This week the focus of the furniture world returns to Milan once more for some of the biggest product launches of the year.
Exhibition stalwart Tom Dixon is to step away from the Milan design week circuit for the first time in 15 years, and will instead launch products during a 90-day world tour, but that's not to say that Milan is losing its crown as the biggest furniture expo of the year. There's so much going on it was difficult to fit it all in one blog, so here are our picks for of product launches, installations to see, exhibitions to visit and err, and trams to ride on.
Keep an eye on our social feeds for live updates from Milan design week where we'll be posting all the interesting and inspiring chairs we uncover as the week unfolds. In particular follow our Salone del Mobile 2018 Pinterest board here.
1. Launch: Disco inspired furniture from Gufram
The collection includes upholstered seating inspired by Gufram's upholstered disco seats from the 1970s, a series of carpets with patterns that draw upon the geometry of dance floors, and a series of coffee tables and cabinets that feature warped disco balls.
Mediateca Santa Teresa, a deconsecrated church in Milan's Brera district, from 16 to 21 April 2018.
2. Debut: Brave New World. 3D printed chairs by Nagami
It includes two chairs, Bow and Rise, by Zaha Hadid Architects, a stool by Ross Lovegrove called Robotica TM, and the Peeler chair by Daniel Widrig.
"We design products that until now were just waiting for the right technology to come to life: not only objects that you can hold, but also that you can feel and experience as part of your environment," said Nagami founders Manuel Jimenez García, Miki Jimenez García and Ignacio Viguera Ochoa.
Watch the video to learn more about the art of designing chairs for a 3d printer.
Spazio Theca in Piazza Castello 5
3. Exhibition: Mindcraft 2018
15 large-scale sculptures will come together for a dynamic exhibition in the charming courtyard of San Simpliciano, accompanied by a colossal 100m sofa designed by Hammerstrøm to frame the space, upholstered in Kvadrat fabric. Lick My Ass chair is pictured.
San Simpliciano, Piazza Paolo VI 6
4. Launch: KFF
KFF premiere the GAIA family, designed by the internationally celebrated designer Monica Armani. A chic upholstered chair with fluted back and thin metal legs is sure to be a hit.
Pavilion 10, booth E15
5. Installation: The Diner
New York architect David Rockwell is teaming up with Surface Magazine and design studio 2x4 for an installation called The Diner. This pop-up restaurant packed full of American design is split into four themed areas representing different parts of the USA.
6. Launch: Emu
EMU takes part in IN-OUT Wellbeing in Outdoor at the new City Life District, an open air exhibition with the artistic supervision of Studio Rotella. IN-OUT is based on the concept of outdoor wellbeing and creates a relaxing area within the Design Week to stimulate a deep reflection about outdoor living in the city.
The exhibition areas of the event will host some of the new EMU collections - Mom, Milky, Rivera & Tami, while Terramare sofas and Nef armchairs will furnish the lounge area.
City Life District & Hall 10 Stand C21
7. Exhibition: Typecasting by Vitra
Curated by Austrian designer Robert Stadler, the Typecasting exhibition will take place inside La Pelota. It aims to examine the way furniture shapes people's lives and identities.
Iconic objects, prototypes and designs that never made it into production will be among the 200 archive pieces exhibited.
However there is a twist: this is no stale museum catalogue, instead Stadler groups the furniture items and objects into nine tribes based on their personality. These include Beauty Contestants, the Athletes, the Spartans and the Slashers
La Pelota, Via Palermo 10
8. Launch: Arrmet
Arrmet are unveiling a new collection called Macka, created with Swedish design studio Note. Macka is named after the Swedish for skimming stones; “kasta macka," which literally means to “throw a sandwich".
The perfect “macka” is a stone that is thin with soft rounded edges and this became the inspiration for the Macka collection. The aim was to create a chair that looked like it had been shaped by the ocean for thousands of
years. Macka chairs are ideal for restaurant environments thanks to their soft and inviting expression, together with their petite dimensions. The armrests are designed to embrace the body in a comfortable way and combined with the backrest, creates a holistic expression that is light and elegant.
Arrmet are also unveiling a second new chair exclusively on their stand. The DOC Chair is designed by their internal development & design office and is a highly anticipated addition to the Arrmet family.
Hall 12 Stand B15
9. Exhibition: Hay, WeWork & Sonos
Three big-hitting brands are combining to curate their vision of the future of design.
Hay and WeWork will present an office-like set up that will challenge typical working environments using their combined research and Hay’s new shelving and storage system.
Located at the historical Palazzo Clerici, the exhibition offers over 1500 m2 of design for everyday living and working environments. The ornate atmosphere of Palazzo Clerici sets the framework for a series of installations that celebrate the past while evolving for the future.
10. Launch: Fritz Hansen & Nendo
The N01 dining chair is the perfect blend of Japanese and Danish design. Tokyo-based studio Nendo, worked with Copenhagen-based Fritz Hansen to create a strong chair with a lightweight appearance.
The seat and back panel are made from 9 ply veneer while the frame consists of solid wood. Are completely wooden chairs making a comeback? This is the first all-wood design for Fritz Hansen in 61 years.
Fritz Hansen Concept Store Piazza San Simpliciano
11. Launch: Artifort
International top designers Tej Chauhan, Monika Mulder en Mike & Maaike make their debut for Artifort. Their ideas have produced an extremely refined mix of playful and functional designs with an eye-catching appearance. Artifort has collaborated again with Claesson Koivisto Rune, UNStudio – Ben van Berkel, and René Holten. Dutch designer Khodi Feiz (pictured) who designed the Beso barstool and the Balans side table is presenting not just one, but two novelties to the Artifort collection.
All other details are being kept hush, hush, to be released in the week.
Hall 16, stand E26.
12. Installation: Corallo Tram
Ok, this one doesn't involve chairs but it looks epic so it had to make the list. Corallo have created a mobile salon for Salone del Mobile; a screening room on rails using an original tram from 1928.
The project is inspired by the theme of the journey, as an experience with dream and surreal overtones within a cinema set up.
Milan's urban landscapes are the main subject of the surreal footage that enters through the windows at the back of the tram, creating a dimension that seems to travel in space and time.
Brera Design District. Stops at piazza Castello, 2 via Cusani & 4 Cairoli M1
Are you at Milan this week? Get in touch on social media and let us know your thoughts about this year's event. Not at Milan? Watch out for a new Milan inspired Style Guide coming soon.
Free Furniture Style Guide
Learn more about what's trending in furniture design right now, download our latest Furniture Style Guide including botanical velvet fabrics, spreads on decadent comfort, geometric patterns and terrazzo.