Salone del Mobile.Milano will be held as planned from 5 to 10 September 2021

Until now, we have refrained from commenting in any way the rumors about the Salone del Mobile, leaving others free to speak. We are talking about it today, when it has been made official, because, as journalists, we talking about concrete, official and, above all, verified facts, aware that the challenge that the Salone del Mobile and the companies are facing is perhaps the greatest since the Salone was born in 1961. We believe that the best thing to do now is to get to work, all of us, each in our own area of expertise, to ensure the best possible result of the initiative. We will continue to support all the companies in the sector and the Salone del Mobile, as we have always done with passion and competence since 1990, both in Italy and worldwide, confident that it is still one of the best and most successful expressions of Made in Italy. Keep up the good work, everybody! [Carlo Ludovico Russo]

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Photo Andrea Mariani, courtesy Salone del Mobile.Milano

Now it is certain that the Salone del Mobile 2021 will be held.

As just announced, in the year of the 60th anniversary of the first edition, the 59th edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano will be held. A long and complicated gestation, characterized by doubts and second thoughts until the very last minute.

“An innovative, iconic and unique edition. The fifty-ninth edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano will be held from 5th to 10th September 2021. It will be an all-new event, focused on promoting the companies’ latest products, technologies and projects. It will pick up ‘the threads’ of a conversation interrupted in person, whilst leaving relationships and contact with the market, professionals, clients and fans in their own right intact.”

After several boards of directors, the resignation of Claudio Luti as President of Salone del Mobile, and several consultations between entrepreneurs and institutions, FederlegnoArredi Eventi has decided to accept the many appeals of the institutions and to face this new challenge. And it is appropriate to give credit where credit is due.

Seen from the outside, the decision not to hold the Salone del Mobile in this situation of uncertainty seemed almost a matter of “selfishness” on the part of the companies, which did not want to risk for a Salone with very uncertain outcome.

Now that the die is cast, let’s analyze the situation and understand that at least the insults to entrepreneurs by journalists who are not experts in the field could have been spared. Because, despite the optimism that the press release tries to communicate, the 2021 edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano is full of unknown elements.

What will be the audience of the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2021?

First of all, international audience. With the vaccination campaign still in progress basically everywhere, there is a real risk that at the beginning of September it will not be possible to come to Europe from overseas. And for companies that export over 70% of their production this is not a detail. There is a serious possibility that many Brianza-based companies will end up setting up large and expensive stands just for themselves.

Discover the booths at the Salone del Mobile.Milano, an example of temporary architecture

It will be necessary, also on the part of the Salone del Mobile, to make every effort to guarantee a digital experience to those who are physically unable to reach the Salone. Then, of course, those companies who can will organize themselves, but tools for filming spaces and media for sharing will be more necessary than ever.

Safety

Even if it were possible to easily arrive from Europe, and perhaps even from the United States and Great Britain (the United Kingdom is the fourth largest international market for Made in Italy furniture exports) without too many problems, there would be many questions to be answered. For example, what will safe visits be like? Even if the guidelines only include distancing and sanitation, organizing a one-meter distancing at a trade fair will not be as easy as that.

However, the biggest problems will not be represented by entering exhibition halls. Will it be possible to operate bars and restaurants? Will drinking or eating be allowed inside the stands?

Load in and load out will be another major problem. What happens if a stand assembler tests positive? Will the booth close? Will the Fair close? It is unthinkable that a company works to set up a booth at the Salone and then it has to stop in the middle of the event due to a worker who tests positive for Covid. Have the institutions thought about this?

Public transport

Another delicate issue: public transport. With the subway working at 50% capacity, how will people get to the fairgrounds? With a minimum of crowding, it will take half a day to get there and another half to get back. Let’s think about this immediately.

The city, the events and the visitors

In early September, climate will help and it will be easy to stay outdoors. However, bars and restaurants will need to work unimpeded to ensure sufficient refreshment to those who come here to work after all.

The Salone del Mobile

Once they have overcome all the obstacles and arrived at the Fair, companies will still have to deal with the fact that there will be few visitors. While in the last few years before the pandemic the pavilions were so crowded that it was very difficult to move and work, having a fair in such an uncertain situation will not be exactly a walk in the park.

The Salone del Mobile and companies have listened to the appeals that came from all the institutions, asking not to cancel the 2021 show. “The plan for the 2021 event – which was initially announced to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and subsequently to all the Italian national and the territorial institutions, and shared with our long-term partner Fiera Milano – will be entrusted to and coordinated by an internationally-renowned curator and will strive to bolster links, relationships and concrete activities with the financial and social fabric that recognises the centrality and importance of the Salone del Mobile.Milano.”

A challenge for creativity

There is no doubt that Italian creativity is capable of creating a valid project even in a short time and that the companies that decide to participate are capable of carrying it out. However, it is not really the case to blame too much those who do not feel like it. Inevitably, the Salone del Mobile in September 2021 will be a minor event – and this is neither fault of the Salone nor of the participating companies – and different from usual. There is very little time to organize everything, it is nearly impossible to physically build the booths, especially if we do not find an effective solution to allow stand assemblers to work closely immediately. The institutions that have launched appeals should act just as quickly to solve logistic problems. Again, it is unthinkable to ask a company to have all the assemblers tested at an exorbitant cost every 48 hours, or even worse, to ask the workers directly. And even to have valid vaccines, we are at the limit of technical feasibility.

In any case, any further discussion would be pointless now. The Salone del Mobile will be held; the appeals have had their effect. Therefore, we hope that the controversy is extinguished and above all that they stop insulting the entrepreneurs who now have doubts but are the same who created the Salone del Mobile back in 1961. They made it grow and develop until it became one of the symbols of Made in Italy, at their own expense, with their work, with their commitment, year after year, without asking anyone for anything.

Keep up the good work, everybody. See you in Milan at the Salone del Mobile 2021 from 5 to 10 September

Below, the full press release issued yesterday by the Salone del Mobile

Milan is preparing for a fifty-ninth edition built on uniqueness and innovation.
An innovative, iconic and unique edition. The fifty-ninth edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano will be held from 5th to 10th September 2021. It will be an all-new event, focused on promoting the companies’ latest products, technologies and projects. It will pick up “the threads” of a conversation interrupted in person, whilst leaving relationships and contact with the market, professionals, clients and fans in their own right intact.

Following constructive internal debate, and a great deal of planning over the last few weeks, which concluded with general agreement and a unanimous vote – and during which the strong points of the trade fair, its historic and symbolic values, both current and prospective, its coherence with the programme for the relaunch of Italy’s economy under the direction of the new government, the significant all-round agreement, the expectations of both a professional and a general public in Italy and around the world were analysed – the executive of the Salone del Mobile.Milano has identified the next steps for organising next September’s edition.

The plan for the 2021 event – which was initially announced to the Presidency of the Council of Ministers and subsequently to all the Italian national and the territorial institutions, and shared with our long-term partner Fiera Milano – will be entrusted to and coordinated by an internationally-renowned curator and will strive to bolster links, relationships and concrete activities with the financial and social fabric that recognises the centrality and importance of the Salone del Mobile.Milano.

The Salone, which is open to all exhibiting international and Italian companies, will be held at Rho Fiera Milano, and will feature exhibitions and thematic events integrated with products and novelties of the last 18 months, which will dialogue with the all-new digital platform shortly to be unveiled. All the prevention and safety directives and ordinances regulating trade fairs will be observed and adhered to.

We believe that the 5th September appointment will generate a substantial number of applications from potential exhibitors and ensure a global representation of sectoral products, examples of excellence and innovations. The factual contribution of a historically productive, powerfully dynamic and proactive region will ensure that the initiatives and events will go ahead, building an atmosphere and environment that will make the fifty-ninth edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano a truly unique global event.

Gianfranco Marinelli, President of FLA Eventi SpA, had this to say: “Thanks to the support from the institutions, first and foremost from the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella and the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, and the other ministers involved and participating, and the willingness of the companies to contribute to the success of the event, I am confident that we will be in a position to produce an innovative Salone that will attract international attention and quality. We are aware that the success of an event such as the Salone del Mobile.Milano will be confirmed by the fact that the citizens will understand and appreciate yet again the contribution that it can make to the country in terms of growth, image and credibility. I am proud to be able to say that once again we will be making our own contribution.”

“I would like to thank the FederlegnoArredo Presidency Council, the Federlegno Arredo Eventi Board Members and our entrepreneurs for sharing their points of view, ideas and needs in a team effort that will enable us to organise a special, unique edition, just as the times we are living through are unique. We have overcome a huge challenge – providing the companies that make up the fabric of the sector, be they large or small, with the best possible showcase for promoting the very finest international and Made in Italy products,” said Claudio Feltrin, President of FederlegnoArredo. “We will now move forward, in close synergy with the City of Milan, as always. The expressions of esteem and solidarity from all the national and local institutions over the last few days are the best possible recognition of all the many entrepreneurs that have ensured that the Salone del Mobile has always been a unique and much-admired concept the world over.”