Salone del Mobile Milan is KE-ZU’s favourite time of the year. This year we enlisted three Zu Insiders to take over the Zu-Gram, giving our followers insights and experiences as they happened.

 Salone del Mobile Milan is the world’ biggest design fair and growing exponentially. With more than 2000 exhibitors at the fairgrounds and 1000-plus installations all around the city, the fair is a must see for anyone in the design world. As thousands descend on the fashionable city, Milan is whipped up into a frenzy of energy and excitement.

This year we wanted our followers to feel that energy and excitement and to be part of the action as it happened, so we enlisted Zu Insiders – three cutting-edge, vibrant and social media-savvy designers – to take over the Zu-Gram and post their experiences. Our brief? Anything goes! We wanted to know what they saw, what they coveted, who they met and where they ate, drank and danced.

Meet Zu Insider Lise Desebordes, senior interior designer at HDR Rice Daubney. Lise is a visionary, forward-thinking, multi-lingual, passionate interior designer. This is the round-up of her Italian experience.

Which product by a KE-ZU brand is at the top of your wish list? 

My absolute favourite is the Frames Rattan Armchair by Jaime Hayon for Expormim. I know it was released in 2014, but for me it is still the sexiest cosiest chair. If this chair was a child, Barcelona and Paris would be its parents. The rattan recalls a Parisian-terrace café chair and the sculptural design and shape encapsulate the dynamic and twisted Barcelona. I was born in France and grew up in Spain, so this chair is the story of my life.

Jaime, can we have the rocking chair version please? And yes, that’s Jaime posing in the back. Isn’t he gorgeous?! Design crush! (KE-ZU Editor: Yes! We agree. We all have one!)

Which new piece by a KE-ZU brand are you looking forward to specifying for clients? 

Another favourite is the Nuez Chair from design queen Patricia Urquiola for Andreu World. We love the ripple details of the back and armrest and have ordered them for our boardroom

What was one of the main trends you noticed at the fair?

This year it was the digital/experimental/immersive experience with embedded technology. And revisiting the radical design movement – think disco, space conquest, Woodstock and the hippies, rural communes and environmentalism and so much more. The late sixties were reinterpreted in 2018 style and design and architecture used as an instrument of political, social and cultural critique: bold manifestos and designers experimented with collage, music, performance, art, furniture, graphic design, installations, events and exhibitions. It ultimately makes you want to experience Milan and not just appreciate it through pictures, which is why we tried to show stories and videos of the installations on the Zu-Gram.

Did you meet any product designers?

Jaime Hayon (hiii!) made me laugh when he introduced the Frame chair and armchair as well as a newer version suitable for smaller places. He mentioned that he wanted to revisit the scale of his furniture saying, “Who lives in big spaces nowadays?” We kept bumping into him – at the Gufram disco party, Caesarstone dinner party and the fairground – and had to tell him to stop following us!

What were your favourite installations?

 Sony’s “Hidden Senses” was an amazing sensory experience. With technology now part of our daily lives and households, Sony created a more emotionally and digitally enriching experience by transforming the functional value and innovation of objects.

Elle Décor’s “On Life – Millennials at Home” explored the relationship millennials have with the world, and how they create a bond with their living space and objects come to represent family memories.

MINI Living and Studiomama’s ‘MINI Living – Built By All’ explored the future of city living and the creative use of space. They created a modular system with integrated furniture units and curtain screens for people to create personalised micro-living spaces.

How many days were at the fair and how many kilometres did you walk?

I was there from Monday until Sunday, 8am to 3am, and doing approximately 60 kilometres a day in pursuit of design excellence and inspiration. Design (and foot) rehab is needed! Leaving was the only time I felt blessed to be stuck on a 23-hour plane journey without moving.

What was the best place you ate, grabbed a coffee or had a drink?

Completely random (and sometimes the best choice when in Milan) was the takeaway pizza shop in front of Duomo. It was the best pizza I have ever had! (Sorry, Da Orazio). I also couldn’t get enough of the gelato.

What was a favourite moment of the fair?

With my partners in crime, Michelle and Christina.