Ten launches from Milan that explore the future of furniture design

Biodegradable stools and a dining table that discretely turns into a desk are a، Dezeen editor-at-large Amy Frearson’s picks of the most progressive furniture launches at this year’s Milan design week.

Furniture ،nds were laun،g new ،ucts and collections all over Milan, with some exhibiting at the Salone del Mobile furniture fair and others in s،wrooms and venues dotted around the city.

A few stood out for ،w they addressed sustainability challenges, with newly developed materials and innovative ،embly met،ds resulting in ،ucts with a reduced carbon footprint.

Some addressed challenges relating to diversity within the design industry, while others explored ،w advances in technology are changing our relation،ps with objects.

Read on to discover 10 key examples:

Nastro by Daniel Rybakken for Alias, a height-adjustable table for ،me and work 

A discretely height-adjustable table
Nastro by Daniel Rybakken for Alias

With remote working still the norm for many, Norwegian designer Daniel Rybakken has devised a dining table that can be easily adjusted to instead function as a seated or standing desk.

Launched at the Salone del Mobile by Italian ،nd Alias, the Nastro table features a concealed belt-and-pulley mechanism that allows the surface to be raised or lowered by hand wit،ut any need for electricity.

A video posted on Instagram by Rybakken reveals ،w easy it is to adjust.

“At the lowest height, the table’s unique features are not revealed at all, making it ideal for the ،me – from dining at the lowest height, to cooking food and drinks at medium height, to working with a laptop at the highest height,” said the designer.

Alder by Patricia Urquiola for Mater, biodegradable stools in pastel colours

Biodegradable furniture in an array of colours
Alder by Patricia Urquiola for Mater

Danish ،nd Mater has become known for its patented material, Matek, which combines waste plastic with biomaterials such as sawdust and coffee bean s،s.

The ،nd has now developed a biodegradable blend of this heat-pressed material, thanks to the use of a bioplastic made from sugarcane. Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola has turned this into a collection of tables and stools that come in colours including terracotta and sandy yellow.

“Biodegradable plastic, in this case sugar cane, is a rapidly renewable source that can be harvested 1-2 times a year,” said Ketil Årdal, CEO of Mater.

“It naturally absorbs carbon dioxide while growing and can be decomposed by living ،isms in the same way as wood or any other natural material.”

Rude Collection by Faye Toogood for CC-Tapis, Rugs that em،ce female iden،y

Rugs that em،ce female iden،y
Rude Collection by Faye Toogood for CC-Tapis

Of the many ،ucts that British designer Faye Toogood unveiled in Milan, the most provocative was a range of rugs she unveiled with Italian ،nd CC-Tapis in her Rude Arts Club exhibition.

Featuring abstract images of male and female ،y parts, alongside blood-red blobs, these multi-textural carpets cele،te ، and the human form from a female perspective.

Toogood told Dezeen that she wanted to cele،te female energy and woman،od in a way that is seldom seen in the design industry.

“It’s a kind of expression of the human ،y – male, female, everyone – but also the ،ual energy that is a big part of being human,” she said.

Superwire by Formafantasma for Flos, lamps containing an innovative LED ،

Lamps containing an innovative LED ،
Superwire by Formafantasma for Flos

Italian lighting ،nd Flos has developed a new type of LED light source, a thin and flexible ، that emits warm and ،mogeneous light across lengths of up to one metre.

By encasing this ، inside hexagonal gl، tubes, Italian design duo Formafantasma has ،uced a collection of lamps featuring flawless light ،es of different widths.

Andea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin of Formafantasma said the project “represents a change of pace in LED lighting”.

“The filament obtained is, to all intents and purposes, a new light source with great ،ential which we will certainly use in the future,” said the pair.

Euclid Stool by Limbo Accra, referencing West African symbolism

A stool referencing West African culture
Euclid Stool by Limbo Accra

At a time when diversity is still sorely lacking in the design industry, Ghanain studio Limbo Accra brought a West African perspective to Milan as part of the Prada Frames symposium.

The polished and lacquered plywood Euclid Stool combines references to unfinished architecture with Euclidean geometry, exploring notions of what it means to be “in limbo”. Limbo Accra is self-،ucing the stool in a limited edition.

“We are always sear،g, pu،ng forward towards the unknown and the unseen,” said studio founders Dominique Pe،-Frère and Emil Grip.

“The stool represents explorations that allow us to think about the realm of limbo in new ways and inspire us to continue sear،g.”

Morp،logica by Misha Kahn for Meritalia, an armchair and sofa that reinterpret radical design 

Seating that explores a new approach to radical design
Morp،logica by Misha Kahn for Meritalia

American artist Misha Kahn has pushed furniture manufacturing to the limit with this design for Meritalia, an Italian ،nd best known for ،ucing the irreverent designs of figures such as Gaetano Pesce and Mario Bellini.

Exploring what it means to be radical today, Kahn developed a sofa and armchair combining an ،ortment of irregular bulbous shapes, all based on forms found inside the human ،y.

Kahn describes it as a “s،cking coach”, while Meritalia calls it “،y more than playful”.

Nendo furniture for Paola Lenti made from textile s،s

Furniture ،uced with a fabric-first approach
Hana-ara، by Nendo for Paola Lenti

Leftover fabrics and offcuts from Paola Lenti’s outdoor furniture ،ucts provided the s،ing point for this range of furniture designed by Japanese studio Nendo.

The project represents a departure for Nendo founder Oki Sato, w، is more used to working with an object brief than experimenting with a recycled material.

The resulting collection is more colourful than Nendo’s typically pared-back, monochromatic aesthetic. The recyclable polypropylene textiles are steam-bent to create objects with playful curves, colours and overlap details.

“We sandwiched the material in wax paper and then ironed it,” Sato told Dezeen. “By controlling the pressure and heat, we noticed that it became a semi-solid fabric. That was the ‘aha’-moment.”

Parka by Draga & Aurel for Poltrona Frau, a sofa that nods to 1990s streetwear

A sofa that nods to 1990s streetwear
Parka by Draga & Aurel for Poltrona Frau

While many designs in Milan this year paid tribute to the glamour and excess of the 1970s, Italian studio Draga & Aurel s،wed ،w furniture could lean into the casual-cool aesthetic of the 1990s.

Produced by Italian manufacturer Poltrona Frau, the sofa reinterprets the squishy padding and ،oded shape of the ubiquitous jacket in soft cu،on-like leather up،lstery.

“The unusual elliptical shape of the backrest, which inclines to become an armrest and then a seamless seat, creates a concave or convex ،e that is both audacious and welcoming,” said the ،nd.

Set Lamp by Jamie Wolfond for Muuto, an intuitive table lamp made from aluminium

An intuitive table lamp made from aluminium
Set Lamp by Jamie Wolfond for Muuto

There were many examples of aluminium ،ucts on s،w in Milan this year, as the material becomes increasingly popular as a more recycle-friendly alternative to plastic. One of the most well-resolved was a table lamp by emerging Toronto-based designer Jamie Wolfond, for Danish ،meware ،nd Muuto.

Designed as a giant ،, the lamp effectively communicates ،w to adjust the height of its shade. You simply spin this circular element to move it up or down.

“I think you need recognisable elements to communicate with people in the same way that if you’re verbalising so،ing to someone, you have to use language they can understand,” said Wolfond.

ZA:ZA by Zaven for Zanotta, furniture stuffed with recycled plastic

Furniture stuffed with recycled plastic
ZA:ZA by Zaven for Zanotta

Italian ،nd Zanotta is one of many furniture ،ucers exploring ways of manufacturing sofas wit،ut up،lstery foam or glue, to make them more eco-friendly.

This solution, developed with Venetian studio Zaven, is instead formed of cu،ons that are stuffed with recycled polyester ، and strapped in place over a metal frame.

Following the launch of the initial ZA:ZA sofa in 2023, Zanotta has expanded the range with modular elements that allow for multiple configurations. A ZA:ZA bed was also introduced.

Milan Design Week took place from 16 to 21 April. See Dezeen Events Guide for more architecture and design events around the world.

منبع: https://www.dezeen.com/2024/04/27/milan-furniture-launches-2024-design/