Salone del Mobile in Milan brings together leading designers from all over the world to launch their collections at the main fairground in Rho.
History of The Salone del Mobile Fair
The Salone del Mobile began on the 24th of September 1961. It was the realization of the collaborative idea of a small group of furniture makers, who represented the Federlegno trade organization. The event, organized by Cosmit, was intended to encourage exports of Italian furniture.
There was a saturation of internal demand in Italy for furniture post-War. As such exports seemed to be a possible and viable option for the furniture trade. A trade fair was believed to be an effective way to attract foreign interest. Milan was deemed to be a suitable location for The Salone del Mobile fair as it had hosted the La Campionaria Fair since 1920 and was the financial capital of Italy.
The first 4 years of the Fair proved to be a great success. Visitor numbers sored and keen interest was shown by Italian and foreign operators. It proved to be a commercial triumph as exports increase from 5,837,000,000 Lire in 1960 to almost 16,000,000,000 in 1964.
In 1967 The Salone del Mobile became an international event. In 1974 the Eurocucian (the biennial International Kitchen Furniture Exhibition) was launched and in 1976 the Euroluce (the biennial International Lighting Exhibition) began. The Salone Stellite, a place where young creative talent is showcased was launched in 1998. This became a forum where companies sought out new talent and trendsetters.
The Salone left the old Fiera Campionaria exhibition center in 2006 and moved to the Milan Fairgrounds at Rho. The new site was designed by Massimiliano Fuksas. The Salone Internazionale del Bagno (the International Bathroom Exhibition) also made its first appearance.
55th Year Of The Fair
This year marks the 55th edition of the Salone del Mobile. The fair will be held at the Milan Fairgrounds, Rho from the 12th-17th April. Over 300,000 operators from more than 160 countries will participate in the 2016 fair. It is expected that over 30,00 people will visit on the Saturday and Sunday. The event will include a short film by Matteo Garrone titled: Before Design: Classic. The film will be screened within the fairground. The subject matter of the film includes Italian design and aesthetics.
The various exhibitions within the Fair are grouped according to product category and styles. Some of the exhibitions include EuroCucina’s FTK (Technology for the Kitchen), the Salone Satellite, which highlights young designers, and the International Bathroom Exhibition, showcasing bathroom furniture/accessories.
President Roberto Snaidero stated: “The 55th edition will be a huge international draw, with 70% of the operators coming from over 160 countries and a wide range of top commercial offerings from the very best companies on the Italian and foreign markets, combined with culture and product culture through our collateral events.”
The Deputy Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda said: “The Salone del Mobile is one of Italy’s most important appointments. A showcase of what the entire home furnishing chain has to offer international markets in terms of product quality and innovation.”
For the first time the city is opening its museums free of charge during the week of the Salone. Another new addition to the Fair is an app, which will be available to download a few days before the event. Visitors can use the app to view the exhibitors’ catalogues.
Pros And Cons Of The Fair Of Salone Del Mobile
Amidst the hype of the fair there has been some criticism that it is a marketing ploy that is overly concerned with pushing new releases and products. British designer Jasper Morrison referred to it as “Salone del Marketing”. Dutch designer Hella Jongerius used the fair to launch her “Beyond the New” manifesto, which was written in collaboration with design theorist Louise Schouwenberge. The manifesto says that design fairs are a “cornucopia of pointless products and commercial hypes”.
Stefano Core, chief executive of design firms Valcucine and Driade, notes that it can sometimes be hard for emerging designers to make an impact at the fair. However, he holds that the Salone provides designers with a unique opportunity to test their products and possibly forge their careers. As he says: “It gives you the chance to show your product strategy to the world…[Salone] is the best window you can have for design.”
The Salone del Mobile in Milan is a great spectacle and something that everyone, designer or layman, can be sure to gain something from.