The return of the Milan Design Week 2021

In addition to the Supersalone, also the Fuorisalone closed the September 2021 edition with very positive results

The September 2021 special edition of the Milan Design Week closed with extremely positive results. The Supersalone was attended by over 60,000 visitors in six days, a positive result that could not be taken for granted until the eve of the event. In addition to the Supersalone, the city of Milan made its contribution with the numerous Fuorisalone events, which were attended by a really unexpected number of visitors.

See you at the Salone del Mobile.Milano, April 5-10, 2022

Visitors to Superstudio Più

For six days, the atmosphere in Milan was very similar to that of the editions of the Milan Design Week until 2019. A positive energy that confirms the role of Milan as a city of international design and portends a great return for April 2022. However, some reflections are necessary now.

Isola Design District – Design Gallery

The Supersalone: a special event, not a smaller Salone del Mobile

The Supersalone, the special event by the Salone del Mobile.Milano, occupied four pavilions of the Rho-Fieramilano premises, with a total of 425 exhibitors. Its exhibition formula, which exclusively involved the use of a wall and a platform below, required a great design effort from the companies in order to present themselves at their best in such a small space. While some of them managed to build a coherent and creative image, others gave the impression that they did not believe in it very much. Despite the low percentage of foreign operators – just 16% – many exhibitors said they were satisfied with the result.

Supersalone, ph: Tanya Viganò – courtesy Salone del Mobile.Milano

As often happens, a problematic situation turned out to be an opportunity to explore new possibilities. Some exhibition modes could be reused in the future, at least partially. While we hope to have many more foreign visitors back, we must accept that the possibility of attending events online opens up a future where physical presence may be less necessary. With all that this implies.

Poliform stand at the Supersalone, ph: Tanya Viganò – courtesy Salone del Mobile.Milano

The Fuorisalone: the confirmation of the Milanese format that was born by chance and spread all over the world

No matter what the detractors say, the visitor numbers speak for themselves and the success of Fuorisalone is confirmed. It should be remembered that anti-Covid regulations still make it almost impossible to participate in events around the world and that you can arrive in Italy without quarantine from very few destinations. Moreover, we must not neglect the psychological side of the long period of difficulty and, finally, the mandatory “green pass” to access the events.

The fact that, despite these conditions, the average number of visitors to the big Fuorisalone events is around 30,000 can doubtlessly be considered as a success.

Palazzo Litta, Design Variations 2021

In particular, there were over 55,000 visitors to the Triennale, the Supersalone hub in the city. 30,000 visited Superstudio Più and Zona Tortona in general, more than 30,000 Palazzo Litta, and probably as many buzzed around the center, the Brera district and the Alcova exhibition, although official data are still missing.

Discover DDN HUB 2021

And here we must open a new chapter. If it is true that, compared to the 500,000 visitors of a few years ago, 50,000/60,000 are really little numbers, it is also true that, as long as anti-Covid regulations are in place, 50,000 is the maximum that can be reached to manage the flow of people and control crowding. But that, of course, is a temporary circumstance that will end sooner or later. What will not go away, however, is the feeling that, all in all, such a small number of people makes it possible to move around smoothly and work with greater peace of mind.

Discover and purchase the book on the History of the Milan Design Week

Installation by Japanese company Nitto in the Tortona district

Salone del Mobile.Milano and Fuorisalone: the challenge for the future

30,000 people in the city and 60,000 visitor to the fair pavilions are probably too low numbers to justify the deployment of an entire Salone del Mobile.Milano and Fuorisalone like in the 2010s. In the same way, it is reasonable to doubt that foreign operators travel long distances to see just a few walls with very meager displays; after all, Italian furniture has built its reputation on extraordinary displays. And, after all, the city of Milan has consolidated their fame with the thousand events during the recent editions of the Milan Design Week.

Special display by Cristina Rubinetterie, Brera Design District

After all, if back in 1980 the Salone del Mobile attracted 123,000 visitors, it was also because as early as 1965 the Salone dedicated a part of its exhibition to cultural exhibitions illustrating Italian know-how.

But today everything is very different and perhaps the physical presence is no longer so necessary. Perhaps because the presence of events that requalify venues and areas of the city is difficult to replace with a virtual presence. And the online visit – for the moment – cannot replace the walk in the uncultivated green of a part of abandoned barracks.

Visitors to Alcova 2021

Let’s get ready for April 2022 with renewed confidence that two years of forced stop have not yet cancelled the attractiveness of the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone. [Roberta Mutti]

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