Milano. Every year I get hyped up to go the best designer furniture show in the world. There is nothing like the setting in Milan where you have the RHO Fiera - 25 halls of furniture from contemporary, traditional, lighting, kitchens and new designers to keep you busy and about 45 minutes from the center. It literally takes me 4 hours to do half a hall, so plowing through 25 is pretty much impossible. Then there is the city itself, walking through Brera, the home of companies like Flexform, or the area of Tortona where warehouses are converted into installations by companies like Lexus and Moooi.
Every night there are parties in shops, hotels and across all of Milan in homes. The city is on fire and if you have the stamina after the Fiera to make your way into the city and drink prosecco at one of the venues then you are making the most of your time. I didn't eat dinner for three nights. Straight from the Fiera, I continued onto my networking which usually meant skipping dinner but big thanks to Cassina who made sure I joined them for dinner after their party and reminded me to eat. Even if it meant I declined Visionnaire's great bash. Sometimes you have to opt out of canapes and just eat.
I have been going to Salone since 2009. The first year I showed mock ups of The Longest Stay on my PC of what the website might look like one day. I convinced companies like Illulian to join us in 2013. I was so proud when I visited their stand and spoke to Bendis who reminded me of my visit back in 2009. Coincidentally I sold two of his rugs that weekend and showed him the order on my phone. He was pleased.
There were so many highlights but spending time with Finn at Bonaldo and celebrating their 80 years was a lovely occasion. The birthday cake set along side their iconic tables was fantastic. My enthusiasm to bring on new brands such as Pulpo, & Tradition, Meritalia, Frigerio, Visionanaire and so many more keeps me so motivated as we look to build the best designer marketplace in the world. Once upon a time no one believed going online made sense. It took years and years of convincing Italian companies to join us. Now the world has changed and I have such a great privilege of working with the best designer furniture brands and can even be selective as we grow our sales. I am proud to say with the help of Steffan Tollgard in the early days The Longest Stay brought the first Italian brands online and helped shape the online market.
There are always trends at every show and every year you hope to spot them right off the bat. This year it was a yellow mustard across chairs and sofas. Stands seemed to be less loud and more subdued, which I preferred. Apart from Boca Do Lobo, which always makes a grand statement with their lovely ornate pieces. I loved how it took me back to the 70s and the theme was evident in many brands especially Le Chance's round coffee table. Or in the mustard cabinet that folds down into a table by Clei. Such a great one for space. Gallotti and Radice's armchair in gold mustard was a big hit, which led to it being surrounded whilst people eagerly flashed their cameras. There was still traces of last year's mint green theme but clearly the 70's genre was back in full swing. I am a fan.
Thank you for the great invite to the Kettal party in a 5 star rooftop hotel, my friends at Munna for taking me to the Baxter party at the Sheraton Majestic. Stopping by Wallpaper/Hotel's bash, and all the great cocktails at Meritalia, Tods, Lasvit and Moroso, which had a very hip club vibe where meeting their designer Lea Aviani was a real pleasure. We will take her very fun chair via Moroso to retail on our site. Finally breakfast at Excelsior hotel with Massimo from DeArt for the world's best cigar/wine cabinets really made my day.
I look forward to collaborating with so many architects and interior designers and bringing all of our new brands on board. I have to say 2016 was indeed the best show for The Longest Stay. Please check out our Pinterest board to see all of the gorgeous pieces and new brands soon to be at The Longest Stay.