The Milan Salone del Mobile 2017 (the biggest furniture fair in the world) kicked off on Tuesday April 4th in Milan with hundreds of Designers and Retailers (like Sklar Furnishings) lined up ready for the doors to open.
Visitors experience these massive line-ups not because they want to see or buy something before everyone else – it’s because you need every one of the ten hours a day the show is open! There is so much to see and for Sklar, it is the best time to connect with our manufacturing partners. And since we pride ourselves on our exclusive products, this is always a great venue to find these new products that no one else in the South Florida area has. Last year alone, we came home with five new exclusive vendors to list and showcase at Sklar Furnishings!
Each year trends start to emerge almost immediately, and this year was no different. As buyers, we use this opportunity to evaluate trends to help inspire our clients and customers. We’re on the lookout for color trends, materials, various finishes, shapes (chairs for instance), multi-use products and any unusual uses of products. We recall one year a few years ago where no one showed nightstands – they just used tables or small bookcases. These are the details that are so often missed, but are the foundation of our passion and really fuel our desire for inspiration from around the globe.
Here are our top ten trends from 2017
The buzz premarket was that green was the new color of the year and that we would see it everywhere – after all the Pantone color of the year is…you guessed it, green. We did see greens on display, but only from a very few vendors and when they used it, there was no standard. Tones ranged from a bright spring green to a very deep hunter green. To our eye blues were still very prominent. Some vendors continued to pair it with browns and caramels from 2016, but the majority had moved into the grey family tones. Outside of the show, we saw exactly the same in fashion store windows – some green but mostly blues and greys. We see green playing an accent color role in 2017.
Bunching small and differing tables together to make a cocktail or end table has been a trend for about three years and it’s one we really love. The tables used are usually different shapes, heights, materials and sizes and create a wonderful visual right in the middle of the room. This is a simple way to express your tastes, but also allows you to augment the arrangement in minutes to adapt to different needs, or moods. This year we saw the addition of small fabric ottomans into the cluster, which was a beautiful way to add functionality to the mix as they are able to double as not only a table, but as seating.
Another trend that is not brand new, but has evolved this year is the use of metallic finishes. We started a few years ago moving away from chrome and introducing finishes such as black chrome, gold and rose gold. Typically, this was just used on small portions of a piece, such as the feet of a sofa, the base of a table, or the handles on cases. This year as well as gold and bronze, we saw a lot of titanium and more importantly we saw whole pieces like buffets and cocktail tables done in metallics. Surprisingly, it is very neutral and not overpowering to the rest of the room.
Probably the most dramatic and surprising trend this year was the change in outdoor furniture, as we know it today. Gone was the mesh seating for the contemporary client, and wicker for the more traditional one. Now because of the evolution of performance fabrics, this outdoor furniture looks exactly like your indoor furniture. Leather – yes leather and wood products that are meant for full outdoors. We found ourselves saying “this can’t be for the outdoors” over and over and judging by the smile on the vendor’s face, we were not the only ones shocked. The pictures below will give you an idea, but you really need to see them to believe them.
This new shape emerged this year that proved to be very fresh, functional and popular. The traditional triangle became extended and much softer with rounded edges. It works exceptionally well in a group of bunching tables (see trend #2) but is also very nice as an end table. The stretching and softening of the sides gives a much larger space, which everyone loved.
A fabulous new man-made product was in a few select booths and we are pretty sure we will see a lot more of this next year. Basically it is a process of stamping glass with a pattern taken directly from a sheet of marble. This does several things – it means that every table will be exactly the same. When our customers purchase a marble table now based on the display model in our design showroom, we have to tell them theirs will not look exactly like ours, and we run the risk of ordering a table they do not like. It also means we should have less damage – marble is very fragile and there is traditionally a high risk of breakage. The product has not been named officially but the few vendors we saw exhibiting it were calling it mar glass or glass marble. We’re calling it glass marble for now, and we’ll have more news to share on this amazing material soon.
Every year there is at least one product that is “everywhere” and this year proved to be no different. A new marble pattern called Sahara Nero was in almost every showroom we visited. It has a black background with random lines of white and caramel and we saw it in both polished and matt form. It was used on every surface you can imagine from the ordinary (table tops) to the unusual (fronts of buffets). We were very impressed how versatile it was – it worked well paired with black, brown, taupe and white soft goods. When grey was in the lighter end of the color spectrum the marble paired nicely with that color too.
A fun and efficient trend was the use of love seats around a dining or pub table. Usually it was on one side only, which gave a very nice look. We also saw a fair amount of banquet seating, which may be geared more to the European market because of their smaller homes.
The Occasional Chair
This was very much in the forefront of the show, and in some instances, vendors concentrated their R&D dollars on them. The chairs ranged from architectural to functional but all of them were comfortable and designed to compliment almost any style of decor you already have. This is a great way to freshen up your space without a large expense.
Lighting this year was very dramatic and will definitely play a large roll in creating any look your design team is trying to achieve. Every other year the Euroluce lighting show is running at the same time as the furniture fair and this was the year for Euroluce. Very large chandeliers dominated the rooms, and many of them looked like pieces of. Several of the companies had fun and whimsical lighting including one of a full size mannequin swinging on the light. No doubt due to the proximity of the island of Murano, many vendors used this gorgeous glass in their products.
While the Italian and North American spring markets usually overlap, this year we have the luxury of a week before the High Point market starts. We can’t wait to see what they have in store and how the trends might be compared between the two markets. We’ll be sure to bring you all the latest. Stay tuned!