Salone del Mobile Milano 2022–A successful restart with a turnout beyond expectations

14 Jun 2022

The 60th edition of Salone del Mobile Milano marked the successful restart of the event. It featured a turnout that exceeded expectations. The successful rendition took place between 07.06.2022 and 12.06.2022 as a hybrid event. It comprised a live event at Fiera Milano Rho and a complementary digital platform. Over 262,000 attendees took part in the rendition, including 2,175 exhibitor brands. They also included 600 young designers and more than 3,500 accredited journalists. High internationality among the participants was one of the edition's hallmarks. The 262,608 visitors represented 173 countries. 61% of them arrived from a nation different from Italy. Of the exhibitors, 27% were foreign companies. The committed and high-quality event programme was one of the leading contributions to the edition's success.

Organisers held Salone del Mobile Milano as a hybrid event. It comprised a face-to-face fair hosted at Fiera Milano. Complementing it was a digital platform that provided various services. They included original editorial content such as live-streamed expert talks. Fiera Milano did not feature Covid-19 measures because of the improved epidemiological situation. As a result, policies were removed or converted into advisory steps.

One of the key contributors to the successful rendition was the event programme. It had a plethora of highlights, including:

  • the opening concert
  • the La Scatola Magica
  • the various Talks
  • the Design with Nature Installation
  • the two ADI special-theme exhibitions
  • the GreenGrads
  • the coinciding trade fairs
  • the novel Fuorisalone Award
  • the SaloneSatellite Award

One of the distinguishing features of Salone del Mobile 2022 was the opening concert. It marked the restart of the trade fair’s collaboration with the Teatro ala Scala Foundation. The Orchestra performed Prague—Symphony No.38 in D Major, K.504 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The presentation of Apollo followed the performance. It featured choreographer George Balanchine, Igor Stravinsky’s music and Roberto Bolle.

The La Scatola Magica (the Magic Box) was also among the highlights. It was held from 07.06.2022 to 17.06.2022 as part of the trade fair’s various partnership sub-events. The La Scatola is a site-specific monumental film installation. For the 2022 edition, the presentation site was the Sala dele Cariatidi at the Palazzo Reale. Rampello & Partners Creative Studio curated it. The artistic director was Davide Rampello. The installation was dedicated to the trade fair’s eleven values. It featured the screening of 11 films. Eleven leading Italian filmmakers created these works. Each interpreted one value as a keyword. The filmmakers and the keywords they have opted to interpret were:

  • Francesca Archibugi (Emotion)
  • Pappi Corsicato (Enterprise)
  • Wilma Labate (Design)
  • Bruno Bozzetto (System)
  • Luca Lucini (Communication)
  • Claudio Giovannesi (Culture)
  • Gianni Canova and film students from the IULM University (Young People)
  • Donato Carrisi (Ingenuity)
  • Daniele Cipri (Milan)
  • Stefano Mordini (Savoir Faire)
  • Davide Rampello (Quality)

The installation comprised a 6-metre-high and 24-metre-deep parallelepiped camera obscura. It created the illusion of entering an elegant art gallery, with the masterpieces as metaphorical narrative keys.

The nine expert Talks were also among the distinguishing features. Each discussed a topic of interest and featured leading experts as the speakers. The subjects of the Talk sessions were:

  • “Sustainability: three novel experiences.”
  • “SOS – School of Sustainability”
  • "Salone del Mobile's true fictional narrative"
  • “World-building science and design–Radical Nature”
  • “Social Impact Design”
  • “Altagamma-Bain Design Market Monitor 2022”
  • “There will always be a design necessity.”
  • “Sustainability. Designing for our prospective selves.”
  • ”The Home Sector's Sustainability and Circularity”

“Sustainability: three novel experiences” discussed the subjects of sustainable innovation, transformation, and research. It featured three speakers and one host. These were Maria Cristina Didero (host), Daan Roosegaarde, Eva Feldkamp, and Victoria Siddall. During the Talk, Victoria Siddall illustrated the work of the Gallery Climate Coalition. This included its aim to identify and concretise art industry environmentally sustainable guidelines. Roosegaarde discussed the link between technological innovation and art. He also spoke about his intent to hasten the distribution of social projects. Ones that will aid in saving the planet and improving life in urban spaces. Eva Feldkamp discussed how creating creative opportunities can have a positive impact.

“SOS – School of Sustainability” featured the Foundation of the same name. It also included representatives of Mario Cucinella Architects. They presented the various projects conducted during the academic 2021-2023. They also discussed the innovations and visions for the future. Chiara Alessi designed and managed "Salone del Mobile's true fictional narrative". It featured the expert speaker Marco Dambrosio (Makkox). Alessi and Dambrosio reimagined the trade fair’s history, from its founding in 1961 to the present day. During the discussions, they focused on the fundamental stages of the event.

The presentation ”World-building science and design – Radical Nature” was curated by Beatrice Leanza. It inspired a reflection on the importance of speculative design and experiential storytelling practices. In particular, it focused on their role as crucial long-term strategic planning tools. Notably, it focused on how they can influence the business and political fields. This was presented by showing the works of three pioneers – Liam Young, Anab Jain, and Marjan van Aubel. It included displaying examples of how such innovators have inspired collaborative research. Such covered automation, energy democracy, and fair/sustainable futures.

Susanna Legrenzi moderated “Social Impact Design”. It featured Franco Lisi and Alberto Apostoli as the speakers. During the Talk, they discussed the theme of inclusivity. This included how designers can promote well-being for all ages and ability groups. The design furnishing market was discussed in “Altagamma-Bain Design Market Monitor 2022.” In particular, it debated the current situation and prospects of the sector. This included its geographies, consumers, new governance models and product categories. These were presented by:

  • Matteo Lunelli
  • Maria Porro
  • Claudia D'Arpizio
  • Stefania Lazzaroni
  • Carola Bestetti
  • Roberto Gavazzi

“There will always be a design necessity” featured Paola Antonelli and Alice Rawsthorn. They discussed the publication of “Design Emergency: Building a Better Future”. It is a book that debates design diversity and how it handles challenges. This included showing previous interviews that presented how designers address complex issues.

“Sustainability. Designing for our prospective selves.” was curated by Marva Griffin Wilshire. During the Talk, Yves Béhar presented his latest projects and book. He discussed how improving various practices creates a sustainable balance. ”The Home Sector's Sustainability and Circularity” was organised by Intesa Sanpaolo. Its Head of Business Sales & Marketing, Anna Roscio, led the session. It featured the speakers:

  • Mario Cucinella
  • Gianni Caimi
  • Daniele Lago
  • Taziana Monterisi
  • Andrea Tagliabue

They discussed the meaning of combining sustainability and circularity in architecture and furnishing. The speakers further debated how guaranteed sustainable supply chains affect corporate production system evolution. A presentation on the macroeconomic and furnishing sector scenarios followed the discussion.

The two ADI special-theme exhibitions were also among the highlights. They were part of the coinciding EuroCucina and International Bathroom Exhibition. They consisted of:

  • Design in the Kitchen
  • Design in the Bathroom

They comprised a single installation divided into two sections. Each section presented topic-related products from the ADI Design Museum Collection in Milan. They focused on how the kitchen and bathroom sectors concentrate on three aspects. These are research, sustainability, and innovation.

Design with Nature was also a lead highlight of Salone del Mobile Milan 2022. It was a large exhibition that promoted the reflection on the future of design practices. Mario Cucinella aided in the project development. It examined two themes – circular economy and reuse. It featured the notion of cities serving as potential reserves. These are sustainable sources of raw construction materials. According to this idea, urban areas can reduce environmental impact. They can do so by providing sustainably sourced building materials. The installation presented three subjects:

  • ecological transition
  • home as a central urban element
  • the city as an alternative mine

It included presenting extensive areas acting as both landscapes and living refuges.

The GreenGrads sub-event was also among the highlights of the trade fair. It presented recently graduated talents from the United Kingdom. It examined products and projects that blend green ideas. These promote sustainability, biophilia, and clean/green ways of living. The sub-event featured an 85-minute film that showed each project and its creators. The novel IL Giardino di Legno or Dehor Multi Purpose was also a highlight of Salone del Mobile 2022. It resulted from a collaboration between three leading companies. These were MC2 St. Barth, Il Gardino di Legno and Arteston. The sub-event presented new products. These included fashioned beachwear, teak design pieces, performance fabrics, and shaped metal finishes. They showed these via a blend of trends, manufacturing skills and creative designs. The novel sub-event debuted at the Via Solferino 3.

Salone del Mobile 2022 also featured two Award Ceremonies as its highlights. One of them was the presentation of the 11th edition of the SaloneSatellite Award. The award lauds designers under 35 as well as design universities and schools. It is granted to projects that promote the connection between research, industry, and design. This includes practices that stimulate intellectual and practical abilities among students. It also features ones that adapt to the changes related to design. Three contestants earned the award.

The jury granted the first prize position to Lani Adeoye for their innovative walker. It provides a sense of dignity, supports the user, and is appealing, thus promoting the willing use of the product. Studio Gilles received the second prize. They earned it for their limited lamp series that combine two techniques. These are pouring white chalk into a crocheted black VHS ribbon. This results in creating a unique crocheted lampshade and simple plaster cylinder. The resulting wares are both appealing and functional, as well as sustainable. This is due to the used materials and artistry. Djurdja Garčević from Young Balkan Designers earned the third position. The cause of recognition was their concept of using tire shavings to create urban furniture. Examples include waste bins, vases, bumpers, stools, and others. The usage of such a novel concept prevents the use of virgin materials. At the same time, it creates new products and reduces waste.

The second Award Ceremony to serve as a highlight was the novel Fuorisalone Award. It marked the beginning of the partnership between Salone del Mobile and The prestigious award lauds the most memorable installation and its content. Such are elected by determining which sub-event has the highest visitor engagement. The decision factors additionally include the relevance and innovation of its design content. Projects can also receive a special mention in one of four categories. Interactivity, communication, sustainability, and technology are the mentioned divisions. The winner of the novel award was the KOHLER x Arsham: Divided Layers. It was an immersive large-scale art experience and site installation. The special mentions included:

  • Feeling The Energy (Interaction category)
  • Refractory Holotype (Sustainability category)
  • Tomorrow Living (Technology category)
  • Hermès (Communication category)

As part of the Milan Design Week, Salone del Mobile Milano coincided with several trade fairs. The coinciding events included:

  • the EuroCucina
  • the International Bathroom Exhibition
  • the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition
  • Workplace 3.0
  • FTK–Technology for the Kitchen
  • the S. Project

The 60th edition of Salone del Mobile Milano marked the successful relaunch of the event. It exceeded expectations on attendance turnout, thus reconfirming the leading position of the event within the sector. Salone del Mobile Milano 2022 featured over 268,000 participants. The group included 262,608 visitors from 173 countries. 61% of the attendees attended the event from abroad. The participants also incorporated 2,175 exhibitors, including 600 young designers. Of this group, 27% represented foreign countries. More than 3,500 accredited journalists attended the fair, which featured over 200,000 m2 of net exhibition space.