The International Furniture Fair in Milan called "Il Salone" for many years and now called "I Saloni" (plural for salone) is one of the most attended in the world, a leading event in the home furnishing sector but also a precious occasion for international meetings of minds.
It all started in 1961 with a small group of forward thinking Milanesi forming the "Cosmit" Committee.
The first year had 328 exhibitors. The 60's marked an economic Boom in Italy but the Italian furniture industry was a long way from its present role of leader on the international market.
It has grown exponentially from that year and it has become a MUST for any Designer, Architect or simply for people with their heart in Interior Design (but "I Saloni" is open to the general public only one Sunday, the rest of the week is "to- the-Trade").
Attending the event is a wonderful, even if highly stressful, experience...someone calls it "Salone Weekly Weight- Loss Treatment"... Milan is flooded with people going from a presentation to a cocktail to a reception, restaurants (the good ones) are reserved much in advance, Hotels are filled a year in advance, not to mention the fact you cannot find a Taxi or a parking spot in this exciting, fast paced city.
Adding to the excitement are also the much anticipated "Fuori Salone" or collateral events around the city during the "Design Week" and of course they are open to the general public.
Last year British artist Peter Greenaway gave new life to one of the world's most celebrated masterpieces with a projection of "The Last Supper" by Leonardo da Vinci on a wall at Palazzo Reale (the Royal Palace now used for major exhibitions).
The original affresco "The Last Supper" is in Milan in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
This year "Palazzo Reale will host a major exhibition of the Italian culture of High Craftsmanship: five hundred years of great Italian decorative art and design side by side"
I=N=V=O=C=A=T=I=O=N (I call your image to mind)
"Light in all its infinite and spectacular variations will be the protagonist of this collateral event – conceived expressly for Euroluce – signed by the British artist Cerith Wyn Evans, which will be set against the backdrop of the Milan Triennale Garden".
Some of past editions' Saloni images
Not only contemporary Trends...
And here is a Sneak Peak Preview of 2009 (and more Posts to follow...)
A rendering of Arik Levy's installation for Swarowski Crystal Palace
A new chair produced by Cassina
A new sofa designed by Patricia Urquiola
A new bookcase by Alfredo Häberli
New lights by Tom Dixon
A new sofa by Antonio Citterio
From 328 exhibitors in 1961 to more than 2,500 in 2009.
A great success!
Photography 2008 by Saverio Lombardi Vallauri and Luciano Pascali
2009 Sources: Angela Zanatti, Leonardo Sulsismassi