Salone del mobile and Design district 2023: A design of kindness

Trends in common

The house is transformed and becomes even more cosy and relaxing. The novelties that emerged at the Salone del Mobile in Milan 2023 and which were also confirmed at the Design District in Rotterdam, in the Van Nelle Fabriek, tell us about family habits and memories, invite us to create an environment that is above all comfortable, whose ultimate goal seems to be to shut out our worries, frenzies and common work performance anxieties.

From the light fittings to the sofas and bookcases, everything has a soft and graceful feel: the gentleness in the design of shapes translates into curves, sinuous contours, soft embraces.

New combinations, new vibes

The design becomes clean, excluding any aesthetic frills that are not essential.

The materials are surprising: in lamps, leather or coloured rubber appears (see these examples by Artemide, designed by Carlotta Bevilacqua); in seating, metal structures such as copper and brass become protagonists; in bookcases, steel walls are supported by curved structures.

The research goes towards ergonomics and the environments become less austere or formal and certainly more playful, giving rise to eclectic interiors in which the personality of those living the spaces stands out.


Wood is still one of the most popular materials among the brands exhibiting at the Show for its sustainability and durability. The trend is to keep it as natural as possible, with opaque finishes and transparent waxes that make the surfaces caressing and with the grain becoming the real aesthetic element; lines, grooves or slats play on the delicate curves, often obtained thanks to craftsmanship skills matured over time.

(Check out this beautiful four-poster bed Alcova by Maxalto).

A trend also confirmed in the Netherlands at the Design District 2023 in Rotterdam. Wood also as wall cladding: thin sheets of wood are curved to match the shapes of the interior architecture. The slats resting on an insulating layer act as acoustic panels, giving the spaces a timeless elegance. Finally, Decolegno also presents Jiometori woven surfaces in different woods and for different applications.

Stones and marbles

Stone materials offer designers many design ideas with the help of advanced technologies.

Among the most widely used building materials since antiquity, marble and other types of natural stone never cease to stimulate the creativity of designers. New processes, particularly those involving the use of the latest generation of digitally controlled machinery, make it possible to lighten thicknesses and achieve bolder shapes.

This characteristic can be found in many stands such as Lago that exploits the natural elegance of marble and its transparency also in the creation of LED lamps.


Upholstery, chairs, tables and outdoor collections celebrate colour to give domestic environments character and energy and tell the story of the personality of those who live in the space.

Colour is one of the trends emerging among the new proposals presented at both the Salone del Mobile 2023 and the Design district. The sobriety and ton-sur-ton ambience of Dutch homes finds a fresh and lively vein… No longer just only shades of grey or beige, but pinks, blues and greens in all nuances, from the most delicate to the brightest, used also to cheer the most neutral interiors up…

From reworked retro pieces to new modular systems and wraparound sofas to sculptural shaped tables: the common thread is the search for bold or pastel colours, for contrasts between glossy and opaque surfaces, capable of giving each element its own sensorial and material connotation.

Thus, a vast palette of colours proves to be an activator of positivity and plays a fundamental role in psychophysical well-being, but also expresses a versatile design, suitable for different tastes and environments.


It is a great protagonist of this year’s salone. Small tables are tinged with coloured enamels from sea blue to terracotta.

Sculpture-like furniture is made of copper or brass from organic to more rhythmic shapes… (see this photo of De Castelli bookcase).

Metal panels and decorations decorate the walls with lights that seem to make them float. Metal supports wall fittings, cabinets, chairs.

Brass returns in the form of handles and elegant fittings, as at Gessi, in a stand dedicated to women with its Jacqueline collection recalling the handles of Gucci’s handbags, in the midst of Phalaenopsis as big as butterflies and settings with lots of pink, super glossy, in all its shades.


Seating, cosy sunbeds and the latest gazebos for enjoying life in the open air.

The quest for absolute comfort to enjoy relaxing breaks in the open air…  The exteriors are still a transposition of the interiors. Stylistic and chromatic coherence characterise both environments.  This is the now established trend of erasing the boundaries between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, for a blurring of boundaries that allows us to experience the landscape and architecture around us.

These are often solutions created for interior design revisited in materials that are also suitable for the open air, but which retain the same iconicity.

The lines of seats and sofas are enlarged and become generous enveloping spaces, with soft, irregular shapes with curved backrests and sculptural volumes suitable for any space, from the public venue to the private residence, from the poolside to the furnished terrace.

The materials are water-repellent, fireproof and eco-sustainable such as 100% recyclable aluminium.

Maria Elena Fauci from MEF architect

I am an architect + interior designer, specialised in villas, interiors and renovations.

Elegance, functionality, bringing together different colours and materials are the core brands of my projects. I don’t have a fixed style and I don’t want to have one. Each design is a story of different elements that reveal something unique about my clients.

I like to design iconic furniture for a home. This is where my Italian origins come to the fore.

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