by Devanshi ShahMay 21, 2022
Following the stellar and resilient chapter of Salone del Mobile.Milano last year, called Supersalone, the fair is back in fullness and grace, to take place from June 7-12, 2022 at Fiera Milano Rho in Italy. Announced at the Salone Press Conference on March 16, 2022, the globally celebrated and sought after design and furniture fair, encompassing companies, brands and designers as the main protagonists, bring soul to it, leading to a successful event “that reflects the ongoing ecological transition of the furnishing system,” the official press statement relays. Quality, innovation, beauty and, "now more than ever", sustainability, will form the keywords that outline and underscore the design event’s ethos and performance, with an ambitious aim – "to demonstrate that it is both possible and crucial to start holding great international events live again, embedding sustainability and environmental awareness into furniture production," they add.
Mindful of its lengthy, impactful history, the Milan Design Week this year will celebrate its important milestone of completing 60 editions, after two stormy years impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, with a message of looking ahead. It is essentially, a “blank canvas” for its protagonists, allowing them a stage to showcase their identities, promote their content and tell their stories, as a point of reference for the entire design community.
President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, Maria Porro, addressed the war in Ukraine, with a message of believing in the crucial aspect, of being a crossroads of cultures and styles open to the world, becoming a place of dialogue and construction, now more than ever. The centre stage remains, as always, the works of exhibitors. “The Salone del Mobile has always been a catalyst for creativity, positivity and energy.”
We cannot stand still, in fact we have a duty, to move even faster in the direction of design, production and distribution solutions that are as sustainable as possible – what we need today is an ethical approach to design. – Maria Porro, President, Salone del Mobile.Milano
Exhibiting companies are working hard to create furnishings with the wellbeing of the environment and of people as top priority. "The Salone firmly believes in the need for a real and immediate ecological transformation, which is why it has decided to be an accelerator of ethical and virtuous behaviours, investing in a large project curated by the architect Mario Cucinella. Companies and creatives will be able to physically touch alternative materials that are already a reality and let themselves be inspired by a vision of urban areas as potential "mines" of raw materials and reflect on the function of our homes as cells that make up a more complex organism: the city. The sustainability of the event is the competitive lever on which we want to focus with honesty, commitment, and transparency,” Porro continued, addressing a full house at the press conference on Wednesday, with the city’s Mayor, Beppe Sala, architect Stefano Boeri, curator of Supersalone 2021 and Amit Gupta, Editor-in-Chief of STIR, in attendance.
Luca Umberto Dondoni, a journalist, writer, radio and television host, was the moderator for the press presentation conference held on March 16, which was opened by the Mayor of Milan. An impactful line-up of speakers including Porro, Claudio Feltrin, President of FederlegnoArredo, Davide Rampello, Mario Cucinella, Emiliano Ponzi, Cristina Celestino and Sebastian Herkner graced the one hour long conference, speaking and demonstrating on stage, of their contributions and what to expect this year.
"The strategic importance of fairs, and therefore also of the Salone, finally making its return after a two-year absence, lies entirely in the great uptake by the companies, demonstrating that they neither wish nor are prepared to miss the 60th anniversary of an unrivalled global showcase. The wood furnishing sector as a whole closed 2021 with a record high, thanks to the strictly home-related segments and a furnishing macrosystem that accounts in its own right for more than half the sector’s total turnover. However, the hike in energy prices, the lack of raw materials and now the war in Ukraine, make for a truly uncertain future and, as we all know, uncertainty is the enemy of business,” commented Claudio Feltrin, President of FederlegnoArredo.
Now in its 60th year, the fair celebrated its six decades by commissioning famed illustrator, Emiliano Ponzi, to create six posters, one for each decade, that tells the story of the fair and the city of Milan. Ponzi tells us about the six works saying, "The first poster depicts a 1960s Milanese interior, which is why it’s in black and white, with just a splash of red in the picture of the Velasca Tower. The second depicts a city on the move and the hippie atmosphere of the 1970s. Then there are the atmospheres of the 1980s: the design, fashion and parties during a decidedly pop era, which is why the illustration is a riot of reds and a homage to Grace Jones. I was inspired by La Scala for the 1990s, by its concerts and ballets and its ties with the Salone, while for the first decade of 2000, I focused on the fairgrounds, on the space designed by Massimiliano Fuksas. The final poster reflects on the present and opens out towards the future: I wanted to show what the values of sustainability and inclusivity mean to the Salone today.”
Designing sustainability, celebrating beauty
Banking on the main and precious theme of sustainability, Milan Design Week 2022 has outlined various series of guidelines for its exhibitors, builders and designers, suggesting using reusable materials (such as wood) or upcycled, low environmental impact or FSC or PEFC certified materials. Logistical sustainability should also be given due importance, as well as how materials will be sourced and transported, using environmentally safe products and equipment, apart from endeavouring not to waste materials, electricity or water in the whole process. "Adaptability and disassembly for reuse" form the cardinal principles for choosing a project’s elements, with a result based solution of how these components could be reused, upcycled or disposed at the end of their lives. “For its part, the Salone will ensure that it follows the same recommendations when creating the communal spaces at the fair,” the organisers relay. In consequence, the 60th edition will mark progress and innovation of talented and young designers who have strived through crisis, fighting for a more equitable and responsible production.
The colourful and multidimensional programme of the 2022 chapter will encompass more than 2,000 exhibitors, including over 600 young designers under 35. Visitors will be welcomed into stands upon entry, essaying both architectural and communication elements, and towards curated spaces showcasing new collections and lifestyle concepts of individual brands, as “an immersive visitor experience that has always distinguished the Salone del Mobile and made it a unique event on the international trade fair scene”.
Products of quality and research will become highlights of the the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition and Workplace3.0, offering themselves as aesthetic avenues. The event in June will also witness the biennial exhibitions EuroCucina, and its collateral event FTK (Technology For the Kitchen) and the International Bathroom Exhibition. Post its debut in 2019, S.Project will be making a comeback, as an exhibition devoted to design products and large-scale project solutions.
The Salone is Milan – and always will be. Few events are as capable of celebrating know how and doing things well as the Salone del Mobile. Materials research, environmentally aware production, beautiful objects, furniture and useful and creatively shaped furnishing accessories will also be the stars of the 60th edition of the Salone. Its all- encompassing energy will fire up the city. – Giuseppe Sala, Mayor of Milan
Design with Nature by Mario Cucinella
Where: S.Project’s Pavilion 15
An installation described as an "organism" by its creator, Mario Cucinella, founder and creative Director of Mario Cucinella Architects, will focus on the powerful themes of environmental and social wellbeing, for Salone’s “birthday”. The 1,400 sqm installation will narrate “a virtuous ecosystem that will ideally represent future of home living,” the creators share. Design with Nature is meant to make on reflect on contemporary concerns such as ethics, circularity, domestic space, participatory architecture, and urban regeneration. Once again exploring the relationship between nature and the way we live with it, this installation hopes to trigger a reflection on the future of design practice. The three main themes addressed by the installation are; Ecological Transition, The Home As The Prime Urban Element and the City As A Mine. Mario Cucinella Architects elaborate on the installation saying, “A large space mindful of the design and the environment, dedicated to the new sociality. An installation in which the word ‘ecosystem’ is fundamental and with which we aim to show that our vision of the future needs to be ecosystemic and capable of bringing knowledge, skills and technologies together for a new generation of materials and design. The final and specific goal of ‘ecosystemic know how’ – if we can call it that – will be to make life better through a rediscovered respect for nature.”
Where: Pavilion 1 and 3, Rho Fairgrounds
The 23rd edition of SaloneSatellite, an invaluable springboard, discussed by Cristina Celestino and Sebastian Herkner at the press conference, will feature 600 promising young designers. Occupying Pavilion 1 and Pavilion 3, this section will welcome the public to the fairgrounds, “underscoring the role of this event as a generator of new connections between the international design schools, young people, the new start-ups and the manufacturing world.” While the overarching theme is Designing For Our Future Selves (Progettare Per I Nostri Domani), the section will also focus on sustainability. In order to effectively communicate these ideas, the graphics and general set-up of the pavilions will include sensory explorations. Conceptualised as a ‘design citadel’ the plan includes two central squares which are linked to other hubs. The SaloneSatellite Award will be back for its 11th edition and will continue to be chaired by Paola Antonelli, Senior Curator, Architecture & Design Director, Research and Development, MoMA.
La Scatola Magica, an homage from the Salone del Mobile to Milan
Where: Sala delle Cariatidi
Designed as a monumental camera obscura, the six metre-high and 24 metre-deep parallelepiped structure is envisioned as a three-act spectacle. Salone del Mobile intends to celebrate its ties with the city of Milan with this multi-sensory experience. Conceptualised and produced by Davide Rampello, with his Rampello & Partners Creative Studio, the initial experience on entering the ‘camera obscura’ is that of an art gallery. Eleven masterpieces drive the intended narrative, until the lights fade and the room goes dark, the ‘magic box’ will then turn into a cinema in which 11 films by 11 leading Italian filmmakers will be screened. Each filmmaker was asked to put present their personal spin on a word from the Manifesto.
Rampello elaborated on the concept saying, “The idea was to blend the magic of film with that of the extraordinarily evocative power of the Salone’s values. Then we decided to turn the words into stories, brief films d’auteur interpreted by 11 leading Italian filmmakers and create an original anthology of creativity. Then, for the immersive experience, we hit on the idea of a ‘magic box’ in which people could be completely immersed in the images, which are the projection of our dreams. Finally, for the theatrical part, a spectacle that will leave everyone breathless with admiration for the Sala delle Cariatidi at Palazzo Reale.” The finale really will be an amazing coup de theatre. The project partners also include two leading institutions on Milan’s cultural scene: the Pinacoteca di Brera – the 21 works inside the installation are reproductions drawn from their collection – and the historic Carlo Colla Marionette Company.
With the success of the Supersalone experience, a stimulating series of Talks will encourage conversations and debates between outstanding figures on the contemporary design scene, addressing constructive thoughts on the most pressing issues of today, such as ecological transition and the role of the digital, with one of the meetings solely devoted to the event’s 60th edition. “A brilliant all-female trio is curating the programme: Chiara Alessi, Maria Cristina Didero, Beatrice Leanza and will be weaving the threads of these meetings together, bringing human beings, the planet, beauty and design back into the spotlight,” shares the Salone team.
Running for the seventh year, the Welcome Project advertises the international role of the Salone del Mobile.Milano and the city, and their dedication to inclusion and hospitality. It is an upshot of the collaboration with the Municipality of Milan, Fondazione Fiera Milano, and the city’s leading design schools – Nuova Accademia, IED – Istituto Europeo di Design and the Polytechnic University of Milan/Design School. Approximately 100 students will help visitors orient themselves around the city, on hand to provide the public with information on moving around the city, on the fair itself and also on all the organised events, shared Porro.