From Milan to Shanghai and back again

Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai was launched to serve as a bridge between two markets. Two commercial areas situated poles apart in geographical terms, but united by their share appreciation of all things beautiful. Staying true to this objective, the event is back for a second edition buzzing with vibrant appeal.

Following a successful opening edition last year, which was met with enthusiastic reactions and generated impressive results, the spin-off of the renowned Milan Furniture Fair is returning to the stunning architectural setting of the Shanghai Exhibition Center for three days (23-25 November) dedicated to the many facets of Italian design.

One hundred and nine top Italian brands have been selected for this second edition on Chinese soil, a 63% increase on the previous year, when 56 companies attracted 20,750 industry professionals. “The Salone del Mobile returns with a selection of prominent Italian design companies,” explains company president Claudio Luti. “We’ve worked across the board to bolster the stature of the event, which is a key date in the international design calendar, and attract a better range of brands.” In addition to these Italian companies, the event also brings with it the clear sense of identity that has ensured its success over the past 56 years, turning it into a source of inspiration for the trend setters of the furniture and interior design industry.

“In this second edition,” continues Luti, “we intend to reinforce the role of the event as an essential opportunity to showcase our designs to a vast audience that is unable to come to Milan Furniture Fair. We want to forge a cultural and commercial bridge between our two countries – Italy and China – thus sparking a buzz around the idea of Italian excellence and quality production.”

The event provides a platform for all production areas of the Italian design industry. The Classic sector is represented by 16 high-end woodworking brands, a 24% increase on the previous edition, while Design is the biggest area, with 58 brands constituting a 54% increase on 2016. Finally, xLux showcases new products in the elegant contemporary style, with 35 brands (a 92% increase) offering up an artistic take on interior design combining both classic and modern inspirations.

The Master Classes and Salone Satellite events have also been adopted by the Salone di Milano. The former are a forum for interaction between the two cultures, led by experts such as Mario Bellini, Piero Lissoni and Giancarlo Tintori on the one side, and Di Zhang, the architect and founder of WAA, the designer Kuang Ming (Ray) Chou, who founded the Vermilion Zhou Design Group, and Jamy Yang, the designer and founder of Yang Design, on the other. Dedicated to under-35s, Salone Satellite features 53 young designers from local universities and design schools, coordinated by a panel of international experts, including Mario Bellini and Foscarini president Carlo Urbinati among others.

The support of ITA-ICE and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce has been fundamental “in tackling the Chinese market, which is one of the most promising in the world in terms of interest in design and interior decoration, but also one of the most competitive and arduous to enter”, according to Amedeo Scarpa, the director of ITA-ICE’s Beijing office and the coordinator of the ITA network in China. “Our public support for this event aims to reinforce the beneficial cooperation between Italy and China for the medium to long term.”