The 2023 Salone Furniture Fair Yields Fresh Design Inspiration Aplenty

The April 2023 Salone del Mobile Furniture Fair in Milan was a major success and represented a full-scale return to the ways of fairs past, with extravagant displays and sprawling pavilions from the top brands in design.

Our team spent a jam-packed four days at the fairgrounds, and visited over 30 supplying partners at fairground booths, flagship showrooms, factories and special exhibits throughout Milan and Northern Italy.

Promoting 'Slow Design', the antithesis of fast fashion

This year’s show theme had a distinct “Slow Design” feel to it. Combating the ‘fast fashion’ trend in the furniture industry has long been a driving force behind Italian furniture design. While Livingspace  consciously partners with brands that counteract a hyper-consumerist market for decades, we’ve encountered a growing number of companies and initiatives at Salone working towards creating products that are eco-friendly and sustainable, while also paying employees fair and competitive wages.

A few of our highlights from Salone week

The Minotti Pavilion

Minotti pulled out all the stops with Salone’s largest exhibition, titled the “Minotti Pavilion”. Spanning approximately 4000 square metres across two levels, the sprawling complex was the jewel of the fair. Architecturally custom-built exclusively for the fair two weeks prior to the event, the pavilion consisted of a private wing and a public-access wing, bisected by a large glass tunnel vestibule allowing visitors to see the spectacular designs on offer.

Central to the concept of the Minotti Pavilion was the desire to create a fully immersive Minotti experience, untainted by outside influences. To achieve this, the exhibition featured large privacy walls blocking out the rest of the fair and keeping the focus of attendees exclusively within the curated Minotti environment. Additionally, despite the temporary nature of the exhibition, the Minotti display came complete with fully functional plumbing, providing visitors with a real-world simulation of living in a Minotti furnished home.

The Baxter Villa

The Baxter Villa is a small villa dating back to 1902, which serves as an immersive showcase for the brand, displaying Baxter’s in-house collections of dining tables, outdoor furniture, exquisite leather armchairs and sofas, and marble coffee tables – all in a spectacular setting in the hills above Lake Como, Italy.

Our team had the opportunity to visit the Baxter Villa on the Sunday before the commencement of Salone del Mobile, setting an inspirational tone for the week ahead.

Paola Lenti’s new flagship

The newly planned Paola Lenti’s flagship was still under construction when our team visited, but in motion are big plans for what is sure to be a truly unique experience, in typical Paola Lenti fashion. In time, the current space will be converted into a multi-functional Paola Lenti owned and operated boutique space, which will include a restaurant & bar, a spa and a small-scale hotel.

The company’s 2023 collection is a stunning reflection of their eco-friendly and anti-consumerist business objective, and we can’t wait to bring some of these pieces to Vancouver and share them with the local design community!

Paolo Lenti is often credited with having invented the concept of slow design in the outdoor furniture sector, and they are known for fostering extremely positive relationships with their factory workers, whom they affectionally refer to as their “artists”. At the core of the company’s ethos is a commitment to free-flowing creativity and a resistance to what’s trendy. This untethered creative spirit is the soul of Paola Lenti, and it is evident in each and every one of their designs, which makes our visit with them a highlight each time we are in Milan.

Porro’s history-making President of Salone

As is the case with Paola Lenti, Porro too is in the process of launching a new flagship to showcase their brand. Their new facility is located just off of Via Durini, the most popular street for high-end furniture design in Milan.

Our team had the chance to connect with Porro’s head of Marketing Communications, Maria Porro, who this year made history by being appointed the first female President of Salone del Mobile.

The ‘Free System’ from Acerbis

A brand that is really starting to make an impact in the design world, Acerbis’ “Free System” had everyone talking. A super comfortable and on-trend modular sofa that was redesigned from the company archives for their 2023 collection, it was one of the highlight pieces to come from the fair this year.

Casa Manzoni with La Manufacture

For the week of Salone, La Manufacture had their brand exhibit at Casa Manzoni, former home of the famous writer Alessandro Manzoni. The exhibit featured atmospheric soundscapes throughout the apartment, including readings from Manzoni’s writings, while subtle ambient violet lighting washed over the various spaces, emphasizing the beautiful colour palettes of the furniture on display.

Read more about the exhibit.

Into the AI future with Moooi

Moooi brought a delightful interactive flair to Salone this year with an AI generated personalized room spray maker. Visitors were asked to answer a series of questions, after which the program created a customized scent based on their personality.