Room Service


The annual Salone Internazionale del Mobile furniture fair in Milan is all about size and scale: the greatest number of visitors, the most champagne consumed, more products than any one person could ever see. This year marked its 50th anniversary, meaning even grander gestures—including a virtual forest created in the shadow of Teatro alla Scala. Here, our picks from the show.


Italian architect Ferruccio Laviani knows from fashion, having created interiors the world over for Dolce & Gabbana. And like an expert couturier, he masks the interior construction of his Bloom lamp for Kartell, studding its tubular skeleton with transparent polycarbonate flowers.


With his penchant for high-backed, cocoonlike chairs, Spanish designer Jaime Hayon for years seemed to be riffing on the language of Danish design icon Arne Jacobsen. So it was fitting that Hayon recently teamed up with Jacobsen’s former patron and producer, Fritz Hansen, to create Favn, a curving, frame-backed sofa with a name that’s Danish for “embrace”—and an expertly stitched shell that offers a modern take on midcentury.


Doshi Levien’s Impossible Wood chair for Moroso was inspired by a Seventies-era Martin Puryear sculpture in curved wood, but its construction is pure 21st century. Using a material known as liquid wood—it’s part wood fiber, part polypropylene, and mixes the patinated look of timber with the fluidity of plastic—the British design couple created a chair that mimics the appearance of bentwood classics yet owes its improbable curves to injection molding.


Inspired by the shapes and colors of the villages in its namesake West African country, Giulio Cappellini’s Burkina Faso storage system is a jigsaw of lacquered MDF modular parts—consoles, cabinets, benches, and poufs that can be arranged to create intriguing juxtapositions of textile and wood, matte and mirrored surfaces.


Cassina delved into its storied archive this year, unearthing designs by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand and adapting them for open-air use. Among the pieces: Perriand’s slatted, sinuous Tokyo lounge chair, designed in 1940 as a bamboo interpretation of Le Corbusier’s famed LC4 but not produced until now.


Buzzy young British designer Benjamin Hubert rolled out 10 or so new products with nine different companies. Our favorite was his Maritime chair for Casamania: a plywood seat with exterior ribbing meant to resemble a ship’s hull, available in three colors including, of course, a nautical blue.


British designer Michael Anastassiades trained as a civil engineer, so it makes sense that his newest collection of lights should be focused on precision and equilibrium. His kinetic MC5 floor lamp is constructed as if it were a mobile, its weighted arm balanced by the mouth-blown opaline glass of its bulb.


Italian company Cerruti Baleri continued its fashion crossover this year in collaborations with Maison Martin Margiela and in an installation devoted to couture designer Maurizio Galante, who devised this one-off sofa for the reception area of a Paris fashion school. Canape Cactus stitches together more than a dozen of Galante’s egg-shaped, digitally printed poufs to make an amoeba-like structure that looks sharp but won’t sting.


In the past, Poltrona Frau’s storied leather graced the furniture of Italian royals and the backseats of Maseratis. This year the company unveiled a wenge-colored ash-wood desk topped with one of its seamless hides, turning the whole desktop into a richly textured blotter. Called Fred, it’s designed to sit alongside Ginger, a matching topstitched swivel seat.