This year’s Salone del Mobile Milano – the 57th edition of the fair – attracted over 400,000 attendees from 188 different countries, a 26% increase compared to the 2017 edition. Although proud of the success of the event, president Claudio Luti said “Salone is not about the numbers”.
“My view is that Salone is not about the quantity of people, and it is not about the numbers – it is about quality,” Luti told the international press during the fair, adding that Salone’s progress and success should base itself on the quality of innovation, creativity, and people who attend the fair each year.
He explained that over the years, the level of quality showcased during Salone is what has driven it to become the most important event in the design calendar, alongside its satellite events, called the Fuorisalone, which allows the city of Milan to open its many palazzo’s, residences, and showrooms to the public.
“It is very interesting that there are many companies that are working in different markets that like to show their products during this season in Milan because of the opportunity of meeting quality visitors and businesses,” he said.
Luti also stressed on the importance of selection when it comes to the fair – another factor ensuring that the event maintains its standard of high quality design.
“If we want to be the best in the world we need to select the best companies for the Salone del Mobile,” he said. “Every year we try to make a good selection of companies because if we don’t have companies that invest in creativity and innovation, then we don’t have the best Salone del Mobile.”
Earlier this year, Salone del Mobile published its first Manifesto, with ideas centering around tightening ties between Salone as a fair and the city of Milan, and urging exhibitors and designers to think to the future in the face of “sharper” competition, shorter time scales, and a “super-demanding” market.
“The phrase ‘we’ve always done it like this’ has ceased to exist, replaced by a commitment to strive to do ‘even better and achieve more than we already are'”, it says under a section called Enterprise.
“There are some things that we need to take care of and not forget and work every day to do better because that’s what makes the difference. If we forget, if we don’t follow our words, then we lose our position,” Luti said during the interview, adding that the Salone del Mobile brand is very “important” but also “delicate” and requires the same level of attention from all involved in the fair.
The Manifesto also touches upon topics such as production, innovation, and sustainability.
“The affirmation of the Salone exhibitors and therefore of thee Salone itself rests on this capacity for ongoing innovation. Innovation with regards to lines, to shapes, to market approach and sales, innovation in communication…”, the Manifesto said.
It also urges designers to think outside the conventional parameters of sustainability to applying the principles of a circular economy.
“Creating design these days means thinking about the future, its sustainability, not just in terms of the use of the materials but also of the productive processes, upholding certified and universally acknowledged quality standards first of all, but also thinking about design that will endure over time,” the Manifesto says in a section called Quality.
In a section called Design, the Manifesto calls on its design community, which it says the city of Milan has helped grow, to now reciprocate and play as a team to ensure the city of Milan, together with Salone del Mobile, is on the correct path towards the future of the industry.
“The accent must not merely be on physical architecture for the city, not just on new furnishings to showcase at the Salone, but also on new models of creating design and architecture, a new way of thinking and planning. Design that goes beyond the things themselves, that looks at the people, the needs of a changing world searching for new signals, as well as at beauty and emotion in the little everyday things,” it says.
Luti added that, in the face of up-and-coming design weeks worldwide, what sets Milan apart is its attitude towards embracing creativity from all over the world.
“We are hoping to work with all the creatives that come in from all countries – creativity has no nationality. I think there is good creativity and bad creativity,” he said, adding that it is a tradition with many Italian companies to not only “use creativity” but to “follow creativity”.