Furnish the future

Milan’s furniture fair, Salone Internazionale del Mobile, marks its 51st year by focusing on technology and its influence on design. The fair will take place at the Milan Fairgrounds in Rho and will open for trade visitors from April 17 to 22, and to the general public on April 21 and 22. Opening times are 9.30am-6.30pm.

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The National Museum for Science and Technology in Milan (formerly a monastery) will become an epicentre for the freshest ideas in communication, food, culture, design and industry. Instigated by British designer Tom Dixon, the exhibition will be in collaboration with machine tools supplier TRUMPF. Dixon himself will be using sheet metal machines to punch and bend steel chairs and lamps for visitors for free. Guests can have lunch, afternoon tea or dinner at Spring Table, a pop-up restaurant under the frescoes of the old refectory. At the gelateria, visitors can also make their own flavour of ice cream.

National Museum of Science and Technology, Via Olona 6B, 20123 Milan, April 21, 10am-9pm, April 22, 10am-6pm. www.tomdixon.net

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Riva 1920

Riva 1920, a wooden furniture company, will be recycling wine barrels from the winery at San Patrignano, which is also Europe’s largest residential drug rehabilitation centre. Designers and members of the San Patrignano community will take part in workshops to make furniture out of the French oak barrels.


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Twentyfirst offers a refreshingly simple take on old objects and symbols. The exhibit includes a tree sculpture that also serves as a bookshelf and a head that serves as a pouf.

Milan Fairgrounds, Pavilion12, Stand F20. www.21st-design.com

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Adrenalina might have held itself hostage to fortune by making its motto “We are different” but it does take inspiration from some unusual sources. The spikes on the bomb chair certainly make an impression and there is something of the voluptuous woman about the sexy chair.

Milan Fairgrounds, Pavilion 20, Stand E09. www.adrenalina.it

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Pintdecor has used metallic embellishments to give religious iconography a glossy, photographic quality.


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B.lab Italia specialises in tabletops and floor tiles that contain vivid, coloured liquids. Clients include Fiat and Google, but even if you don’t have a company display or bar-top to decorate, it is worth visiting to see what it can do with its colourful designs.


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HAG has designed a Balanced Movement Mechanism, inspired by horse riders, to design chairs that allow the body to move without restrictions when sitting down. The brand offers “Scandinavian business seating” that is worth investigating if you are looking for minimalist ergonomic chairs.

Milan Fairgrounds, Pavilion 6, Stand C36. www.hag-global.com

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German brand Brühl will be showing its bright and bold designs that include pebble-shaped sofas in moss green and chairs with petal-shaped backs. Worth visiting for pieces that are almost childishly pleasing.

Milan Fairgrounds, Pavilion 6, Stand C31. www.bruehl.com

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The “skybook” is a multimedia installation dedicated to the history of Milan. Visitors will be able to walk through the Sala Federiciana and the Cortile degli Spiriti Magni to see and hear material that examines the ancient origins of the city.

Biblioteca Pinacoteca Accademia. Ambrosiana, Milan. April 17-22, 7.45pm-11.00pm

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As the fair’s focus this year is technology and how it has affected design, it would be worth seeing what entrants have submitted to the SaloneSatellite prize. The prize is aimed at young designers from around the world and will be a launch pad for budding stars of the future. Contestants will be aiming for a prize in the kitchen or bath category.

Milan Fairgrounds, Pavilions 22 and 24

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EGO Paris

Those shopping for their summer residences should take a look at EGO Paris’s designs for relaxing in the sun. Its garden furniture mixes materials such as teak and lacquered aluminium with intricate patterns and a dash of colour.

Milan Fairgrounds, Pavilion 6, Stand E39. www.furniture-egoparis.com

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V World by VickenVanlian

VickenVanlian, an Armenian-Lebanese interior designer, will be taking over the loft at Dimore Studio to exhibit four new collections: Private Session, Beyond, Re-fuse and Globe trekker. He has created furniture with an industrial touch for Re-fuse, using pipes and materials from traditional ironmongers. Globe trekker on the other hand is a collection of furniture made from suitcases and vintage leather.

Dimore Studio, 11 Via Solferino, Milan, April 16-22, 11am-9pm

Cocktails served: 6pm-8pm


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Paradise by the Royal College of Art

To celebrate its 175th anniversary, London’s Royal College of Art will be exhibiting work by its students. Located in the Ventura Lambrate district, the students will take over classrooms of a former school building. Some of the designs are one-off pieces, while others are intended for manufacturing. Products include a chair by Kihyun Kim that has been shortlisted for London’s Design Museum 2012 awards, and an expanding and contracting fan table made from more than 400 slats of bamboo.

4 Via Ventura, Milan, April 17-22, 10am-8pm (free); Opening party: 18 April, 7pm-10pm

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FTK (Technology for the Kitchen) will run with EuroCucina and offers visitors the chance to see newly designed appliances from brands such as Bosch, Siemens and Scholtès. As well as showing off new technology and design, companies will be looking to show that their products are environmentally friendly.

The International Bathroom Exhibition won’t just be showing off hot tubs and lavatories. This year there will be a “wellness centre” to offer some respite from endlessly traipsing about the furniture stalls.

Milan Fairgrounds, Pavilions 9 and 11. www.cosmit.it

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