The Best of Salone Milan 2014

Sustainable and Handmade Design

Apr 21, 2014 by Irene Vermeulen

Big and bold statements could not be found at this year's Salone del Mobile. That actually is good news, because many designers have put a lot of attention to detail. They worked on material innovation, used color in subtle and exciting ways, and created new and expressive patterns.

Craftscurator spent 4 days in Milan, and reported for several clients. Here is a selection of the best examples in handmade and sustainable design;

'Colour is materializing' is what Lidewij Edelkoort stated last year, and indeed many designers experimented with material to discover new color effects. Dutch label Vij5 has been transforming used newspaper into wood to be used for furniture. This year, they have separated newspapers like The Financial Times, with their signature colour, to create pastel coloured newspaper wood.

Rens has worked out a way to work with the dead stock of carpet manufacturer Desso. They dip dye each carpet to create a unique piece for consumers. But take note, they only use their signature colour red.

By putting saw dust and soy bio resin together, a foaming reaction took place that led to the creation of a new type of material. Designers Marjan van Aubel and James Shaw made chairs and a stool out of this newly discovered material.

Lenneke Langenhuijsen used bark from a mulberry tree for her wooden textiles, that were exhibited in the fabulous Palazzo Clerici. The brilliant work of Formafantasma could also be found in this palazzo. They worked with material from the Etna volcano, creating stone, glass and even textiles.

More experimentation with stone was done by Thomas Vially and Laura Lynn Jansen. They made 3D printed frames and put these in natural mineral baths to 'grow' a layer of calcium on them. Much more interesting material experiments could be found at the exhibit of Dutch Invertuals, called 'Happy Future'.

And indeed this happy optimism and light hearted use of color and pattern made this edition of Milan's Salone del Mobile a positive experience.

  • A more extensive trend report (in Dutch) on Milan Design Week can be found on Stylink.
  • Craftscurator also reported for Inhabitat on green design seen at Salone Satellite, and on Ventura Lambrate.
  • On PantoneView, a trend report on material innovation will be published.

Vij5 | ByRens | Desso | Marjan van Aubel | James Shaw | Lenneke Langenhuijsen | Formafantasma | Dutch Invertuals | Bethan Laura Wood | Kvadrat | IXX by Jolijn Fiddelaers | Mae Engelgeer | Raw Edges | Golran |

Colour blocking carpet, handmade in Nepal
by Mae Engelgeer
Volcanic stone from the Etna
by Formafantasma
Wooden textiles
by Lenneke Langenhuijsen
Mineral calcium stone on 3D printed frame
'grown' by Thomas Vially and Laura Lynn Jansen
Expressive use of color
Bethan Laura Wood for Kvadrat
Mathematical precision in pattern
by fair trade bale IXX for Vij5
Dip dyed dead stock material
by Rens for Desso
Colour bath for carpets
for Desso by Rens
Signature pink color
Newspaperwood by Vij5
Pastel newspaper colors
by Mieke Meijer for Vij5
Well Proven Stool and Solar Panel Table
by Marjan van Aubel
Textured rug with color effect
by Raw Edges for Golran