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  • Words by Mr Nick Vinson, director of Vinson&Co

Milan's Salone del Mobile is arguably the most important date on the global design calendar. Each April, the great and the good of the design world - leading architects, industrial and interior designers, buyers, curators, gallerists and journalists - descend on Milan en masse. This year more than 324,000 jetted in from all over the world - from more than 160 countries no less - to take in as many new sofas, chairs, tables, bookshelves and lamps as they could in a packed six days.

Aside from the official fairgrounds where the leading Italian and international furniture brands present works, every possible space in the city is taken over to exhibit what is new in furniture and design. Alongside brands that prefer to exhibit in their own showrooms, there are those that choose to rent some jewel-like locations normally hidden from the public.

Then there are the fashion houses presenting their lucrative home collections and unveiling new design collaborations, such as Versace Home with Haas Brothers, Missoni's new store by design darling Ms Patricia Urquiola, Bottega Veneta's one-of-a-kind boxes with artist Ms Nancy Lorenz, and Prada, which hosted the launch of the week: on the very same set used for its fall/winter show, the architect Mr Rem Koolhaas of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture launched Tools for Life, the much-anticipated first line of furniture for renowned American maker Knoll. Visiting from Paris was Hermès, with eight new furniture pieces by Mr Philippe Nigro, and Louis Vuitton, which hosted a series of design talks with the top talent behind its new Objets Nomades line.

During the fair, days are spent pounding the padiglioni (or halls of the fairgrounds) and evenings spent passing from one venue to the next, aperitivo in hand. The design calendar is packed with openings, parties and tempting dinners, however it's Milan where you learn to just sip and nibble, as you can be expected to dine three times in one night. Click through the gallery, above, to see 10 designs that impressed us the most.

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