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Your guide to Salone del Mobile 2024

Ahead of the 62nd furniture fair this April, we round up some of the events, installations and talks you won’t want to miss.

28/03/2024

5 min read

Announcing the programme for the 62nd edition of Salone del Mobile in February, the world-famous design fair will once again welcome visitors to Rho Fiera Milano from 16-21 April. This year, the fair is revealing a “new, bold, literally out of the box approach” alongside its usual offering, in response to the evolving nature of trade fairs – firming up its position as a cultural hub and testbed for new ideas. With a series of installations, activations and a talks programme focusing on the trade show as an ‘ecosystem’ of ideas and actions for tomorrow’s world, pivotal concepts will include innovation, evolution and, of course, sustainability: under the overarching theme of ‘Where Design Evolves’.

This year’s fair will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of SaloneSatellite, a vital platform that has been showcasing emerging designers under 35 for a quarter of a century. Spotlighting the work of over 600 emerging designers from around the world, the showcase will be complemented by an exhibition delving into the historical journey and influence of SaloneSatellite spanning the last 25 years.

Installations

Perhaps the most surprising reveal – or not, as the case may be – was the announcement of David Lynch as a key contributor to this year’s fair, unveiling one of the three major installations for 2024. Lynch has been involved in furniture design for many years, designing a furniture collection himself for Salone in 1997. “Films and furniture are based on ideas. You get an idea. And then you’re hooked.”

Two identical burgundy-curtained and mirrored ‘Thinking Rooms’ will be devised as sensory and symbolic ‘gates’ that must be entered to be immersed in the wider exhibition. The project is curated by filmmaker and writer Antonio Monda, and created in collaboration with Piccolo Teatro di Milano, who contributed to creating this theatrical staging of Lynch’s vision. “We have chosen to work with a master of film such as David Lynch because of his ability to transport us into a mysterious and different world,” comments fair president, Maria Porro. “Entering his Thinking Room will be like crossing the threshold of a room that is another work, an inner space. After all, what is design if not a quest for function and materials that subconsciously make us feel safe?”

Lynch’s involvement is part of a refreshed and energetic programme, offering a more tightly curated, multicultural approach in a time when many are questioning the role of trade shows and their impact on the environment; moving from a strictly trade fair event to a wider platform and ideas exchange for the design community all year round. “Capturing new trends by involving and listening to communities near and far and identifying new approaches, methodologies and technologies is still the ambition of Salone del Mobile,” says Porro. Consistent with last year’s attendees, Porro expects to welcome approximately 2,000 exhibitors as well as over 300,000 international visitors.

A special partner of Capsule Plaza at 10 Corso Como, artisanal carpet designers Amini are also set to exhibit at Salone del Mobile 2024. As well as showcasing new designs from Rodolfo Dordoni, Verner Panton and Fede Chet, they will debut an immersive attraction at Furiosalone titled ‘Abstract Garden’. Curated by Elisa Ossino Studio, this is billed as a dreamlike installation that will explore artisanal weaving techniques for bespoke creations.

In conversation

A programme of talks and roundtables titled ‘Drafting Futures: conversations about next perspectives’, curated by Annalisa Rosso, will feature a series of pioneering guests discussing their groundbreaking projects that lay the ground for a ‘more aware future’.  The talks will take place in the Drafting Futures Arena, designed by trade fair darlings Formafantasma. The space will reuse seating from previous editions, upholstered in carpet printed in abstract patterns reminiscent of the absent-minded scribbles and drawings made while on the telephone. The arena will feature the Salone del Mobile Library, also designed by Formafantasma, which – like their Reading Room installation at Stockholm Design Week – will feature books and literature that are meant to influence decisions and shape future opportunities, selected by guests from events past and present.

For the duration of the fair, local lighting manufacturer Artemide is set to host conferences with internationally acclaimed architects and designers such as Giulia Foscari, Benedetta Tagliabue and Ersilia Vaudo, Carolina Gismondi de Bevilacqua, Foster + Partners, Herzog & de Meuron, BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group, Neil Poulton and Mario Cucinella.

Events

Returning with the theme ‘Materia Natura’, Fuorisalone is a much-anticipated collection of events that take visitors out of Salone’s close-knit world of furniture expos and into Milan’s iconic streets and palazzos. This year, taking place from 15-21 April, the week-long event will include unmissable exhibitions and installations all with a focus on circularity, reuse, and sustainable innovation, stressing the importance of integrating nature into design processes. Isola Design Festival will also return for its eighth year, with the theme confirmed as ‘This Future is Currently Unavailable’. More than 320 international studios and manufacturers will participate in over 40 locations, including new sites such as Lampo Milano, WAO PL7 and Galleria Bonelli.

On 17 April, Italian furniture brand Kartell plans to welcome visitors to both the Kartell Museum and their flagship store for the upcoming exhibition, ‘Urban Horizons: Crafting Spaces for Living’. Tech behemoth Google will also be hosting a must-see exhibition in Milan’s Garage 21, titled “Making Sense of Colour”. Curated by Ivy Ross, Google’s Vice President of Hardware Design and arts and research lab Chromasonic, the event promises to be a captivating multi-space installation showcasing the power of colour in digital technology.

Local minimalist furniture brand NEUTRA will be exhibiting its La Grande Muraglia Outdoor Collection at the MEET Digital Culture Center throughout the duration of the fair, which is set to feature new collaborations with design giants such as atelier oï, Foster + Partners, Zaha Hadid Architects, and Gabriele e Oscar Buratti, to name a few. At the much-anticipated Superdesign Show – set to host 11 nations, 3 continents, over 80 companies, and 40 innovative projects –visitors can expect artistic installations such as NichelcromLab’s “Like Trees In The Woods”, specifically created for Milan Design Week by sculptor Michele D’Agostino.

Products and showrooms

Once again, a host of much-anticipated products and collections are set to be unveiled Salone del Mobile 2024, including an impressive list of some of the industry’s biggest names. Powerhouse Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola plans to launch the ALDER Collection in collaboration with Danish green-tech brand Mater, while Italian outdoor furniture studio UNOPIÙ is set to unveil two new collections, including Davos by Matteo Nunziati, an endlessly modular seating system that transitions from indoors to outdoors. Visitors can also expect to see the work of British-Ghanaian designer Giles Tettey Nartey, whose ‘Communion’ table collection explores his Ghanaian roots and the notion of bringing people together with the shared acts of preparation and eating.

Local wallpaper studio SpaghettiWall is also set to launch its new line in collaboration with UNHCR (the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and MADE51, a humanitarian program supporting artisans fleeing war-torn territories. Signed by designers including Gian Paolo Venier, Giorgio Biscaro, Patrizia Piccinini, Marco Spatti, Studio SMIT and Lorena d’Ilio, the wall coverings aim to tell unique styles and stories of social responsibility.

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