Last night BELLE Magazine gathered a flock of design loving faithfuls in Sydney to listen-in on four short trend analyses from this years Salone in Milan. Among the five panellists discussing key trends were design journalist and blogger Anne-Maree Sargeant, Interior designer Angela Ferguson of Futurespace, young industrial designer Henry Pilcher, Richard Munao from Corporate Culture as well as Editor-In-Chief of BELLE: Neale Whitaker. Assembled as a forum for five individuals from varying backgrounds to review what sang out as prominent trends, perhaps the most consistent commentary was the prevalence of sustainability in design; considered actively in manufacturing processes as well as product presentation, across almost all exhibitors at the fair. To a packed room, Sargeant highlighted the enjoyment in seeing the exuberance and seemingly intense, personal investment of young start-up designers who were , in presentation and execution, displaying work that often rivalled the output of some of the bigger players.  Their "non-derivative" design processes showed clearly in the fact that many had chosen to throw away the rule book. Euroluce, as a lighting specific sub-section within Salone, stood out for the part it played in the exhibition of emerging technologies.  OLED, LED and alternate light sources were being embraced to provide designers and their manufacturers with product that not only sat within the objectives of sustainability exploration, but also afforded more control of light dispersion, an over-all slimming of housing as well as aesthetics that still retained a sense of "fluidity". A common thread touched on by all speakers was the omnipresence of Patricia Urquiola, The Bouroullec Brothers, and Jaime Hayon.  The trends spearheaded by these prolific designers and their studios were very much in the vein of simplistic use of timbers and raw materials.  Reworking classics and an embracement of timber were recurring themes, and cushiony upholstery was used to convey  a sense of what Angela Ferguson described as, casual and comfortable.
Colour too rang through as a device used by many design houses to breathe life into classics or re-visit established designs.  Neale Whitaker and Henry Pilcher both isolated this bright, bold move away from subdued hues as a high-point in their travels. An informative and  insightful evening from a diverse collective.  A "distilled" exploration of the event's highlights is in the current BELLE Magazine, out now.