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Salone del Mobile 2017: What to expect from the design fair

Milan’s annual, weeklong furniture and design bonanza kicks off on April 4

“Everything is Connected,” a showcase of 30 Norwegian designers, is sure to impress at this year’s Salone.
Courtesy Zetteler

Salone del Mobile—the design world’s Super Bowl—is nearly here again and this year’s edition (the 56th!), which kicks off on Tuesday, April 4, promises to be eventful.

Last year, iconic items got 21st-century revamps, new brands exhibited for the first time, and companies known for one thing (we’re looking at you, Swarovski) branched out beyond their bedazzled comfort zones.

This year, we expect more collaborations between big-name designers and stalwart brands, “activations” (fashion label COS tapping art-architecture duo Snarkitecture for a pop-up space), the return of a few old friends (a reboot of Established & Sons with co-founder Sebastian Wrong at the helm)—and a lot of political chatter. Whether or not that will spill into the booths is anyone’s guess. We’re also looking forward to Salone Satellite, the offsite exhibition of young Italian designers and fertile ground for cool design finds.

Our early predictions for trends include a resurgence of glass and Lucite, twisted takes on the pastel color palette of years past, vein-y stone that jazzes up the look of marble, and tubular metal. Below, a closer look at what you can expect to see at this year’s fair.

Ikea will make a splash

Items from Ikea’s PS 2017 collection.
Courtesy Ikea
The modular Delaktig sofa, by Tom Dixon for Ikea in a much-hyped “top-secret” collaboration between the designer and brand.
Courtesy Ikea

Ikea—the Swedish furniture and decor powerhouse we all know and love—will have an outsize presence at this year’s Salone, with a planned takeover of a 3,500-square-meter (roughly 37,000-square-foot) former warehouse in Milan’s Lambrate district. Word is that Ikea’s bonanza will include live music, installations, and the official unveiling of British designer Tom Dixon’s work for the brand, which includes a “hackable” sofa.

Designers and brands: still collab’ing

Jaime Hayon’s “Stone Age Folk” series for Caesarstone, seen here at Toronto’s IDS, will be expanded for this year’s Salone del Mobile.
Photo via Dezeen

Collaborations between designers and brands keep on rollin’ out, as in previous years. This year, beyond Tom Dixon for Ikea, there’s also work to look forward to by buzzy Barber & Osgerby, Hella Jongerius, and Erwan and Ronan Bouroullec (among others) for Vitra; Max Lamb (the British designer who rose to more mainstream fame with his splatter-painted Hem stool) for Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat; and Spanish designer Jaime Hayon expanding his “Stone Age Folk” collection of decorative wall hangings and whimsical tabletops for U.S. countertops company Caesarstone.

If wallpaper is your thing (and it really should be), you’re in luck: Snarkitecture, Faye Toogood, Ana Kras, and BCXSY have teamed up with the wallcoverings whizzes at Calico.

Lighting!

Lighting by designer Lee Broom.
Lee Broom

This year’s Salone del Mobile coincides with Euroluce, a biennial exhibition of lighting design at the fair, and encompasses everything from outdoor lamps for your backyard patio to sculptural pendants for your dining room.

Outside the fairgrounds, London designer Lee Broom, who this year is celebrating his company’s 10th anniversary, will unveil “Time Machine,” an exhibition in a vaulted, concrete former station in the Milan metro. While Broom’s furniture designs—along with an eye-popping marble grandfather clock—will be on view, it’s his lighting designs, which will also be on display, that always grab us.

The Scandinavians will continue to impress

Courtesy Zetteler

Who needs a home field advantage? Not Norway: Following up on the success of “Structure,” last year’s show on Norwegian design, “Everything is Connected”—curated by Berlin-based interior architect Katrin Greiling—will showcase the work of 30 Norwegian artisans. The work on display will be varied, including everything from decorative objects in wood and ceramics to wall-mounted shelving made from galvanized aluminum.

The above is, of course, the tip of the iceberg: Curbed will be on the ground all week and reporting back here and on Twitter and Instagram from Milan. Stay tuned.