Italian Design Expo

Italian Design Expo


The 52nd edition of the Milan Furniture Fair kicked off this week, packing every meter of the city’s fairground with a plethora of exhibitors, occupying shops, loft spaces, museums and the streets of the city’s hip and haute neighborhoods with thousands more.

Design furniture makers from around the globe have converged on the defining industry event of the year displaying their latest collections to more than 300,000 visitors from 160 countries, ranging from industry operators to design aficionados.

The Salone del Mobile 2013 inaugurated the brand new Unicredit Tower, opening its doors as a supplementary space to the exhibition halls at Rho Pero complex from April 9 to 13.  DESIGN: IL SALONE DEL MOBILE A MILANO

As always, the whole city of Milan will participate. In fact, this year’s Salone is seen as an important precursor to the Expo 2015 World Fair and tools to enjoy Milan with greater ease like an integrated ticket for transport between the fair, museums and city will debut during these days.

‘Il Salone del Mobile’ – The Furniture Fair – has multiplied and flourished so greatly over the years, it is more accurately captured by fair organizer Cosmit’s appellation ‘I Saloni’ or ‘The Fairs’.

Beyond the main, commercial furniture fair, with its 2,500 exhibitors, the Satellite Fair displays the talent of 700 young designers, the biennial lighting fair Euroluce vaunts the latest lighting, and office furniture fair SaloneUfficio covers the work environment.

Italian furniture makers export 35% of their products, says Claudio Luti, Cosmit president.

‘This figure highlights what a critical moment Italian producers are going through, especially for companies that do not export enough and for those whose market is confined to Italy,’ Luti says. ‘The companies that are thriving are those steeped in creativity ready to take risks and seek innovation – factors that have always put Italy ahead of other countries’.

DESIGN: IL SALONE DEL MOBILE A MILANOBut making a superior product is not enough, says Luti.

‘Our country needs to invest in developing distribution and keep taxes down,’ says Luti. An outdoor exhibit shows pieces the Satellite Fair helped take to market, by giving young designers exposure to the companies that commercialized their designs.

Via Montenapoleone boutiques are also taking part, with design exhibits hosted by jewelers Bulgari and Damiani, and clothiers Aspesi, Etro, Ermenegildo Zegna, Salvatore Ferregamo, and others.

Milan’s unofficial fair, or Fuori Salone – which began in the early 1990s as a way for non-established designers to attract attention during the all important Salone – has spread like a jungle canopy across the venerable downtown Brera and Porta Romana districts, the hip Tortona district and a more recent edition, the gentrifying Ventura-Lambrate district.

Far from being limited to edgy, underfunded creative talent, major design companies – as well as banks, carmakers, spirits companies and other major corporate sponsors hoping the avant-garde aura of the Fuori Salone will rub off on them – organize major exhibits and events free of charge.

Visitors who can’t or won’t trek out to the Rho-Pero fairgrounds have more than they can possibly take in with over 750 events listed on the website guide at

ANSA by Kate Carlisle

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