Seven trends to look out for at milan design week 2018

Several of these touch on the themes laid out in the Salone del Mobile’s recently published manifesto – the first of its kind since the launch of the fair in 1961. It called for the design industry to champion innovation and sustainability at this year‘s event.

With the environmental impact of waste plastic now a major global concern, many designers have started exploring the potential for recycling this material, and have come with an array of imaginative solutions. We expect to see a wide variety of these on show all over Milan.

At new venue Ventura Future, Japanese designer Kodai Iwamoto will showcase vases made using a technique he calls plastic blowing (pictured), while Dutch company Trashplast will present an innovative new material made from recycled polyethylene plastic.


Warm Nordic – a new brand set up to give "a second chance" to designs that were once popular in Nordic countries but less well known elsewhere – will present designs from the 1950s and 1960s, along with new products designed specifically to complement them.

Following the launch of the Vegan Homeware Awards last year, Israeli designer Erez Nevi Pana plans to delve further into what is possible in design without cruelty to animals. He plans to reveal the results in an exhibition in the 5Vie district.

In a preview event for the new Established & Sons furniture collection (pictured), design director Sebastian Wrong revealed that the brand will only be showing designs that are ready to order in Milan. He claimed that customers easily now lose interest in products they can’t buy right away.

This will be highlighted in an exhibition at Salone Satellite, titled Africa/Latin America: Rising Design – Design Emergente. Curated by Franco-Moroccan designer Hicham Lahlou, the Africa section will feature 18 emerging designers from across the continent.

The influence of Africa is likely to also feature in brand collections. For instance, Walter Knoll’s Milan launch is a series of rugs based on African landscapes, and the Waxman Brothers are presenting an accessories collection made with African-inspired textiles.

Tech brands will be making a big impression at this year‘s design week, with Google making its Milan debut, and both Panasonic and Dassault Systèmes planning big events. A key topic for all three of these companies is how digital devices can become part of a healthy lifestyle.

Dassault Systèmes has enlisted Kengo Kuma, Superflux and Studio Roosegaarde to create an installation showing how the built environment can prevent air pollution. Similarly, Panasonic’s show, called Air Interventions, will explore how electronic products can promote wellbeing.

Drama, music and performance look set to make a big comeback in Milan this year. Lighting brand Lasvit is hosting an exhibition called Monster Cabaret, set to be filled with weird and wonderful creations, while architecture studio Stanton Williams is building a pavilion dedicated to dance.

Meanwhile a group of Dutch designers is transforming the historical Museo Diocesano into Bar Anne, which they describe as "a bar and show combined into one full experience and fun happening", and Studiopepe is creating an exclusive members club in a secret location.