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2021 Milan Design Week Showstoppers

First-evers, rereleases, and incredible collaborations debuted at Salone del Mobile and Milanese showrooms last week. Here are the pieces at the top of our must-have list from this year's furniture fair.

By Rachel Gallaher

A bright blue modular curved sofa from Tacchini sits in front of the ruins of an ancient building.

The Victoria sofa, designed by David/Nicholas for Tacchini.

Last week the international design scene convened en masse for Milan Design Week and the annual Salone del Mobile furniture fair, which was cancelled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

For many designers, the event was the first time they could show their new products in person since before the global shutdown. GRAY spent two days walking the floor at Salone and hopped around the city for the rest of the week to take in the furniture, accessories, and art being presented around the city. Here, a handful of items we want in our homes right now.


A round table from Tacchini pictured with Pigreco chairs in the ruins of an ancient building

The Torgul table, pictured with a set of classic Pigreco chairs.

Designed by Gordon Guillaumier for Tacchini, the Torgul table has a sculptural base made from polyurethane that is finished with 100% raw-earth clay and hand applied by master craftsmen. Its round marble top comes in several finishes.


A modern tufted camp chair from Carl & Son sits in a beige-painted room with wooden floors, a white floor lamp, and a wooden credenza.

Carl Hansen & Søn has rereleased the classic Plico chair.

Originally debuted in 1964, the Plico chair, by Danish design duo Fabricius Kastholm, has been reintroduced by Carl Hansen & Søn. When first release, the chair won the Copenhagen Cabinetmakers’ Guild Furniture Prize for its outstanding craftsmanship. Designed to take up as little space as possible while not in use, (Plico means ‘to fold’ in Latin), the chair possesses everyday comfort with utilitarian appeal. It's basically the chicest camp-style chair we've ever seen.


Sleek black knobs and faucet by Fantini mounted on a gray concrete block.

Pieces from the new Sailing collection, designed by Yabu Pushelberg for Fantini.

Marking Fantini's first-ever North American collaboration, the Sailing collection, designed by Yabu Pushelberg, is every minimalist's dream. With a poetic shape inspired by the classic form of boat cleats (the fixtures for securing water crafts via rope), this hardware collection is elegant and refined.


A set of Suez Lounge chairs by Patricia Urquiola against an orange background.

The Nuez Lounge Bio by Patricia Urquiola for Andreu World.

One of the busiest designers at this year Salone was Patricia Urquiola, who seemed to have her hand in a collaboration with every major design company. One of the standouts was the Nuez Lounge Bio for Spanish brand Andreu World. A 100-percent recyclable chair (designed so that the individual materials can easily be separated and recycled: shell, foam, fabric, wood or aluminum base), the Nuez Lounge has a carbon footprint is equivalent to wood, and a quirky silhouette that capture's Urquiola's design personality.


A mid-century Danish bar cart against a white background.

Serving Cart, designed in 1963 by Bodil Kjær is now available through Cassina.

Born in Denmark in 1932, architect, designer and professor Bodil Kjær is a trailblazer in the world on Danish design. Greatly influenced by her time in America—where she briefly worked for Paul McCobb before moving to Boston to further her career in corporate interior architecture—Kjær later set up her studio in Copenhagen, and then in London, working with numerous international clients to implement innovative ideas, new methods and sustainability in the workplace.

During Design Week, Cassina presented three pieces designed by Kjær, including the 1963-designed bar cart that she created to solve a problem in her own kitchen upon her return to Copenhagen. Kjær had a lively social life and threw many dinner parties, but her dining room room was not close to the kitchen and she often found it difficult to be the good hostess to her guests as she was constantly running back and forth between the two rooms. To solve the problem, she designed the Serving Cart so that she could actively participate in interesting discussions while providing meals.


A series of cloud-shaped rugs designed by Patricia Urquiola in a gray room. Some are on the wall, one is on the floor.

The Venus Power collection, seen in the blue colorway, designed by Patricia Urquiola for cc-tapis.

Patricia Urquiola strikes again. The Venus Power collection, one of her many collaborations released during Milan Design Week, is the latest from rug studio cc-tapis. With an allusion to graffiti art, the rugs form floating shapes and identify the single letters that (when the individual pieces are put tougher) compose the phrase “We all come from Venus." Hand-knotted by Tibetan artisans, the Venus Power collection is a group of 4 rugs: Weallcomefromvenus, Nuvola, Cirrus, and Venus; each design is available in three color combinations: blue, pink and green.


Two wooden chairs with a woven back next to a swimming pool Two wooden tables sit nearby on a woven rug.

Poltrona Frau's Boundless Living line is the company's first outdoor collection.

Italian furniture makers Poltrona Frau have released their first-ever outdoor line, Boundless Living. Embracing simple lines and quality craftsmanship, the two collections within (Secret Garden and Solaria) are designed by Roberto Lazzeroni and Ludovica and Roberto Palomba. Functional and well-proportioned, the pieces could just as easily be used inside.


Three arms reach up from behind a rock. Each one is holding a bowl: one red, one yellow, one blue.

Colorful bowls designed by Omar Sosa for Raawii. Image by David Luraschai.

A simple, elemental collection of dish wear designed by Omar Sosa (the cofounder and creative director of Apartment0) for Raawii, consisting of two bowls (deep and shallow), a carafe, and a vase available in nine bold colors. All pieces are glazed earthenware, slip-cast, and stackable, and their easy form and singular hues bring to mind tropical places and gathering for meals with friends.


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