Milan’s famed Salone del Mobile fair can feel slightly overwhelming (300,000-plus attended and more than 2,000 exhibitors were on hand in 2019), but it remains a master class in design, showing how strong leadership and a bone-deep belief in collaboration and community accelerates the design conversation. Under president Claudio Luti, the fair has also become celebrated for its large-scale installations, displayed indoor and out, none of which impressed more than “AQUA. Leonardo’s Water Vision.” More than mere spectacle, the immersive celebration of the Renaissance master’s water studies was at once experience-driven and history-minded. Still, the furniture, lighting, and interior objects remain the marquee attractions, and with the debut of the new S.Project space and the return of the biennial Euroluce lighting fair, there was much to admire. Here are seven favorites.
1) Stephen Burks’ Trypta for Luceplan
A three-paneled lighting system that performs double, Stephen Burks’ sculptural Trypta suspension lamp simultaneously lights a space and controls its acoustics. The design’s central axis features two distinct light sources while also serving as a support column for a trio of sound-absorbing panels. Users can assemble panels of different sizes at various heights, allowing either a neat, symmetrical pattern or abstract, geometric variations. Panels are available in different colors and six sizes to afford maximum customizability.
2) Formafantasma’s WireLine for Flos
One of the leading design teams working the intersection of experimental panache, sustainable focus, and functionalism, the Italian duo of Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin elevate (literally) their clever, previously explored wired light concept with WireLine, which was on display at Salone’s S.Project pavilion. The suspension frame is a flattened, belt-like power cable, which props up a ribbed-glass element that houses the LED light without masking it. Intertwine multiple fixtures together to customize your own creative patterns.
3) Naoto Fukasawa and Keiji Takeuchi’s Axon Table for Geiger
The Axon caters to the plugged in. It’s more commonly seen as a conference table, with a so-called “power trough” running down the center, with various connectivity and charging outlets tucked tastefully within. But the version on display at Salone ditched the trough while sneakily maintaining tech capabilities, with power running through small USB outlets placed unobtrusively beneath the table edges. Dressed for dining, it also showed off Axon’s diversity of use. You can even order it sans power if preferred.
4) Paul McCobb’s Table Mirror for Fritz Hansen
The Planner line by Paul McCobb, one of the great innovators of contemporary furniture design, was among his most popular and—with its unfussy, linear approach and emphasis on uncluttered space—one of his most representative. Thanks to venerable high-end furniture leaders Fritz Hansen, the collection is once again in production. The most affordable entry point is this ageless, full-swivel table-topper, with powder-coated steel frame and a handy marble shelf.
5) Pierre Jeanneret’s Capitol Complex Armchair for Cassina
One of the most iconic modernist projects of all time, Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh Capitol Complex, serves here as both inspiration and direct reference point. Italian furniture institution Cassina had direct access to Fondation Le Corbusier’s archives to resurrect and pay tribute to four furnishings that helped make Capitol Complex so seminal. The collection—which includes a chair, office chair, armchair, and table—does more than name-check famed furniture designer Pierre Jeanneret, Le Corbusier’s cousin and project partner; it honors and extends his timeless approach, notably the V-shaped base.
6) EOOS’ Embrace Chair for Carl Hansen & Søn
Austrian design trio EOOS drew inspiration from the movement of a kite in flight for the design of their Embrace table, and a similar sense of openness and liberation runs through the line’s new addition. This armchair takes up minimal visual space, seamlessly bringing together its elegant wooden frame and inviting upholstery. “You can sit however you want, with great freedom of movement,” say the designers, who again collaborated with Carl Hansen & Søn to further the collection.
7) BIG’s Gople Lamp for Artemide
One of the highlights (pardon the pun) of the Euroluce lighting showcase, this award-winning design combines old-world artisanship and high-powered technology. The glass is hand-blown, incorporating ancient Venetian techniques, and the strong LED emits high-quality light that helps plants grow and is tailored for visual comfort and wellness. The Gople features a chrome metal canopy, and each lamp is unique.