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  • Debs Good

Going Back to Nature at Salone del Mobile 2024

A picture of a woman called Debs Good

Debs Good is Wellworking's Design Manager and brings her take on this year's Salone del Mobile in Milan.

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile was founded in 1961 with the sole purpose of promoting the finest Italian Furniture and Furnishings in the world. Today, I believe it is just as grand an event as it was back then, even with so many other design shows running globally throughout the year.

The scale of the exhibition itself, with a net area of almost 210,000 sq metres, is truly immense and takes 30 minutes just to walk from one end to the other - with so much to grab your attention along the way, this isn’t something that I could have possibly achieved!

A table made from a polished tree trunk

The main purpose of my visit was to immerse myself in all the furniture, textiles, fabrics and finishes the show had to offer.  Like a child in a sweet shop, there was so much to see and touch. As a designer and specifier, I want to see products up close, sit on them, feel the contours and smell the leather! 

Sustainability and re-use/reworking of materials have opened huge doors to so many exciting textures. Worksurfaces made of paper pulp, velvety to the touch, yet bumpy, organic and uneven at closer inspection, something only a handful of years ago would have been rejected by a user. I always imagine how a client would feel having such pieces in their environments, a meeting gathering around such a table, listening and collaborating whilst feeling the surface, grounding them and making them feel relaxed and at ease. 

A brown chair on some soil and plants

The same with colours, embracing a natural un-uniform palette is joyful and embraces differences, much like the differences between people. Arper’s new Catifa Carta was a perfect example. The story of the manufacture of this new Catifa Carta was told visually and incredibly well at their stand. Through the revolutionary process of manufacture using kraft paper, it has infused delicate highlights of naturally occurring brown hues where you would not normally expect, making this chair not only comfortable but perfect for an industrial style setting as much as a contemporary minimalist environment.

A blue leather chair next to a small marble table

Knoll’s space was a perfect balance of calm and beauty. Within the impressive stand, smaller spaces, each with its own colour thread, a platform for their classic pieces in colours and fabrics never seen before.  Inspiring and thought-provoking, the furniture spoke for itself, simply and elegantly. For the first time, the Perron Pillo Sofa was displayed, a magnificently large sofa, with the enticement to be sat on.

A bright blue figurine of a woman mounted on a cream wall

We also managed to explore many showrooms and events happening in and around Milan. Corso Monforte is a street home to many iconic lighting brands including Flos, Artemide and Foscarini. Their showrooms are much like art galleries with breathtaking lighting installations. I was mesmerised by Habitus where pieces were akin to jewellery or Haute couture clothing. 

A man and a woman standing looking at the camera with a large chandelier in the background

A short walk away, Manzoni, Tom Dixon’s Restaurant, Shop and Showroom. I managed a quick chat with Tom who was busy preparing for interviews following the publication of his edition of Grazia Magazine.

We spent time with Herman Miller in their showroom in the Brera district seeing products we love displayed in alternative, inspiring ways. 

We also visited Muuto in their Milanese apartment which was a unique and brilliant way to showcase their products. This really sang to me, a truly impactful way to show the multifunctional use of furniture whether it’s at home or in a conventional office. Set to a backdrop of live jazz, prosecco and locally sourced canapes, the colours, form and ambience were lit by the sun setting.

A black and white chair on a podium between two rows of columns

I couldn’t write this without a mention of the compelling collaboration between Porche and Vitra, The Pattern of Dreams, at Palazzo Clerici. Palazzo Clerici is described as Milan’s most charming historical palace, a perfect setting for such an exhibition. We viewed on our final morning and saw many of Vitra’s iconic pieces upholstered in Porsche’s ‘Pepita’ pattern (a houndstooth textile made up of small squares connected by diagonal stripes).  

We were lucky enough to view before the doors opened, with only the tweets of birds and my heart pounding with excitement, to be welcomed by a cherry red Porsche 356 - breathtakingly beautiful.

This trip gave us an invaluable opportunity to meet with so many of our fabulous suppliers and open doors to new ones. As a Certified B Corp company, we are mindful of the partners and vendors we choose to collaborate with. We are committed to sharing our environmental awareness with our valued clients and collaborating with them to design purposeful and impactful workspaces. There were so many examples of forward-thinking, sustainable products on display in Milan and I can't wait to start specifying them!


By Debs Good, Wellworking's Design Manager

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