Trend Scouting: Milan Design Week 2016

Trend Scouting:
Report from Milan Design Week 2016 - Fuori Salone

About Fuorisalone
Every April, Milan, Italy becomes the eye of the design world, attracting more than 300,000 people to the city. The week features two main events: “Salone Del Mobile”, the world’s largest design fair dedicated to interior and product design taking place at an event center, and Fuorisalone, an even larger design event that is open to the public and dispersed throughout Milan.

Fuorisalone originally focused on the furniture/interior design industries, however today it has become a platform for a much wider range of design related industries. It is an opportunity for brands, start-ups, universities and independent designers to present new innovations, products, ideas, and developments in technology, innovation and design.

IXD at Fuorisalone 2016: Key Takeaways
Our team attended the 2016 Milan Design Week to scout trends and emerging technologies in the design space. We conducted onsite visual research, in-person observations, photo documentation, and a trend analysis- all concluding in a written report. Our observations focused on emerging technologies, experimental projects, experience design and brand partnerships.


We encountered objects in the home designed to support intuitive experiences, integrating subtly into existing home lifestyles. Instead of dozens of smart objects over-loaded with sensors, screens and flashy features, we noticed a more modest approach: still technologically advanced and contemporary, yet not too futuristic.

Tuler Smart Kitchen for Offmat
A take on the smart kitchen top that integrates technology into standard kitchen furniture


Products seemed to take a simpler form, stripped of unnecessary features, this left room for optimal storytelling and opportunity to focus on specific aspects of the product experience. This isn’t about abandoning technologies and innovation, but identifying the most appropriate solution for creating an emotional relationship with the object.

Lexus Awards Project Plants-Skin (winner) by Hiroto Yoshizoe
A planter made from coloured mortar that uses a special ink to visually show when the plant needs water.



We encountered installations demonstrating the surprising (and sometimes startling) uses of data. This trend explores the creative ways of interacting with digital and physical mediums interchangeably and how we can leverage the massive amounts of data generated and collected everyday. 

Spotted: Data Orchestra (Design Week Best Technology Winner)
An experimental installation that uses personal data to help create a mechanical musical show using everyday objects.


Making friends, networking and spur of the moment introductions can be universally intimidating. No longer confined to only to the physical or digital worlds, we saw clever integrations of the two- supporting both co-creation activities, acting as social ice-breakers, and random un-premeditated networking, mimicking more organic methods of connection.

Spotted: Next Design Innovation: Random Contact Machine
A machine that allows the user to "trade" their business card with a stranger. The user inserts their business card into the machine, and in return receives the business card of another person at random.