Trend directions of the Milan Design Week 2015, part I

The ColorVoyant Watch

Welcome to The ColorVoyant® Watch!

Every year, Milan proves to be the directional barometer of design. 2015 was no exception, with EuroLuce as the theme, “highlighting” spaces and environments all around the city. In this edition of The ColorVoyant Watch, I will outline notable trend directions, which include Color, Return of Green, Reveal, Laced Up, Inlaid, Food, Marble and Reflective Environments.


Color was a huge theme throughout Milan. From young designers to established design companies, the emphasis of color was translated in the form of color texture, pattern and defined shapes. Colored lighting, in its purist prismatic form, was lit all around the city.

Bolon designed digital color patterning for Interni Magazine’s press room at the Design University of Milan.

From Finland’s backyard, Leben, created by Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture for Satellite 2015, explored the softness of color with a translucent touch in glass.

Shimmer by Patricia Urquiola for Glas Italia with translucent color panels imbedded in glass…casting a colorful shadow throughout their booth.

TAKT PROJECT showcases DIY (Dye it Yourself) color…a dyeing plastic furniture collection. Color “selfies” are expressed onto the white space of a chair.


Little Owl Design of the Netherlands presents From A Different Cloth. Impressions of family textiles are “etched” (or pressed) into the surface, exposing textural color from the past.

The Next Habitat exhibition, sponsored by the Willem de Kooning Academy of Rotterdam University, presented visions of future habitation from a collective of designers addressing the human relationship with resources, disposability, communication, energy and light. Two designers, Federica Dellisanti and Tinka Jongerius created SPF (Sugar Protection Filter). The basis of this project was how the use of artificial light has negative effects on the human body. Exposure to blue light results in the disruption of sleep. With this premise, they used sugar, also an unhealthy substance for our bodies, and transformed it into an organic protector. They made filters of melted sugar in a range of orange shades that are based on the natural process of caramelization. These orange sheets are used to cover the blue light emitted from computer screens, turning them into green screens, therefore protecting the body.

Color experimentation continues with the designers of rENs, who developed an amazing procedure for the color of ceramics. Each item in this series of table objects was placed in liquid pigment. Void of any human direction, the colorant soaks into the material, leaving traces and defining pattern. The porosity of the material and the duration of the dye decide the outcome. This process remains active for months.

Fade to Stay by rENs uses light and time to reveal how colors transform into new gradients. It is the start of a research into the aesthetics of fading. Using a high-end simulator, these colors are layered primary colors that are printed and exposed to variable amounts of sunlight.


If there was one color abounding into the color scene, it was green and the spectrum of green as a monochromatic statement of color texture. Here are a few of the impactful reads on green around the city…note the grass green coverage in all of the images.



Colors from the Tikkurila Symphony collection:



Peal back the surface and discover what colorful, glowing effects reveal. Experience the Internal color glows that from within.

From YOY…function meets a new perspective (top).

Art Institute of Chicago, Department of ArchitectureInterior Architecture and Designed Objects, reveals a play on color and shadow at Spazio Rossana Orlandi (bottom).

IMD Institute for Material Design, the graduate program for material innovation in Offenbach, Germany, joins forces with BMW to develop a reactive wood surface. Achieving light and translucency, LED backlit wood veneer senses the human touch to shine through the wood grain.


Wall art from Kinetura’s metamorphic light reveals light in subliminal ways.


An off-shoot of the Reveal theme is laced up. Pattern formed by space and mass continue to deliver beauty and cultural lacework across all materials.


Doghouse living for the discriminating canine designed by Alessandra Fagnani at Ventura Lambrate in Milan.

Cristina Mateo lace chair at Satellite 2015.

Art Guild’s skillful patterning inside honeycomb shapes for textural dimension.


Structural lace in architecture and furniture utilizing hard materials for function. Aarhus University of Architecture in Denmark explores the lattice and lacey effects in architecture (top). Industrial lace chair made from carbon fiber by Marleen Kaptein & NLR (bottom).


Xuberance is an internationally known 3D printing design company, based in Shanghai. Their Satellite booth displayed incredible intricacy of 3D printed lacework for weddings.

Campana’s Brazilian furniture.


Inlays and marquetry introduce themselves into the contemporary circles, playing with color and shapes for tactile translations.

La Cocotte hand-painted bedside cabinets were inspired by Tangram Puzzle. The colorful hand- painted MDF inlays are mounted on magnets and laid out on a bed of steel panel fronts, allowing the viewer to rearrange the “puzzle” pieces in more design/colorful patterns.

Emmemobili of Italy continues to wow the furniture world with abstract and artful expression of wood and material mixing at iSaloni.



This project gives new meaning to the term “inlaid”. All area “carpet” designs are made from ordinary materials: chalk, Q-tips and cotton swabs, pasta, clothes pins, forks, spoons…and the list goes on. Five designers spent seven 13-hour days to install the intricate designs from these ordinary materials, never to duplicate the same design again (top and bottom)!


A theme to which we all can relate. Food abounds with color, texture, and everyday influences on design trends.


Eataly, in Milan, is a comprehensive culinary experience specializing in all food Italian. The original concept began in New York City and expanded into Milan in 2014 (top). As our lives become more fluid and mobile, food trucks continue to serve at Ventura Lambrate (bottom).

From The Next Habitat of The Netherlands, no longer is 3D printing for synthetic materials. Eatable shapes are cropping up all over the design landscape.


Carerra marble continues to be material of choice for popular sculptural expressions. At Interni Magazine’s Energy for Creativity exhibition, Raffaello Galiotto and Marmomacc create texture and beauty in fluid marble sculpture.



New on the horizon is verde (green) marble. Verde marble from Interni Magazine’s Energy for Creativity exhibition in Milan (two top images). Kartell at iSaloni 2015 in Milan covered walls of digitally printed green marble throughout the booth (bottom).




Reflective gardens and mirrored spaces continue to grow at Energy for Creativity with Living Line by Speech Tchoban & Kuznetsov (top). Black Hole by Steve Blatz and Antonio Pio Saracino at Interni Magazine’s Energy for Creativity (bottom).

Final words

Next time. The ColorVoyant Watch will present EuroLuce highlights and design talents from the Milan design week. Stay tuned for more design and color!



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