rugs. Founded in 1987 by Nani Marquina, they’ve produced works with Jaime Hayón, Inga Sempé, Ron Arad, the famous Spanish sculptor Eduardo Chillida (show here) and many others. Their exhibit felt like walking into a carefully curated gallery.

The Swedish brand Blå Station has been making interesting work, a mix of statement pieces, and functional furniture. They debuted an iteration of their BOB sofa that allows it to twist and turn as needed. The Oppo chair (slang for “buddy”) sits like a cartoon character just waiting to swivel. Fun. (See our previous interest in the anthropomorphic Max Armchair.)

Sancal created their exhibition with an “UnRoom” concept—the space was entirely raw. Their Remnant armchair looked fantastic in velvet as did the new variant of the Bold table by Studiopepe. Also updating a classic was a variation of the Steeve sofa, the Steeve Lou by Jean-Marie Massaud for Arper.

Sabine Marcelis created the Dew coffee table, an extension from her previously created Dew dining table for Arco (see our previous inclusion of Arco’s organic Close Plus chair.) The handmade Sonora Collection was a clear stand out from Patricia Urquiola for CC-Tapis.

Two unexpected things I enjoyed this year, David Franklin’s ceramic fish sculpture which was produced as part of Kohler’s artists residency program in Wisconsin, and a delicious pretzel baked by Chef Sophia Roe.

The DS-888 Collina sofa from de Sede has a clever patented moveable backrest and can be used indoors or outdoors. The successful Pi collection from Ethnicraft was extended to include the Pi dining chair. Dedon presented a variation on its iconic Kida chair, the Kida lounge chair, designed by Stephen Burks.

The Emerging Stars of SaloneSatellite 2024

The real highlight of every Salone are the emerging designers participating in SaloneSatellite. The 25th edition of SaloneSatellite featured 600 participants from 32 countries and 22 international design schools, including newcomers from Saudi Arabia, Serbia, the United States, and China.

The next Salone del Mobile.Milano will be held April 8-13, 2025. salonemilano.it