The new format won over professionals, buyers and public alike.
The 61st edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano notched up 307,418 attendees, 15% up compared with 2022, setting the seal on the event’s new format, confirming its catalysing power.
More than 2,000 exhibiting brands took part, 34% of them from 37 different countries, including 550 young designers from 31 different countries and 28 design schools and universities from 18 different countries. In terms of visitor turnout, 307,418 attendees were recorded (+15% compared with 2022), over the six days, from 181 different countries. Particularly significant was the fact that 65% of the buyers and industry professionals had come from abroad. China reclaimed its place as the top country after Italy, followed by Germany, France, the United States, Spain with Brazil and India tied. There were over 5,400 accredited journalists, 47% of whom were from other countries.
Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, had this to say: “The 61st edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano was an international success and we are really delighted that it exceeded expectations. The number of attendees makes for an exceptional result, which we worked very hard, deeply and radically for, to bring new meanings and values to the trade fair visit and create new experiences for the visitors who came along. We have learned several important lessons from this edition: we have learned that it is indeed possible to redesign a huge event like the Salone in order to propel it into the future, that sustainability really is achievable when the entire system pulls together, and that new content can be devised and employed in order to generate knowledge, growth and value. We are pleased at how we managed to put visitors at the centre, and at how they found their own way around, the facility with which they met their desired companies; with the opportunity the exhibitors had to introduce themselves and make themselves known not just to their target groups but also to new interlocutors with whom they came into contact thanks to the new layout; and to have provided opportunities for everybody at the fair to further their knowledge and growth thanks to the many talks and round tables and the exhibitions at Euroluce. We invested in quality and demonstrated our desire to carry on producing innovation and ‘telling the stories’ of our companies and our products. Yet again we have been the engine that has fired up the city. The contribution of the Italian Trade Agency ICE has been invaluable and irreplaceable, supporting us as we have opened out to new markets such as India, and growing markets such as America. Digital has also played a vital role this week, as it did the preceding months, allowing us both to make contact with new countries and to maintain a strong relationship with those unable to join us. I should like to thank everybody for their commitment: the companies who took part and put their money on their products, the organisers, the fitters and the curators who all put their faith in the event. We believe that everyone could feel the enthusiasm and the desire to provide a new, global and aware experience, in which it was the ideas and the cultural exchange that mattered, conscious that the way to build value over time is to think of the future and of the upcoming generations with SaloneSatellite.”
The presence of other government and institutional bodies, not least the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, was a great testament to the importance and quality of this edition to the entire sector. Their attendance was proof of the fact that the fair is one of the key drivers of the Italian economy, a model for narrating the excellence of design around the world, and attracting international talent. Besides attesting to the international importance of the Salone, the unswerving support of the Italian Trade Agency ICE and SIMEST also included their invitation to more than 220 buyers and 240 journalists from 64 other countries, allowing them an opportunity to come and meet the exhibiting companies. Our close collaboration with Fiera Milano, which helped to make this event possible, is also crucial.
Claudio Feltrin, President of FederlegnoArredo, summed up the success of the Salone thus: “The exhibitors made good use of their resources, the visitors made good use of their time. This is borne out by the figures, by the palpable enthusiasm right through the week and by the huge press presence and that of the institutions with which we have shared issues that are fundamental for the wood-furnishing industry, such as training, internationalisation, sustainability and short supply chains with timber made in Italy. The Salone has proved yet again to be the only design fair that can lay claim to the greatest number of Italian exhibitors capable of attracting visitors, most of them from abroad – the best possible result for substantiating the value of our know how. But let me tell you, aside from the figures and the obvious all-round satisfaction, the result we should be most proud of this year – companies and Salone alike – is that we came up with a winning strategy, seeing Euroluce as an innovative and very democratic trade fair model, appreciated by exhibitors and visitors, which will inspire not only the Salone as regards the April 2024 event but, I am sure, will serve as inspiration for all the fairs at global level. But at global level, only the Salone is the Salone.”
Huge attention to sustainability, both in terms of organising and running the trade fair – which will see the Salone as the first sectoral exhibition to attain ISO 20121 certification for sustainable events management – and in terms of research, quality of proposals and concrete and implementable solutions – evidenced by the installations at the Euroluce and SaloneSatellite exhibitions and by a huge number of exhibitors – have made the Salone an international stage for new business ideas and technological solutions capable of contributing to people’s wellbeing, to safeguarding the environment, our homes and to the most effective use of resources, in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The City of Lights exhibitions curated by Beppe Finessi, who turned Euroluce into a space/time continuum made up of multidisciplinary creative activities connected with light, were a huge hit with the public, providing an opportunity for discovery, for reflection on the past and the present, and a place of dialogue between technology and poetry, architecture and design. A great many plaudits were received by the authors involved ‒ Hélène Binet, Massimo Curzi, Matteo Pirola, From outer Space, Martina Sanzarello, Michele Calzavara and Berfu Bengisu Gören – whose design, linguistic and aesthetic diversity provided visitors with “luminous” experiences, sometimes even contradictory ones. Objects, photographs, drawings, sculptures and videos, as well as the powerful imprint of the great Maurizio Nannucci were the protagonists of a great site-specific installation and six large exhibitions, including Constellations, made up of seven individual architectural and display ‘intermezzos’ designed by Formafantasma. There was great appreciation and a boom in attendees, demand always outstripping capacity at the Aurore Arena (designed by Formafantasma), for the public programme curated by Annalisa Rosso with Shigeru Ban, Nao Tamura, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen and Marius Myking of Snøhetta, Andrea D’Antrassi of MAD Architects and for the lecture by the great Gaetano Pesce at SaloneSatellite, a sign that the desire to discuss fundamental design-related issues and its social and environmental value is livelier than ever. Just as lively as the interest shown by the thousands of visitors who flocked to the Corraini Mobile Bookshop to purchase or leaf through the leading publications devoted to design, art and architecture.
The figures registered by the digital platform throughout the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2023 exceeded even the greatest of expectations. The website, newsletters, apps, push notifications and social networks narrated the event on a daily basis as it unfolded, along with the activities dedicated to the public and the brands and the innovations showcased by the companies by way of products, workshops and installations. This live narration followed the activation plan initiated in the weeks running up to the event and the multi- channel planning that also took in the behind-the-scenes activities of all the professionals involved. The international design community responded enthusiastically: on the social media front, 30 million accounts were reached and the content notched up 6 million video views, around 80 million impressions. There were around a million visitors to the site and more than 7 million page views. The updated Salone del Mobile.Milano app has seen the number of downloads triple since the beginning of the year, thanks to the new interactive mapping service, which registered more than 350,000 sessions during the fair, and enabled more than 750,000 scans through the matchmaking service supporting the visitor experience and promoting effective interface with the exhibitors. The regular publication of dedicated content on the Chinese WeChat channel, the streaming of talks organised at the fair and a daily podcast featuring the voices of some of the protagonists of this edition all contributed to the narration of the Salone at global level. New developments worthy of mention include the launch of the TikTok channel, which featured dedicated storytelling, including the input of content creators, notching up 4 million video views and attracting an audience of more than 3 million. A number of augmented reality activities were also developed, not least the competition to win an exclusive Piquadro backpack, which registered more than 10,000 sessions. Our partnership with the digital media brand Highsnobiety was also sealed during the trade fair, generating updating daily content aimed at an unprecedented Salone target group: a new international generation attentive to cultural and market innovation. Alongside the editorial content, a collection of limited edition products (T-shirts, sweatshirts and caps) reiterated the absolutely iconic status of the Salone del Mobile.
Progressing the path of conscious innovation during this edition too, 1,200 interviews were carried out with companies, designers, design lovers, key figures on the Italian and international cultural scene visiting the Salone. Knowing how exhibitors, visitors and stakeholders experience and perceive the event, their expectations, their objectives and their desires, what motivates them, what interests them and what influences their decision to take part is crucial in order for the Salone to evolve in the right direction and structure content and proposals to the best of its ability, not least by looking ahead. The outcome, along with the conclusions drawn by ad hoc working parties focusing on kitchen and bathroom furnishing set up over the last few weeks, will show us how to start pitching our efforts and scenarios for the next edition.
Testament to the Salone del Mobile.Milano’s ongoing commitment to inclusion and hospitality, as well as to its international role, the Welcome Project was up and running. It is the upshot of its collaboration with the Municipality of Milan, the Fondazione Fiera Milano and the city’s leading design schools ‒ New Academy of Fine Arts, IED European Institute of Design and the Polytechnic University of Milan/Design School. The one hundred students at focal points dotted throughout the city provided visitors from all over the world with information on mobility, on the fair itself and on the Salone exhibitors’ events taking place in city. They also carried out surveys, which showed that visitors tended to opt for green solutions such as trains and the underground to access the fairgrounds.
The next edition will be held in Milan from 16th to 21st April 2024