13 November 2019

China. The new frontier of Made in Italy design

The new frontier of design? China, without a doubt. A vast, faraway land, still virgin compared with a lot of European design, appears to have opened its doors to Made in Italy over the last few years. Thanks to its millenary tradition and cultural wealth – just like Italy – and a powerful feel for beauty and quality. But, above all, thanks to an emerging generation under 40 – globalised and mega-digital – that is turning its own cultural references on their heads and is actually driving the high-end market. This is a growing generation, interested in both tradition and experimentation on different scales and in different sectors, and in all types of design that blend quality, craftsmanship and contemporary technologies. For these Millennials and for Generation Z, Italian design remains synonymous with sophistication and historic value as in terms of brands; our lifestyle is truly contemporary and aspirational and choices, in furnishing too, are tending increasingly towards the green and sustainable.

This is (also) true of the public that Made in Italy design reaches out to at the Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai. The people it needs to win over. How? By urging them to look for “design that speaks to them” rather than simply conforming, to be true to themselves when it comes to their choice of furnishing too. The brands being showcased in China will be presenting objects with a history, objects that spark memories and emotions – perhaps through touch, perhaps because of a particular shade or exclusive range – but which have a new feel too, speaking to the present and the future. Shapes have become more minimal and relaxed, materials more practical, the focus is more on the quest for identity and value. But not at the expense of a pinch of eclecticism and cross-pollution, markers of personality and character.

We will therefore see kitchens that strike a balance between the contemporary and tradition re-read in a modern key – Aran Cucine, Binova, Cesar, Dada, Ernesto Meda, Poliform, Scavolini and Veneta Cucine; super soft living spaces, with upholstereds with the accent on comfort, generous volumes, often in leather or textured fabric − Edra, Flexform, Flou, Living Divani, Minotti, MissoniHome and Moroso; deeply characterful tailored furnishings in fine wood or marble, as well as in lacquer and nanotech solutions that balance performance and decoration − Ceccotti, Citco, Giorgetti, Lema, Lualdi, Molteni, Riva1920, Visionnaire Home Philosophy, Poliform, Porro and Turri; bathroom furnishings boasting sophisticated materials and craftsmanship for a guaranteed ‘one-off’ effect, such as those from Antonio Lupi Design; lighting that combines high-tech style, fluidity, dynamism and graphic shapes on one hand – Artemide, Foscarini, Nemo, Penta and Oluce; and chandeliers dripping with crystal and hand-blown glass that redraw tradition Barovier & Toso; there will be no shortage of iconic chairs such as those from Kartell and Magis; carpets just asking to be touched, functional or decorative like those from Amini and Sahrai; creative fabrics and wallpapers, channelling natural fibres, figurative motifs and decorations such as those from Somma1867, Quagliotti, Wall&Deco and Kohro.

In short, China can expect a packed, atmospheric and multifaceted Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai, one that harnesses new perspectives and poetry, showcasing furnishings and finishes that are a consummate blend of quality, shape, colour and texture, bound to maximise the allure of Made in Italy.

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