Milan Design Week 2021: Knoll’s Iconic Seating Options, a Valentino Newsstand, and More

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This week, the AD PRO team has joined forces with our friends at AD Italia to report from the ground at Milan Design Week and Salone del Mobile, in their first editions since 2019. For more from the fair, catch up on our recaps from Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3.

Salone goes zero-impact

As Supersalone passes its halfway point, crowds are picking up. According to Salone del Mobile president Maria Porro, about 50% of the people in attendance are from abroad. That doesn’t just mean European travelers: North and South Americans have all made the pilgrimage to the top design event (us AD editors among them!)

That’s good news, of course, for Porro, and for the city of Milan. (Notably, the spring edition of Salone is slated to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the fair.) As AD PRO contributor Laura May Todd pointed out in her preview, Supersalone has experimented with the conventions of old-school Salone. So today we asked Porro herself: What’s here to stay?

“The sustainable aspect,” she tells PRO. “We decided to give a signal to the industry with this event.” That extends from the use of temporary scaffolding structures to cardboard trash cans to the demountable wood booths themselves. Significantly, the fair achieved “zero-impact” certification last night, though Porro recognizes that attaining such bona fides will be a more complex undertaking when brands once again build their own booths. “But,” she adds, “it’s a process that we must start.”

Molteni & C’s instantly recognizable Supersalone stand.

Photo: Diego Ravier / Courtesy of Salone del Mobile

Seen and heard at Supersalone

While at the show, we stopped by Scavolini, which was exhibiting its Diesel Misfits bathroom collection, along with the Diesel Get Together kitchen. The detailing of the former takes cues from the line’s successful kitchen cart. Over at Gamma, we discussed the brand’s foray into mossy greens, and the growing influence of outdoor design on interiors. (Check out the tied leather backing of Gamma’s new sofa, as seen on Instagram, which fully embraces the trend.) Another brand big into the outdoors these days? Minotti, which is expanding in the outdoor market with a number of high-profile collabs—GamFratesi among them.

The most high-concept booth of the fair might be Molteni & C’s air cruiser–like interior, designed by Ron Gilad. Rows of Round D.154.5 armchairs, originally designed by Gio Ponti, line up two by two, soundtracked by the familiar ping of an airplane announcement. (Yes, masks are still required for this flight.) Knoll’s lineup of old and new seating options—from Piero Lissoni’s KN line to the Platner side chair—shine against a colorful skyline backdrop, an homage to the brand’s vintage advertising campaigns.

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