After two pandemic disruptions years, Mobile Fair, one of the most respected design fairs in the world, was back IRL this week in Milan, Italy. WIRED visited booths, booths and exhibitions in search of the most exciting new products, designs and designers. An absolute melting pot of creative talent, Salone del Mobile – think CES, but for the world of interiors – is transforming the city with pop-ups as domestic global brands and aspiring design grads come together to pitch their ideas under the Italian sun. Difficult gig! But the show forms famous opinions and kicks off design trends. Here’s what caught our attention.
Ikea Obegränsad turntable
Proof that the vinyl revolution has evolved far beyond audiophile listening rooms, this turntable – its name means “unlimited” in Swedish – was designed in collaboration with electronic music giants Swedish house mafia. Details remain scarce, but the chunky design will have Bluetooth connectivity as well as analog connectors. Luckily it comes with a cartridge from trusted brand Audio Technica, which should elevate performance beyond bog standard and ensure your records aren’t damaged as can often happen with cheap needles. The turntable will be available in the fall and will launch alongside a series of other music-oriented pieces, including a purpose-built desk to house the music production kit. $ to be determined from Ikea.
CEA Designs Abaco modular bathroom
Save your prison toilet jokes, please, as this is an exceptionally innovative modular bathroom system from Italian company CEA Designs. By combining drain, flush and bidet functions with optional units including shower heads, screens, sinks and taps, the idea is that by having all the jobs in one space ( hidden neatly inside the units), it becomes much easier to outfit a space like a bathroom. Made entirely of hygienic and infinitely recyclable stainless steel, this hard-wearing design features sleek integrated floor lighting, as well as rear-mounted LEDs that illuminate the wall against which it is positioned. Price on request from ECA designs.
Simon Schmitz Lighting DIA Lamp
Based in Hamburg, Germany, Simon Schmitz creates modern sculptural lighting that is both functional and performative. Nowhere is this balance better exemplified than in the monolithic DIA floor lamp. This 1.8 meter high anodized aluminum, steel and glass tower features two powerful 3000K LEDs that can be adjusted to act as downlights, spotlights or both, depending on the environment. atmosphere you are trying to create. Inside the glass tube, two red steel cables conduct electricity between the two LEDs, while providing structural bracing for the entire design. The top-mounted cooling element appears to float in mid-air when the lights are on. $ to be determined from Simon Schmitz.
Krill Design Homeware 3D Printed from Lemons
We caught up with Italian design studio Krill last year when it launched Ohmie, fully compostable lamps, each made from the peel of three juicy Sicilian oranges. The rejected skin is added to a biopolymer base derived from plant starches, which can then be used for 3D printing. However, not content with sticking to a single citrus fruit, the company has now adapted its equipment to use Mediterranean lemons. The first three items made with the bright yellow biopolymer are a magazine rack, a wall clock and, of course, a fruit bowl. Without forgetting its orange origins, Krill has also added two other items to its Ribera collection: Methoda totemic modular desk organizer, and Hidee, an open vase with a concave shape that makes the inserted flower stems disappear. Not only do these items look and smell appealing (yes, each has the natural flavor of the fruit it’s made from), but each product offsets around one kilogram of CO2. $68 (€65) and more at krill design.
Wall light Pierre Murot U1
Pierre Murot is an industrial designer who graduated from ENSCI-Les Ateliers and the École Boulle in Paris. Her work explores new ways of working with often forgotten natural materials, reusing them in distinct and contemporary ways. At Salone, he was exhibiting a project that sought innovative ways to work with clay, refining the artisanal extrusion process to create modern functional objects. His original research project, carried out on site in a traditional terracotta brickyard in the Dordogne region of France, resulted in a series of pieces including these deceptively simple and richly textured LED wall lights, as well as a collection of modular storage units that remind me of our student days, building shelves out of scaffolding planks and cinder blocks, but with a lot classier. $ to be determined from Pierre Murot
Sideboard Noise Cyryl Zakrzewski
Many of the products on display at Salone 2022 attempt to use recycled plastic to create something aesthetically pleasing. Some efforts are more successful than others, like this piece by Polish designer Cyryl Zakrzewski, who believes that “plastic should now be considered a luxury material.” Looking more like a topological map than living room furniture, Zakrzewski’s 6-foot-long Noise Sideboard is crafted entirely from recycled plastic, which is CNC machined to create its signature waveform panels. From the designer’s Continuum collection, the synthetic material, made using Boomplastica Polish collective that has created its own mills, injectors and machines to enable efficient small-scale plastic recycling, is meant to look like natural stone until you get close to it and the structure’s true nature of the sideboard becomes obvious. $ to be determined from Cyryl Zakrzewski
Prostoria Rostrum and Sabot sofas
Modularity was a big new thing at the show, with countless brands unveiling products that can be adjusted, changed, extended and upgraded to suit your needs and your space. In addition to the Abaco bathroom (see above), we were very impressed with the work of Slovenian furniture brand Prostoria. Alongside Benjamin Hubert Layer A design agency, the company has created two modular sofas – Rostrum and Sabot – both of which can be configured for home and workplaces, and in particular the gray area in between brought about by the WFH revolution. In addition to being able to adapt the sofas to your space, they can each be equipped with accessories such as electric elements, height-adjustable side tables, ottomans, planters and even screen dividers to create cubicles . $ to be determined from Prostoria
La Pavoni Cellini Evolution coffee machine
While we all love the simplicity and time-saving touchscreen of a modern coffee machine, it’s hard not to fall for the overtly analog charm of this all-Italian La Pavoni coffee machine. Weighing in at 66 pounds and featuring two boilers, the Cellini Evoluzione combines professional-grade components in a home-sized machine, with gloriously tactile dials (redesigned and improved on this new version) and acres of high-grade stainless steel. We got our first look at the new machine behind the scenes at the Smeg booth (which acquired La Pavoni in 2019), and can confirm that this new version is built to take on Rocket Espresso and La Marzocco. $2,464 (£2,000) from Smeg
Baku Circle, Rectangle, Square
There is a touch of levity in Baku Sakashita’s work which emphasizes the importance of artisan form, with naturalistic shapes and materials blending effortlessly with modern functionality. His latest lighting project, three wirelessly charging portable lamps, are sleek, sculptural and wonderfully tactile, with the bulb, wireless charging coils and electronics buried deep within. They are subtle, practical and inventive – three touchstones so often missed when it comes to combining art and technology. $ to be determined from Studio Baku
Mengel dining table
Georg Mengel is a table and chair designer based in Copenhagen, but before that his masters in engineering saw him work in the cement industry. It’s no surprise, then, that he thinks concrete is a versatile, underutilized material outside of construction. So he set out to create concrete furniture inspired by modernist classics and Danish and Japanese design traditions. The problem was that the resulting parts weighed way too much.
Mengel used his engineering skills to experiment with alkali-resistant carbon fiber and glass-reinforced cement to make stronger, thinner slabs with less concrete. As a result, his 7.8-foot-long table weighs 220 pounds, whereas it would weigh 550 pounds if made with traditional materials. “The material used is kept to a minimum, with a minimal footprint-to-impact ratio,” says Mengel. “Plus, it makes the parts ship flat, taking up the least amount of shipping space.” Price on request from M3ng3l.