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  • Paul Simons

Milan Design Week Turns on the Style

Updated: May 30, 2023

Milan Cathedral

It was Milan that the design spotlight was focused on last week for the latest edition of the Salone del Mobile Milano Design Show.

In a city known as the home of fashion and style, the 2023 version took place across the city where showrooms and venues opened with special displays and installations, alongside a traditional exhibition-style show at the Rho Fiera Milano. The show was busier than ever with a real buzz in the long queues to access the exhibition halls.

One of the highlights was Moooi, where each space had its own unique soundtrack and scent to compliment the very different themes in each room.

There was a distinctive 70s feel to many of the displays with fun, curved surfaces and bold patterns in browns, peaches and yellows. A deliberate move away from harsh lines and solid objects for a softer, more relaxed look.

This was juxtaposed with a distinct Japanese influence with occasional tables and sofas being lower to the ground with a clean, almost delicate design.

Japanese influence in the furniture displays

There was also an increasing number of collaborations between manufacturers, historic brands and celebrities with Kartell and USM Haller leading the way.

Pharrell Williams and Lenny Kravitz for Kartell

Herman Miller celebrated its 100th anniversary with a stunning visual journey of its design and marketing materials which created a history of graphic design over the past 100 years.

We also noticed an emphasis on natural products like clay, wood and wool which are not only great looking, but also reduce the environmental impact. These materials created a more muted palette of natural colours which was then accentuated with occasional pops of bright colours.

There were of course exceptions to this with Missoni creating a bold room full of multi-coloured doughnuts while both Busnelli and Imperfetto Lab showcased their more unusual furniture shapes.

Wacky multi-coloured doughnut shaped furniture at Missoni

We enjoyed seeing how furniture is also increasingly crossing over from indoors to outside and visa-versa. A number of manufacturers displayed intricate pieces designed for outside spaces that could just as easily fit in within an interior set-up. Knoll dedicated its whole showroom to this new direction.

Across the whole week and throughout the city, what stood out was the liveliness and air of positivity everywhere we went. It certainly felt as though the furniture design industry was back in full swing and has a lot to show off about.


by Paul Simons, Retail Director at Wellworking


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