The Milan road show: auto brands drive into design territory at the 2014 Salone del Mobile
The reputation of Milan's Salone del Mobile rests on its ability to attract designers from every sphere, all eager to experience the latest trends in product design. This is a relatively fast-moving industry, one that apes fashion to the extent that dominant themes, colours, materials and innovations tend to be imitated and disseminated, translated from high-end products to mass-market ones in short market cycles.
Car designers look with envy at the speed of the process. With car making locked into a 10-15 year cycle, governed by the enormous complexity of manufacturing and technological development, one would imagine that the worlds of furniture design and automotive design would be content to eye each other with aloof suspicion. In fact, the past few years has seen several major manufacturers muscle in on Milan.
Last year the effect was pronounced, and the motoring sideshow persisted in 2014, with new installations, design competitions and the appearance of the odd concept car all conspiring to share the limelight with the big furniture brands. Jaguar's participation at Wallpaper* Handmade showed one approach, while other companies blew their budgets on massive interactive installations. Above, we take you on a tour of the action at the fast-growing Auto Milano show.