A three part series by Jason Mark.
The most common question from those who didn’t make it this year?
What was big this year?
Here are my top 5 observations!
- Monochrome. It’s very big. Complementary powdercoat finishes ruled the day.
- Colour is in. Yes, there were the almost predictable shades of pink but there was also green (& I do mean green) and various shades of terracotta/peach were in ready supply (as featured prominently throughout PEDRALI’s impressive exhibits).
- Sustainability still matters. The environment is clearly front-and-centre with new offerings by leading brands launching affordable solutions made from recycled products – EMECO’s One Inch Reclaimed being a prime case-in-point.
- Geometric inspiration is everywhere. The geometric shapes in patterns and prints and overall construction of the furniture pieces (especially coffee tables) and materials generally is undeniable.
- Variety in materials is still strong. Quality developments especially in use of steel frames including stainless but also in timber, polyurethane, aluminium & on the more contract / domestic front – wicker is back!
Of course with such a big international event there is bound to be plenty outside the boundaries of our preferred taste as well. One of my Swedish counterparts who had arrived at the fair ahead of us points out that I should avoid Halls 2 & 4 as the furniture displayed there may make me feel unwell.
There is also quite a bit of the over-the-top and downright outrageous with one particularly colourful exhibit prominently featuring a classic armchair with bright green Marijuana leaf print fabric set off with bright red buttons and piping. This same exhibit features fabric with profanities scrawled on the teeth of a mouth with very bright red lipstick and a large wall print featuring a 2 of spades playing card jammed between some bare butt cheeks.
These are not elements that I see going into any of the projects I’m familiar with back in Australia much less conservative Queensland.
Among the various outside-the-fairgrounds events, we get to attend a gathering of the EMECO crew at a funky place called The Diner. It is supported by Surface Magazine and the long bar with half circle shape at each end feature’s EMECO’s famous Navy Stool. There is an encouraging mix of internationals in attendance – which is to be expected and the wonderful composition of stories and history. One of the designers points out to another attendee that his daughter bit him on a past occasion. While the said daughter, an elegant young lady in her twenties with a North American accent, is initially taken aback on hearing this –it soon comes to light that the gent in question is referring to something that happened a good 20+ years ago and there is a good chuckle all round. Laughter has always been an international language.
Of course, in each and every venue, one is very conscious that every colour, material and shape, every choice of lighting in every interior and even exterior space is most likely fashioned and styled to express yet another statement in design.
When you attend an event in Europe, the continentals are always very conscious that you’ve come a very long way to be there! Most of them will have travelled fewer than 4 hours, while we Aussies have almost always travelled more than 24! So yes, they do like to take the opportunity to show you a bit of genuine hospitality and Aussies are very receptive toward other Aussies who have made the pilgrimage.
Click here to read PART THREE – 5 tips to surviving the Salone del Mobile Milano experience