19 Projects We Loved at The 2021 Salone del Mobile — AKA the Supersalone
When we first heard many months ago that the Salone del Mobile — aka the Milan Furniture Fair — was moving forward with a September edition this year, after the pandemic knocked out its April 2020 and 2021 shows, our first reaction was to scoff. In the wake of the Delta variant, would it even be allowed to proceed? And if it were, would anyone attend? The organizers had branded it the “Supersalone,” but we wondered if it would be a “Teenysalone” instead. But the closer we got to September, the more our minds started to change. Invitations started pouring in, brands were announcing legit — albeit scaled-back — launches, and friends were confirming they’d booked their insanely overpriced hotel rooms. So in the end, we figured what the hell, let’s go and see if we can reclaim one of the more meaningful sources of normalcy in our lives: our once-yearly chance to gather with design friends from around the world. We’re happy to report that, for the most part, it was a success.
Sure, we had to turn down a few dinner invitations for lack of outdoor seating (even though we’re vaxxed, it’s scary to think of getting stuck quarantining far from home thanks to a breakthrough case). But once we all met up at Bar Basso each night, everything felt insanely, exhilaratingly familiar, and it was a great comfort. And then of course there was the fair itself! At the fairgrounds, the Salone organizers had taken the hiatus as an opportunity to shake up their approach, building new standardized exhibitor-booth frameworks that could be fully recycled post-show, and hiring a woman — Maria Porro — as the fair’s new president, which we almost fell off our seats when we heard. Elsewhere in town, Alcova galvanized dozens of hip galleries and studios in a bucolic compound of abandoned buildings and overgrown foliage that felt like a magical movie set, while folks like Hermes, Studiopepe, Dimore, and Nilufar brought their usual firepower (and in the case of Hermes, their usual gargantuan set-design budgets).
We’re documenting our favorite finds in two stories, today and tomorrow, today loosely representing the group shows and galleries and tomorrow loosely representing the brands and studios. If you missed the Supersalone, we hope to bring it to life for you here, and we hope even more than we can all go back next April, if fate and the pandemic cooperate.
Objects of Common Interest for Etage Projects
Glass shelves and tables by Studio Chacha and resin objects by Chungjae Kim, presented as part of the Korean collective Team Feelgood Marble works by Fred Ganim for Agglomerati; photos by Ben Westoby
Works from the new Italian brand Gilda Editions, from top: mortar and pestle by Theodóra Alfreðsdóttir, vase by Jamie Wolfond, glass plate and glass toilet paper holder by Marco Campardo, house numbers by Norma Studio, fruit rack by Michael Schöner
Bethan Laura Wood
Constance Guisset’s Materiorama installation for the laminates brand
The brand re-issued four of Aldo Rossi’s archival designs from the ’80s and ’90s (bottom two photos), then invited Ron Gilad to create an installation around them in its Milan showroom (top two photos)
Candlesticks to support cancer research, by 10 designers including Jaime Hayon (face), Philippe Malouin (green), and Patricia Urquiola (purple)
Dior Medallion Chair
17 designers reinterpreting Dior’s Medallion chair, including Nendo, Pierre Yovanovitch, Martino Gamper, and (our favorite, who made both chairs pictured above) Jingyeong Yeon
Philippe Malouin collaborating with metal workshop Daniele Mingardo
Odd Matter collaboratin with metal workshop BAM Design
Dorothée Meilichzon collaborating with wood workshop Morelato
CTMP Design Auction by Mr. Lawrence and CAMBI
Installation by Studiopepe
The online platform commissioned works inspired by water from its stable of brands and designers, including Gebruder Thonet (divider) and Atlas Project (mirror)
An exhibition of the award finalists, including Anton Alvarez and Ian McDonald
The brand’s new home releases included colorful blankets and a striped chair designed by Studio Mumbai