OHLALA’s editor, Fernanda Langhammer, had the pleasure to attend the 60th edition of the well-known and praised Salone del Mobile.Milano. The Milanese furniture fair brings together the best and most innovative creations in the homes field.
What is the Salone del Mobile?
Salone del Mobile.Milano, or Salone Internazionale del Mobile di Milano as it is also known, is the largest trade fair of its kind in the world. A platform created to gather the hottest trends in furniture and interior design under one roof and promote trade. The exhibition had a Covid-19 pause, but it usually happens yearly and showcases the latest in home solutions not only from Italy but from many countries around the globe. This year, the expectation was greater, and it didn’t disappoint in terms of grandiose appearance and pristine organisation.
Salone del Mobile 2022
The event happened from June 7 to 12 and put together a universe dedicated to design and impeccable taste and innovation – everything from outdoor furniture to tech kitchens and much more. There were 2,175 brands exhibiting and 600 young designers featuring their creations in the SaloneSatellite area. More than 262,000 people visited the fairgrounds. You could see a wave of people entering the Fiera Milano space and leaving at the end of the day filled with beautiful designs in their memories and phone cameras. “This edition has confirmed the international scope of the event and the cohesion of the design community,” commented Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano.
This Year’s Theme
Sustainability was the word. This year, the focus on eco-friendly solutions created a stage for an extensive discussion around the theme, bringing business ideas and technological solutions. The goal is to develop homes capable of contributing to the protection of the environment with efficient use of resources.
Sustainability remains the direction many companies are adopting to embrace an ecological transition that includes energy-saving, recycled materials and social responsibility. The exhibition Design with Nature by Mario Cucinella at the Salone 2022 propelled the talks and meetings on the subject among professionals in the sector. The 1,400sq/m of ecoarchitecture provided a starting point for thinking about the circular economy and the reuse of materials. The installation proved that connecting knowledge, skills and technologies makes it possible to think about a new generation of products.
Regarding eco-friendly products, Magis, a company specialising in furniture and accessories, presented a new item at the Salone del Mobile.Milano, the Bell Chair. The piece is made from industrial waste and is 100% recyclable. Designed by Konstantin Grcic, it is made of recycled polypropylene from the waste generated by the production of furniture by Magis itself and the local automotive industry. The company Kartell presented the ReChair, designed by Antonio Citterio in partnership with the Italian coffee brand illy. The chair is made from the recycled capsules of the illy Iperespresso coffee. The company created a process to grind the material and regenerate it in granule form, which is then rotomolded, transforming the waste into a designer product.
The SaloneSatellite, this year in its 23rd edition, is a space dedicated to the creations of young designers from around the world. The theme connecting all the exhibitors was Designing For Our Future Selves, with a particular focus on the main message the trade fair was promoting – sustainability. Manoela Gazze, one of the exhibitors at SaloneSatellite, really enjoyed the theme saying: “This is exactly what sustainability is about: designing now, so we have a tomorrow. I saw amazing ideas stand after stand with people creating solutions to real problems, reusing materials and creatively conveying ideas.”
The SaloneSatellite was founded by Marva Griffin Wilshire, also its curator and seen as a godmother to many young talents. The area dedicated to these young designers occupied part of pavilion 1 with its own entrance and a central space dedicated to conviviality. The participating designers came from 48 countries, five of which – Cyprus, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cuba, Nigeria and Qatar – were SaloneSatellite new entries. A Selection Committee is in charge of assessing and selecting the new talents and their unique projects.
This part of Salone has great importance in promoting networking opportunities to students and new names in the field. “As a student and future architect, I am immensely grateful for this opportunity. I had the chance to meet numerous professionals and other students from around the globe with innovative and revolutionary ideas. Such a rich exchange of knowledge with different cultures, a once in a lifetime experience,” said Ricardo Peruzzolo, a student from the south of Brazil who showed his Guillotine mirror at the exhibition. Manoela added: “It was a fantastic experience and I felt honoured to be a part of it. At the SaloneSatellite, where I exhibited my light pendant called Auris, I felt immersed in an atmosphere of creativity and exchange of ideas and the desire to make things happen. I also visited the booths at the Salone del Mobile. It was a rich sensory experience: stands meticulously designed to give the visitor a lot of emotions through colours, shapes and textures.”
It is not an easy task to go through every pavilion and unthinkable to visit every single stall, but we were delighted to talk to some brands and tour their stands.
Living in the Middle East, we love to spend time in our gardens (we even find a way during high summer months) and exploring the options in outdoor furniture was one of the aims. Finding pieces that last when left in a harsh climate is tricky. But while visiting the Emu stand, we spoke to Gianluca Catanese, Global Sales & Business Development Manager. He said something interesting regarding outdoor furniture: “Some people are purists and don’t like maintenance and embrace the change in their furniture; others prefer to apply specific oils to keep the original appearance. It all depends on what you are looking for.”
He says that Emu’s quality won’t change and pieces may last 20 to 25 years; however, their appearance will age over time. Emu is known for metal, aluminium and steel. However, some pieces combine these materials with wood in the areas that touch the skin, such as the backs and arms of chairs. We found this design idea a great solution, mainly to weather such as we experience in our region.
A highlight of our visit was the Ernesto Meda booth. Dedicated to kitchen solutions, the brand re-thought the space. The Covid-19 pandemic forced a rethink of this beloved area into the heart of the home; it became a workstation and a school at times. To create a beautiful space, the company invested in smart separations, panels in glass and functional spaces to arrange décor objects and plants as well as doors that hide the whole kitchen or specific areas. Ernesto Meda is well known for impeccable designs using walnut wood and magnetic elements so customers can customise their cooking stations. One feature that deserves a mention is the hidden bin under one of the sinks that opens with a foot sensor and has a unique lighting system that kills bacteria. And, last but not least, a stove that was actually a continuity of the sink top – a brilliant and sleek concept that left visitors in a state of awe.
Another stand that was a must-visit was Porro. The brand is owned by Salone del Mobile president Maria Porro’s family. This year, the Italian label brought a more sustainable approach to its creations. Porro offers tables made with the waste of production, sliding partitions, shelves in thin metal (a trend spotted in many brands) with movable lights and other creative home objects marrying design with functionality. The brand works with different designers, but Piero Lissoni (a name we saw many times during the event involved in numerous projects with various brands) is the leading designer behind their key objects.
As the most significant trade fair in the sector, the event was even bigger than we expected. The Fiera Milano is a massive space designed by famous Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas. The space spreads over 20 large pavilions located on both sides of a kilometre-long pedestrian street – one of the largest exhibition locations in the world. And Salone del Mobile.Milano used practically every corner of it.
The fair was easy to access by subway, and the ride was filled with students, architects, press and buyers from the whole world heading to Salone every morning. Milan was breathing design for an entire week, and not only the fairgrounds were dedicated to the theme, the Fuori Salone (events and installations around town) shone on its own. The fashion label Dior had an amazing window display, while Hérmes and Louis Vuitton created spectacular exhibitions with their furniture and home lines that were free to the public and impressively tailored to celebrate the world of home items. The weather was pleasant, and people would move around town to attend special presentations on various brands, riding rented bikes that were spotted everywhere. The Brera neighbourhood was a region apart, with many showrooms opening their doors to visitors and buyers.
The Salone is a trade fair like no other, inspiring a whole city to celebrate the beauty and innovation in the interior design field. The conversation around the subject expands outside the Fiera Milano grounds. It continues into every aspect of Milanese life – at least during this period when the Salone del Mobile happens. But Milan is Milan; there is always something exciting happening in this fashion capital.