Salone del Mobile.Milano takes over the city of Milan like no other cultural event throughout the year. It’s not just a time for the latest innovations and collections from the design world, it’s a true creative industry moment. It has highlighted established and emerging talents at each edition since its inception in 1961.
President of Salone del Mobile Claudio Luti has always emphasized the fair’s connection to Milan. We would not have one without the other. We spoke with Luti about the role of technology and sustainability in design today, as well as how Milan has become the place to be for creativity.
WHITEWALLER: Last year, Salone del Mobile.Milano saw a 26 percent increase in attendees from 188 different countries. To what do you attribute this surge in engagement?
CLAUDIO LUTI: Such an increase in the engagement toward the Salone del Mobile.Milano is due to the fact that the Salone del Mobile.Milano has become a global benchmark, being the maximum expression of the industry of the sector featuring exhibitors amongst the top producers, as well as a hub of creativity, the “place to be,” therefore attracting people, the top people of the sector, from five continents.
WW: What is something you saw last year during Salone del Mobile that you’re still thinking about?
CL: What always strikes me is the huge effort that companies make by presenting their products and in creating their stands. Companies work all year round to invent a new layout for the stand and new stories able to best transmit the philosophy of their products and brand.
WW: What makes Salone del Mobile.Milano more than just a trade show or a fair?
CL: The Salone del Mobile.Milano conveys, first of all, a huge emotion, creating new frameworks, and has hosted new creativity at each edition since its beginning in 1961. The Salone is not simply the leading showcase of both Italian and foreign furnishing and design, it also shines a light onto developments within the industry.
It has also become a forum of innovation, a place where professionals could meet other high-level professionals from all over the world. The Salone is not only a fair, but a moment of industrial and entrepreneurial culture, able to combine beauty, and well done, offering emotions. And Milan is at the center. Salone del Mobile and Milan could not exist one without the other one.
WW: Do you expect to see this year a growing attention paid toward sustainability?
CL: Yes, for sure. Sustainability is a necessity, more and more. The entire planet is paying attention to this issue, and our exhibitors are certainly very sensitive to this, starting from their plant to the final product to the packaging to the sustainability of the products themselves.
WW: What role do you see advanced technology playing in design?
CL: We are going toward a smarter home, therefore technology is a strong necessity and a strong component of design. Technological innovation threw up new possibilities, new function, new shapes.
WW: How important is it for Salone del Mobile to support emerging talents in the field of design?
CL: It is essential, because they represent the future of our sector. SaloneSatellite will be 22 years old in April and still today, after so many results and major recognitions (including the 2014 Lifetime Golden Compass Award), it continues to be the place where the ideas of many hundreds of young designers find a foothold, where they can meet the critics, the manufacturers, and the design market, in the knowledge that they are part of the event that has put their work, made of dreams and visions, experiments and struggles, and so much more, at the very heart of what it does.
WW: Outside of Salone, what are you looking forward to seeing in Milan that week? Any exhibitions or projects of note?
CL: Salone will organize two side events related to the genius of Leonardo da Vinci—who lived in Milan for 20 years—on the 500th anniversary of his death.
Aqua will take place in the heart of the city, reinforcing one more time the link with Milan, providing an opportunity to experience and valorize the city’s immense cultural heritage to the full. Aqua will pay homage to the great genius of Leonardo.
DE-SIGNO, the other event, will take place at the fairground in Rho, in Pavilion 22. It will be an immersive installation, which will consist of images and music, an homage to the experience of Italian “savoir faire” from Leonardo till today, in the name of beauty and culture.