The first object to greet visitors to this year’s edition of the Furniture Show was the large roof of the new exhibition centre designed by Fuksas at the Rho Pero trade fair district. This is not to say that architecture stole the limelight from design. As always, there were many things to see, so many in fact that it became difficult to find your bearings, as you tried to discern the signs of something really new among the repeated iterations of the same cues and styles.

For instance, it is immediately evident that the embroidery-like decorativism that had swept through all recent offerings has been superseded by a form of inspiration drawn from modernist traditions. Examples of furniture with a clean, essential design, therefore, such as Family First by Stefano Giovannoni for Magis, an elegant ensemble of tables and chairs in visually very light polyamide. Other proposals express linearity and formal purity in a more deconstructionist key: achieved by juxtaposing deliberately discordant elements, such as in The Worker sofa by Hella Jongerius for Vitra, or through an architectural treatment, such as in the bookcase by Patricia Urquiola for B&B, with its deep, offset shelves.

Sinuous curved lines and the pleasure of volumes define the seats smoothed like rocks of the ‘archipelago’ Saruyama Islands by Toshiyuki Kita and the world suspended between the organic and the decorative, created by Moroso, which also officially unveiled a collection of smaller objects for the home. There still appears to be room for a more playful and informal approach, however, in the offerings by Driade Store, and in the haughty and unmistakable stylings of Ron Arad, who transforms his recent centrifugally moulded two-tone seat into a rocking chair for design addicts.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 159

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