Salone del Mobile is a world-renowned furniture and design fair held annually throughout the city of Milan, Italy.
This year, the event once again showcased the latest and greatest in outdoor design trends through product exhibitions hosted by designers from across the globe. From sleek and modern furniture to eco-friendly materials, 2023’s outdoor design trends were all about sustainability, functionality, and originality.
The fair featured some of the world’s most innovative and creative designers, who presented an extensive range of styles and concepts guaranteed to inspire anyone looking to add some flair to their outdoor living space.
In this article, we explore some of the most exciting trends in outdoor design that were showcased at this year’s Salone del Mobile.
One of the most prominent trends in outdoor design at Salone del Mobile 2023 was the use of sustainable materials. With an increasing focus on environmental issues and eco-friendliness, many designers are looking for ways to incorporate sustainable materials into their products.
This year’s outdoor furniture and decor exhibitions at Salone del Mobile featured an array of environmentally friendly materials such as bamboo, recycled plastics, and reclaimed wood. Along with being sustainable, these materials are also highly durable and versatile, making them an excellent choice for outdoor furniture and equipment design.
The use of sustainable materials in outdoor design not only helps to reduce environmental impact but also provides an opportunity for designers to create unique and beautiful pieces that reflect a commitment to sustainability.
There were so many examples of this theme at this year’s event, with the majority of designers emphasising the importance of sustainably sourced materials and product durability. For example, Gervasoni’s Hashi 09 outdoor armchair, is made from sustainable, lightweight, waterproof fabric and is carefully crafted by artisan weavers.
Handmade designs and traditional techniques
Handmade and artisanal outdoor design was a prominent theme at Salone del Mobile 2023, reflecting a growing interest in original pieces that bring a sense of craftsmanship and individuality to outdoor spaces.
This type of design typically involves the use of natural materials like wood, stone, and metal, which are often crafted by skilled artisans using traditional techniques such as weaving and painting. These pieces can include outdoor furniture, decor items, and accessories like planters and lighting.
Handmade design offers a level of customization and personalization that can be achieved by mass produced pieces. Often, there is a focus on quality and durability as these designs are crafted with a better level of care and attention to detail. Often, this results in them lasting for a longer time and being better able to withstand the elements due to the quality of the materials used.
At this year’s event, designers from all over the world showcased a range of handmade and artisanal outdoor designs. Weaving was a popular technique as designers chose to return to the traditional. Some examples that stood out include Rosa Creative Room’s Manhattan Daybed which features a unique handwoven design made from Olefin Sock and padded with foam. Another example is Tonon’s Corda Collection, which blends the past and the present with its stylish hand woven outdoor chairs.
Modern minimalism was another prominent trend in outdoor design showcased at Salone del Mobile 2023. Characterised by clean lines, simple forms, and a focus on function over ornamentation, this trend is all about saying a lot with a little.
Often involving the use of sleek, simple materials like concrete, metal, and glass to create functional outdoor furniture pieces, this trend is extremely versatile. Because of its clean, simple lines, modern minimalism can work well in a variety of outdoor spaces and architectural styles. It can be used to create a minimalist, contemporary look or to complement more traditional outdoor spaces.
A huge advantage of modern minimalism outdoor design is its focus on function. The simple, unadorned forms of modern minimalism pieces often make them highly functional and practical, while still retaining a sense of elegance and sophistication.
At Salone del Mobile 2023, designers showcased a range of modern minimalism outdoor designs that were both functional and eye-catching. These designs included sleek, minimalist outdoor furniture pieces like benches, chairs, and tables, as well as a range of minimalist planting and lighting fixtures.
Many of these designs incorporated natural materials like wood and stone, adding a sense of warmth and texture. A clear example is Vibia’s Dots Outdoor collection, a range of outdoor lighting designed to nestle into the undergrowth of a garden or patio area. Their simple design leaves nothing to the imagination and they can easily be mistaken for stones during the day.
Bold colours and patterns
While minimalism was popular, many designers opted for an opposite approach that highlighted the use of bright colours and bold patterns to create statement outdoor furniture pieces and accessories to bring personality to the outdoors.
One of the advantages of using bold colours and geometric patterns in outdoor design is that it imbues the environment with energy and vitality to create a lively atmosphere that encourages social interaction and relaxation. These design elements can be used to draw the eye to specific areas of the outdoor space and to create focal points that anchor the design.
Some key examples that were exhibited include Crema Outdoor’s Adone Evo, an automated giant parasol in bright blue that makes a statement in any outdoor environment, whether in a restaurant garden or your own backyard. Another example is Contardi Lighting’s collection of stylish outdoor ottomans in a range of bold geometric patterns.
With outdoor living spaces becoming more popular than ever, multifunctional design was a key trend at Salone del Mobile 2023.
Many designers showcased furniture and accessories that served multiple purposes, such as benches with built-in storage and modular sofas. These designs allow outdoor spaces to be more versatile and functional, maximising their potential and making them adaptable to different circumstances.
One advantage of the multifunctional outdoor design trend is that it allows for more flexibility in how outdoor spaces are used. For example, a bench with built-in storage can be used for seating and storage, while a table that converts into seating can be used for dining or lounging. This can be especially beneficial for smaller outdoor spaces, where maximising space and functionality is important.
At Salone del Mobile 2023, designers showcased a range of multifunctional outdoor designs that captivated the attention of guests. Many of these designs incorporated natural materials like wood and stone, giving them a timeless and elegant appearance.
Outdoor kitchens were also a popular example of multifunctional outdoor design at the fair. These kitchens typically include built-in appliances like grills and refrigerators, as well as storage and countertop space for food preparation, allowing designers to create a space that is not only functional but also perfect for entertaining and socialising. A great example of this is the Formalia Outdoor configuration by Scavolini, which comprises no fewer than 18 components and is designed to fit into any kind of outdoor living space and adapt to any furnishing style.