Grazie Italia

Cool and essential were the buzzwords at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan

It has given us some of the best designers of the modern age, so it’s only right that Italy should host one of the biggest and most lauded design shows in the world. Salone del Mobile, held in Milan, sets the tone and the standard for everyone else. Its 55th edition, held this spring, was no exception. It was expansive, with events, exhibitions and presentations, including the exciting SaloneSatellite, which showcased the work of 650 designers under the age of 35. A particular highlight was Marni’s space at Viale Umbria 42, which the design house transformed into a ballroom named Marni Ballhaus. It wasn’t just the setting that was impressive however, Marni really put on a show, with dance performances and audience participation and demonstrations. The colourful pieces themselves stood out, such as the rocking chair, which were made by a group of women in Colombia who have gained independence through work. Marni also donated a portion of the proceeds to the Vimala Association which supports children’s projects. The furniture fair’s popularity shows no sign of waning – 2016 saw close to 400,000 visitors (including the Prime Minister of Italy, Matteo Renzi) descend on the city to view items such as Billani’s twisted Tango coat stand, Petite Friture’s Grid daybed by Pool and Zilio A&C’s simple but chic wall-mounted René bike rack. Many of the best pieces combined a quirky look with a practical nature, and visitors left with a renewed energy, armed with inspiration.