New Season, New Trends – Salone Milano 2019

Sustainability, Nature, Artificial Intelligence and Texture – as the design world flocks to Salone in Milano IROCO Design takes a look at the new trends shaping interior design.

It’s no secret the interiors world follows the international catwalks, but seismic shifts in global politics and culture also affect design aesthetics, and ultimately the spaces we inhabit. This April’s 58th edition of Salone del Mobile in Milan brought more than 400,000 people to the city to see the world’s top brands, architects and designers unveil their long awaited exhibitions, installations and products.


Here are six design trends IROCO Design predicts will fly this season.
Sustainability: As our knowledge of the perils facing our world increase, we are seeing designers inspired to reuse and repurpose materials, giving them a new lease of life and new meaning. Brands are using their resources and influence to create products that are both desirable and functional whilst avoiding excess. Emeco, an American brand who built their first recycled chair for the US Navy in 1944, has spent the last 20 years working with Coca Cola to developed a durable and sustainable material for their chairs made from discarded bottles combined with fiberglass. At Salone, Emeco together with Barber and Osgerby, launched the very minimal On and On chair, largely made from recycled plastic bottles – an epitomy of this trend.

Artificial Intelligence: By coupling environmental concerns with available technology brands can be kept commercially viable and this will shape their success. To this end, Philippe Starck, Kartell and Autodesk have produced the AI chair, the first chair created by artificial intelligence. This strong and stable chair uses minimal material, is comfortable and structurally sound and incredibly elegant. Collaborating with artificial intelligence will increase the potential of human designers. Take note since we will be seeing much more from this trend.

Nature’s Hues: Pale pinks and blues are being replaced by rich, dramatic, natural jewel tones and earthy hues for an elegant look the style pundits have christened Modern Natural: midnight blues, forest greens, pumpkin red and chocolate brown hues are the new colours to desire. Hay has produced the About a Chair in covetable shades including Hunter, Dusty Blue and Warm Red, and Insideherland’s striking upholstery comes in dreamy tones of Atlantic Blue, Espresso, Olive and Esmerald. Kartell showcased their orange Venice Chairs –fiery orange was omnipresent. .

The New Metals: Warm metals like copper and brass will continue to be a hot interior pick this year, but high gloss or super shiny finishes will be replaced by a more muted or burnished, vintage look. Tom Dixon is still the go-to designer for warm metals where lighting includes the spectacular Curve, Fade, Melt or Etch Mini designs. The very best of Tom Dixon’s excellence in design was on show at Milan’s Manzoni restaurant.

The Human Touch: Skilled craftsmanship and a folk-inspired, hand-made vibe continues to be a sought-after trend, as taste-makers move away from manufactured finishes. Many brands have launched raw, handcrafted design objects with wood, ceramic and marble. When placed next to sophisticated pieces of furniture, they create a stark contract between the manufactured and the human touch. There are some truly innovative pieces in Portuguese brand Insidherland’s new collection, from fantastical mirrors fashioned from leaves, to rock-inspired furniture.

Texture: A traditional favourite with interior designers, the layering of textures has become more interesting. Very tactile finishes and soft materials with weaving and textures are on the rise. And natural leather is adding a feeling of comfort to many different designs. Spanish brand Loewe showcased leatherwork and woven frames in a nod to a return to the natural world.

New techniques such as pleating or folding in velvets or cottons are everywhere this season: look at Portuguese brand DelightFULL’s collection – the velvet rouche of the Doris Armchair and pleated upholstery of the Bogarde Armchair are both strikingly unusual.

Japanese designer Nendo’s installation Breeze of Light incorporated 17,000 flowers made from a polarizing film with more than 100 spotlights altering the intensity of the shadows from the flowers. Commissioned by Daikin, the air conditioning manufacturer, the feeling of a breeze blowing through a field of flowers was achieved, bringing a sense of calm to a busy week.

Sonia Jackson is CEO IROCO Design Japan – – changing the way Asia sources great design.