Template for tomorrow’s design. Salone del Mobile 2019.

Spring is the hottest period for interior design professionals, when top sector leaders from all over the world converge for the 58th year in a row in one location – the interior object and furniture exhibition in Milan – the Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano (Salone del Mobile). This is where the template for tomorrow’s design is born, where new relationships are initiated and partnerships are formed.

This year – partnerships instead of individual, just like solutions instead of product, is the unifying theme of the exhibition’s presentations, and also clearly the strategic development tendency for the interior design and furniture sector.

Increasingly what is offered and what we choose in the interior design market is not product. It is lifestyle, as determined by several components. It is lifestyle as a value, the term under which the larger part of the sector’s leading manufacturers have mobilized, accenting solutions instead of individual objects in what they offer. That is what we observed from the Salone del Mobile presentations this year, as well as from the manufacturers’ development strategies: exhibition expositions as realistic living spaces that convincingly reflect their inhabitants’ lifestyles (Vitra); manufacturers formed into groups to present and offer functionally all-encompassing interior solutions (ADL, De Padova, MA/U Studio, Boffi - Boffi Group); a manufacturer that has widened its scope of products by producing lighting in parallel to their furniture (Boffi); cross-disciplinary expansion of a furniture brand that also became a restaurant brand (Tom Dixon).

As with any tendency, and especially for design tendencies, what’s crucial is not only the development’s strategic direction, but also the mood spectrum in which it operates.

If design objects are purposefully fused in unifying design solutions, thus becoming tastefully packaged lifestyles, then the mood spectrum resonating from the solutions offered in Milan this year is dominated by the key words – soft, quiet, calming, and sometimes – expressive. Not boring.

Sofas and armchairs in private and in public spaces. Massive sound-absorbing carpets on floors, and not only. Tactile and pleasing, texturally non-glamorized materials. Here and there the subtle distancing of line and planes from the absolute perfectionism of the previous period is noticeable - having reached its limit, it has created a fatigue prompting a revival of minimalistic but still decorative elements. The tonal tendency in design, alongside this year’s official living coral pantone, can also be characterized as an unhurried but evident rebirth of colour.

Colour has again appeared after the preceding “50 shades of grey” tonal era - pastel shades, still muted, but now with a clearly nuanced and perceptible key tone.

Along with the living coral, which officially triumphs over the muted collage of pastel shades, a hushed turquoise stands out. And yet – it too is not completely free from the historically active grey veil. Not ignoring laws of nature, there are also bold exceptions from within this year’s tonal peacefulness, united by naughtily poisonous synthetic-ness and chemically-precise colour concentrate – like Memphis blue, proton violet and plastic pink.

Collaboration and merging is not necessarily a sudden design sector occurrence. It organically follows global development processes in seeking quality. And in step with current views, quality it is no longer possible without a sustainability component, which is very multi-layered, all encompassing and multi-dimensional. Any collaboration that we each participate in and follow is the road towards sustainability.