In April, the world’s largest design fair took over the city of Milan, Italy for a week of modern and innovative experiences, inspirational showcases, and more than a party or two. With Milan’s dominance in fashion, it is no surprise that home fashion also looks to this chic city for direction.

This year, the fair was clearly influenced by world events – with a palpable focus on politics, technology, and the environment. Some trends are definitely continuations of ideas we have seen at recent design industry shows, however, Milan’s showings amped up each idea at least a couple of notches.

Eco-friendlier design

Upcycling – The design industry has been trending toward sustainability in recent years, but this year showed a marked increase in the idea of not just being more sustainable, but actually working to recycle used goods.

  • One seriously interesting idea came from startup Really – which introduced a new material: Solid Texture Board. What makes this material so unique is that it is crafted from textiles (cotton and wool) tossed from the fashion industry. Really debuted this material in a series of sleek modern benches.
  • Other materials being recycled into new home design products are plastics and aluminum.

Bamboo – there are not many materials more sustainable on the planet than bamboo. To use, it is harvested, leaving the roots in the ground, and a new bamboo shoot grows from that same plant. Designers are taking note and continuing to increase their use of this seriously eco-friendly (and beautiful) material.

Ancient crafts

  • Honoring the ancient crafts of different cultures continues to be a focus in the world of design. In Milan, both traditionally created options were seen as well as goods that reimagine the traditional techniques in new and modern ways in goods constructed of ceramic, porcelain, pottery, textiles, and adorned with calligraphy.

Invisible Tech

  • Technology is certainly part of our daily lives, and in some ways ubiquitious in our homes. In Milan, the trend was for the technology to become invisible, truly integrated into the space.
  • Wireless speakers inspired by artwork, smart lighting built into furnishings and walls, and a frame TV designed to look like a piece of art hanging on the wall.