Comment: Mark Marin Design on Salone del Mobile

‘Austerity was perhaps the theme of this year’s biggest event on the design calendar; the Eurozone economic crisis seems to be having some significant impact with many companies who traditionally have had elaborate and expensive stands have noticeably downsized or simply reduced costs –  its plain to see.

Having said that there is still no substitute for the buzz and energy that the fair generates along with its now well established supplementary events such as Zona Tortona and all the other Fuori Salone (outside) events – too many to list.

At the Salone itself, Flexform showed resilience with the depth and quality of its collection – meticulously displayed in what was perhaps the best stand of the fair.

Some of the majors, it has to be said, were a little disappointing.

Minotti showed a new classic sofa collection in a typically elegant setting,  building on its already full house of crafted sofas driven by its visionary creative director designer Rodolfo Dordoni –  who has created the superbly sophisticated look that is now Minotti. Although it must also be said that its new armchair collection bears a little too much resemblance to Knoll’s Saarinen ‘Womb’ chair in my opinion at least.

Traditionally the fair was the venue to showcase exclusively new product but increasingly these days its seems merely a venue for simply putting everything the company does on display –  in some fashion –and not necessarily anything even new.

Ron Gilad’s  ‘Grado’ collection for Molteni was a stand-out  exception– a fine angled frame  table collection with glass tops – the skill of its engineering by Molteni clearly evident.

Kartell continue to innovate  with the re-edition of the vintage 4801 armchair by the Italian master Joe Colombo from 1965. Originally designed in plywood, now re-interpreted in plastic as only Kartell can do. And, lets not forget to mention  ‘Miss Less’ – what would the fair be without yet another new chair by Phillipe Starck.

Cecotti  –  a company well known for its finely crafted timber work, branched out of strictly timber with some beautifully crafted timber & metal combination and pure metal pieces –  more one-off’s than production beautifully bronzed finishes having an air of genuine quality and timelessness –  rare commodities in this age.

Moroso continues to develop is uniquely specialized, almost hand-crafted approach to upholstery with several beautiful pieces on display.

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