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  • Words by Mr Nick Vinson, Vinson&Co

The Salone del Mobile, held in Milan each April, is without any doubt the biggest event on the global design calendar. Leading Italian and international brands, both established and start-ups, select the city to present their novelty in sofas, tables, chairs, lamps, kitchens and accessories to the global design community, who jet in to admire, judge, photograph and order from all over the world. That's 357,000 architects, designers, buyers, critics and museum directors from around 160 countries. So integral to the city of Milan is the fair that any available space is rented out, every single hotel bed filled and not one resident in the city wouldn't know it was Salone week.

This year's fair had a positive and upbeat mood, thanks partly to the spring sunshine that replaced the usual April showers. Although the fair's participants are fully international with French, Dutch, German, Swiss, British, Japanese and American brands transporting their news to show in Milan, the household names of the Italian furniture world such as Kartell, Molteni, Minotti, B&B Italia, Poltrona Frau, Cassina and the like are forever present and an integral part of the proceedings.

The Italian fashion brands are never shy of participating in the greatest design show on earth, Bottega Veneta, Armani/Casa, Versace Home, Fendi Casa and Missoni Home all launched additions to their home "universes", as collections are now known. Emilio Pucci joined forces with mosaic masters Bisazza to launch a new range of mosaics in historic Pucci designs, Prada presented a new range of colourful velvet CloverLeaf sofas especially made by Verner Panton's Verpan (sadly only for its stores and not for sale), and Salvatore Ferragamo joined forces with Molteni and designer Mr Rodolfo Dordoni to celebrate the genius that is the work of Mr Giò Ponti. Trussardi, meanwhile, launched a new casa collection, Etro opened a new home store in the Brera district, and Milanese leather goods house Valextra celebrated its 24 ore briefcase, which was the inaugural winner of the most prestigious prize in design: the now-60-year-old Compasso d'Oro.

Click through the gallery, above, to see 10 designs that impressed us the most.

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