20 May 2024, 11:02
By Furniture News Mar 31, 2016

Fair Comment: Salone del Mobile.Milano

Fair Comment sees Furniture News quiz the people behind the scenes to discover what makes their exhibition unique, what changes are taking place, and why buyers from the UK and ROI should take note. In this article, Roberto Snaidero, president of Salone del Mobile.Milano, describes the developments behind the world’s biggest furniture design event …

Identity: A showcase that has always mixed business with culture, shaping the history of design and furnishing yesterday, today and tomorrow. A global platform for truly top-notch products and services, with an emphasis on innovation.

Attendance: The 2014 edition attracted 311,781 trade visitors (106,317 Italians, and 205,464 non-Italians from 170 countries) plus 39,155 public on the Saturday and Sunday, and 5620 journalists. 2015’s attracted 272,439 (84,456 Italians, 187,983 non-Italians from 165 countries), 37,944 members of the public and 5091 journalists.

In 2016 we expect a similar visitor count to that of 2014, because there are the same biennial shows dedicated to bathrooms and kitchens.

In terms of exhibitors, 2014’s edition featured 1993 in the main show, plus 700 designers at SaloneSatellite, 2015’s 2158 exhibitors plus 700 at SaloneSatellite, and for this year’s event there will be 2310.

What’s new? First of all, thousands of new products across all four exhibitions (Salone Internazionale del Mobile, International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, EuroCucina, and the International Bathroom Exhibition).

Then there’s the new sector, xLux, in pavilion 3. In recognition of a luxury product category already largely established in the American markets, from East to Far East, the new xLux section responds to the increasing demand for a venue dedicated to this type of product, which was showcased inside the various pavilions until the latest edition.

Many manufacturers, who started off with classical or design products, have embraced this new typology, which represents a synthesis of the two categories, consisting of linear products embellished with details, finishings and warmer, softer materials – there will be a strong presence of leading fashion brands.

Also, the theme of the 19th edition of SaloneSatellite – New Materials, New Design – is new.

Then there are three collateral events. After all, mixing business and culture is, since its foundation, Salone del Mobile.Milano’s mission.

The first, within the ambit of the XXI Triennale International Exhibition, is the Rooms – Novel Living Concepts exhibition, curated by Beppe Finessi, held at the Triennale di Milano from 2nd April to 12th September. The exhibition is geared to underscoring the particular remit of interior architecture and providing a vision of home living projected towards the future.

The second is Before Design: Classic, a reflection on the classic soul of contemporary living, with artistic direction from Ciarmoli Queda Studio, and a short film by multi-award-winning filmmaker Matteo Garrone screened in pavilion 15 F15/H18, which discusses classic Made in Italy taste and its currency in an audio and visual narration.

Lastly, there is space&interiors,  a city event linked directly to the Salone del Mobile.Milano, organised by the international architecture, design and construction biennial MADE expo, and held at The Mall Porta Nuova – Brera Design District. It is a fascinating display of surfaces, flooring, doors and interior finishings curated by Migliore+Servetto Architects.

“A global platform for truly top-notch products and services, with an emphasis on innovation”

In addition, there’s our new communication campaign, which pays homage to our cultural and artistic past, and new web platform (www.salonemilano.it), which employs cutting-edge web design and digital communication trends, making navigation more interactive, engaging and multi-channel.

Direction? Internationalisation and innovation are the key drivers of this important edition. In particular, companies taking part in the Salone affirm that 63% of revenue is generated by exports, while 67% of them have made substantial investments in innovating machinery, equipment and software, research and development – especially within the companies themselves, and in the design of new products.

Some people visit the fair to be inspired rather than to buy – can you comment on the suggestion that I Saloni and its sister events are not transactional meeting places? It’s true – many people come here to get inspiration and smell the trends of tomorrow. The Salone is an emotional experience because each company sells not only products but their philosophy, through the beautiful layout of their stands.

The show always seems to threaten to spill out further than was originally intended! How do you work together with (or against) the other events going on in the city? We work together with the city, firstly by having our own events in the city – as mentioned earlier in the form of the Triennale and The Mall Porta Nuova – Brera Design District.

For the third year, the Salone will be running the Welcome Project, devised with the Municipality of Milan councillor for employment, economic development, university and research, Cristina Tajani, together with the city’s leading design schools – IED, Domus Academy, NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti Milano, Polytechnic University of Milan/Design School and Istituto Marangoni Milano.

In collaboration with Fiera Milano, Milan Airports Authority SEA and Milan’s transport agency ATM, 100 students at various focal points (Malpensa and Linate airports, the Central Station, Superstudio, Fuorisalone Brera and the main underground stations) will provide visitors with information on how to negotiate the city, on the trade fair itself and the brochure of events in Milan.

To your knowledge, what British visitor presence will there be at the fair? I can’t speak for the event to come, but the number of visitors from the UK has increased steadily over the last four years – 5353 in 2012, 5810 in 2013, 6200 in 2014, and 6688 in 2015.

Is there any other news you feel our UK visitors should know? The UK market is a very important one for Italian furniture. Furniture export was worth (EURO SIGN)1.1b in 2015, with a growth of 15.3% compared to 2014.

Every single sector of the Italian furniture market is experiencing growth. Upholstered furniture is especially doing well. These figures are taken from the Centro Studi Federlegno Arredo Eventi’s Istat datas.

In your opinion, what makes your show better than any other similar furniture event? Milan is definitely the most important of all the furniture fairs, not only because it is the largest and the one with the most exhibitors and visitors, but because it gathers the best of the sector.

“Many people come here to get inspiration and smell the trends of tomorrow”

In addition, the Salone del Mobile not only has the support of the General Furniture Association (FederlegnoArredo), but an important tradition of craftmanship, the Brianza district, behind it. This area, north of Milan, was the cradle of carpentry and furniture for many centuries.

There have been so many furniture makers here for such a long time that design has emerged in the natural evolution of the craftmanship of the area, making it part of the success of Made in Italy.

These two are the main reasons of the supremacy of Salone del Mobile. As a centre of innovation, and being the traditional capital of Italian design, no other city has the same foundations.

I Saloni takes place from 12-17th April at the Milan Fairgrounds, Rho.

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