[dropcap size=small]W[/dropcap]ith interest in home decor and design on the rise globally, many brands have joined the fray to take advantage of commercial opportunities. This means only one thing: It’s a buyer’s market out there. Judging by this year’s Salone del Mobile, the world’s most prestigious furniture fair, designers have clearly kept the end user in mind, with many offering straightforward, approachable pieces for broader appeal.

Both established and emerging brands showcased new collections that kept to time-honoured maxims, preferring to surprise with subtle elements, such as unusual colours, instead. Loud, statement pieces were few and far between. Rather, those with cleaner aesthetics that look set to be future classics dominated the fair floors.

Here’s the second of five trends that we gleaned from the exhibition in Milan held in April.

Plus Points

Dual-function furniture is appearing more frequently, signalling demand for versatile designs to cater to variable lifestyles. As the global interest in design continues to rise, so does competition in the market, and many manufacturers are differentiating themselves through functionality.

Heritage Italian brands such as B&B Italia, Zanotta and Moroso have incorporated added features in their seatings. B&B Italia has replicated the comfort and modularity of indoor seating in Butterfly, its first textile outdoor sofa. Zanotta’s well-loved William sofa has evolved to include an integrated side table option, and Moroso’s Glider sofa has a rocking mechanism that enhances comfort with movement.

The functionality of movement also distinguishes the foldable Stanley chair designed by Philippe Starck for Magis, which can be put away easily, as well as the Palanco, a height-adjustable mirror. Designed by Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec for Glas Italia, it doubles as a space divider when placed in the middle of a room.


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01 Besides its modifiable seating, B&B Italia’s Butterfly by Patricia Urquiola comes with small tables and consoles that integrate seamlessly with the sofa, allowing for numerous configurations. Available at Space Furniture.

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02 The Stanley chair by Magis stands upright, even when folded. No more falling dominoes. Available at Xtra.

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03 Instead of concealing its mechanism, the double-faced, height-adjustable Palanco mirror by Glas Italia makes a star of its pulley system. Available at Space Furniture.

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04 Not only does Ron Arad’s Glider sofa for Moroso surprise with its unusual form, it delights with a hidden rocking feature, which takes anyone who sits on it on a gentle swing. Available at Xtra.

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05 Zanotta’s William sofa is now more dynamic and functional, with the option of exchanging a backrest for a slim side table. Available at Proof Living and Space Furniture.

For more on the 2015 Milan Furniture Fair, read Fits Like A Glove, To Put It Simply, Gone Green and Dazzling Displays.