Milano: Ahead of the Curve

At this time of year thoughts usually turn to Salone Del Mobile, now confirmed as the latest victim of the Corona crisis. Without Milan we are left with a huge hole in our design world and quite frankly, it is impossible to think of life without this event. The undisputed heavyweight champion of new trends, design inspiration, clever collaborations and unparalleled Milanese style. And that’s before we get to the antipasti, prosecco and parties (or Bar Basso). Whilst I do not downplay the severity of this situation by any means, I focus the attention of this blog on creativity, design and inspiration.

This one’s for you Milano.

Marlborough Primary School, Tim Groom Architects

As we surf our way through lockdown, skimming articles, websites, insta and twitter feeds trying to keep ourselves inspired and positive, our design-eye subconsciously absorbs emerging trends, shapes and forms. A design language gradually becomes prevalent throughout the various images of architecture, interiors and objects that we see. Before we know it, it seems this trend is everywhere we look.

David Adjaye’s New York skyscraper: 130 William

The Arch: a timeless structural form dating back to the 2nd Millennium BC, widely used by the Romans and found throughout cities such as Milan (see ‘The Arch of Peace’, title picture). Until recently sidelined by many in favour of harder minimalistic architecture and linear forms. But in recent years the arch has found itself back on the Arch-itecture menu (oof sorry!) and features widely on our new buildings.

As arched windows and doors are thrust into the exteriors and interiors of our buildings, it’s little wonder that engaged and responsive furniture and lighting designers have adopted the same design language, to suite in with the newly found softer side of interior architecture. 

clockwise from top left: Bond Table by Aust & Amelung for COR, Hutchison Collection for Lambert et Fils, PIL table by James Burleigh, Androgyne Table by Danielle Siggerud for Menu

The square stacked boxes that have been taking over our offices will soon be smoothed and rounded out. Oblong, square and rectangular tables are being trimmed, sanded and rounded. And the emergence of these more feminine oval furniture forms will allow extra diners and meeting attendees to squeeze around. Clumsy readers will be relieved that coffee tables may no longer be quite so painful when they walk into them.

Form Us With Love: Nest series for Plus Halle

Once we begin on this search of oval design forms and shapes – as products mimic architecture – we can find all manner of objects following suit. Benches, pen trays, plant holders, fruit bowls, taps, mirrors, speakers… I haven’t found an oval flatscreen tv yet, but it’s a matter of time.

clockwise from top left: Form Us with Love: Inside Shapes carpet collection for Shaw, Mariotsai Studio, Causa Design: Arc Trays for De Intuitiefabriek, Paolo Capello: Cigales for Miniforms

So that’s it. Salone Del Mobile 2020 could well have been the year of the arch, the ellipse and the ovoid, but I guess we’ll never know. Your homework during this period of ‘downtime’ is to see what new interior and furniture designs you can find with the form of the arch somehow integrated into it. Until the next Salone Del Mobile, we all have to feed our design eye in order to stay ahead of the curve. Stay healthy, active and creative – and don’t become too rounded if you can help it…!

Ciao X

clockwise from top left: Form Us with Love for Baux and Plus Halle, Earnest Studio’s Kink Vase for Muuto, Notebook Bench by Swedish Ninja, Philippe Malouin’s Core Bench for Salon 94 Design.