It’ s the end of the year and, as usual, we try to draw up a picture of the year that is about to end. Browsing through the topics on the blog, different trends emerge. Some of them are still in their starting stages, and will be developed in the future; others are already well established, and will be popular for a very long time. In the main picture, Box Life by Scavolini, a project for minimum space by Rainlight with HOK, inspired by today’s increasingly nomadic life.

Sustainability and Innovation: recycling, reuse and bio and organic materials

The new plastic, bio and recycled

In the furniture industry, bio plastic products are still few, because plastic for furniture needs resistance features not easy to achieve. Among the companies most involved in research, we can mention Kartell, which is developing plastics from natural fibers. The first product is the Biochair, designed by Antonio Citterio.

Booth Kartell at Salone del Mobile 2018, bio plastic area.

The italian brand Agape has also expanded its range of bathtubs by organic materials. Cristalplant Biobased is composed of 50% minerals and 50% polyester bioresin. The Neb bathtub, designed by Benedini Associati for Agape, thanks to Cristalplant Biobased, has a reduced weight and respects the environment.

Bathtub Neb, design Benedini Associati for Agape, made by Cristalplant Biobased.

Finally, to close the bioplastic roundup, Design # 1 by Revology, a contemporary version of the bistro chair. Legs and structure come in bio-plastic, a blend of flax and resin. Seat and backrest are also by plastic of organic origin which is extremely resistant, anti-scratch and customizable, thanks to a laser treatment. The joints are in recycled brass.

Agriculture as a resource

Meanwhile, in Thailand, they are developing technologies to reuse agricultural waste. Like these stools, made of rice straw with artificial bonding agents, which belong to the T Style – Eco Commercial Design projectThai Ministry of Commerce and the DITP promote the project, to foster a culture of sustainable consumption.

Style Bangkok Fair, October 2018, T Style; stool by rice straw with artificial bonding agent.

The scientific research

Consciousness towards sustainability and innovation is becoming increasingly popular. Thus Siemens dedicated the heart of the “most sustainable building in the world”, The Crystal, to this subject. The space, a project by architects Jotta and Jump created by Shape Studio, is made with Bencore panels, very light, permeable to light and with honeycomb cladding.

Siemens Crystal Board Room, project by Jotta and Jump architects, created by Shape Studio with Lightben Plus panels by Bencore.

Materials, textures, surfaces

Stone, marble and ceramics

The 2018 trends in furniture: sustainability, innovation, new materials. Neolith, by The Size, is a sintered stone suitable for indoor and outdoor cladding.

Neolith by The Size, sintered stone for cladding.

Antoniolupi keeps on working with marble with Intreccio, by Paolo Ulian. Layered strips of transparent marble compose the corolla of a flower. Intreccio also focuses on saving material: from a single block of marble it is possible to create 4 washbasins.

Intreccio washbasin, by Paolo Ulian for Antonio Lupi.

Eternal Silestone is a collection of surfaces made with N-Boost technology, which makes it highly waterproof and stain resistant. Silestone quartz surfaces is a brand of the Cosentino group.

Eternal Silestone surface in Nero Marquina color.

Natural materials

Rattan and cane are natural materials popular again from some years. De Padova re-edited an armchair from 1960, by Paolo Tilche, from the Bonacina 1889 Historical Archive.

Silvia, design by Paolo Tilche in 1960, re-edited by De Padova.

At the Milan Salone del Mobile 2018, woven cane furniture is back in the spotlight. From Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, the lounge chair Loïe, by Chiara Andreatti, and the sofa Targa, by GamFratesi.

Booth Gebrüder Thonet Vienna at Salone del Mobile 2018, with the lounge chair Loïe, by Chiara Andreatti.

The lightness

At the London Design Festival, we have seen products made of very lightweight materials, such as carbon fibre. The Karbon by Actiu chair works with the properties of the material to create chair ergonomic and comfortable without mechanisms and, of course, very lightweight.

Karbon chair, by Javier Cunado-studio ITEMdesignworks for Actiu.

The wood rediscovered

The Torsion table, by Mario Bellini for Natuzzi, features an unexpected use of wood. Panels by olive wood, which comes from Puglia, homeland of Natuzzi, opens and unfolds in a corolla, creating a striking base.

Torsion table, by Mario Bellini for Natuzzi.

Poliform also is a master of wood, as seen in the Kensington table by Jean-Marie Massaud. With a sculptural base, the table was presented at the Milan Salone del Mobile 2018.

Table Kensington, by Jean-Marie Massaud for Poliform.

Finally Emmemobili, an Italian brand focused on wooden furniture, creates genuine sculptures, such as the Evolution sideboard by Ferruccio Laviani.

Detail of Evolution sideboard, by Ferruccio Laviani for Emmemobili.

Precious metals

The research for materials by Flou leads to the discovery of burnished brass, a metal ageing with time, perfect combined with glass, as in the B-Wave table by Massimo Castagna.

Side table B-Wave, by Massimo Castagna for Flou.

Speaking of metals, the Thinness collection of 06D, a design studio founded in London by a couple of Italian designers, is made up of chairs, tables, chandeliers, in folded metal, welded and hand-finished, with a thickness of only 2 mm (3 mm the lamp).

Centaurus chair, Thinness Collection Gold Edition, by 06D Studio, photo Fabio Nova.

The mini-kitchens

Awarded with the Salone del Mobile.Milano Award 2018, the Japanese kitchen brand Sanwa developed different models of mini-kitchens complete with all functions, designed by many internationally renowned designers.

For some years now, Boffi re-edited the iconic mini-kitchen in the history of design, designed by Joe Colombo in 1963. Minikitchen is manufactured in white Corian, in marine plywood for outdoor use, and is also available in Paperstone® or lacquered.

Minikitchen, designed by Joe Colombo in 1963, manufactured by Boffi, in white Corian.

From Thailand, Qrua Compact by Kenkoon, a kitchen combining functions, accessories and tableware in a compact and foldable unit, ideal for small spaces, studios or lofts.

Smart home and technology

Natuzzi developed a Smart Living program, unveiled at the Milan Salone del Mobile 2018. Created in partnership with LG Electronics, the Natuzzi smart living program allows the Colosseum sofa, designed by Mauro Lipparini, to be the heart of a smart living, connected to many other household elements, including lighting, TV, air purifier, etc.. A virtual assistant, voice-controlled, or a smartphone app, handle the functions.

A clean, fragrant and sanitized atmosphere is that of the Armadio al Centimetro (Wardrobes) by Lema. LEMA Air Cleaning System is a worldwide exclusive patented mechanism which purifies the cabinet interior, reducing up to 90% of bad smells.

New trends for home-office and offices

Privacy, calm, silence. Whether at home or in the office, this is what everyone is looking for, especially in open spaces. A few minutes of concentration, for a special phone call, for an email, to check an account or simply for a bit of silence. Snowsofa, part of the Snowsound system by Caimi Brevetti, is an acoustic sofa designed by Sezgin Aksu, with a high back made of Snowsound-Fiber fabrics.

Snowsofa, by Sezgin Aksu for Caimi Brevetti.


Finally, a trend always alive, inspired by nature and flowers.
Also part of the trend is the Greenwood collection by Alessandra Baldereschi for Ichendorf, in transparent glass with delicate accents of color.

Vase from the Greenwood collection, by Alessandra Baldereschi for Ichendorf.

A final touch is the color Pantone 2019, Living Coral. Even though for us, who monitor and take part to the Milan Design Week, this is not really new, since Cristina Celestino designed the Tram Corallo already in April 2018 in Milan.

Tram Corallo, a project by Cristina Celestino for Milan Design Week 2018.