Friday, March 28, 2014


Modern Furniture, Leather Sofas & Recliners -
Since 2011, we’ve kept track of and postulated the shift in the trend colours for furniture. The fashion and furniture industries call the flavour of the times ‘trend colours’ simply because these are the tones that will harmonise the aesthetics for the year. Generally, trend colours emerge out of a study of the human condition at that point in time. Sentiment, the various things people buy, use and wear, the cycle of contrast, the influence of weather, and more. Manufacturers oft influence changes as well, and the case with furniture is a bit of both. Trend colours are more often temporal than culture changers, and they can affect furniture production as a whole, since adopting them calls for more varied inventory, sourcing and alterations in production routines.
The year saw a progression of the colours of the last 2 years. Last year, white was a base and the new colours existed merely to add life. The accent trend colours now have bceome much more. From accessories and smaller pieces of furniture, to larger interior elements such as walls and fixed furniture everything carries these tones. These are then, the 3 colours that made it big in Milan2013; we have no doubt that these will continue for another 2 years, with the addition of a darker tone to build the inevitable colour contrast cycle.
Contemporary & Luxury Dining Furniture -

BLUE is back, and was strongly evident at not just Salone and Design Week, but also in fashion. Last season, we saw the push for turquoise and aquamarine, and hence the advent today of clearer blues is but natural. As the primary trend colour, leather and fabric upholstery, accessories of all sizes and shapes, carpets and even new innovations sport various shades of blue. Sky blue and baby blue are the key tones. Blue is both warmth and positivity. Says the legendary Pasquale Natuzzi, “I personally believe that blue will come back as a lasting colour trend in interior design. Blue is very important for us as people - it means the blue sky, water and the soul.” Giusseppe Nicoletti believes that while light blue is the new boy in town, pastels will dominate. A closer look at the fair reveals that several manufacturers did indeed produce furniture and accessories with a range of pastel tones.
DEEP YELLOW-MUSTARD. The vibrant golden yellow tone and its darker cousin are the main relief colours of the year, as they were in 2012. Much upholstery, foil coverings and plastics today sport the tone in not small quantities. The tone is used to add life to not only new styles, but also to designs that are well established. Mirroring the sentiment prevailing in Europe, we beleive that while the colour brings brightness to a grey market, it also represents energy - to do new things with vigour.
Living room furniture accessories -
LIME GREEN or CHARTREUSE is the third critical tone for the year. While it has been in vogue for a while, the tone is still important today since it indicates an affinity towards the environment.
When it comes to textures and materials, colour tones find expression in terracotta finishes, natural marble, natural wood - especially ash, and copper. SS

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Calligaris Italian Design -

It is said that the sign of pure, restless delight is doing more with less. That’s Calligaris, as it has been for decades. For 90 years, the iconic Italian brand has invigorated the global furniture industry through products that have struck home with resounding frequency, creating enduring trends and business success that is oft spoken of and admired by many a furniture maker. And that was evident, in its own measure, at Milano this year as well.
Dining Tables & Chairs by Calligaris -
Calligaris Tables & Chairs 

 Calligaris produces dining tables, chairs, coffee tables, storage solutions like cabinets and shelving, lamps, a range of accents and accessories, and much more. Apart from new furniture concepts, there are also new designs and fabrics. Vintage style meets contemporary shapes and bold colours, engendering the sensations of familiarity and freshness simultaneously. The new collection is a combination of qualities that Calligaris was originally founded on, mixed with new ideas that work for the future. The long-standing core essence of the brand has been married to a contemporary style through a mix of materials - natural wood, leather and marble, and Calligaris’ stand-out palette of colours. This adds a new dimension to its high quality designs by tapping into current trends. The ability to mix and match these elements allows the customer to make choices, whether bold or subtle, and design their own unique look to create the atmosphere and space they want.

Calligaris -

 The Calligaris orientation to customers has always been to offer a choice in decorating a home, turning even the simplest of rooms into a fun, contemporary and colourful interior. Whilst Calligaris prides itself in offering modern, functional furniture, all of its products can be worked into existing schemes or combined to create new and avant-garde looks that reflect personal taste - the freedom Calligaris offers is unrivalled.

   Contemporary and elegant in equal measure, with the top taking a gentle curve, the Moving dining table is unique. The motion mechanism, which is conceptually akin to a telescoping system, is such that it offers three possible lengths from the same table, while the legs always stay at the ends. And reducing or expanding the length of the table happens in just one fluid motion.
Wooden Dining Table -
A reinterpretation of the already famous Calligaris chair, the New York presents a whole new idea in stylish, compact seating. There are five new colour concepts - five frame colours (including the colours of the year - sky blue and mustard yellow) coordinated with five upholstery fabrics. The fabric is a blend of leather and microfibre, and is teflon-treated, while the key design effect is the wire frame that runs exposed even around the backrest. Match is the name given to Calligaris’ new multi-piece coffee table design. The tops are made of a quartz conglomerate with a marble effect, the tone of which can be light or dark, with the legs in ash wood. What’s nice is that these can be stacked together to create striking shapes, adding functionality to its elegant style.

 Calligaris Chairs -

Yet another clever innovation is Factory, the cabinet system that’s designed out of clean lines and touches of colour. The legs and defining horizontal bar come in select colours while the body, top and fronts come in natural ash or smoke. These lead to combinations that break away from traditional furniture, in both muted settings and colourful ones. The back support legs are closer to the centre and hence unseen, making for a partial suspension visual effect. The Division modular shelving system has been cleverly designed to function either as a wall unit or as a free-standing unit, making a great library or multi-use cabinet. The system is made of a thin, white, lacquered frame in two shapes, and a set of colourful metal containers can be slipped into random shelves to make it (and the room) come alive.
Innovation is a constant at Calligaris. The effort to build a thinner, longer dining table led to the Heron - a dining table that goes up to 2.8 metres, supported by only 4 slender legs at the ends. The tabletop is a wood-metal-wood sandwich, which ensures that there is no bending, and comes in an ash finish. SS


Leather Editions by Natuzzi

As usual, Leather Editions by Natuzzi struck a chord with the range of new designs and innovations. With high-quality craftsmanship at the core of its ethos, Editions does much more than just make a statement. As the name suggests, the brand, is all about leather, and no wonder, given its lineage.
    Entering the Editions booth is always a pleasure, especially if you are fond of books. The booth is designed around the theme of - well - ‘editions’, with a seamless graphic that depicts a gargantuan library holding volumes and volumes of books that work as walls.
Sectional Sofas, L shaped sofas -
Sectional Sofas                                                    

Reflecting the colour trend of the times, the compact blue-grey leather upholstered sofa that sits as you enter the booth is one of the new models. Although without any motion features, the design reinforces the fact that perfection is really all about ratios and simplicity. The white contra stitch defines and refines the form of the sofa, including the cushion layer made for lower back support. The steel legs are bent at two angles. Similar legs are found on the new off-white, L-shaped contemporary sectional with adjustable headrests. What’s special is that the headrests in the corner are adjustable from both sides, which means ‘feet up’ lounging can be in any direction.
Contemporary Sectional Sofas -

Of the notables is the push-back chair, which is a Recliner dressed up as an elegant armchair from an era gone by. Pinched cushions resonate with the period style of the Chesterfields and the elongated sides along the headrest enhance the privacy of the chair. The simple mechanism means that your feet go up as you push backwards, taking you from absolute formal to absolute relaxation in one swift motion.
 Space-saving solutions are a necessity in today’s urban scenario, worldwide. Compact sofa-beds are a grand answer to the problem. But most sofa-beds look like sofa-beds, and that is not the Editions way. Slim cushioned armrests, piping along the edges, full back support, and a high back to rest the neck, make for a truly stylish sofa, for any kind of decor. Concealed within, by the smart design of the Natuzzi-Editions design team, is a comfortable bed that opens out in a simple motion. Editions have many new sofa-beds as part of the range.
Contemporary Sofas -

Dual motion systems make all the difference in the world when there are various sizes of people using a sofa. In this brown leather sectional sofa, the seat moves forward and so do the headrests. At the same time, the height and depth of the seat make for easy, comfortable living, family or entertainment room seating. The design is available in almost any configuration, and the pattern on the armrests, reminiscent of elbow guards on sports blazers, is memorable. Yet another notable new design was a brandy toned L-seater sectional. While the sofa looks harmless and stoic, with its cosy form and exposed contra stitch, the open base motion comes as a pleasant surprise. There are 2 buttons - one apiece for controlling the motion of the headrest and footrest. In the two seater, only the headrest is equipped with motion.
2 & 3 Seater Sofas -

Truly unusual to the eye, though, is the Ribbed sofa. In effect an electrical recliner, touch sensitive buttons make the footrest come up to give you full-bodied, relaxing support. The headrest is adjustable, and the thin, chromed legs, add sophistication to the design. Also one of a kind in the collection is the dual colour sofa with the adjustable headrest and large, plush seats that provide for supreme comfort.
Contemporary Leather Sofa -

Displayed amidst the unique settings were elegant coffee tables concealing a fair amount of functionality. The table houses an alcove within, accessed by sliding the top. This allows for convenient storage of various things, and also makes the table wider. The tables come in different shapes and finishes, from walnut to black glass. There are also new wall units, a complementing addition to the Editions range. SS

Monday, March 24, 2014


German Koinor sofas

Koinor, the upholstered furniture manufacturer of Upper Franconia, has been at the forefront of German sofa design for 50 years now. Crafted by hand, and completely made in Germany, the Koinor sofa is always ‘unexpected’. While some models challenge the norm through design, many breach the boundaries of innovation through structure and build.
   Dining Sofas -
What’s even more significant is the consistent ability to use leather to enhance design and build, ensuring lasting comfort and timeless proportions. Koinor’s incessant push for progress is marked through its dedication to development. Amongst the new introductions is a highly superior 5 mm thick leather. Koinor is also credited with having invented the dining sofa in the 1980s - a combination of dining-appropriate sofas and a table, bringing lounge style into the home.
Motion leather sofas collection
The Vogue sofa, seen at the top, is a Tamara Haerty design. While the sleek, contemporary style embraces curves and proportions to balanced perfection, the most striking feature is the mood light. The little handheld control allows you to select a colour by pressing a button, thereby changing the LEDs beneath the sofa. The idea is to allow one to amplify the prevalent mood or alter the existing mood of the space. The folding backrest takes you from upright seating to a supremely relaxed position, so that you can rest your body and head, and fold your legs below you. The Vogue won the coveted Interior Innovation Award (awarded at IMM Cologne), one of the world’s most highly regarded design prizes in furnishing.
Koinor Sofa Furniture, German Sofas -
Aptly enough, Easy is the Koinor name for an unusual reclining sofa. To make a point, of all the booths of the sofa majors, this was probably the most tried sofa at the fair! Large, plush seating and a bright yellow leather created a cult-like persona. The entire backrest reclines, and is perfectly supported by the motion footrest. The armrests are also adjustable. That’s just about all parts in a sofa! There is added lumbar support as well. While the system is electrical, the battery backup keeps you going when unplugged. In the Dexter sectional (wonderfully dubbed “the point of no return” in the booth), the most innovative feature is the backrest of the long section going up and down on a button.

Sectional Sofas -

 The Novell sofa brings together neoclassicism and minimalism in an irresistible package. The open stitch on the elegant armrests is in a gentle winding pattern. The stylish, curvy headrest support can be moved from one backrest to the other, adding old world charm to a truly unusual design.
    The calm and gentlemanly Hans Joachim Feddern gave us a tour of the Koinor booth. While the Cologne fair is by far the most important event for the German sofa maker, the Milan fair clearly establishes just how unique the Koinor design ethos really is. SS
Koinor German Sofas

“You don’t sit atop the sofa, you sit in the sofa.” That’s Tamara Haerty’s description of how she approached the design of the Koinor ‘Alpha’ sofa. Tamara is instrumental in growing Koinor’s design ethos. Her designs have made a bright and bold statement at Milano. “It’s all about the details” she says. For the Alpha, she took the traditional mechanisms of functional armrests and backrests and turned them into timeless stylistic elements. Ratios and proportions in the design are exemplary, even when any backrest or armrest is in motion. The seat depth is made for both easy sitting and ‘legs up’ relaxation. The thick burnt orange leather upholstery is a joy. She says “Thick leather needs more time for production. It is heavy, more difficult to stitch. For the design, I prefer big pieces and not small ones in the sofa. And that’s what we’ve achieved here.” The Koinor approach to colours is not like most bigwigs in the industry. “We don’t follow trend colours. We push colours in our own way, based on what we believe is good.” Tamara’s experience ranges across kitchens, chairs, and other products. She finds inspiration in the materials, the leather, stitch, and likes the effort in trying to make them come together beautifully. Born in 1978, she is an architect by qualification, and has an interest in psychotropics and the understanding of the irrational perception of atmospheres, habitats, objects and architecture. She has been lecturing at the University of Coburg since 2010 and also serves as a jury member for several design prizes.


For the last 15 years, the Milan Furniture Fair has hosted the SaloneSatellite - a grand expose of young design and creativity. Designers are chosen from all over the world to present their innovations, not necessarily related to interiors or furniture. While some are design students still in university, others are designers who’ve already begun their professional journeys. From thousands of applications just a few are picked.
The year’s theme was “design and craftsmanship: together for industry”, with a clear attempt to stimulate the passion for deeper involvement in the development of concepts. At the end of the week, a dozen or so go back with a SaloneSatellite Award, and a lucky handful would have bagged a contract from a major manufacturer.                        


Delhi-based Rohit Kumar is one of two Indians at SaloneSatellite. A NIFT graduate, Rohit had two pieces on display at his booth. One was a study table that is colourful and highly utilitarian, with extraordinary smart storage, and using wood, glass and leather. The other was shortlisted for the awards. Inspired by the structure of the beehive, the ‘hive-jacked’ lounge chair uses polypropylene sandwiched between layers of felt. The unusual design, seen here, is all about abstraction in a symmetrical, curved, free-flowing form.


One entire section at SaloneSatellite was devoted to the important processes that define how well a design thought is brought to reality. The idea - to create visibility for those who work the materials behind the scenes, and encourage dialogue between master craftsmen and young designers. This was wonderfully manifested in four fully equipped concept workshops at location - Wood, Metal, Glass and Digital, managed by masters in their fields.


Beyond Object is a collection by the London-based Poetic Lab and Studio Shikai. The governing idea in all their work is light being used in ways that blur the boundaries of physicality. The ‘Shadow Clock’, shown here, uses intangible shadows to describe time, giving it a philosophical and poetic sense. A concealed, completely unhindered light source creates shadows of the hands of the clock in such a way that the mechanism appears ethereal and organic, taking on the texture of the wall it sits on.


A graduate from the IUAV Venice, the charming Alessandra Meacci is an interior designer, architect and product designer. Her collection on display was structured around the idea of folding metal in unusual ways, allowing for a creative inter-play with light. The main concept on display in her booth was a dynamic system of folded metal elements, inspired by the shapes of wings, which, when brought around a light source, create a dream-like effect on the surroundings. The key is that these individual pieces can be put together in interesting ways. Meacci’s booth was a display piece in itself, with lights and a tree in a mixed plan structure.


Hailing from Melbourne, university student Edward Linacre’s ‘Nest’ lamp also
made it to awards shortlist. Crafted entirely from bamboo veneer, the pendant light fixture is robust and lightweight, and can be easily flat packed. The design theme of the lamp is a beehive. Linacre is part of the Melbourne Movement - a talented mix of young Australian designers. The movement was founded by Kjell Grant in 1999.
Designer lamps


Mumbai-based Komal Vasa, showcased two exhibits - Mandala and Mansara. Mandala is an experiential device - an enclosed light installation signifying the balance between a person’s macrocosm and microcosm. Optics captures the images outside and fuse them with the quiet inner sanctum. Mansara, shortlisted for the awards, is a metal, wood and slumped glass cabinet. Within the inner realm, the rhythm of a bird is captured in a plastic expression central to the piece.


QuartzD, a group of young Japanese designers, presented Qone. Designed to bring relaxation and relief, the idea uses paper layers that envelop you softly to create a private space, while light filters through. The standout installation was one of a kind at the SaloneSatellite.


New Yorker Danielle Trofe’s sustainable approach to furniture and lighting design led her to ‘Live Screen’ - a vertical hydroponic garden in a modular structure with a self-watering system. The design is environmentally sound, allows for herbs and vegetables to be grown indoors, and is also an aesthetic addition in any room.


Satoshi Yanagisawa’s Re_ exhibition is an attempt to combine new-age production and materials with local craftsmanship, with the aim of enabling sustainability in design. OLED lights, worked into novel forms such as this circular table lamp, were just one of the displays in the booth. Another was Otto, a smart, seamless power strip.


This concept cabinet by Utopia Architecture and Design, China, is a truly special design. Creativity comes to the fore in this truly exciting piece that exploits the Fibonacci sequence. Break it down, build it up - the assembly of ratios define the arrangement and shape of the cabinet. Made out of wood, and with four slanted legs, each box allows for demarcated storage while presenting a visual singularity when unified.


The SaloneSatellite Awards are very prestigious, and can change the fortunes of a young designer overnight. This year, Tania de Cruz won the first prize. Her use of cork to create heat-insulating and sound-proofing modular panels demonstrated how 100% natural materials can be used in a novel way to provide a design solution that’s not only sustainable but also extraordinarily aesthetic.

Friday, March 21, 2014


Designer furniture -

The Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, SaloneSatellite, the biennial Euroluce Lighting Exhibition and SaloneUfficio are collectively called ‘iSaloni’. This, the 52nd edition, had over 2,500 Italian and foreign exhibitors, occupying an area of nearly 230,000 square metres at the new Milan Fairgrounds in Rho. It is a big leap from what it used to be back in 1961, when Cosmit, the company that organises Fair, was launched by a small coalition of furniture manufacturers to promote the export of Italian furniture.
Living Room Furniture

Back then, in 1961, the Fair covered just 12,000 sqm and had 12,000 visitors. The Salone quickly proved itself to be an excellent marketing vehicle for a highly fragmented industry, first becoming an international event in 1967. To mark its 30th anniversary, it was rescheduled from September to April. Over time, it has become the world’s most significant furniture design event, with manufacturers from all over the globe using it to enhance their business and reach. New trends and concepts are unveiled and created, and those that seek to define the industry get an equal opportunity to establish themselves.