Sustainability, AI and sound design were amongst the most important trends seen at Fuorisalone.
Milano Design Week represents an international stage for annual Design trends and shows the public the direction companies and designers want to head.
Walking through the various city districts of the Fuorisalone, many common themes became evident. Themes that were representative of designs forward thinking and adaptive philosophy.
After visiting the many exhibitions and installations, we developed a summary of the four most important trends observed during Fuorisalone 2019:
The Era of Sound has Begun
Sound and voice control were the prevalent characteristics present in a number of Milano Design Week installations, signifying its extensive potential as an interactive means of controlling future machines and furniture. Ikea’s exhibit, located inside the Tortona district, allowed visitors to quite literally “play” the beds and kitchenware as if they were musical instruments, each activating their own customized music and projections. Inside the 5 Vie district, a charming apartment on via Cesare Correnti brought carpets and furniture to life in Sentient, an installation by Ilo Rugs & Almst Blck, Studiopepe and Massimiliano Camoletto. When visitors touched the various surfaces, sounds and lights would create a different soundscape and scenario. Additionally, Laufen together with Snarkitecture created an exhibition where ceramic powder moved and vibrated according to sounds played inside a large cylinder at the center of Teatro Arsenale.
With Resonance, the event host in via Bergognone (Tortona District), Samsung immersed visitors in an empathic experience of sensory stimulation. Sound is becoming more and more a necessity in the creation of interactive technologies pushing towards a fully “immersive” experience. The resonance of the sound produced by the human body, and its vibration, allowed robots to receive inputs and transform them in movements, colors, shapes and images, thus turning the visitor’s voices into light. This exhibition has been an introspective experience, focused on a mystical and positive vision of technology.
AI is positive
Sony (inside Spazio Zegna in Via Savona) additionally explored the potential of AI in respect to its Affinity towards Autonomy in an exhibition that depicted harmonious and empathic relationships between man and machine. Nightmares and fears about the future have crossed over with a more humanistic and poetic relationship with AI’s, inside various installations such as a white sphere construct (robots with movement sensors), the AI’s interacted with people by moving slowly next to them. A dog-robot also spread its love requesting the attention of visitors and expressing its emotion through six different emotional moods and facial expressions.
Ageing Design and disability projects
Design, if used in a conscious way, can help people to solve problems that arise in daily life, be it big or small. The accessibility and attention to people with disabilities has now become mainstream and during Milano Design Week it was the perfect occasion to present Scivola, an incubator of ideas and solutions around the topic of Ageing. Inside Opificio 31 in via Tortona, a new line of objects was presented to ease the daily routine of people with permanent or temporary disabilities, like rollators, safety handles and objects for house cleaning.
Every product was specifically designed by following a fil-rouge: to be joyful and beautiful thanks to color accents. The aim was to communicate that design must be aesthetically impactful as well as functional. These new “useful” objects must be designed for social purposes, to sustain disadvantaged or poor people, as well as to solve large scale problems such as water purification, sterilization and transport. Design can be extremely helpful for these issues, especially if it lays the foundations for sustainable ideas (energetically and productive speaking).
Organic Feeling and the #plasticfree movement
It’s an organic feeling the one observed from Corriere della Sera, which manifests itself not only in a deeper relationship between man and nature with Biophilic Design, but also in a sustainable attitude for the future. Like highlited in Broken Nature, the exhibition of Triennale di Milano, the concept of the “Healing Design for Earth” was embraced throughout the entire exhibition, especially since the issue of climate change is becoming more prevalent, requesting concrete responsible actions from every human being. Sustainability and a Greener Approach does not only consider a products life cycle, but also needs to consider its design process in order to cultivate a proper sustainable cultural shift.
At the same time, the campaign against petroleum-based plastic has highlighted the need to design furniture using sustainable production methods. Guiltless Plastic, an exhibition from Rossana Orlandi, is an ambitious project about the #plasticfree movement, bounded to the new Circular Economy Action Plan released by the European Commission, a platform available for all citizens in which they are shown the potential of sustainable productions, along with some incentives to promote it.
This overview of the Milano Design Week shows the new design approaches of today and tomorrow. These are witnesses and projects that will lead us to a more empathic relationship with machines and AI, allowing us also to reconnect with nature, by taking into consideration our planet and the social dimension that surround us.