April and the new dimension in Milan

With Milano Design City nearly here, we think back on the month of the Salone, the initiatives organized and those that are missing

In other times we would now all be walking amidst a crowd on Corso Italia, or from one pavilion to another at the Fair in Rho; or we’d be eagerly awaiting the imminent start of Milano Design Week, which we know from experience to be an arduous and thrilling whirlwind of events, presentations, encounters and new trends. Everyone in our sector must have had this thought, of late. April is and remains the month of the Salone del Mobile and Milano Design Week, by definition.

Paolo Bleve, editor-in-chief
Paolo Bleve, editor-in-chief

Exactly one year ago, with the pandemic that had just burst onto the global stage, the first attempts began to create ‘digital’ initiatives, even arriving from across the Channel, as if to immediately fill a gap. Today we see a new proposal, to ‘revive’ the city of Milan and the whole industry, and to broadcast the energy the city can call into play. Many brands, not by chance, are keeping faith with this calendar, and in these weeks they are launching new developments for 2021, on digital platforms but also physically, in their showrooms in Milan. Others are exploring ‘phygital’ solutions.
It is a matter of desire, or perhaps an early signal that urges us not to get used to this situation of enduring stasis, not to give up on a gathering, a set of events of which we are all particularly fond. Could more be done? My answer is yes, one can always do more, but it takes quite a bit of courage.

An initial attempt – brave at least in its intentions – has been that of a group of design publishers who have joined forces to support the production side, through a collective action to “Support the companies of furniture and design; to assert a constant presence; to combine efforts to guarantee widespread coverage and visibility for design brands.”

Perhaps we are all expecting for the Salone to take the plunge, not just with the strong desire to have the event in September, thus creating a condition of uncertainty among companies and visitors, who have expectations generated by the previous 59 editions of the fair.

A Piece of Sky - Photo © Leonardo Cristiano
A Piece of Sky – Photo © Leonardo Cristiano

The dates are tied to the decisions of the government with respect to the feasibility of a trade fair, given the current ban on exhibitions and events. There are also questions of the possible movement of visitors and international connections to and from Milan, of new rules of flow inside the fair facility, as well as the importance of the proper display solutions and layouts.

During the wait, and before directly hypothesizing a new date in 2022, people are now aware of the arrival of a digital showcase prepared precisely by the Salone del Mobile. It is only fitting that in the meantime, the fair should conserve its role – which we all acknowledge as fundamental – as a presence and as support for sector professionals and exhibitors.

All this means a new, increasingly productive dimension.