What’s happening with fairs in 2021

Some have postponed, others have canceled (imm cologne joins the list): next year’s trade fair calendar s up in the air

“We have to face reality, even if it hurts.” Harsh but concrete words, those of Gerald Böse, CEO of Koelnmesse, to announce (today) the cancelation of the 2021 edition of Imm Cologne, which had been scheduled for 20 January in a hybrid physical-digital format. The uncertainty about the months to come, which puts the presence of exhibitors and visitors in jeopardy, is just too high: the retreat of Koelmesse was inevitable, in spite of the effort to keep faith with the program, with the motto “We make it happen.” The digital version, closely connected and correlated with the on-site event, cannot exist on its own, hence the postponement to 2022 is total (19-23 January, for those who want to jot it down in their datebooks).

Imm, however, is just the latest in a series of happenings that lave altered their calendars for next year, in the hope of more auspicious times to come.

Maison&Objet, Gennaio 2020. Photo © Photoproevent / Lasne

Let’s take the case of Maison&Objet Paris, which shifts from February to March, precisely 26-30 March. After the September edition which took place online, parallel to and in support of Paris Design Week, which instead happened on a regular schedule (though with an audience limited to French and Parisian visitors), the fair continues along these lines, preparing an ecosystem where physical and online initiatives can coexist.

The proposal relies on the results achieved during the Digital Fair in the fall, confirming its format as an optimal solution, not just to adapt to the times, but also to generate a new way of establishing dialogue, interaction and relations. At the same time, the “off-site” event of Paris Déco Off, for makers of editions and specialists in textiles, moves to the spring, from 25 to 29 March 2021, “health conditions permitting, say the organizers. – Updates will be communicated during the first weeks in January.”

Also the exclusive event of Mipim Cannes changes its timing – from 7 to 10 June – followed by Ambiente Frankfurt – from 17 to 20 April during the International Consumer Goods Show

Stockholm Furniture &Light Fair 2020 © Jonas Sveningsson

A more radical choice has been made by the Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair, which has completely erased its 2021 edition, jumping directly to the date of 8 February 2022. During the wait for this key event of Scandinavian design, a series of initiatives have been planned to nurture close relations between the fair and its protagonists in the month of February 2021. A “City Edition” will be prepared, with a structured itinerary through showrooms, pop-up displays and exhibitions; Stockholm Design Week  (8-14 February) will present a focus on design Made in Scandinavia; talks and conferences, on the other hand, are relegated to digital channels, including the Stockholm Design & Architecture TalksWorkSpace Sweden and the 0Greenhouse event for young talents.

An aura of suspense surrounds the key event of the Salone del Mobile in Milan, for which at present we know only the scheduled dates, 13-18 April 2021, as well as the idea of holding a 60th edition celebration with the presence of all the sectors and biennials in a single major initiative. We can well imagine that this will be postponed, also due to the recent relief provided by Milano Design City in October, which offered Italian companies a showcase for new developments in 2020. So we await forthcoming updates.

ICFF, Javits Center
ICFF, Javits Center

After Milan, the spotlight usually shifts to the United States, where the international scene takes the stage in the months of May and June, and surprising are in store for the year to come. HD Expo Las Vegas, for example, opts for 24-25 August; NeoCon Chicago has chosen the dates of 4-6 OctoberICFF together with WantedDesign moves to November (14-15), in coordination with BDNY and HX: The Hotel Experience.

Fall appointment par excellence, London Design Festival confirms its presence in September, and precisely from 18 to 26, with events, installations, showrooms and a wide range of cultural proposals.

UAE Designer Exhibition, Symbiotic Forms by Tamara Barrage, Dubai Design Week 2020
UAE Designer Exhibition, Symbiotic Forms by Tamara Barrage, Dubai Design Week 2020

Looking at the Middle East, the big event of Dubai Design Week has just concluded the 2020 edition, that combined a phisical exhibition at d3 with a virtual hub for Downtown Design. We will attend the special edition next autumn in conjunction with Dubai Expo.

And Asia? Here the excitement for events and fairs is come back, thanks to an health situation that is constantly improving. Design Shanghai is going to go on scene next weekCIFF Guangzhou will be held in March 2021 with a double edition for different product categories; Design China Beijing is scheduled for September 2021, a few days before Furniture China


Read all the news and updates from international events and exhibition on IFDM Fairs section