Milan Design Week 2016: Modern Living

From Samsung's Serif TV to reimagined classics, highlights of some of our favorite designs

Sponsored by Samsung Serif TV

Modern living was a persistent and enjoyable theme at this year’s Milan Design Week, both in terms of standards that have been revisited as well as new products designed to reflect our current needs, wants and desires in our homes today. We noticed several very welcome themes running through all the most engaging new designs: utilitarian items that have been cleverly and beautifully crafted to be pieces of furniture, rather than just functional products or devices. From candle-powered speakers, to the picture-frame-esque Samsung Serif TV, to the reintroduction of an outdoor furniture line by one of design’s most colorful creators, here are a few of our favorite things we’d love to live with.

Clairy Natural Air Purifier

Though we rely on trees and plants to help detoxify our polluted air outdoors, few are aware of the state of the air quality in our homes (said to be often worse than that outdoors), and we tend to rely on machines more than nature to remedy the situation. Certain plants are excellent at filtering air through their roots, but most planters prevent the air from coming in contact with them. Clairy is a WiFi-enabled ceramic planter with a built-in fan that pulls polluted air into the planter where the roots can purify it—a truly natural air freshener. It also pairs with a smartphone app that analyzes air quality, temperature and humidity to optimize its performance. Having successfully met their Kickstarter goal, the team behind the Clairy natural air purifier is bringing their vision to life.

Pelty Candle-Powered Speaker

Free from cords and batteries, the Pelty speaker is a Bluetooth-enabled, candle-powered device hand-crafted in Italy from ceramic, glass and timber. The clean, crisp design is named for the peltier-effect device inside it, which converts heat to power, offering up to five hours of play time. Blending low and high tech with a little romance, the Pelty provides a new way to enjoy music and podcasts.

Simon James Spurr Floor Lamp

An accomplished fashion designer and multi-talented creative, Simon’s love of design and interiors led him to make the lamp he desired but couldn’t find. Inspired by the Visor floor lamp created by Vico Magistretti and Mario Tedeschi in the 1950s, he’s reimagined it in a more modern way. The lamp, handmade in Brooklyn, features an adjustable metal shade in black, red or white atop a brass stem and is optionally wrapped in black ostrich leather. His striking and luxurious reinterpretation and its juxtaposition of materials and shapes finds the right balance between 1950s modernism and 2010s sensibility.

Gae Aulenti’s Locus Solus by Exteta

Celebrating iconic designer Gae Aulenti’s playful use of color in Locus Solus, her outdoor furniture collection from 1964, Exteta presents a reissue of the collection with updated and upgraded materials with increased resilience from the elements. From the dining table to the loveseat and pouffe, each piece is delightfully cheerful and bold. Our favorite is the sun lounge, which makes us dream of summer days poolside.


Architect Mauricio Rocha‘s impressive installation, built with 17,000 tufo bricks and set in an old Milanese theatre, was the backdrop of Hermès‘ new home collection—the first under the direction of Alexis Fabry and Charlotte Macaux Perelman. Featuring re-editions, historical designs that were never made, as well as new accessories and furniture, the collection was a showcase for the brand’s classically modern craftsmanship and materials. Noé Duchaufour-Lawrance’s “Sellier Sofa” brings cane, calfskin, wool and cotton toile flamée and Caneletto walnut together in an invitingly chic, contemporary way.

David Rockwell’s Valet Collection for Stellar Works

Inspired by the functionality of old valets (the storage racks often found in foyers), David Rockwell and his team set out to reimagine that same utility—producing a beautiful and accessibly priced collection of fourteen pieces for Stellar Works. Leather, brass, American walnut and blackened steel bring restrained masculinity and the modern lines make this collection both reminiscent of the 1960s and comfortably contemporary at the same time. The collection features so many strong items it’s difficult to pick just one to highlight, but we’ve been waiting for a well-designed, affordable bar cart.

Samsung Serif TV

Last year, when Samsung announced the Serif TV, the Bouroullec brothers-designed television, it was widely praised for its bold reconsideration of how those of us who seek to live with design want to cohabitate with technology. Erwan Bouroullec tells us us, “Looking old-fashioned is the worst thing that can happen to furniture,” and this was on his mind as his studio set out to create a TV—a product that often looks outdated in just a few years. Of the Serif TV, he says, “It’s expressing more of the picture itself than the technology to make the picture.” Wonki Kim, the Global Product Manager for Serif TV, finds opportunity in a place where furniture makers and technology companies have never played well together. “A lot of people actually do have the need for a different style of TV. They want to have a TV that means something, like the chair that they have. It’s the emotional connection between the furniture, interior and the TV that was never there, and the Serif is the first TV that can connect it.”

Visit Samsung to learn more about the Serif TV.

Images courtesy of respective brands