The Milan trade fair, the international point of reference for the furnishing and design sector, has reclaimed its traditional spot in the calendar, boasting a totally new format and multidisciplinary cultural content for Euroluce, and a decision to plan the 2023 edition on one single level at the fairgrounds, thus acting as a shockwave and paving the way for the new design of the trade fair event.
The 61st edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano is being held at Fiera Milano Rho from 18th to 23rd April, bringing its “good looking” and “well made” products back onto what is an internationally important stage. Its return is, in itself, somewhat exceptional, not just in terms of the quality of the proposals and the companies taking part, but also because of the acceleration of the process of transformation and evolution of the trade fair that the event will be seen to have made.
The Salone has always been testament to an extraordinary curiosity, willingness and openness to comparison and a huge desire and ability to improve, innovating consolidated formulas. Over the last few difficult years, there has been much reflection, research and questioning around the future of trade fairs, leading to a concrete revision of the exhibition format in a bid to be able to continue to generate value for the entire design community.
This positive and constructive energy has fuelled three major new departures at this edition: the single exhibition level, with the exhibitors from the upper pavilions (8-12, 16-20) moving into the lower ones, thus simplifying, improving and enhancing accessibility and the visitor experience; the new Euroluce layout, which rather than being stand-centric is now focused on people and their fruition of the event, with a smart, hyper-accessible and better connected loop-shaped path; and the cultural component will be integrated into the spaces of the lighting biennial, with interdisciplinary and experiential content ranging from architecture to art, with exhibitions, talks, workshops and site-specific installations.
Overall, the 2023 events will bring together 1962 exhibitors, including more than 550 young talents under 35 and 27 design schools. The Salone will create different worlds − the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, Workplace3.0, S.Project, Euroluce, and SaloneSatellite −, will administer the rules – distribution and layout on a single level, aesthetic and cultural paths, experiential spaces and rest and relaxation areas −, suggest calls to action − (take part in) conferences, vertical workshops, (visit) thematic exhibitions, bookshops and (experience) site-specific installations − to allow visitors the possibility of an exciting, subjective, memorable exploration, the only one capable of creating long-term connections (business included).
This April edition sees the return of the lighting biennial (Euroluce, Pavilions 9-11 and 13-15), now in its 31st edition, its exhibition layout rethought by the Lombardini22 studio, so as to guarantee better connections between the four pavilions, simplify the visitor path into an irregular loop, inspired by the street plans of traditional Italian towns – and, equally, to increase exhibitor visibility, ensuring that they each have a decent amount of space.
Bright and Welcoming
The City of Lights will be the concept and the common thread running through the exhibition. Power of imagination and concrete vision will characterise the interdisciplinary cultural content curated by Beppe Finessi, turning Euroluce into a positive hub of emotions and knowledge.
Thanks to Formafantasma’s precise and intelligent intervention, the heart of the biennial will be Aurore, a large plaza and arena for immersive and reflective experiences and the venue for a number of talks. The studio was also responsible for the project for twelve Constellations, architectural ‘intermezzos’ that will host exhibitions within the exhibition curated by Finessi, lining the entire exhibition path.
The following are the main exhibitions:
~ Massimo Curzi will curate and install the solo show of one of the most important contemporary photographers, Hélène Binet, featuring an original selection of images that will show how her work explores the relationship between natural light and architecture.
~ Martina Sanzarello will curate and install an exhibition that pays homage to the classic incandescent light bulb, a contemporary story built on art and design, in the form of a sequence of light bulbs that are transformed from their primary and pragmatic function into unsettling objects and small experimental installations.
~ Matteo Pirola has created a display of “artificial stars” the luminous devices that the “astronomer-designers” are examining, coming up with objects that show luminous happenings, orbiting spheres, reflective surfaces, blinding eclipses and coloured auroras, set up by the From outer Space studio.
~ Michele Cazavara will be curating a collection of architectural images of interiors in which artificial light is the protagonist
~ Maurizio Nannucci, one of the most powerful interpreters of artificial light in contemporary art, will create a site-specific installation, a long luminous neon phrase: YOU CAN IMAGINE THE OPPOSITE which exhorts the viewer to feel free to take a creative, curious and virtuous approach.
Another important space, and a veritable “cultural garrison” will consist of the specialist design, art and illustration bookshop, which will also stock literary tomes that explore the theme of light in different ways. The space will be curated by Corraini Editori, and the project was devised by the studio Formafantasma as an intimate, warm and welcoming space. The Euroluce pavilions will also contain a bistro and a fine dining restaurant, designed by Piero Lissoni, to chime with the concept of space at the biennial.
SaloneSatellite in the Spotlight
More than 550 aspiring designers will be taking part in the 24th SaloneSatellite, in its new but entirely natural location inside the Euroluce pavilions (Pavs. 13-15), given that it represents the future of design par excellence. The 2023 edition will devote a particular focus to design schools and universities with the theme Design Schools – Universities / BUILDING THE (IM)POSSIBLE. Process, Progress, Practice.
SaloneSatellite will also pay tribute to Euroluce with the special Sate-Light. 1998-2022 SaloneSatellite Young Designers exhibition: set up symbolically on the boundary between the two areas – which will be highlighted by luminous projections showcasing most of the lamps by young designers who have taken part in the various editions over the years that have gone into production thanks to collaborations with companies that put their faith in the promising young talents.
Last but not least, the guest SaloneSatellite intervention of the master Gaetano Pesce is keenly awaited. He has been invited not just to discuss the fundamental steps in his lengthy career and his interdisciplinary contribution to the design world, but also to trigger inspiration, energy and passion amongst the talented young designers listening to him.
A fresh programme of Talks, curated by Annalisa Rosso, with a particular focus on lighting, technology and sustainability, will be held in Aurore, the Euroluce arena (Pav. 13), enriching the fair with conversations and debates held by some of the most brilliant figures on the contemporary lighting project scene. A genuine invitation to reflect and share constructive thoughts on urgent contemporary matters that affect us all, such as ecological transition and the role of technology in the near future.
Shigeru Ban, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen and Marius Myking of Snøhetta, Nao Tamura and Andrea D’Antrassi of MAD will be questioned by an equal number of international journalists on how innovation in the lighting field can improve our future lives. The debates will show just how projects, design and architecture can embrace the present and imagine the future, open up new avenues, come up with solutions and explore the realms of the “possible,” triggering insight and imagination.
Environmental, economic and social responsibility will also be a priority at the 2023 edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, which has embarked on the path that will lead it, at the end of the event, to achieve ISO 20121 certification for sustainable events management. The verification process, which has so far led to certification for sustainable events organisation, was undertaken by the multinational certification company RINA.
In this regard, the Salone is concerned about the potential impact of building temporary spaces, and has worked with Formafantasma and Lombardini22 to build modular structures for Euroluce to ensure the continuity of the installation project, if not as part of the fair, then in other places, which was the case with Mario Cucinella’s Design with Nature.
Furthermore, the Salone making efforts to identify suppliers of recycled, recyclable and/or reusable materials for building the common parts, and will endeavour to regenerate the resources consumed and absorb the waste produced, choosing institutional partners whose strategies are built around genuine concern for people and the planet, and fleshing out the guidelines for sustainable trade fair installations circulated amongst the exhibiting companies last year.
Digital + Real
One of the keys to the upcoming edition will be a perfect combination of digital and real, which will serve to exponentially enhance the experiences, the narrations and the content on a daily basis. This means the digital platform will become much busier before, during and after the event, not least thanks to our collaboration with the national and international sectoral press and with YesMilano, the city of Milan’s official promotion agency.
New editorial and service projects will be activated on the different touch points – website, newsletter, app, and social networks. These will include Unboxing, a format dedicated to previews of products from the exhibiting companies and White Paper, a series of in-depth articles by leading international journalists, as well as the daily reports from the fair and post-event analyses.
A new series of podcasts will narrate the protagonists of the event and all the latest product-wise; the official Salone del Mobile.Milano app will be updated with new functions and services, including augmented reality and wayfinding. Once again, it will be possible to purchase tickets, access details of the products on exhibit and scan the relative QR Codes to find out all the technical details. Sectoral professionals will be able to make appointments with the companies in order to meet the interlocutors that interest them in person, while it matchmaking will make it easier for the brands to make contact with visitors to their stands.
In terms of results, 80 million social network accounts were accessed, while the digital platform racked up 14 million views over the last year. The official Salone del Mobile.Milano 2023 hashtags will be #salonedelmobile2023 and #euroluce2023.