Design Highlights from Salone del Mobile 2018, from Classic to Cutting-Edge

Thousands of designers and buyers descended on Milan last week for Salone del Mobile 2018, which presented all the trends in furniture and lighting. Kitchen design was highlighted in EuroCucina, the special focus area for this edition. About 1,841 exhibitors, representing 33 foreign countries, took part and featured 650 different designers.

Sections of the show included the style categories Classic: Tradition in the Future, Design and xLux, along with the International Bathroom Exhibition. Homedit’s Stefan Gheorghe scoured the acres of designs and picked these highlights:

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Fiam has transformed a fragile material into a sturdy, design-forward chair.

Much like Cinderella’s glass slipper, this glass chair by Fiam is surprising and special. The Monolithic chair sports a structure of 12-mm-thick glass, making it sturdy. The fragile, rigid material was transformed by designer Cini Boeri into this stunning — and jaw-dropping — armchair that comes in a variety of colors, as well as a clear version.

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This appears to be simply a stylish accent mirror.
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This mirror camouflages the typically unsightly black television screen.

Mirrors are an awesome design accessory — but flat screen televisions, not so much. That is until Philippe Starck developed this design for Fiam, which is the Caadre TV, a decorative mirror with an integral television. What looks like a simple wall mirror actually has 5 mm-thick semi-reflective glass that disguises the eyesore that is a blank television screen.

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Short legs make this sofa seem to float.

This Tokio sofa by Arflex is casual, soft and inviting, without being too slouchy. The modular style is versatile and soft, but still very stylish. Raised slightly off the floor, the short legs give enough height to make it just float over the surface. The design was inspired by the city of the same name, using the older spelling.

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Poltrona Frau revives classic Italian designs like this one.

This floor-to-ceiling free-standing bookcase, called “Albero,” was designed in the 1950’s. Revived by Poltrona Frau, the Frattini-designed structure is made from solid Canaletto walnut veneer. It features special rack and pinion joints and shelves made from MDF with Canaletto veneer. Metal accents highlight the structure, which swivels.

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A classically beautiful marble table is always a good choice.

Poltrona Frau’s Othello table marries processed wood with stone or glass. Designed by Roberto Lazzeroni, it features solid ash supports and a mocha or wenge stain. The geometric top is made of fine Fior di Pesco marble or Calacatta Oro marble. In both cases, the underside of the top is reinforced with a technical mesh for durability.

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Expertly placed mirrors expand the feeling of a space.
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Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Barcelona chair never goes out of style.

More elegant than a typical wall mirror, these two rectangular framed Gigas mirrors have a Pelle Frau leather finish that surrounds the glass. They can be attached to the wall or, as shown here, leaned against the, to be fixed to a wall or indeed set on the ground and leaned against the wall because it has hinged metal legs.

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Saarinen’s Womb Chair looks equally fresh for today’s interiors.

In addition to new designs, Knoll presented some iconic designs, including the Barcelona chair that was created by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It is a wonderful expression of the designer’s maxim of “less is more,” and is a “tribute to the marriage of modern design and exceptional craftsmanship.”  The second chair is also iconic — the Womb Chair by Eero Saarinen, who made it at the request of Florence Knoll for “a chair that was like a basket full of pillows – something she could really curl up in.”

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The Eames chair is widely known and still popular.

Another iconic piece is from Vitra and is the fiberglass chair by Charles and Ray Eames. The chair features a seat shell molded for the human shape and comes with a variety of bases. It became well-known because the material had previously been used only for military applications. The one-piece construction was very popular and admired.

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The Eames’ DCW was an early, experimental project.

The two Eames also created this DCW (Dining Chair Wood), reminiscent of the couple’s early experimentation with molding plywood into complex shapes. The wholly wood chair is still very popular today for its comfort and style.

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Solid stone and a gracefully curving seat are a contrast in concepts.
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The design has a light feel, despite the heavy material.

The organically shaped Venus lounge chair from Ora Ito and marble specialist Citco is an asymmetrical celebration of space. Citco digitally sculpts biomorphic and polished curves into the marble, that makes the material appear to precariously float from one side to the other. Only eight copies were made in different types of marble.

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Organic and unexpected, these are art pieces for the living room.

The late Zaha Hadid, architectural and design superstar, created in 2006 the Seamless collection, which features fluid shapes and free, organic forms like these. The balance between furniture and space in these pieces, with their unusual silhouettes, is particularly striking and demonstrative of her design brilliance.

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Who says a wingback chair is traditional and stuffy?

This furry and stylish duo is part of the Guelfo collection from Lapo Ciatti. The wingback chair and pouf were created in 2015 lending a fresh style to the 18th century French archetype. The Guelfo Fur version came about in 2017. It is, without a doubt, a modern and stylish option.

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In this table, the shelf is not a fixed, rigid element.
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A unique leg joint makes the glass top of this table very different.

These tables are the Amaca Collection by Calvi & Brambilla for Toncelli Design. The collection features extra clear glass frames highlighted by a shelf made from leather or fabric. Metal supports of various finishes highlight the pieces, adding a glamorous touch. Toncelli also presented the Can Can, a dining table designed by Mario Milana. A glass or ceramic top sits atop wooden legs that are attached with metal joints. The legs are also available in 40mm glass or, in canaletto walnut, as shown.  It’s a novel design with a very modern aesthetic.

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Offset floating shelves are a modern arrangement.
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Versatile elements are stylish space savers.
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Media consoles can be very modern with a design like this.
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Glass boxes backed with color serve as uncommon shelving.

Modular is becoming the name of the game and Lago’s design is right on trend. Your living room can be most functional but still show your personality and be comfortable. The shelving units can be rearranged and tailored to a household’s needs, in a manner that is light and elegant — as well as modern. Display a collection, books, or a television…whatever you want.

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Weathered leather is comfortable and masculine.
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The style of the sofa and chairs is casual.
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Whimsical side tables/benches and the coffee table lighten the mood.
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Hidden storage is an added bonus with these stools.

Natuzzi’s Agronomist Collection includes sofas, armchairs and other pieces designed by icon Marcel Wanders. They are inspired by Puglia’s landscapes, architecture and lifestyle. The rich palette of wood and leather evokes feelings of organic, outdoor elements the convey a sense of casual elegance. They are perfect for a casual but refined and comfortable family room.

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Leather upholstery can cover rigid, as well as soft, seating elements.

This leather Cocoon armchair by Danielli for Frag is stylish and classic with an edgy note. The armed lounge chair (which also comes with a pouf) has solid walnut base and legs and padded cushions that are upholstered with genuine leather. The structure of the chair is also available in an aluminum version, which can also be upholstered with saddle leather. These features make it very durable and the style is good for a masculine space too.

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The iron legs are lacquered in the same color as the table top.

The Alella table, designed by Lluís Clotet for BD Art Editions, quickly morphs from an understated, modestly sized table to a large, artful masterpiece. When closed, the inlays offer a hint to the graphic design that spans the stained, ok veneer table top inside. This is a Limited Edition of eight, along with two artist proofs and two prototypes.

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Artful, fun lighting is a good way to make guests smile.

Designer Jeremy Scott of Moschino relaunched the brand’s well-known bear design as a table lamp for Kartell. Scott said that is indicative of the playful style that links the two companies. Made of Polietilene, the modestly sized lamps are a glowing bit of kitsch to enliven any room.

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A hard shell and vibrant colors make a fun and durable seat.

The same material that forms the hard shell of a suitcase was transformed into these stylish chairs by Konstantin Grcic for Plank. Called CUP, they are light, flexible and strong, having been made through an innovative process that uses thin vacuum- formed plastic sheets. It indeed looks like a cup, sitting in its frame.

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Varying the style of occasional tables adds interest to a space.
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Low, wide benches are great for entertaining and versatile for home life.
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This is a most stylish home work area, set off by the colorful, lacquered surface.
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A simple console is elevated with the right accessories.

Poliform’s classically simple but stunning pieces are the epitome of Italian luxury design. Relying on craftsmanship and materials, the new collections of sofas, armchairs, and tables presented an air of quiet sophistication. From wide benches that are ideal for entertaining to a wall unit that includes a stylish workspace, all the furnishings present a pleasing aesthetic.

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Bright brass, hand burnished brass, coppered brass or black chromed metal parts accent these tables.
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The off-center design is by Massimo Castagna.

Very eye-catching, these Haumea glass-topped tables from Galotti&Radice feature a base that is just a bit off-center, adding an unexpected design element. The base that stretches from the floor extends above the glass, with a ring that sits above the surface, making it feel like it is visual portal down into the column.

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The rug adds just enough pattern to the serene space.
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Suede, marble and glass are serious luxury bedroom materials.
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Clean lines put the focus on the material in this luxury bedroom.

There’s nothing like a luxury bedroom, and these examples from Misura Emme are just our style. Understated opulence achieved through top quality materials and expressed in a neutral palette make these bedrooms calming and comfortable. The variety of textures used also adds a great deal of interest to a neutral room.

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The lazy Susan in this table is virtually invisible.

It is love at first sight with this marvelous table, but you’ll fall for it even faster when you find the center is actually a built-in lazy Susan. The Lem Con Lazy Susan by Reflex is the most stylish way to have this convenience, not sacrificing any visual appeal. While it comes in different materials like glass, the marble version is particularly appealing, especially with its portly metal legs.

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The marble grain runs perpendicular to the lined design of the cabinet’s facade.
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The use of marble for the wide armrest is an unexpected element.
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Marble backing is an added element of luxury in this armoire.

Speaking of marble, we noticed that Giorgetti included some very stylish marble accents in their furnishings this year. From the more expected uses like a credenza top, to more unexpected ones such as an armrest on an expansive lounge as backing for a valet/dresser combo, they are artful uses of this stone.

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Squared off corners and an oversized top add interest to a credenza.
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The wide, beveled wood edge highlights the stone inlay.
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Soft contours characterize most of the designs in this space.
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Mirrors of any size and shape can be used to accent a space.

Porada is a purveyor of occasional furniture created in collaboration with international designers across the globe. The pieces displayed felt stylishly comfortable, particularly as there were many rounded corners and a lack of severe angles throughout the collections. From tables to lighting and chairs, all featured alluring contours.

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Old school glamour mixes with more adventurous elements.
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Plenty of shine amps up the chic and glamorous feeling of this luxury furniture brand.

For a more glamorous style of room, we turn to Eichholz, which presented unique luxury pieces that range in flavor from softly traditional to a harder modern look. Tufted sofas paired with plenty of gleaming tables and accessories and shiny, mirror-covered pieces or those finished with plenty of chrome — all are dynamic and attractive.

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Transformative furniture can multiply the usefulness of a space.
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Who needs a guest room when a den is so easily converted for visitors?

Making furniture since 1962, Clei is known for its resourceful designs that make spaces multifunctional. the company presented several model residences, highlighting how its transformational furniture designs multiply the uses of the space. These are perfect for small homes, as well as those that have plenty of space but want to get the most usage from it.