At Milan Design Week 2021, more than ever, you can observe a new design that is respectful of the environment, flexible to adapt to new hybrid lifestyles, optimistic, dreamy, and with a great desire for joy and play.

The new naming for the Salone del Mobile this year has come charged with expectations, and so did the idea of what kind of messages, design, and innovation we might see in 2021. Despite being an out of the ordinary edition, companies and designers have shown a great desire to experiment through materials and new technologies.
Through the analysis of the installations and products at the fair, it is possible to trace a path of macro-trends that take their roots in the difficult, but disruptive, year behind us. Themes such as environmental sustainability and respect for nature have been addressed with renewed enthusiasm and with a mature design approach that combines craftsmanship and technology. New lifestyles, increasingly hybrid and fluid, have given shape to versatile and flexible furnishing solutions for the home, office and outdoors. Finally, there is no doubt that there is a widespread and rampant optimism which translates into the choice of bright and vivid colors, new shapes and the use of sensory textures. Design is expressive force, creative freedom, play and fun, but also dreams, surprise and hope for the future.

Trend 1


Material Transformation

The relationship between man and design changes,
as does that between industry and craftsmanship and between tradition and contemporaneity. The investigation of materials and technologies is constantly evolving and is transmitted through the creation of apparently primitive products but intrinsically endowed with great sophistication. Traditional materials are rethought and reworked to optimize their qualities and improve their technical performance. Thanks to the addition of additives and new interesting manufacturing processes, materials such as concrete, wood, stone or paper come out of their comfort zone to be applied to tables and chairs. The will is to work on the expressive language of materials, changing their aesthetics and application while respecting environmental sustainability.

A  Roly poly chair

B  Caementum, Pedrali

C  Conglomerate stone table

D  Sensi Pigmenti, Florim

E  Seam of skin, Chiaki yoshihara

F  Daniele Mingardo Artisan, Doppia Firma

Creative reassembly

Creativity, recycling and craftsmanship can come together in a single design trend that involves the creation of products born from the assembly of various materials, surfaces and shapes.
The resulting aesthetic is strongly characterizing and decorative.
The products communicate in an expressive way and build an imaginary with a strong identity. The sustainable vocation is strong but not an end in itself. The fundamental will is to create starting ‘from what is given’, without setting formal and aesthetic limits.
On the same product therefore coexist materials of different origins and colors, sometimes manipulated, other times free to act. A contemporary mosaic.

A  Senban 2, Schemata architects

B  CTMP Design Auction, Mr. Lawrence and CAMBI

C  Neighbors, Salvatori

D  Laila Pozo, Doppia Firma

E  Tovaglia, Analogia Project

F  Babeli, Dilmos Milano

Material ‘as it is’

A growing trend in recent years and carried on above all by the new generations of designers consists in celebrating the material as it is, with its qualities and imperfections, with its intrinsic shapes and textures.
The material, almost a sacred relic, finds its place on products and environments without alterations. It is not the material that has to adapt to the object, but the object that is born from the material.
Particularly interesting are the cases in which the raw material, unfinished and natural, is combined with a new material, of industrial origin, colored, smooth, transparent. A game of active sensoriality that propose a reflection on nature as a primordial designer and artisan.

A  Agglomerati, Fred Ganim at Alcova

B  Marble table, Hannes Peer

C  Senban, Schemata architects

D  Carwangallery

E  Duo Shelves, Peluso, Bianchi

F  Golia table, Draga & Aurel, Rossana Orlandi Gallery

Trend 2


Empathic office

The office becomes empathetic. The past year and a half contributed to making it so. The boundaries between work and private life have become
so thin that they create a hybrid space that blends the characteristics of both worlds together. Work and performance on one side, familiarity and sweetness of life on the other side. Office furniture has been able to reinterpret the new cultural tension in the best possible way, offering high-performance but warm, welcoming seats; in one word: empathic.
Plenty of space, therefore, with bright but reassuring colors, leather and fabric upholstery, gentle textures. The chairs thus designed are designed for new ways of working, which imply greater flexibility, adaptability and freedom of positioning in space.

A  Kinesit, Arper

B  Ludwig, Reflex

C  Stamp collection, Segis

D  Dam XL, Arrmet

E  Catifa Sensit, Arper

F  Mixu, Arper

Multifunctional Island

Many innovations launched in recent years are here to confirm that the most consolidated types of furniture are changing skin, as if adapting to a sort of hybridization.
No longer just a sofa, only a container or only a table,
they respond to our need to combine multiple activities in confined spaces. Now we see micro-architectures capable of combining the functions of work, privacy, leisure, relaxation and socialization. Articulated and complex project, with an aesthetic suitable for both domestic and collective spaces, to be interpreted in total freedom. They represent the evolution of the concept of an island sofa as a micro-architecture capable of redefining space. Complex systems are created that respond to all functions: dividing panels isolate and protect; cushions to be positioned freely according to your seating needs; the desk becomes a work station; the tables act as an additional support.

A  Node+, LaCividina

B  Marteen, Molteni&C

C  Couchette, LaCividina

D  Affair; COR

E  Kaiva Seat, MDD

F  Azure, Manerba

Optimized Home Office

If the house is transformed into a workplace and needs more and more organization, the furniture adapts making itself flexible and increasingly capable of hybridizing different functions. But it is not just a mere question of optimization: by becoming interpreters of new attitudes and new moods, the furniture seems to embody an accentuated desire for fluidity, incorporating a taste for living made up of flexible and continuously adaptable uses. Home office solutions, versatile furnishings suitable for both work and domestic environments, modular and customizable systems designed for the new needs of “liquid”, smart, remote work but not only. With a focus on sustainability and the quality of materials. These are the proposals that the companies put on display at the “supersalone” and which certify a change of pace in which more and more elements become interchangeable.

A  Coffice, Estel Group

B  Geta, Bross

C  Fusion, Cuf Milano

D  Flag, Bolzan Letti

E  Crono – Luxy

F  Arki table adjustable, Pedrali

Trend 3


Flowing lines

This year we have witnessed a widespread presence of sinuous lines and fluid shapes between furniture and decoration. The hand passes over the surfaces, drawing the silhouette of chairs, tables and decorative accessories without finding a single edge. The total absence of sharp corners therefore characterizes the new generation of furniture for the home and office: products that are increasingly human, soft, warm and welcoming.

A  Exhibition view of Discovered at the Design Museum

B  Zanellato/Bortotto

C  Feng modular screen, Testatonda

D  Doga Outdoor, Nardi

E  Awa, B&B Italia

F  Fruit rack by Michael Schöner

Immaterial materiality

Glass, Plexiglas and variations on the theme in colors, opacity and textures that enrich the furnishings with refined details or large integrated systems.
Large portions of glass, small knurled tricks, polycarbonate panels or large glass surfaces: it is a pleasure to design with transparent elements, capable of revealing, enhancing or masking.
Transparency makes objects as permeable as they are sacred to our eyes; it is both a barrier and a connection and therefore leaves room for imagining countless possible applications. Architects and designers of the companies that brought their brand new collections to the “Supersalone”, have also indulged themselves with glass and Plexiglas, materials that continue to evolve to keep up with the most avant-garde processing techniques and higher performance finishes.

A  Transparent Coffee Table

B  Resin objects, Chungjae Kim

C  Transparent chair, Ryuko Kida

D  Lamp, Dimorestudio

E  Seeded Glass Coffee Table, Courtney Applebaum

F  Caretto/Spagna at Assab One

Morphic Skins

As in the most vivid of dreams, the surfaces of the products begin to move, live and change.
It is the effect of iridescence, lights, color gradients and the effects of light reverberation on metals. Everything in this edition of the Supersalone seems a hymn to life, color and change. Far from a standard, rigid, neutral and flat furniture, the furniture now seems to live with its own light and want to tantalize the observer’s senses, enchanting and surprising him continuously.

A  Objects of Common Interest for Etage Projects

B  Chair, Milo Desch

C  Lasvit Design

D  Materiorama, Constance Guisset

E  Frosted Split Desk and chair, Germans Ermics

F  Search for light, Nitto

Trend 4


Ode to color!

Among the trends that have emerged in the new “Supersalone” proposals is the Energizing Color. Armchairs, chairs, poufs, cupboards, tables, coat hangers, outdoor collections are dressed in bright colors, giving every environment a great expressive force. Absolute protagonist of many design pieces, capable of arousing emotions and also assuming a symbolic role.
Today color is not just a perception or quality of things, but a psychological category that exists together with the way of producing it, spreading it and narrating it. Activator of positivity, it transmits comfort, a sense of well-being and stimulates creativity. Thus, vibrant and decisive colors communicate the soul and personality of those who live the space.

A  Serie Din, Mutina

B  Haymes Paint Shop

C  Mario Scairato

D  Sangaku, Driade, Elena Salmistraro

E  Aguacate, Fratelli Campana

F  Hermès, Installazione La Pelota

Tactile Emotions

Just as color is honored in this edition of Milan Design Week, so are the senses, in particular touch – the sense we have had to give up for the longest time during this pandemic year.
Through surfaces with bold and unusual high reliefs, perforations, textile grafts, striped effects, designers and companies seem to almost wish us to be able to touch and feel the material with the whole body.

A  3D Sign e 3D Squares, Piero Lissoni

B  Bolon, Patricia Urquiola

C  Purple clouds, cc tapis, Patricia Urquiola

D  Mirror, Atlas Project

E  Candlestick, Patricia Urquiola

Hyper Soft Solids

Lisa White, head of WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors had said it: “We see an increase in demand for soft, reassuring and tactile products” and so it was in this Supersalone. Comfort at the highest levels goes hand in hand with particularly bold shapes, made up of simple solids juxtaposed. The sofa thus conceived becomes the protagonist of the home and the environment, a place to carry out various activities while always maintaining a high degree of body wellness.

A  Buddy 215S/TT, Pedrali

B  Couchette, LaCividina

C  Andres Reisinger

D  Deep, Natuzzi

E  Victoria modular sofas by David/Nicolas

F  Reissues of Gastone Rinaldi’s 1970 Orsola sofa