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Lucy visited the Salone del Mobile in Milan for us...

Wednesday, 28 April 2010 by Irene Hoofs

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Dear Lucy from the Design Files went to the Salone del Mobile in Milan last month and when I heard about it I was jealous of course :) but also very curious, why she went, what she liked best and what it was like to go as a professional design blogger to one of the biggest furniture design events of the year….she was so kind enough to answer all my questions and share with us some of her own images

Why going to the Fair?

I have always wanted to attend the fair... especially after last year when my friend, Australia stylist Megan Morton attended the fair and sweetly wrote a little Milan round-up for my blog! After seeing all her incredible photos I knew I had to visit myself!   This year I was lucky enough to finally make it there...

Did you go alone or with some other design lovers?
I went alone, but I did know quite a few other Australian designers, design-lovers, media etc who were also going... so I was never really alone!  Even though nearly 300,000 people attend the fair, I managed to accidentally bump into pretty much every Australian I know!   I think we must be magnetic :)

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What were your first impressions?
First impressions - um, it was HUGE!  The main fair, in the Milan fairgrounds at Rho was SO so huge and overwhelming, I got a bit flustered until I accepted the fact that I would never see everything, and just prioritised specific favourite designers and certain areas.  

I was also just amazed at how much effort and expense everyone goes to with their stands and installations... I cannot even imagine how much money is spent on installations by people like the Campana Brothers, Tokujin Yoshioka etc.... it is mind boggling.
 
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Trends, trends .... what are the trends?

Oh that is hard...!  I am not convinced about the idea of 'trends' - I feel that a well-designed piece of furniture should be timeless and beautiful forever!  Having said that, I did notice a few common themes... there was lots of coloured / tinted glass used for lighting, tableware and furniture.  I especially loved the Swedish designer Daniel Rybakken's stunning wall-leaning Colour light, and Out of Stock's Hues table. Super beautiful.

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I also noticed the use of Carrara marble by many designers for smaller accessories, lighting, and an incredible marble sculpted coffee table by London-based Ifeanyi Oganwu of Expand Design

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There was also lots of work inspired by nature / plant life - lots and lots of tables, shelving and garden furniture designed to accommodate plants, and many installations which made use of vertical gardens and lush leafy foliage.

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 Which designer or designs are your favorites?

Emerging Swedish designer Daniel Rybakken's stunning wall-leaning Colour light was my favourite single piece(see image on top).  I also really loved Grace Winteringham's Phase Bureau.  Diesel's 'Successful Living' range had a brilliantly designed stand inspired by a 'Moon Landing' - though not many new designs on show.

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In which way was this Fair useful for you as a professional design blogger?

Oh well I guess the main thing was feeling part of the action - in Australia I often feel very far away from the big design happenings in the world - it was amazing to be part of the first-hand experience, rather than just reading about it all online!  As for being useful to me as a 'professional blogger'...oh Irene you are too kind!  I think  perhaps the trip was more useful to me as a stylist than as a blogger... although it did afford me the opportunity to change my masthead temporarily which was quite exciting! (Thanks to Kat Macleod!).

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Funniest moment during your trip?
Oh there were many 'lost in translation' moments... I speak no Italian at all, so there was much hysterical pointing, miming etc.  I had great great fun with my Italian housemate Paola - she was the BEST host and took me out riding through Milan's busy streets on her shiny little vespa - that was incredible!   We snuck into a big Audi party in the Tortona area one night, which was very much 'invite only' - we pretended to be official photographers using my camera, and I ended up with hundreds of pics of people I don't even know!  

The Volcano in Iceland also made for some nervous laughter (or hysteria!) towards the end of the trip!

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Which other Fair is on your list to visit?
I would love to attend Maison et Objet in Paris one day!  

Any tips for first time Fair-visitors?
Attend the main far at Rho first - it is the least exciting, good to get it out the way early! Also, do not even CONSIDER seeing everything.  It is impossible.  Relax and take in what you can... it is too easy to be overwhelmed by all that is going on during the fair!

OH and if you have a blog - write some posts in advance! It is way hard to blog everyday whilst you are away! :) THANKS SO MUCH IRENE! Lucy xxx

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