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Get inspired by the top trends from the Milan Furniture Fair

We suss out five trends from the 2017 edition.

Now in its 56th edition, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile continues to set the tone for the year ahead with inspiring designs for the home. Trends that emerged this year include fluid pieces that adapt and adjust to different lifestyles, contemporary uses of traditional craftsmanship, murky colours as alternative neutrals, sculpturally curvy forms, and innovative use of design and manufacturing technology.

We see storied brands collaborating with a healthy mix of celebrated and promising designers, as well as practised craftsmen, to get to the heart of what a home should feel like. While the new designs come in unexpected forms, colours and materials, they all set out to forge new relationships with their users. There is an overarching call for home furnishings to fulfil functional needs, catering to the individual, and to enhance a homeowner’s emotional well-being.

Want to get ahead of the game? Here are the designs to bookmark before they make their way into stores here.

(RELATED: Update your interiors stylishly with new Milan Furniture Fair launches by 7 top fashion brands.)

FLUID FORMS

A user-centric approach is ubiquitous among both established and emerging labels this year, with designers pushing the envelope with inspiring ways that people can interact with home decor products. This concept is epitomised by the reimagination of modular seating and adjustable lighting designs. They challenge the notion that mass-manufactured products are one-size-fits-all, and strive to off er features that can be personalised. The desire for a tailored experience at home continues to motivate manufacturers to offer choices that revolve around multi-functional pieces with flexible components.

  • Cappellini Mill Home sofa - Composizione C, available at Dream Interiors
    01 Italian powerhouse Cappellini exhibited a forte for staying current with the Mill Home upholstered seats, a nod to the millennial-led trend of couch-surfing. Built with arms, backrests and beanbags of varying sizes and heights, this living room staple can morph into a sofa, bed or chaise lounge, depending on the room’s usage. Available at Dream Interiors.

HONOURING CRAFT

As rich in texture as the stories woven into their construction, artisanal elements tap into people’s desire to own pieces that are not only exclusive, but also comes with a narration. Just like precious art pieces, a product’s story heightens its value by painting another layer to people’s enjoyment of the design. Whether it’s the high standards of skill needed to create the perfect streamlined silhouette, or a traditional weaving technique that can fuse with contemporary designs, the magic of craftsmanship remains an indispensable aspect of luxury.

  • Living Divani Confident armchair, available at Dream Interiors
    01 The Confident armchair designed by Piero Lissoni for family-owned Italian brand Living Divani gets a subtle makeover. Its new handmade rattan cover embraces the outer backrest and base, lending this formerly classical piece a tactile playfulness, while creating a look that’s a notch less formal. Available at Dream Interiors.

MURKY SHADES

As design-savvy homeowners are beginning to shun predictable interior design themes, such as industrial or retro looks, in favour of more personalised and eclectic styles, brands are catering to the market’s increasingly diverse tastes with wonderfully ambiguous hues. Many new collections include selections that hover around tertiary colours, which set a new standard for neutrals. Designs in this dusky palette can easily blend into homes of any decor style, making it a wonderful choice for those who enjoy reinvigorating spaces by mixing it up with meaningful pieces accumulated over time.

  • Knoll Legends of Carpets, available at Proof Living
    01 Walter Knoll’s new Legends of Carpets collection interprets Africa’s natural landscapes, such as its salt lakes, skies, deserts and water lilies. Hand-knotted in Nepal with traditional Tibetan techniques, the abstract pieces of woven art showcase a calming symphony of earthy tones. Available at Proof Living.

CURVES AHEAD

The design industry is often a reflection of society’s zeitgeist, and, after the West’s widespread financial crises, people’s desire to be comforted gave rise to designs that embrace users readily with soft, undulating forms. And as political instability persists in today’s climate, the home is defined not just as a shelter, but as a safe haven where homeowners can be soothed in restful ambience. This is made possible with seatings that envelope the user rather than embellish the home, and by designs with sensual lines that are visually and physically calming.

  • Fritz Hansen Lune TM sofa, available at Fritz Hansen
    01 Jaime Hayon lends his trademark sculptural and curvy forms to the alluring LuneTM for Fritz Hansen, in a new spin on traditional modular sofas. With curvilinear outlines that look as good as those of standalone sofas, it retains its beauty regardless of configuration. Available at Fritz Hansen.

TECH-RICH

There’s no denying that smart homes are on-trend, with new design concepts unveiled every day that promise to radicalise the way we live. On the home front, this often entails fancy automated lighting and sound systems, and appliances, or kitchens that are made to impress. Luxury furniture manufacturers, however, have chosen to steer away from overtly advanced designs to focus on technology enhancing everyday lives in subtle ways. As a result, lighting designs that look and feel familiar now have value-added functionalities such as increased portability, thanks to cable-free innovations, and advancement in manufacturing processes has opened the door to more sustainable and creative furniture designs.

  • Foscarini Cri Cri, available at Xtra
    01 Foscarini teamed up with the industrial designers at Studio Natural for the first time to create Cri Cri, a wireless lamp that’s made for every occasion, whether indoors or out. Use it to light up an al fresco dinner party, or create a soft ambience for a Netflix night in. And when it’s time to pack up, simply collapse its silicon body for easy storage. Available at Xtra.

(RELATED: Why Furniture Design Faces a Digital Disruption.)