#Designgoeson: Designdiffusion.com talks with Massimiliano Messina, President of Flou, about the health emergency, the furniture industry, and the Salone del Mobile
During the Covid-19 health emergency, which is currently affecting Italy, we ask Italian companies what are their strategies to overcome the crisis avoiding excessive repercussions.
Massimiliano Messina, President of Flou, three weeks after the start of the emergency, what is the situation in your company?
Today [March 13, editor’s note] the company is still working. Italy is actually locked down, so we are not receiving new orders, but we still have orders to process abroad. In recent weeks, we have gradually adapted to the standards required by the health emergency, and production has been running smoothly. In some departments of the company, in the offices, we have used holidays and special leaves to let employees stay at home. As to production departments, we have taken all necessary measures to ensure that employees work safely. Thanks to this organization, we have not implemented smart working yet. Once the current production is finished, we will close for as long as necessary, and wait to see what happens. This disease is moving quite randomly; many foreign countries are continuing with their regular routine, others have almost completely stopped, so we need to see how the situation evolves.
Made in Italy exports and the health crisis
How much will this crisis affect exports of made in Italy products, a fundamental aspect for companies like Flou?
I think that it is currently impossible to make predictions. It is difficult to make predictions over a one-week period and no one would dare to predict what will happen in three months. Covid-19 outbreaks are moving around the world, but they do not follow a regular path. While activities are resuming in China, and in some regions they are already at full speed, the USA has just started to apply containment measures, and European countries are now entering the most serious phase. We hope that the crisis continues to spread unevenly; in this way, countries will not close all together and it will be possible to work. But it is these really difficult to predict. All we know is that this year will be very difficult, and I wonder when we will really get out of this crisis.
Salone del Mobile di Milano
Do you think that the Salone del Mobile will be held this year or that it is in question?
Even in this case, we cannot make certain predictions, but we need to analyze the situation very calmly and earnestly. We can hypothesize that we will be out of the emergency by May and that we will have time to get ready for the Salone. However, at that time, there will be countries where the emergency has already finished, countries where it has not started yet, and countries of which we know nothing. From a sanitary point of view, can we really afford such a high traffic of people, immediately after the health crisis?
Discover also Flou at the Salone del Mobile 2019
If it were not possible to hold the Salone del Mobile, would there be a way to replace it with other communication activities?
If, for several reasons, there is no Salone del Mobile in 2020, we will have to invest more in communications, also trying to come up with new ideas. But we cannot deny that, for a company in our sector, skipping the Salone del Mobile di Milano will have serious consequences. The Salone del Mobile di Milano is the jewel in the crown for Italy as a system. Not only for the exhibition itself, but also for all its satellite activities. We participate also in the Salone del Mobile in Moscow and Shanghai, which of course are important events, but in Milan we can always establish new contacts. Therefore, with great pragmatism, we must get ready for the worst hypotheses, but the only thing that could replace the Salone del Mobile di Milano 2020 is the Salone del Mobile di Milano 2021. [Txt Roberta Mutti]
Discover Salone del Mobile 2019