Formafantasma’s exhibition design project for Euroluce 2023 includes moments of pause and reflection alternating with the commercial event
Euroluce 2023 returns with a new concept and several new features. First of all, the layout, designed by studio Lombardini 22. The new layout consists of a ring, for a smoother path around the SaloneSatellite. In addition to this new path, the new concept includes the integration of a selection of products and art objects, curated by Beppe Finessi. The ring is interrupted by six “architectural intermezzos” designed by Formafantasma. We have asked Andrea Trimarchi, founder of Formafantasma with Simone Farresin, to tell us more about the design of the “relaxation and meditation stations.”
Discover everything about Euroluce 2023
Euroluce’s press release reads “individual architectural and display intermezzos (designed by Formafantasma).” What is their function? To allow visitors to rest and think? To rest and contemplate?
“There are six exhibitions curated by Beppe Finessi, with selected art and design pieces, presented through six micro exhibition design projects curated by Formafantasma. They consist of modular, lightweight wooden structures specially designed to be dismountable and reusable. Our primary goal was to avoid material waste, which is typically the case when using plasterboard walls. Moreover, we wanted to design structures that were as light and unobtrusive as possible and that would blend into the layout without standing out. Therefore, the wooden structures house niches for observing and stations for sitting and relaxing; our set-up wants, on the one hand, to respect the works to be looked at, and, on the other, to make it easier for viewers to enjoy them. In this way, these spaces become oases of relaxation after hours at the fair.
Piazza Aurore: conferences and reflection
And what will be the role of piazza Aurore?
Aurore is the piazza where all conferences will be held. For this project, the request was to design a space dedicated to public debate, which also had to live when there were no scheduled lectures. Therefore, we thought of an installation consisting of seats and suspended screens. The screens will show videos produced by Formafantasma, with Emanuele Coccia’s voice, about light and lighting. These videos invite us to reflect on the value of light in the broadest sense as well as its use through technology, for example to facilitate plant growth.
We will also take the opportunity to reflect on the concept of planned obsolescence, and how the combination of design and engineering, if not based on ethical principles, leads to “generating monsters.” In fact, according to some observers, the first product with planned obsolescence was the light bulb. These videos, constantly screened overhead, will form some kinds of “northern lights” (“aurore boreali” in Italian) high above the heads of viewers, hence the name we have given the plaza, “Aurore.”
The future of trade shows: trade and design culture
Your journey in lighting design has led you to design authentic poems. How is it possible to combine the poetry of light for meditation with the frenzy of a trade fair like Salone del Mobile/Euroluce?
The moments of pause we have planned are meant to let people stop and think, moving from the work and business phase to the relaxation and meditation phase. Even at a Fair like Euroluce, which is very busy and has the best products in the world, there can be a valuable mixture of pure sales content – products – and cultural content – design.
With the cultural dimension of Euroluce 2023, does the fair – understood as a means of universal exhibition – enter a new dimension? Does it finally move beyond the concept of the fair as a marketplace/sales venue and into a future where the fair is a great meeting place and sales take a back seat?
I think sales will never take a back seat because this is still a trade fair and the sales content is always primary. However, the Salone del Mobile must be credited with the ability to reinvent itself by choosing a new exhibition concept. With this innovative spirit, the Salone aims to become central not only as a place of trade and business, but also as a hub of design culture; in this way, a bridge is created between the commercial aspect, which is peculiar to trade fair pavilions, and the cultural aspect, which is more typical of the exhibitions in the city.