Salone del Mobile is Milan’s design week, and it’s a wonderfully overwhelming place and moment in time where people from across the globe congregate around design in all its many forms. For me, the design writer Mary Middleton captured the mood pretty well in one of her posts from the show – “There’s something about Milan that I find so exhilarating and equally exhausting, especially during Milan Design Week. I can’t quite put my finger on it. Maybe it’s all the ”in-the-know” people, knowing I definitely do not look chic enough, and the constant references to a party / installation / venue cooler than wherever you are at any given moment.”
You could easily spend a week in Milan during Salone and still only scratch the surface of what there is to see and experience. So in many ways trying to summarise it in a blog post is a fool’s errand, but from the slice of Salone that I experienced, there are some clear themes that come through as I flick back through the my many pictures.
Now trends are there to be ignored. Ultimately design should be about what you love and what makes you happy. That might be very in-synch with the colours of the moment, or it might be the direct opposite. But as an indication of what may be to come, here are ten interiors trends for 2019.
1. MINTY FRESH
Mint green was a big colour theme, from the conceptual installations through to the more commercial products, this colour was very present.
Mint Choc Chip – a Natuzzi Italia roomset at Salone
2. POWDER BLUE
Powdery, dusty, sky blues were another theme. An amazing installation by Studiopepe is one of my favourite examples of this with its chairs by Baxter. This colour came through at Salone last year, and even more so this year.
Powder blue armchairs and mint accents at the Studiopepe installation
3. CHOCOLATE BOX
Mad About the House, the interiors Queen, is always ahead of the curve, and the colour choice for her living room is no exception. Brown was a big colour in Milan.
We’ve been seeing this colour come through more and more in wood tones, with darker colours becoming more popular again. But brown is coming through beyond wood – expect to see textiles, furniture and wall colours that wouldn’t look out of place in a chocolate box.
Chocolate brown and khaki by Fritz Hansen
Warm russet velvet and tonal neutrals by Fredericia
4. EARTH TONES
Part of the same trend family is the collection of earth tones. Think burnt orange, rust, terracotta. Warming, slightly muddy colours that feel very natural and very textural. There was a lot of this.
The enduring appeal of pink continues, very much now becoming a soft neutral in its own right. The pinks felt a bit dirtier in colour, moving closer to the palette of earth tones in some lovely contrasts. The Arflex display successfully brought a palette of earth tones together with a more delicate pink.
5. PURPLE REIGN
Often sitting alongside mint and powder blue, were some hits of lilac. In places it felt like quite a 90s palette, reminiscent of the shell suit you thought you’d never want to revisit. But it also felt very contemporary alongside the earthier tones. I keep coming back to it but the Studiopepe installation nailed this colour combination of purple, brown and delicate green.
Bold colour combinations by Studiopepe
6. BLACK IS THE NEW BLACK
Now don’t get me wrong, brass is beautiful. There is a place for all metal finishes. But I noticed there was a lot less brass around this year, and much more black metal and a hint of chrome.
Take Tom Dixon as a good example, his new space opened and was a riot of black metal, milky white glass, coloured stone and mint green. There was also a decent hit of brass in the already Insta-famous toilets, but it was an accent to a mix of metals rather than the sole star of the show.
With rich colour palettes of earth tones, brown and zingy colour pops, a black accent helps ground it.
7. LOZENGES & CURVES
Lozenge shapes have been coming through in furniture for a little while now, soft and contemporary in their look. This year there were a lot of coffee tables and surfaces reflecting this rounded off rectangle silhouette, with the trend also moving more broadly into rounded and circular shapes. From large furniture pieces to footstools, the shapes helped deliver a softer feel to rooms and spaces. Inviting, relaxed, at ease.
8. SHAG PILE
Yes, shag pile. The words conjure up a lot of references that most people won’t necessarily associate with chic, but there was a very noticeable feel underfoot of a deep piled, shaggy rug. It fits with some of the other 70s references we’re seeing with the palette of browns.
The deep pile of a the berber rug has become a mainstay for many, so perhaps the move to shagpile isn’t too big a leap.
9. COMFORT TEXTURES
Textures were rich, comforting and mixed. Velvet continued to play its part but boucle, suede, textured weaves and buttery soft leather sat alongside it.
10. COLOURED STONE
There was plenty of lovely marble in Milan, and alongside the usual carrara look favourites, there was a lot more in the way of colour. Beautiful green stone being a particular favourite at Tom Dixon and Studiopepe.
So there you have it, ten broad themes that I’ve taken away from my time in Milan this year. Lots of it very workable already, some of it will take a while to filter through, but plenty of food for thought. Let me know what you think.