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New designs back to basics at 2008 Milan furniture show

Milan Gallery
Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the world’s most prestigious furniture trade show, ended its six-day run Monday. More than 2,500 exhibitors previewed their latest home furnishings to 250,000 visitors. The biggest news: The gilded extravagances and luxurious looks that defined the market last year now play second fiddle to pieces exhibiting refined form and function. At MatteoGrassi, leather was cut into a fishnet pattern for a chair back reminiscent of Harry Bertoia’s classic 1950s wire seating for Knoll. (Franco Forci / For The Times)
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Designer François Russo used the countertop material Corian for the X-shaped legs of this director’s chair, a piece made for Poltrona Frau(Franco Forci / For The Times)
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The lineup at Kartell included Patricia Urquiola’s Frilly chairs. (Franco Forci / For The Times)
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Many designers tried to balance their sleek, minimal aesthetic with shoppers’ growing affinity for ornamentation. Here, new chairs in Philippe Starck’s Bon collection for xO(Franco Forci / For The Times)
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Konstantin Grcic’s design for the Myto cantilevered chair is made of a new synthetic material called Ultradur, which is good for indoor or outdoor use and is recyclable. The piece was made for Plank(Franco Forci / For The Times)
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Gervasoni blended IKEA-like simplicity with a helping of Italian refinement. Candlestick lamps with two-dimensional bases were topped with vibrant orange shades. (Franco Forci / For The Times)
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A bit surreal: The Danish company Hay’s stool, which appeared to be lightweight and inflatable, instead was made of heavy metal. (Franco Forci / For The Times)
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The Twine table from Casamania had wire legs that passed through the top, creating an occasional table that was as cute as a button. (Franco Forci / For The Times)
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This promotional photo shows off the Graham & Brown Couture wallpaper design by Marcel Wanders, another Milan standout. In a dream house set up away from the exhibition, Wanders’ design collective Moooi showcased other examples of his work, including upholstery and carpet tiles. (Nicole Marnati by MWStudio)
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Graphic patterns defined the Gervasoni space. (Franco Forci / For The Times)
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In a riff on the classic Mies van der Rohe button-tufted leather daybed, Fabio Novembre’s piece featured a larger-than-life-size black rubber figure that recalled a Henry Moore sculpture. (Franco Forci / For The Times)
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At the Arco booth, Dutch designer Bertjan Pot fiddled with proportions. He fashioned the wooden Arc bench like a hefty boat, but sized it to slip under his Slim dining room table, with its skinny legs and an ultra-thin top. For more pictures from Milan, look for a second gallery to be posted Monday, only in the Home & Garden section of latimes.com. (Franco Forci / For The Times)
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