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Fashion leads function in Milan (by Sue Terley)
From furniture to bathrooms, kitchens to offices, design was once more at the forefront at Milan's bi-annual international furniture show in 2008.
Featuring over 2400 exhibitors, Salone del Mobile is the largest furniture show in the world and the showplace for the latest in interior design.
A-Plan Kitchens joined some 348,000 visitors to the show to see what's happening at the cutting edge of kitchen design and manufacture.
With a global marketplace to satisfy, a diverse range of kitchen styles were on display.
Some kitchens were dazzling in their design. While others, were more far out and funky.
While the Italians have always been known for their design flair, this year the show was equally notable for innovations in manufacturing including sensor lighting, push button cupboard door opening, handle-less drawers and many ingenious storage solutions.
Sensor lighting was a common feature on cupboards, drawers and pantries. Stunningly fashionable wall cupboards played host to internal dish racks and draining boards. Slide out and fold-in shelves were a stylish and practical solution to those "out of the way" cupboard spaces.
Range hoods provided feature lighting as well as a core design element. Stainless steel bench tops and splashbacks were as popular as ever. Sometimes hidden from sight behind a spectacular wall of colour. At other times, making a bold fashion statement for all the world to see.
The integration of technology was on display with computer screens providing control of all electronic devices within the home.
Clever technology and brilliant design were also present in kitchen appliances.
The use of colours and textures helped to integrate kitchen and living spaces. Kitchens were increasingly part of the main living area.
The 2008 Milan Fair lived up to expectations and was more popular than ever with exhibitors and visitors alike. It remains the ultimate showcase for the best in design and manufacture of kitchens, bathrooms and furniture.
So what does it all mean for the future of kitchen design and manufacture in Australia?
Some trends are obvious...the continued march of technology; the increased integration of kitchen and living areas; better, more efficient storage solutions; smoother lines with handle-less cupboards and doors; and the greater use of textured and natural finishes such as timber and stone.
A-Plan is responding to these trends with the development of our new range of cabinets featuring coloured and wood grained finishes, engineered stone, concealed handles, soft close drawers and 'one touch' lift up handles.