10 June 2018
10 June 2018, Comments Comments Off on Salone del Mobile – Milano
Salone del Mobile - Milano

Design takes the lead

An international showcase for new trends in design, the Salone del Mobile in Milan has repercussions on the most diverse sectors: its influence on recreational vehicle furnishings is inevitable. But pay attention with exaggeration: a motorhome is made to last. We asked five RV sector designers for a reflection on the Salone del Mobile 2018.
Words Andrea Cattaneo Photo Andrea Cattaneo and Salone del Mobile.Milano

Milan is soaring. And soaring high, as ever: from 17 to 22 April the moral capital of Italy hosted edition number 57 of the Salone del Mobile, an event of global significance, which establishes essential points of reference in the field of design, both reaffirming the pillars on which the modern furnishing production process is founded and bringing to light new trends that will have a great impact on the world that surrounds us. The Salone del Mobile sets design icons, from products to designers as well as companies, on a pedestal, but also offers young talent the possibility of gaining recognition and appreciation on an international scale. There was attendance of 434,509, professionals and otherwise, coming from all over the world to visit the 210,000 m² of stands where 1,841 exhibitors gave it their all: it only takes a few figures to understand the importance of this event which can no longer be contained within the pavilions of the Rho-Pero exhibition site but extends over the entire city of Milan in a Fuori Salone (“out of exhibition” event) made up of exhibitions, conferences, temporary installations and much more besides. Let’s take a look at what was presented, trying to understand if and how this design excellence will be transferred to the passenger compartment of campervans and caravans. Needless to say, design goes well beyond form. The aesthetic factor is the most evident interface with the user of objects, but design is something that also blends materials, manufacturing technologies, ways of being and conceiving reality and even marketing and communication.

Judith Bergmann - Knaus Tabbert Group Interior Designer

“In the past, the difference between the domestic furniture industry and the world of recreational vehicles has been greater. Formerly, RV furniture was very conservative, mostly using dark honey and cherry-coloured wood, but in the last 10-15 years, a refreshing process has begun with designs getting more and more modern.
The domestic furniture industry is partly to thank for this change; for example, oak wood has become popular in the domestic sector and I’ve showed its success to my team for RV furniture.
In Milan, we see new colours, fashion tones and materials; for example, marble is very trendy now and furniture designs are getting straighter, clearer and purer.
The interior of an RV must be inspired by domestic design trends because the customer knows the market, is influenced by magazines and social media, and knows the trends. Once, furniture just had to be useful and style was secondary, but now I think customers want something modern; however, domestic design cannot always be transferred to the RV sector. We can’t use some materials as we have to build everything with lightweight technology, and we have to respect the ergonomic settings. The interior of an RV is smaller than a domestic home, and we must avoid the user having any problems or risk of being hurt.
In the domestic sector, furniture handles are more or less eliminated, but in the RV sector handles are where you can set a new trend or make a good “Colour and Trim” concept, which means selecting suitable tones, surfaces and materials. The technical side of an RV still mostly interests the male user, and the style part is something the female user usually cares about more – and first impressions when stepping inside an RV, count for all!
The user now comes onboard and really takes a trip through new shapes and materials, making it a really tactile and visual new experience. Today, textures are developed as more natural to touch and the tactile experience is totally different compared to the past times. Everything is more authentic, or it certainly seems to be.”

Tecnoform point of view

“The Salone del Mobile 2018 confirms its vocation as a global showcase for the latest trends in the home furnishing sector, offering excellent ideas for expressing innovation to bring into the recreational vehicle sector. The new trends in terms of colours and materials seem to be characterised by a return to “country chic”, to the material quality of untreated wood, combined with natural stones or marble and lacquered and/or super-matt vertical surfaces. There’s also the presence of metal surfaces and inserts, characterised by burnished colours and brass, often used to delimit space or as highlights to certain details. The trend of reduced thickness stone or metal tops on horizontal surfaces is consolidated. Authentic natural “blades” that sometimes seem to float over the furniture itself thanks to grooves between the doors and tops, sometimes accentuated by lighting elements. The interior design of recreational vehicles draws great inspiration from home furniture in two areas above all: the combination of materials and colours, the inspiration from new ergonomic forms or solutions. Interior design in the RV sector must necessarily comply with criteria and restrictions that mean that solutions adopted in home furnishing cannot simply be “reproduced”, despite being a great source of inspiration for our sector. The main decisive factors are weight compliance, limited spaces with resulting development of specific ergonomic solutions and containment of costs.”

Francesco Gabbrielli - Laika Head of R&D department

“For the kitchen, the trend is an open space capable of conveying welcome: the warmth and harmony of the forms extends without barriers to the lounge, with a large living area that makes the home lighter, more sociable, and allows the spaces for enjoying life to be exploited to the full. With respect to 2017, there’s been a transition to a modern style, rich in light and neutral colours, partially Scandinavian-style minimalist extending to a richer style of warm colours, which recall oriental and exotic settings. Industrial-style offerings, inspired by New York environments, remain highly contemporary. Among the most recent innovations in the world of kitchens, the development of induction hobs visibly stands out, the highest level in terms of design, functionality and performance. The work surfaces become extremely high-performance in terms of quality and strength, simplifying traditional food preparation and cleaning work. Alongside the classic steel, resin or marble kitchen tops, we find a state-of-the-art material like HPL layered laminate, which has undergone an incredible technological development in terms of quality, style and perception of material. In the RV world too, the trend of sticking with warm colours like bronze and wood (above all with natural effect) will persist. Induction hobs prove to be a trend for the future: the demand for hybrid gas-induction systems will grow in the short term, while it will still take a few years to entirely replace gas hobs (everything will depend on the development of the automotive sector in terms of energy).
The Salone del Mobile influences our sector with reference to colours, style and technology, but we mustn’t forget that our task as RV designers remains that of promoting well-being, functionality and above all the experience of using our vehicles.”

Frank Venter - Hymer Head of Design & Designmanagement

“Basically, there are no shapes, colours or materials that could not be used in an RV. For example, oak, which has been prevalent for years, is also a popular wood decor in an RV, and we also use high-quality drawer systems from household kitchens.
Regarding trends and materials, if you look at the kitchens, of course, we have marble in Italy as the predominant material in the worktops. Brown and white marble with strong, graphic structures highlight the ambience in every kitchen.
Incidentally, we have seen a lot of metal surfaces used for fronts, countertops and niche walls. We have seen metal colours such as brass or copper, and also burnished, dark surfaces, used in many ways, particularly in the bathroom. Style and colours are a big topic. Skillfully combined elements of various styles and colours give the Ambiente 2018 a very special touch. Furniture has become more colorful.
The interior design of an RV have not necessarily been inspired by domestic design trends, but the consumer is confronted and inspired by the furniture design. We always try to transfer the strong color or wood trends in to the caravans a bit.
Of course, furniture construction in the RV sector differs in essential characteristics from domestic designs. The biggest factor is the weight. For us, lightweight construction and compliance with the 3.5t class is a very important topic. The installation of solid marble slabs in the kitchen area is almost impossible, likewise the costs; even in the high-end RV segment, material costs play a very important role. Nevertheless, the use of high-quality materials through innovative designs and modular systems is quite possible.
Safety first is one of our brand promises. The invisible integration of the best possible safety systems for driving is one of our biggest challenges in interior design.”

Fabio Contillo - Arca and Mobilvetta Brand Designer

“If it’s true, as Marc Augè writes, that one of our most urgent tasks consists in learning to travel again, learning to see again, the ever broader offering of the Salone del Mobile in Milan is certainly not to be missed. A genuine journey, if we consider that the structure designed by Fuksas is a kilometre and a half long, and each year hosts proposals that offer the possibility of discovering the world of Design in its entirety. Among the ideas presented, how could you fail to notice the most natural woods, the textured finishes, like untreated or aged matchboard, the silk-like surfaces of resin tops, the dark and pronounced woods of the wall units juxtaposed with the brushed stainless steel kitchen base units? The design of campervans could certainly take inspiration from this, but in one case, perhaps, the opposite has already occurred: in the new Oasi kitchen by Stefano Boeri (the designer of the Vertical Forest, a famous green building in the middle of Milan) for Aran, a smooth, continuous surface incorporates and conceals, beneath covers, shelves and flaps, perfectly shaped, all the equipment for preserving, washing, preparing, cooking, serving and recycling food, just like on the kitchen of the most recent motorhomes. Styles and purposes are integrated and influence one another in turn. The trend of a joint living room/kitchen is confirmed in this edition of the Salone del Mobile, a situation which is practically inescapable on all recreational vehicles but which is proposed repeatedly, with the kitchen module teamed with the dinette, without any connection. On the Arca Europa ranges and the latest Mobilvetta Tekno Design models this is precisely one of the design issues explored: in the first case, with the curved doors of the kitchen that continue on the dinette side, in the second with the entire kitchen top that curves to complete the headrests of the seats. So what are the boundaries between domestic design and campervan design? If the well-known maker of wooden homes Rubner Haus brought a living module like a spaceship to land in Piazza Castello, then the limits are only in our minds.”

Pantone has chosen the colour of the year: violet, or rather Ultra Violet. At the Salone del Mobile however, we’ve still seen little intense violet; there’s much more lavender, softer, but above all red and pink, two colours very much in vogue. But we’ve also seen many shades of grey, a colour which is always elegant and reassuring. There was no shortage of green (the 2017 Pantone colour was Greenery). Certainly, lots of colour and many colour contrasts.
Back to the past
There’s a return to the past, from the 1920s to the 1980s, with the retro taste of certain furnishings, revisiting classic furniture, with new versions of iconic furnishing from great masters of design.
To accentuate the contrast between colours and materials, inserts of different materials are offered in table tops or in the doors of storage furniture: glass and marble, ceramic and wood, exposed wood and lacquered surfaces…
Many combinations of materials, including very dissimilar ones, contrasts that were once unthinkable. Marble and ceramics are in vogue for table tops. Brass is a current trend in the visible structure of chairs and tables. Metal (treated in various ways) makes an appearance on the front of sideboards and other storage furniture. Cupboards can feature transparent glass doors or even leather ones. Velvet is back in fashion for upholstery.
There are big contemporary names, from Marcel Wanders to Patricia Urquiola, Jasper Morrison to Jean-Marie Massaud and Patrick Norguet to Piero Lissoni. There are master designers like Philippe Strack and Alessandro Mendini, including some legendary figures who have now passed on (new versions of celebrated works) like Gerrit Rietveld. But there are also many up-and-coming designers, perhaps less well-known among the public at large, but capable of working wonders.
Nordic and Industrial
On one hand a summons to Scandinavian style, balanced, soft, subtle colours, essential lines. On the other the refined brutality of raw material, with an industrial style that shows wood and metal in its primordial form.
Not a new trend, but one reaffirmed with greater decision: the same item (chair, wardrobe…) is offered with different materials and various finishes.