There’s no better way to get an insider look at the hottest upcoming design trends than a visit to Milan Design Week. After over two years of pandemic-related scheduling snafus and postponements, the iconic global design fair finally returned for their 60th edition earlier last month. Befitting all the pomp and excitement of an anticipated in-person return, the event did not disappoint. Reflective of the changing times, the fair brought to light the importance of both community and sustainability — two major themes this year, according to Annalisa Rosso, editorial director of Milan Design Week staple Salone del Mobile.

Below are some of the top design trends to keep an eye on in the coming months, all courtesy of Milan Design Week:

Sustainability Stars

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Promotional image for the Rossana Orlandi Guiltless Plastic Initiative at Milan Design Week 2022.

As mentioned above, one of the major themes of Design Week this year was sustainability, a trend that’s already been big in the design world for some time now. And just like we’ve seen sustainability emerge as a major concern in both the fashion and architecture spheres, we’re now beginning to see a similar shift in focus in the world of interior design. From the RO Guiltless Plastic initiative showcasing emerging artists who turn “trash into treasure,” to top talents such as Martino Gamper and Dimorestudio focusing on greener production processes and an awareness of longer-lasting and more eco-friendly materials, sustainability was definitely the star of the show this year in Milan.

Taking It Slow

Sustainable outdoor furniture from Tapis Studio, featured at Milan Design Week 2022.

The next big trend is complementary to a focus on sustainability, and it’s a further reflection of the industry’s desire to examine its own habits. Dubbed “slow living” or “slow homes,” it’s an offshoot of the slow living movement. Here too, the focus is on interior design. With an eye toward promoting more eco-conscious consumption, this trend is causing brands to rethink their materials, production processes, and overall lifecycles of the products they release— a less consumption = less waste credo in direct response to an environmentally destructive throwaway society. This year, TAPIS Studio nailed this trend with a lovely rug collection made from recycled biodegradable fibers.

Surrealist Savvy

Colorful CHROMATIK HOUSE interior by HOMMÉS Studio, as featured at Milan Design Week 2022

In recent years, popular interior design trends have emerged that highlight our need to create homes that are not only livable and comfortable, but that promote an escape from reality (think emotional decor and “alternative realities” design trends). While this may be a response to pandemic lockdowns and an increased blending of work/home realities, the desire to escape our reality and disconnect from the outside world is manifesting itself in a number of aesthetics now.

CHROMATIK HOUSE armchair by HOMMÉS Studio, as featured at Milan Design Week 2022.

Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari’s “Pet Therapy” installation at Milan Design Week 2022.

At Milan Design Week, this came in the form of surrealism. Think dream-like, sometimes absurdist objects; bright, vivid, and outside the norm pop culture color palettes; and a riotous, carefree mix of fabrics and patterns — in short, whatever makes you feel good. For inspo, see Alberto Biagetti and Laura Baldassari’s giant, huggable cat dubbed “Pet Therapy,” and CHROMATIK HOUSE’s vivid creations that look more like candy than furniture.