Highlights from Salone del Mobile, Milano – 2018

Though we are only 8 hours apart via one international flight, it seems, as it pertains to the kitchen industry, we are worlds apart! My visit to EuroCucina has left me in awe and wonder, and I’m excited to share a sampling of my 2018 experience with you. Now since I am a bit of a photographer ūüėé I tend to see frequent photo opportunities which is why I can only share a sampling with you…somehow I ended up with over 1,400 photos, which is even surprising to me!

The perfect quadrant of design: 

(1) Salone Internazionale del Mobile

This is the basis of the entire event: Numerous¬†massive buildings hosting interior design spaces by agents, big and small, each defining their look, brand, and presence in the industry at an international level. It’s a display of a firm’s best work and most innovative concepts.¬†

The annual international exhibit is the unmissable appointment for the sector at international level, and the showcase for creativity, innovation and quality par excellence. This year, over 434,509 attendees, in 6 days, from 188 different countries, made for a 17% increase compared to the 2016 edition, which last featured the biennial kitchen and bathroom exhibitions, and an increase of 26% compared with the 2017 edition.

1,841 exhibitors, 27% of them from 33 other countries, showcased their products at the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, EuroCucina and the International Bathroom Exhibition, plus the 650 designers under 35 featured at SaloneSatellite. A vast array of exhibits that marry quality and creativity, thanks to the hard work, commitment and investment in research of the top companies within the sector.

(2) EuroCucina FTK – Technology for the Kitchen

This is what we go for! All about kitchens, predominantly contemporary, with additional focus on future trends in appliance technology. But of course, the best part for me is the design side of the kitchens! I would say it is the hub for design inspiration that can last a decade, as many of the displays are concepts and may never make it to the mainstream markets of the U.S.

The key concepts driving the exhibits, showcased by 117 companies within an exhibition space measuring over 22,000 m2, (236,806 sq ft) were efficiency and evocation. Kitchens have ceased to be purely functional spaces to become domestic hubs, places for conviviality and socializing. This revival of the domestic hearth makes for an interconnected, multipurpose and professional space, yet one where emotions never fail to run high. http://www.salonemilano.it/en/manifestazioni/eurocucina-ftk-technology-for-the-kitchen.html

(3) International Bathroom Exhibition

As the name implies, this is the section all about bathrooms. From towel warmers to luxurious spa suites, this area showcases all that is trending in baths. From my perspective, the designs were primarily contemporary, with a few transitional and traditional displays with hints of furniture details, like we’re used to seeing in the U.S. But if the show depicts what may head our way in the future, we’re going to see more streamlined designs for vanities and accessories as well as bathrooms that multi-task as laundry or light-gym areas, which is pretty interesting.

The 7th edition highlighted, as never before, the companies’ innovative focus on sustainability. Cutting edge products for modern bathrooms reflected today’s strong demand for efficiency and energy saving, with the accent on water efficiency, indoor pollution prevention, and personal health. Needless to say, there was no skimping on the ergonomics, colors and accessories that stimulate the emotions and underscore the feeling of wellness achieved in this particular space. 

If you’re not a fan of crowds, this show might not be for you, because at any given time there are hundreds of people surrounding you, which is why many of my photos include an abundance of friendly strangers! I cannot begin to imagine how much planning goes into this event and into each booth – some are literally the size of a city block – and what it takes to accommodate an additional metro community to the existing population. I wonder how many espressos, pizzas and gelatos that adds up to? ūüėĮ

(4) Brera Design District

Brera Design Week theme

As if there is not enough to see at the official show, the city is filled with stores, galleries and showrooms that further embrace and celebrate design trends through events, featured displays and exclusive “show week” collections. I spent a day walking through Brera and experiencing Milan’s high-end kitchen showrooms and found it to be a very different perspective than typical showrooms in the U.S. First off, they are primarily operated by the manufacturers, rather than being independently operated. In some instances, specifically for Design Week, there were multiple design agencies involved in a project, but cabinetry would always be produced by one manufacturer. And because each of these showrooms is in a competitive proximity to one another, they all appear to be working hard to out-do one another! From a sensory experience, they were filled with ambiance stimulating all of the senses, with a heavy emphasis on dramatic first impressions.¬† Music, lighting, and aromas filled the air. Second, as some would expect, the cabinets are all frameless construction with rare exception, which ties directly to abundant technology most notably in automated and sliding systems as well as integrated lighting. This was evident at the show as well. If you’re interested in more on Design Week, click here.


Even the shops featured collections exclusively crafted for Design Week!




Key features from EuroCucina

I think that different perspectives bring about different outcomes, but as I look back on the show, there are particular elements that stand out in my mind that just might make their way into American kitchen trends. (No forecasting here, just my humble opinion!)

  1. Materials
    – Metallic looks for cabinetry. Some were metallic laminates, others were painted to look like brushed metal. Interesting indeed!
    – Dimensional and patterned doors/fronts. This is self-explanatory in the photos below, but nonetheless intriguing!
    – New materials: Porcelain and stone, both real and faux, used on cabinet fronts and counter surfaces. Very sleek, and pretty incredible!
    – Wall surfaces: Truly amazing tile work and fabric-like wall coverings. Great alternative for feature walls or for the backdrop of a display.
  2. Lighting
    – Innovative concepts to light below, inside and above cabinets.
    – Beautiful fashion fixtures which truly affects the sophistication and style statement of each display.
  3. Curated design
    – This really ties to the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition theme:
    To make homes even more welcoming and ensure they reflect the personalities of those who live in them.
    I found an abundance of beautifully curated pieces, which inspired me to consider how we can view furnishings as a way to tie a client’s taste into our design ideas.

The photos

Like I mentioned earlier, I took more photos than I can share and I found it was far more difficult than I expected to narrow them down for your viewing pleasure. But without further delay, here they are. Be sure to keep an eye out for underlying themes and potential future trends. But most of all, I hope you find some points for inspiration!


Vertical plank door design with variable wood color, framed by architectural square metal tubing.
Vertical door – top view showing slightly dimensional plane.


Warm wood tall cabinets surround faux marble drawers. Note the demi-height appliances and open shelving with a contrasting dark metal framework.


Automated bi-fold lift door over drawers in metallic fronts surrounded by horizontal warm wood. Note the absence of pulls. (Tip-on mechanism for doors and drawers.)
Glossy polymer wood look.
Mixed materials:  Warm variable colored wood with stone look accents and unique hood design. Note the gold geometric tab-style pulls (playing off the inlay design on the hood) and gold inlay framing each door.

Above: Real and faux stone made a huge statement both at the show and in the showrooms of the Design District. The material is thin and caps the cabinetry on the counter surface and waterfalls along the sides as well.

Metal counter surface and narrow top drawer appear as one, while extra tall drawers pull open to reveal tiered storage.


Named Pompei, this design takes the outlines of creativity to the edge. Each porcelain door is embossed while depicting an overall scheme. You definitely don’t see this every day!¬†¬†


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Above: Color came into play, primarily in appliances. Notably, Bosch showed how they can be flexible with their VARIOSTYLE fronts that easily change out with a magnetic attachment system. Great for the client who wants a splash of color in their sleek white kitchen! That is of course if the concept takes off in Europe and subsequently makes it to the U.S. market. ūüėČ

Below: More on the stone-surround look. Dimensional and textured too!


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Above: Soft to the touch and to the eye, these desaturated neutrals are anything but bland!

Above: Enormous sliding doors are wrapped in a buttercream yellow leather to conceal a simple clothing closet.

Below: A rare spotting of bright color stands out in the show and in this display! Note the variety of materials and sheens. (I spot six!)



Geometry, color, and texture are all playing a part in this design. Note the door shapes which create triangular views to the contrasting interior! 



Did I mention mixed materials? Furry walls anyone? ūüėĮ


Beautifully crafted metallic in a modeled pattern with contrasting wood shelving area.
Yellow gold! Note (above and below) the dimensional pattern on the dark wood sections.
Brushed gold paired with dark brown wood and neutral paint accent cubbies. 


Is this stuff hot or what??!!
Cooking area focal point with oversized hood and…
…sliding stone fronts concealing shallow storage.¬†
Tasteful, timeless and classic! 

Below: Abundant ideas on open shelving and mixed materials!


Below: Details are part of a great design, and these curated works don’t disappoint!

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Amaze and wonder…these gorgeous vessels speak to the cohesiveness of form and function:


Below: Warm champagne gold metallic paired with a satin sheen marble counter.


Below: Silver and Gold!

Below: Topside, downside, inside outside…lighting was not only functional but artistic.

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One of my personal favorites (outside of cabinetry of course) was the textured wallpapers that emulate real materials and artworks. So much fun!



Best catch of the show: The wallcovering ūüôā !



Below: A bit on the bathroom settings – mostly contemporary with unique arrangements of mixed materials. Love the desaturated colors!

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Love this citrus green!
Double that!
What an amazing design – an island/peninsula adjacent the floating sink area. Loving the metal furniture-inspired pedestal and mixed material with alternating depth drawer fronts.
Close-up of the wallcovering from the previous photo!

And finally, I’ll cap this session with these amazing wall materials. Thanks for stopping by and if you have a moment, I’d love to hear what inspired you the most!

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This is tile!




  1. Bob Geiger

    AMAZING Show – Lots of information for inspiration. When I finally get to Italy – I may have to plan my trip around the next Design Show !! Thank you so much for sharing

  2. Gail

    Thank you for sharing your photos and what inspired you! I love all the different textures and materials you captured!

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