Each spring, design denizens and Milan locals crowd the cobblestone streets of the city's Brera district and clog the halls at the 2.2-million-square-foot Rho fairground to peruse the latest in furniture during Salone del Mobile. It's a chance not just to see what's happening in the world of interiors and furnishings, but to ask the designers and manufacturers directly what's up with all the Kvadrat upholstery, tubular steel, 1970s sofa reissues, and nearly-ubiquitous Memphis retreads. We sorted through this year's offerings to pull out a few key trends that define the look of zeitgeisty interior design in 2015.
1. Food as design
Dining is the theme for the 2015 Milan Expo running through October this year, and it's accordingly wound its way down the food chain. Wallpaper*'s annual Handmade exhibition delved into entertaining, while the Triennale museum is presenting two shows called Kitchens & Invaders and Arts & Foods: Rituals Since 1851. Bonus points for Design Academy Eindhoven's provocative installation at Ventura Lambrate, Eat Shit.
2. Watercolor prints
The reigning pastels of the last couple of years have taken a painterly turn with watercolor treatments deployed on textiles and even plywood. Consider it a departure from the restrained grid motif that's been so prevalent of late.
3. Perforated mesh
The grid isn't entirely retired, of course. Instead, it's manifested as metal mesh and perforated materials that add an element of rigorous transparency to screens, cabinets, and more.
Marble—whether white Carrara, black Marquina, pocked travertine, or pebbled terrazzo—isn't going anywhere fast. Of course, we're talking about a classic architectural element that's ubiquitous in Milan, so it's easy to see where the influence is drawn. No longer restricted to Rococo vanities or palazzo floors, however, marble has been quarried into every manner of geometric slab, lamp base, or trivet.
Why pick one color when you can pick a whole spectrum? From 3M's dichroic film applied to a lampshade (courtesy of Patricia Urquiola for Flos) to glimmering pyramid lights, shiny containers, and handblown glass (note Sight Unseen's confirmation of the trend, below), the magpie-friendly material treatment is nearly impossible to resist.
6. Torchière lamps
The dorm room staple (floor lamps topped with diffuse light originating from a conical shade) has gotten an upgrade with new, LED-powered versions.
Forget the notion of your grandmother's brocaded, floral spray wallcoverings and embrace the new with contemporary iterations from NLXL (oversized patterns from silverware to eyeballs) and Calico with BCXSY (galactic-inspired metallics). Serpentine Gallery even curated a wallpaper display in the windows of La Rinascente pairing artist-designed wallpaper by the likes of Ai Weiwei, Lawrence Weiner, and SANAA with industrial design.
8. Tropical modernism
C'mon, aren't we due for a rattan resurgence? Taking cues from Hollywood-Regency-appropriate palm prints, Italian designers like Franco Albini, and a Brazilian modernist furniture renaissance, the look is more cosmopolitan than antebellum.
It was born in Milan, it's been revived in Milan, and as yet, its 1980s postmodern silhouette shows no signs of dying in Milan.
And one that's not quite there yet: athleisure, the next trend to make its way from fashion into home furnishings?
·Design Academy Eindhoven students invite Milan to Eat Shit [Dezeen]
·3M's Iridescent Dichroic Film [Dwell]
·What's All the Fuss About Memphis Design? [Curbed]
·Fit parade: Atelier Biagetti shows its design muscle with a collection of gym-inspired furnishings [Wallpaper]