iSaloni 2014: Favorites From Salone Internazionale del Mobile

The design world is abuzz with fresh design ideas and inspiration from this year’s Salone Internazionale del Mobile (iSaloni) event, which just wrapped up in Milan Rho. The event has been held, successfully and inspiringly, each year since 1961 and is the “global benchmark for the home furnishing sector.” (As evidenced by the high standard-setting names in design on display and as vendors.)

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iSaloni serves as a highly valuable tool for the interior design industry worldwide, as half of the hundreds of thousands of visitors come from all around the world.

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I was happy to spend about five days in Milan, walking from stand to stand and soaking up a huge amount of design inspiration to share with you readers. Highlights from this year’s event include a trend and emphasis toward natural woods, marble, green and stainless pieces, Nordic style, and, of course, iSaloni’s staple: Italian furniture.

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This year’s Vitra stand, for example, boasted a variety of inspiring new products and updated classics. As one example, the Eames Aluminum Chair has been redesigned as a slim-profiled dining chair (and is fitted with the newly designed complementary aluminum Davy Table). Color preference is no problem, with 28 new colors (Hopsak fabric) that showcase a fresh, casual vibe to the Aluminum Group.

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Classic black Diesel leather chairs are styled with an unexpected negative-style Moroccan rug and aged-feeling natural stone floor lamp…and modern pop art on the wall.

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Technology was emphasized in modern design, as a smart home on display featured multi-tasking built-in shelves and various-sized cubbies, a pull-down (and, consequently, roll-up) projector screen, and plenty of white and magenta-tinted backlights.

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Clean, contemporary lines and geometric forms maintained the modern aesthetic in this space as well.

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Furniture items embraced comfort while maintaining an ultra-luxe, sophisticated appeal. This sofa, for example, has contemporary lines but keeps things casual and warm with plenty of soft, luxurious leather pillows tossed into the mix.

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And we can’t forget the display of furniture on wheels! Not just the coffee tables, which we’ve seen in recent years, but the sofa as well. This lends an easily moveable and transitional aspect to the furniture layout of any space…a perfect concept for today’s increasing call for truly multi-functional spaces.

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A pop of color – in this case, sunshine yellow – can be the perfect pick-me-up in a muted grey modern space. We love how the designers didn’t just toss in a throw pillow or two; instead, we saw a full commitment to color with this cheerfully bright sofa.
bright sofa

Green Stand.

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The best green stand at iSaloni 2014 was the Cassina Stand, which recreated an outdoor natural habitat inside! A floating forest sets the tone for a gorgeous display featuring pieces from the Italian company’s 2014 collection. Overall, the stand was a beautiful representation of balance between nature and man (home and comfort).Entire design was done by Sou Fujimoto.

Colorful Stand.

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The most colorful stand at iSaloni 2014 was the Desigual featuring cascading ceiling garlands of metallic circles, interspersed with hanging cobalt blue bottles, and plenty of colorfully eye-catching textiles in a myriad of jewel tones. Light natural wood furniture pieces created a neutral foundation for the colors to really pop.

Luxury.

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A glamorous luxury stand at iSaloni 2014 was the Kartell booth, complete with oversized modern sculptures combining natural and bedazzling resources. We loved the geometric silhouettes and unapologetically bold balance within these pieces.

Eurocucina 2014.

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Euro Cucina is the International Kitchen Furniture Exhibition (Europe’s only major trade show in the field) is an integral part of iSaloni’s success and appeal. The exhibition brings together top Italian manufacturers with foreign manufactures, thereby providing an endless spectrum of ideas.

Specifically, a highlight is the focus on combining the inherent function of a kitchen space with aesthetic form and the fairly modern concept of a food-centered space for socializing. Quality is key in all aspects of Euro Cucina.

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We’ve all seen – and loved – concrete countertops; they’re a major modern trend. But we particularly loved this concrete countertop that showcases the silhouettes of tree branches. A gorgeous and unique way to combine natural and industrial elements.

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Here is another inspiring way to merge the natural with the man-made: a faux bois kitchen countertop. We love how the “grain” runs perpendicular to the flooring, creating a visual pattern of similar differences.

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A chunky light-wood countertop seems to float mid-air but is actually set atop a visually lightweight glass base. As the visual simplicity of “floating” units is embraced by modern architecture, this concept for the kitchen is a sure winner.

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White kitchens are on-trend right now, but we were drawn to this contemporary kitchen of whites and glass objects that incorporates a few warmer elements as well.

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Nothing spreads cheer like a bright stripe of bold yellow running the length of one’s kitchen. This white-yellow-white pattern of thirds is an inspiring contemporary concept for the modern color-loving kitchen.

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Live greenery growing amid stainless steel is an unexpected and delightful tribute to the combination of natural and commercial elements in design. Incorporating a piece of butcher block onto the end of the stainless countertop provides beautiful, and functional, balance to the countertop as well.

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Black and white is a classic color combination; even more striking is the emphasis of white on top of black. Mounting a traditional medium (white plates) in a modern way (on a solid black wall) creates striking kitchen art.

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Speaking of traditional…in past centuries, some work pieces of furniture had to be carved from stone. This ancient idea gets a modern makeover with the Werkhaus kitchen stone.

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With the stone surface left rough on the visual side of the stone island and other surfaces shaved smooth, this piece is utterly inspiring. And stylistically versatile to boot!

Bathroom Exhibition.

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Bagno, the International Bathroom Exhibition, runs concurrently alongside Euro Cucina. In light of the fact that bathrooms everywhere are becoming increasingly cozy and domestic, the 2014 Bagno focus was: “The bath becomes room and spa.”

Gone are the days where a successful bathroom involved white porcelain everything; today’s baths are morphing away from the frigid dimensions of the past and are embracing “color, patterns, and rich materials for every surface.” It’s a new room!

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A beautiful pairing of the industrial and organic, this wood and natural concrete marble vanity uses open shelves instead of closed drawers and cupboards. This design, and subsequent warm décor, softened the hard lines of an entire bathroom space.

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Gorgeous and modern, we were struck by this natural rock sink. We love how the sleek modern faucet played off the rustic vibe of the sink itself and rustic wood backsplash.

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More than any other space in a home, the bathroom has the highest propencity toward the generic. Not with fixtures like this expensive shoe tub! What a fantastically unique and quirky component for a home. Can you say “conversation piece”?

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Along with the concrete countertops we see being used in kitchens, bathrooms are incorporating this material as well. This floating concrete bathroom vanity seems to defy the notion of concrete’s heaviness and has sleek, simple lines inherent in great modern spaces.

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Bagno 2014 definitely emphasized the design indivuality that’s available to (and encouraged for) the everyday user. Redefining pieces and shapes was a big part of this year’s exhibition; for example, these box bathroom vanities…with mirrors and drawers. Special designed for hotels.Lovely!

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We love a thought that’s come from outside the box, and this black and white bathroom with unexpected belt-hung mirrors fits the bill. A little bit of sophisticated surprise in home décor can go a long way in warming up a sleek modern space.

So, have you been to Salone Internazionale del Mobile this year?

We’d like to know what inspires you most about home design in 2014? Do you like the trend toward the multi-purposing of styles and pieces? The increasingly seamless connection between natural and industrial? What thoughts do you have about the designs you’ve seen this year?