The numbers, the news, the trends from Ambiente, the exhibition of consumer goods that just ended in Frankfurt. Reportage.

Unity is strength

"Our expectations? At least 100 thousand visitors". So Donald Wich, managing director of Messe Frankfurt Italia, on the second day of Ambiente.

Expectations brilliantly exceeded on February 7, when the consumer goods fair (declining in the Dining, Living and Giving areas) closed its doors registering 154 thousand visitors, try again number of the effectiveness of the new concept in the sign of unity is strength.

Wich continues: "This concept was made possible by the completion of the works on the entire fairgrounds, with the entry into operation of pavilion 5. We were thus able to bring Ambiente and the reviews with the suffix 'world', i.e. Christmas, Paper and Creativeworld, which previously had a separate appointment , creating an unprecedented synergy between all consumer goods fairs".

It is certainly a somewhat alienating flashback to walk through the pavilions dedicated to Christmasworld as you head towards hall 3.1 which houses the international table design brands.

But this fully conveys the meaning of the global goods market of which the fair, which has always been the 'hub for the internationalization of exhibiting companies', is a faithful cross-section, as well as a highly organized reference for Contract Business and the HoReCa sector.

Hence the large numbers: 4,561 exhibitors from 170 countries occupied the entire exhibition center on a gross area of almost 353,000 square meters.

More design and lifestyle

"This edition of Ambiente saw the repositioning of all the exhibitors", explains Donald Wich.

"We highlighted situations more related to the world of design, creating a hybrid between the previous Dining and Living sectors. In pavilion 3.1 (designed by Nicholas Grimshaw, ndr) the great international design brands were brought together.

We have therefore abandoned a somewhat rigid and Teutonic division by product sectors or materials, in favor of more fluid readings, linked to lifestyles.

With a great transversal theme, namely sustainability, expressed by the emphasis on exhibitors who operate by favoring the circular economy and an ethical production model".

And if the key to understanding are the lifestyles, in which times and places of work are hybridized, the presence of a new exhibition sector, Future of Work, was not out of place.

Testimonial of Sustainability

The macro-theme of sustainability was articulated in various forms at Ambiente, starting with a 'green label' which highlighted particularly virtuous exhibitors.

As prominent examples of sustainable design, we should mention the stand of Alessi (a transformable and reusable architecture, designed by AMDL CIRCLE and < strong>Michele De Lucchi) and the new Dolcevita collection by Pio&Tito Toso for Guzzini (a large series of tableware made with transparent and colored bio-circular plastic, derived from vegetable biomass waste and residues).

Perhaps the exhibition Circular Materials for Future Dining, curated by the Haute Innovation studio, would have deserved more prominence: an interesting sampling of materials, derived from circular processes of waste recovery often organic-based, applied in textile products, building materials, objects of daily use, including for the table.

To deepen the focus on sustainability, Messe Frankfurt has called on exceptional design testimonials. Among these Ross Lovegrove, who held a sort of lectio naturalis: Out of this worldd, design principles, materials and practices for the 21st century.

His message, as a designer and "translator of materials and technologies into objects that combine beauty and logic, optimizing the potential of the age we live in": we are no longer in the Bauhaus era, design cannot today regardless of dematerialization, of a complete circularity of the process, of an organic essentialism inspired by the intelligence of nature.

Trend scouting

If sustainability is a fil rouge that unites many new products on display, rather than a trend, it is more appropriate to speak of a need and a meta-design premise.

On the other hand, wanting to point out in general some aesthetic and formal orientations that have emerged in the world of tableware, we note a predilection for reassuring, positive pastel colours.

In porcelain services form prevails over decoration, the field of color over the figurative theme.

The cutlery experiments with infinite variations of PVD finishes, with a wink at vintage, the glass enhances transparency and lightness in minimal thicknesses. And a new presence is increasingly appearing on the table: small rechargeable lamps, a technological alternative to the candlelit atmosphere.

Ambiente has always offered a reasoned opportunity to read trends, thanks to the work of the trend bureau bora.herke.palmisano. The appointment was renewed this year in the foyer of Hall 4.1 with the staging - with logical rigor prevailing over the display charm - of three macro themes.

Unknown beauty: strange + gracious brought together objects that testify to a desire for originality, overcoming aesthetic habits also thanks to the dissolution of the barriers between analogue and digital.

Calming nature: careful + pleasant, investigated the reassuring power of organic forms.

Lasting ideas:passionate + evocative reaffirmed the perennial relevance of design icons.

Design no frills

Another fixed appointment of Ambiente, of which we have noted the welcome return, is the Solutions exhibition.

For ten years, the industrial designer Sebastian Bergne has been curating a selection of objects, aids for the kitchen and the home that combine beauty and pragmatism, intelligence and innovation.

Here Italian design is often well represented. This year with the mixing kit by Giulio Iacchetti for Alessi and with EcoPackly (design Roberto Giacomucci for Guzzini), a container in recycled plastic, with a compactable accordion structure, ideal for separate waste collection