milan’s salone del mobile — the world’s biggest design fair — has been officially cancelled this year and rescheduled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. the event will now take place from april 13-18, 2021 with salone del mobile celebrating its 60th anniversary.
amid growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak, the show was originally postponed to june 2020, given the continuing health emergency. the announcement was made in february by the mayor of milan, giuseppe sala, along with the salone del mobile president claudio luti and emanuele orsini, president of federlegno arredo eventi.
claudio luti, president of salone del mobile
‘[the 2021 edition] will be a special appointment for the whole sector,’ salone del mobile explains. ‘for the first time, all biennials will be presented together with the international furniture fair, the international furnishing accessories show, workplace3.0, S.project and the salonesatellite. in addition to euroluce, already scheduled for 2021, and eurocucina will also be present, with its collateral event FTL – technology for the kitchen and the international bathroom exhibition.’
over 370,000 professional visitors attend the fair every year, 70% of which are from 188 other countries. those figures include more than 5,000 national and international journalists and around 27,500 members of the public.
A DIGITAL FAIR?
in the meantime, companies will have to get organized, on their own, to protect sales, to update their clients, and to offer previews. on a worldwide level, designboom will work towards an even more efficient promotion to acknowledge the cultural importance of the design sector, supporting salone del mobile and new design project presentations that were planned to be shown off-site.
‘discussions about what to do, how to replace the physical event with a virtual ad hoc solution have been on the agenda for weeks,’ said laura traldi, founder of DesignAtLarge and one of the best informed design journalists in italy. she discusses a potential digital edition of the fair due to the cancellation in detail here and here.
‘personally I believe that the theme of a virtual salone del mobile 2020 should and can only be managed by the organizers of the salone del mobile,’ continues traldi. ‘with this, I mean a platform allowing access to contents, perhaps in augmented reality, and above all an exchange of live deals, via chat, between buyers and businesses.’
it is not just DesignAtLarge’s report that stimulates a useful discussion, but, since the first postponement announcement, the italian press has been asking in unison: ‘is a digital alternative to salone del mobile 2020 possible?
common answers are: ‘certainly not imagining improbable substitute scenarios for a ‘virtual milan’ on the web, as someone has already ventured in recent days. and fortunately immediately afterwards, with an apology attached, becoming aware of the extreme audacity of the idea of converting the complexity of an experience in which thousands of companies, professionals, journalists and citizens contribute to milan salone and off-site programs. virtual design festival? the question is how will supply and demand continue to meet in our new world?’
even when we are out of the emergency, will this experience have changed the way we talk about design?
milan design week encompasses the programs of salone del mobile exhibitions staged at the halls of rho fiera with an immense amount of events distributed across various parts of the city. you can discover the projects we’ve brought to your attention of the past 10 editions following the links below. in addition, you might also want to check out our dedicated instagram account.
take a look at designboom’s coverage from the last 10 editions of milan design week
the coronavirus pandemic has forced other design and architecture-related events to be cancelled or postponed. the venice architecture biennale has been postponed, the 2020 geneva motor show was cancelled, and the olympics have been rescheduled for a date that is yet to be confirmed in 2021.
coronavirus (COVID-19) (221 articles)
milan design week 2019 (108 articles)
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