“Design is not a product. It’s culture,” says Maria Porro, president of Salone del Mobile, the annual furniture fair held in Milan.
Since becoming president in July 2021, Maria has been gracefully navigating the effects of the pandemic while bringing positive change to the fair. “The idea of simply reverting to April, our traditional spot in the calendar, after three years, as if nothing had happened, was unthinkable.”
At a recent press conference held at the New York Institute of Technology, she presented the changes underway for this year’s fair. “It’s huge. It’s overwhelming. It’s difficult to navigate. We decided to redesign the fair.”
Through a series of detailed floor plans and images Maria outlined two major changes to the layout of the fair—the first being eliminating the upper pavilions to create a single exhibition level in “an attempt for visitors to spend more time in the booths,” she explains.
The result is a more curated exhibition with a smaller footprint. “We had to say no to some companies,” she says.
To maximize the remaining space, the gridded layout system with large hallways has been replaced with smaller corridors in a more organic layout.
The downsizing experiment coincides with the biannual Euroluce exhibit, which has a smaller footprint than the EuroCucina event it alternates years with.
What’s New at Euroluce 2023
The lighting industry continues to evolve in beautiful and exciting ways (see our roundup of our favorite new modern lighting designs), and the 31st iteration of Euroluce aims to keep pace with a completely reimagined format from the architecture and engineering firm Lombardini22.
This year’s event is designed around a central boulevard with interdisciplinary and experiential content to shift the focus to visitors versus booths.
Some of the special Euroluce 2023 exhibits include:
- “You Can Imagine the Opposite,” a long neon light site-specific installation by artist Maurizio Nannucci
- “Nature, Time and Architecture” by photographer Hélène Binet
- “FIAT BULB. The Edison Syndrome,” an exhibition that pays tribute to an object, the classic incandescent lightbulb, with works from Kiki Smith and others curated by Martina Sanzarello
- “Dawns. The Lights of Tomorrow” exhibition is configured around the presence (or absence) of light and its ability to change the perception of space. Curated by Matteo Pirola
- “Interior Night. Bright Artifacts,” architectural images of interiors in which artificial light is the protagonist, curated by Michele Calzavara
- “Constellations,” an installation by FormaFantasma curated by Beppe Finessi.
The show will also house a restaurant designed by Piero Lissoni.
The 24th Annual SaloneSatellite
Since 1998 Marva Griffin has been relentlessly advocating for young creatives, helping launch more than 14,000 careers from 50-plus countries through the SaloneSatellite program. “I have a lot of bambini all around the world,” she says.
This year 550 aspiring designers from 27 schools (including Pratt and Arizona State University from the US) will take part in the 24th SaloneSatellite with the theme “Design Schools – Universities / BUILDING THE (IM)POSSIBLE. Process, Progress, Practice.”
The exhibition, which will reside in a new location for the next Euroluce this year, will present a special installation equipped with telescopes for viewing an imaginary sky reflecting the present and the future of design.
The SaloneSatellite Award will also return this year, in its 12th edition, and will be assigned to the three most deserving projects (and two Honorable Mentions). It will be assessed by an international jury led by Paola Antonelli, senior curator at the department of architecture and design and director of research and development of the Museum of Modern Art.
A retrospective is also being planned, called “Sate- Light. 1998-2022 SaloneSatellite Young Designers,” and will present many of the original prototypes from previous exhibitions.
Special programming this year has been curated by editorial director Annalisa Rosso. Speakers include Gaetano Pesce, Shigeru Ban, Kjetil Trædal Thorsen and Marius Myking of Snøhetta, Nao Tamura and Andrea D’Antrassi of MAD, and others.
Sustainability at Salone del Mobile 2023
“Sustainability requires a cultural change. You can’t just do it like that,” says Maria as she snaps her finger, quipping about the many emails she’s received from exhibitors asking to “bring back the carpet” in response to a new policy eliminating the single-use carpets.
Maria has helped guide the fair in joining the UN Global Compact, a global pact to help adopt both sustainable and socially responsible policies, and has disclosed the fair’s plans for hosting a more sustainable show. The show has also begun its application for ISO 20121 certification, the international standard for sustainable events.
Salone del Mobile 2023 will run from April 18 – 23 in Milan, Italy. The fair is now in its 61st edition and will host 1,962 exhibitors. The official Salone del Mobile.Milano 2023 hashtags will be #salonedelmobile2023 and #euroluce2023.
For more info visit: www.salonemilano.it