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Milan 2023: Trends


The scoop on Milan Design Week 2023? Look no further... here’s a daily rundown of the shows, for a bitesize perspective.


Day /00

At Seymourpowell, we work from the macro-scale to the micro-scale, so each day we’ll be hunting for the insights and fresh takes on big picture topics and capturing the hidden detail not to be missed!

Day /01

Transparency was a macro theme, with @samsung detailing their manufacturing and distribution processes. At @internimagazine, a beautiful example of a transparent city created new spaces with personality and fluidity to reflect the needs of different communities.

We also saw transparency-enabled escapism in AlpineRising by @markusbeneschcreates, shaping a space for creative freedom to be expressive and joyful without restriction.

Weaving was a micro theme on day one. The craft took on a new meaning: hard materials like wood and aluminium were weaved to create volume, cosiness and warmth at L’Appartamento by @artemest and Brazil’s design show at @internimagazine.

In textiles, weaving was used to tell makers stories, with @Formafantasma at @CC_Tapis creating rugs interweaved with the makers marks of the Tibetan manufactures.

At @MAMF, Harry Partridge embedded audio stories of Bangladeshi garment makers into the yarns themselves, using a magnetic process. This links back to the macro theme of transparency.

Day /02

Covering the Salone de Mobile and part one of Brera.

Adaptation is a macro theme which emerged yesterday: the next evolution of modular, with more momentum.

We saw pieces which can continuously evolve within a space to accommodate shifting needs and energies. Notably, @adrenalina_design_official acoustic interlocking system and Ntaiana Charalampous’s @dianachsty1989 snap armchair, which uses dead stock from @loropiana.

Waste adaptation is key in @ecal_ch Junkyard Diving project, which uses scrap metal, allowing function to be dictated by form.

Our micro takeout is a reframing of paper. Paper is combined with bees wax as an architectural material by Gabriel Hafner, @hahahafner @houseofswitzerland . @anthony.dickens uses paper to create volume and warmth in usually stark tube lighting.

Our highlight? @maxwell_ashford BAMANA, recycled paper confetti cannons, designed around seed pods which you blow into to replace traditional balloons. We loved this because it taps into the need to design new sustainable rituals for joy.

Day /03

Covering Alcova and Brera part 2. Our macro take out for day three is Ginormous: a theme characterised by extroverted, voluminous and supersized design – a counterbalance to the restrained design which followed the financial crisis.

Oversized thrown vessels by @wl_ceramics & @arraylighting give a toytown effect with exceptional finishing.

The dressing room @kikigoti creates is a place of excitement, with friendly, monster-like, bulging mirrors and dressers.

Adapted for sleep routines, the anthropomorphic forms of Carlo Lorenzetti provide us with a new take on bedside furniture.

In the micro detail, materials are used in an Elemental Dialogue with designers.

Hyperlocal Camargue salt totems from Atelier LUMA are backlit to reveal the soft diffuse of the salt.

@aeoffices feature ceramics made from the volcanic clay of Jeju Island in Korea: the varying iron levels revealed through colour in the firing.

@nataliatriantafylli and @andrewpiercescott illuminate the natural synthetic sheen of 3D printing against gloss ceramics.

Day /04

Covering Nilufar Depot and Duomo.  Energy is our macro theme today: a topic directly linked to climate change, the cost of living and the war in Ukraine.

We saw varied responses to this, with a key example from @ecal_ch , presenting radical redesigns of wind turbines for the next generation of energy capture.

At @boffi_official , gas was positioned as a luxury, with powerful stand-alone burners alongside induction hobs.

Static energy was harnessed to harvest microplastics using static adhesion by students at Muthesius University of the Arts @muidkiel.

Our micro theme is moiré, the optical effect of overlapping patterns, interfering and causing a rippled appearance. This traditional, conservative application is being adopted by a new generation of designers.

Wall coverings by @lelievreparis at @nilufargallery used the pattern on a huge scale, feeding into our ginormous theme from yesterday.

The sliding of a divider at @boffi_official created the pattern with dramatic effect.

In a different form, The Altar of Craft by @jiri_krejcirik created a physical 3D manifestation of the effect on wood cabinets.

Read our full report on Milan 2023 here.
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This piece was brought to you by the Foresight Team at Seymourpowell.