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Milan blog: Innovation back on the agenda

bfiAfter a couple of years where rooting about in the archives and celebrating anniversaries by reissuing classic designs was the agenda for many established firms, this year’s Milan Design Week saw new products return to the fore.

Yes there were updates, but the mood was more Athletico Madrid’s attack at pace than Barcelona’s pass the ball for ever: companies recognised that they had to grab visitors’ attention with something new, rather than variations on a theme.

The 1950’s theme seen last year was still in evidence, but the larger companies have moved on from this leaving smaller rivals playing catch-up and looking a bit commodity product.

The expansion of Rho’s kitchen show and the relocation of upcoming designers’ Salone Satellite gave an impression of less furniture (and rugs), but this was largely illusionary with many companies relocated to unfamiliar locations. It also created a concentration of ‘bling’ with almost an entire hall of non-traditional products not destined for the UK, Western Europe or the US.

Such taste decisions were largely absent in town, with more adventure to the fore, particularly at Ventura while Brera has further matured to be an essential visit, all backed by summer temperatures which next year could be higher as Milan 2015 will start a week later.

MDW does strange things to people (and not just their feet). About 20 minutes after take-off of my flight on Tuesday  ‘Two gin and tonics’ was the order from two UK iSalone visitors. It was 7.25am.

Pictured is Casamania’s Bridges for Islands upholstery and table.