Innovation and tradition: a host of initiatives to celebrate the Salone del Mobile’s 50th anniversary.
“Celebrating 50 years of the Salone del Mobile looking towards the next 50. That is what we are focusing on,” explained Carlo Guglielmi, President of Cosmit, going on to say “It is with no little pride that we prepare to celebrate this occasion in such a hugely affirmative context, just when our fair is enjoying its greatest success. A success that has grown exponentially over the last half century, thanks to the creative input of our entrepreneurs, to the ongoing challenges of a robust structure supported by FederlegnoArredo and the companies who continue to recognise that this fair constitutes a business and brand visibility platform second to none. Credit is also due to the 300,000 operators who firm up that business and to the 5,000 journalists who descend on the Milan fair year after year.”
The growth and success of the Saloni which, unlike any other international fair, has bucked the trend, with a steadily growing waiting list and, especially, an increasingly high quality range of goods, is also bolstered in no small measure by the internationalisation process that has taken the Milan Saloni beyond the city of Milan.
“We have just come back from New York, where a carefully structured programme is still ongoing, dovetailing the presentation of Italian goods with a unique cultural event, which has quite literally turned the Americans’ heads” – said Carlo Guglielmi, Cosmit’s President. “Here is just one number to give a flavour of its success. Nearly 6,000 visitors attended the Park Avenue Armory showings of Leonardo’s Last Supper as interpreted by Peter Greenaway in one single week.”
“That is our modus operandi” continued Guglielmi, “in which FederlegnoArredo and Cosmit invest huge private resources; in the case of New York with a major contribution from the ITC (Italian Trade Commission) and the Ministry for Economic Development. Because we believe that culture is an essential tool for promoting our product globally and because this is the way we go about creating trade fairs.”
It is exactly this spirit that is animating the efforts leading up to the April 2011 Saloni, a spirit centred on innovation, in people and in things, looking back at the past with an eye to the future. Innovation was what spurred on that initial group of entrepreneurs, culminating in September 1961 in the first ever Salone del Mobile. This was the era during which design was born, a celebration of the amazing union between the business world and the creativity of the masters.
In an innovative twist, a theatrical production by Laura Curino will be staged by Cosmit, in collaboration with Fondazione Bassetti, FederlegnoArredo and the Milan and Monza-Brianza Chambers of Commerce, which will tell the story of the great Milanese protagonists, designers and design entrepreneurs, and examine the continuity of ideas and the industrial world that grew up around their creative genius. In February “Creating the improbable, Design in Milan: past and future”, will open at the Piccolo Teatro Studio. An original way of recounting history while looking to the future, a platform for the ideas, attributes and experiences of Castiglioni, Magistretti, Menghi, Sottsass, Viganò, Zanuso and the entrepreneurs with whom they dealt, Cassina, Castelli, Gandini, Barassi, Bitossi and Sarfatti. Masters and entrepreneurs from the past, whose input provided the stimuli on which build the future, in other words the models and applications that would mark the fifty years to follow.
Every anniversary includes a time for celebration and retrospection. Cosmit’s is celebrated by the Milan Triennial, which is devoting the fourth of its design museums to the Salone del Mobile
This year, at Euroluce (the International Lighting Exhibition), Cosmit will be gazing into the heart of Milan, right to its ancient core, comprised of what is now the area around Piazza della Scala-Piazza San Fedele. Here, where the ground rises gently, the ancients used to worship a small wood that created an arbour sheltered by trees they considered sacred, we intend to recreate the ancient sacred grove, the lucus as they used to call it, which – when the light fell on it– became “a multitude of trees of religious significance.”
Attilio Stocchi’s scenography will transform the heart of Milan into a new, visionary Theatrum Naturae, where the trees once swathed in the Po Valley mists will flourish once again, to the sound of that extraordinary chorus produced by the flying species that populated it: goldfinches, long-tailed tits, hoopoes, common redstarts, wagtails…
Lastly, the suggestive setting of Piazza Duomo will provide the backdrop to “Principia”, an exhibition devoted to an imagined future, a path through eight spaces designed by Denis Santachiara in collaboration with the Solares Arts Foundation and leading artists, scientists and famous designers.
The most innovative scientific discoveries will be reinterpreted, manipulating science to create unique works of art that stem from a principium, largely attributable to the latest and most cutting-edge technologies.
The fair will also assign an actual development and business space to exhibitors at the Salone del Mobile and the biennial Euroluce and SaloneUfficio (the International Biennial Workspace Exhibition), back in Milan after a three year gap.
Experiential areas conceived by leading architects following the “Office as Creative Hub” mindset will be dedicated to the office sector, a continuum of the project that explored the theme of “Office Life Italian Style” at the previous edition of the Saloni.
Some key activities are currently in the pipeline with regard to these two biennials, geared to bringing in specialist visitors and sectorial professionals.