The Host With The Most

Under the gracefully undulating glass-and-steel canopy of FieraMilano in the Milan suburb of Rho, over
200,000 people from 171 countries gathered for the 41st edition of HostMilano, a major international trade show dedicated to the hospitality and catering industries that took place in mid-October. Designed by renowned architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, the sprawling but elegant venue proved to be the ideal showcase for this biannual event, with 14 massive exhibition halls featuring the latest in specialized and niche foodservice equipment, along with furniture, technology and tableware sourced from around the world. From armchairs to magazine racks to fine bone china, the following represents some of the design highlights that distinguished themselves from the pack.

Héra + Tamara | Pedrali

Displayed together at HostMilano, the Patrick Jouin-designed armchair Héra is the perfect complement to the sleek Tamara pendant light by architecture firm Basaglia Rota Nodari. Elegant in its ergonomic simplicity, Héra is available in ash or American walnut, with a seat upholstered in fabric, leather or artificial leather. Tamara comes in a powder-coated aluminum finish, and is inspired by the design of early 20th-century automobile headlights – recalling the iconic self-portrait of modernist painter Tamara de Lempicka, in which she is seated behind the wheel of a green Bugatti.

Zoë + Dé | Ann Demeulemeester – Serax

Cult fashion designer Ann Demeulemeester is one of the legendary Antwerp Six that graduated from Belgium’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts in the early 1980s. After leaving the design direction of her eponymous label to others in 2014, she redirected her focus to the study of traditional methods of porcelain design and manufacture and, earlier this year, launched her collaborative collection with Belgian furniture and home décor brand Serax. Echoes of her edgy fashion aesthetic are present in the Zoë stainless steel cutlery range and the Dé porcelain tableware collection; the plates are meticulously hand-painted by artisans using a specific technique developed by Demeulemeester to achieve their unique chiaroscuro effect.

Cinderella, Skyline + Bonsai | Nokte

Spanish company Nokte specializes in food display products geared to the hospitality and catering industry. Fabricated in natural materials, their elemental forms are ideal for showcasing any number of comestibles. Comprised of delicately cross-stitched leather and a removable walnut wood base to facilitate cleaning, the Cinderella basket is available in a variety of shapes, sizes and colours. Skyline is a flexible, modular display system that includes trays, baskets, benches – and here, a slotted cutting board. Available in three sizes, the Bonsai series of trays is intended for use in hotels for room service and welcome amenities, but can be employed in a variety of settings. Both Skyline and Bonsai are available in a solid American oak finished with food-grade oil, or ash plywood finished with water-based matte black lacquer.


Shire | Schönhuber Franchi

Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni has created Shire, a new collection of outdoor furniture for Schönhuber Franchi. The sun lounger pictured pairs a black painted metal frame and a woven batyline fabric known for its dimensional stability and weather-resistant qualities. A wheeled version facilitates portability of the lounger, and cushions are available in two styles: standard rectangular or cylindrical bolster.

Catene + Labirinto | Richard Ginori 1735

As the company name would suggest, Richard Ginori 1735 has been manufacturing exquisitely crafted porcelain tableware since the 18th century. From 1923 to 1933, under the artistic direction of celebrated architect and multidisciplinary designer Gio Ponti, the company’s product range was renewed and included Catene and Labirinto. Nearly a century later, these two distinctively geometric Ponti-designed collections are as popular as ever – and on permanent display at Milan’s stunning Villa Necchi Campiglio.

Allegro + Bilbao | Degrenne

Evoking the retro appeal of Mid-Century Modern glassware, Degrenne’s Allegro and Bilbao collections tempt with their pleasing organic contours and subtle jewel tones. Integrally coloured, the transparent glass vessels are mouth-blown according to traditional methods, and are, thankfully, dishwasher-safe. The stackable design of both styles is a space-saving feature, a godsend in compact domestic environments where storage is at a premium.

Smart Wood | Kartell

With a creative concept developed by French superstar designer Philippe Starck, the Kartell Smart Wood collection embodies sustainable innovation. In addition to using a raw material with low environmental impact, the implementation of a patented technology enables the molding of a single, fine layer of wood to extend the curvature to its very edges. The result is a fully three-dimensional and sculpturally contoured seat that ensures maximum comfort. The Smart Wood series comprises the high-backed K/wood armchair and matching S/Wood footrest, the P/wood chair, and the Q/wood chair with a choice of white or black plastic seat. Available in light or dark stave oak veneer with a chrome-plated or painted steel frame.

Gold Decor Series  | Dibbern

Nearing its 50th anniversary, esteemed family-run German company Dibbern manufactures fine bone china and porcelain products. Combining traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design, its collections are held by prominent hotel chains such as Four Seasons and the Park Hyatt, and by fashion powerhouses Céline, Fendi and Brunello Cucinelli. Here, the vision of London-based product designer Bodo Sperlein is expressed in three unique china patterns – Golden Forest, Gold Leaf and Golden Pearls. Cups, plates, bowls and platters of fine bone china are embellished with motifs derived from the natural world, a compellingly graphic complement to any table.

Brass Collection | Tina Frey Designs

Hong Kong-born Tina Frey grew up on the Canadian prairie, but has called San Francisco home for more than two decades. Leaving behind a career in finance, she shifted direction towards the design of products for the home and hospitality market, selling to such high-profile clients as Four Seasons Hotels. Tina works primarily in resin, but has recently expanded her range to include a collection in solid brass – available in a brushed or, in some cases, a shiny polished finish. All of these pieces are completely handmade with a ‘soft’ aesthetic; hand-hammering and hand-sheared edges leave intentional traces of the craftspeople involved in the process of making. And, with brass possessing antimicrobial properties, it is ideal for the bath collection pictured, which includes trays, cup, tissue box, soap dish, and soap dispenser.

Carousel + Timmy | Rudi

Handmade in Italy, Rudi products are fabricated from Tecnocuoio, a UV- and water-resistant composite material made from leather castoffs generated from Rabitti 1969, Rudi’s sibling company focused on leather home accessories. In adhering to a zero-waste philosophy, Rudi creates products that are both eco-friendly and functional, such as the Carousel wheeled serving trolley and the Timmy magazine rack. In both pieces, durable and hard-wearing Tecnocuoio is molded and wrapped around and within a coated metal structure.