And what about the Fuorisalone?

The Salone del Mobile furniture fair in Milan has been postponed, and now we are trying to understand how the districts are handling the situation because of this unplanned “summer” version of design week. Here’s the first part of our investigation.

The news came unexpectedly, the Salone del Mobile moves to 16-21 June 2020. The cause, as we know, is the Covid-19 that would have affected the presence of international guests and buyers, especially the Asian ones. The uncertainty is linked, on the one hand, to the already organized agenda of some exhibitors and, on the other, to the limited availability of some locations, since they will be already hosting other events on schedule, first of all those related to the Men’s Fashion Week

The voice of the districts was strong and clear and, after the initial uncertainties concerning the organization, they have confirmed the new dates (15/21 June), even if everything, at the moment, has yet to be decided: event schedule, exhibitors, installations. But the general attitude is positive, especially for those responsible for the most pop initiatives, such as Davide Crippa of La Repubblica del Design: “Aren’t the problems related to rescheduling extremely contemporary? Haven’t we talked about liquidity, vagueness and uncertainty for years? Aren’t these the daily issues which we have to face nowadays? I (obviously) think so, and therefore I would say that reorganizing the machine is a necessary and reoccurring condition. I’m convinced that everyone will succeed and that maybe it will be interesting to host a different Salone and Fuorisalone”, he continues: “After the initial turmoil for the situation in Italy and worldwide, Beppe Sala and Fiera Milano’s decision to move the date to June, we thought that maybe we too had to make a brave decision! So, we redouble, we open in April (with a “no-Salone”) and re-open in June (for the “Fuorisalone”). It is possible for us since we’re a permanent district, and maybe even useful for the city. I believe that it will be an encouraging sign for everyone, as well as a gathering place where friends and designers can meet, in the most authentic and less pretentious district of Milan. After all, this historic moment needs different signals and answers and so it seemed natural to redouble our efforts. 

For the two events Ventura Central and Ventura Future, Fulvia Ramogida, the Milanese representative of Ventura Projects, says: “In just over a week we went from the press conference for the launch of Ventura Projects 2020 for Milan Design Week, to the postponement. You can imagine the complexity of having to reschedule two events, Ventura Future and Ventura Centrale, which were ready to be put into production and for inauguration, within two months from now”. For the organization, she explains: “Every change lead to problems and in the case of the Fuorisalone, a complex and cross-cutting event that involves many actors and different types of audience, the issues are even worse. From the re-confirmation of the availability of the premises and of the setting-up, to the postponement of all the services we planned for Ventura Centrale, for example, to the rescheduling of the operational deadlines for the exhibitors and for the communication plan...”. Ramogida also explains that this shift is basically a relief for some exhibitors, that were maybe a little late, “as they will have more time to design the event”, as well as for those who were anxious about the Coronavirus situation. And finally, she concludes talking about Men’s Fashion: “The partial overlap can be an advantage in terms of vitality and possible synergies”. 

Nicolas Bellavance-Lecompte of 5 Stade is much more critical, and affirms: “The unexpected postponement of the Show makes us waste a lot of time: it seriously compromises the organization and the possibility of rescheduling. “The main problem is that we still don’t know” what the June edition will be like and when the Coronavirus emergency will subside. The period then coincides with Art Basel: for those involved in art design, it will be very difficult to take part in both exhibitions. But, as some of my enthusiastic colleagues say: a warm and rain-free Salone? Sure, why not. 

For Isola Design District, Gabriele Cavallaro says: “We were prepared for this contingency, we had also considered June as the ideal month for the shift, due to the local health emergency and, above all, to the consequent psychosis it is creating worldwide. Actually, the decision did not affect our work and, indeed, we fully share it. The most complex part was to contact and promptly inform locations, designers and companies, as well as to reorganize the events on schedule, but we managed to organise everything quickly and efficiently”. And what about the chosen period? “We believe and hope that, paradoxically, it will be even better than April, mainly because of the weather, but also because it will be easier to involve visitors in the activities we are planning: workshops, talks, experiences and events”. And he adds: “In terms of audience I think that we probably won’t achieve the numbers of the past editions, but it won’t necessarily be a bad thing”.

Nina Yashar, from Nilufar, also has a positive attitude: “From my personal point of view, as a gallery owner involved in the front row of the Milan Design Week, I think the best decision was made, given the situation. For us this actually means two more months to complete the projects, finalise the installations and, for the first time, to receive in advance the shots of the latest novelties to be disclosed to the press... It’s certainly destabilising to see such an absolute certainty for Milan being modified, but I face it with energy and optimism because I believe that every change always brings something new and positive”. Not only: “I see the overlap with Design Miami | Basel as a golden opportunity because it would allow many collectors to visit both events within the same week. Also, the proximity to the Men’s fashion shows in Milan will create an excellent synergy. It seems to me the best solution, in fact it gives us hope for a decrease of the Coronavirus emergency, given the warmer temperatures of June”.

The expected cancellations in the districts amount to 7% and are mainly due to other events already scheduled by the companies. However, other brands, unable to participate in April, came forward to be present in the June edition. The two extra months will therefore be exploited by exhibitors and organisers in order to develop new formulas or to finalise what was already on the agenda. 

Now we just wait for this new version of Fuorisalone, convinced that creativity will once again prove its worth.

Opening image: images of Alex Chinneck's "IQOS World Revealed" installation at Opificio 31 in the Tortona area, at Fuorisalone 2019

Salone del Mobile 2020
Opening dates:
16-21 June 2020

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