baxter aura sofa at casa sul lago

From Milan, With Love: Salone Del Mobile 2024


Studio Como design director Laura Folgoni and consultant Gariela Peña are back from their annual trip to Milan for the renowned international furniture fair, Salone del Mobile. And, to use a cliche: they are feeling the love.

“We began our trip at Minotti,” says Laura. “They not only showed us the new pieces, but had all the collaborating designers introduce themselves and speak to their designs. We all felt part of a big family, of a common project.” This year’s fair was the first since longtime Minotti art director Rodolfo Dordoni passed away last August, and Laura noticed a renewed enthusiasm in the younger designers who are stewarding his legacy in innovative ways. “We were intrigued by the collaborations with Gianpiero Taliaferri and Hannes Peer,” she says. “This is a new design direction from two young creatives who haven’t worked in industrial design before and the result is good—really good.”

minotti supermoon sectional sofa at salone del mobile 2024

An aesthetic they saw Minotti and several other Studio Como brands—like Baxter and Poliform—reclaiming is the 1970s embrace of soft, rounded forms and an emphasis on comfort. “We saw a lot of designs inspired by the 70s, and maybe this is a bit of nostalgia, or maybe it’s just the engine that motivates change,” says Laura.

poliform ernest seating system at salone del mobile 2024

With Poliform, they saw the 70s aesthetic used in a new modular line that focuses on lounges and expands into an outdoor collection. The Baxter Made in Italy showroom also referenced the era, and when Laura and Gabriela made it to the Baxter Villa in Como, they saw how the pieces could integrate with a specific, sensory experience. “Here we saw the stunning outdoor collection with its relaxed and bohemian look amidst colorful textiles and terrazzo finishes in a dreamy Italian garden with citrus trees and wisteria,” Laura says, mentioning that every Baxter product can be custom-finished to fit into its context. “The way to live with a piece is in the way you fall in love with it. And on Friday, we all left a bit more in love with Baxter.”

Laura was also taken by the new Paola Lenti showroom in the city. “As I always say, Paola is the poet of the design world,” Laura shares. “She uses a labor of love in every detail, and at times we were touched by the sensibility of her choices and how emotional they felt.” In these collections, the adored details were new outdoor fabrics mimicking indoor bouclé, vibrant colors, and a fuzzy rope that Laura says “is capable of changing the look of every collection, including older lines in her catalog.” Other brands that captured the allure of materiality were Riva1920, which showcased expanded wood and upholstery finishes, and B&B Italia and Maxalto, whose muted color palettes complement a new line of monolithic tables.

b&b italia assiale marble dining table

“Salone is the greatest influencer for future trends in our industry,” says Laura. “We visit to be inspired.” Amidst the visits to particular brands, throughout the trip Laura and Gabby were inspired by the innovations of showroom booths. Because furniture is designed to exist in space, it would follow that the architectural context of that space bears just as much weight in the overall experience as distinct pieces of furniture do. That felt especially apparent in the Flexform booth, where new products finished in brushed oak and natural walnut were displayed in a real home setting and museum-like vignettes. “We are taking back a lot of inspiration from these booths and looking ahead to create more dedicated spaces for our brands in our showrooms at home,” says Laura.

As always, sustainability was a central tenet discussed at Salone, yet Laura articulates the movement for less waste and resource-heavy processes in the industry through a more personal lens: “I know it is cliche to say this, but I think the most important part of sustainability is for furniture makers to create products that last a lifetime, and buyers to purchase pieces they love being surrounded by and don’t get tired of. This is truly the secret to the longevity of design,” says Laura. In other words: the answer to everything—even or especially when it comes to fine European furnishings—is love.

Baxter / La Casa Sul Lago photos courtesy of Andrea Ferrari