The Salone Internazionale del Mobile is the International Furniture Fair held every April in Milan. The Salone is the largest decor trade show in the world and one of the main design industry events held in Europe. In Milan the Salone is a social event on par with Fashion Week.
When the Salone first started in 1961 its focus was on Italian furniture, but it quickly grew in size and importance. Now Milan's Design Week is a must attend appointment for the best design firms in the world and for students and lovers of interior design. Young designers looking for fame and recognition clamor to exhibit at the Salone Satellite, while design enthusiasts flock to the Salone and the Fuorisalone, a series of design and social events held in various design districts of the city like Brera and Tortona.
At the Milan Fair, located in Rho, you will find the stands of the top names in the design industry, both Italian and international. The first days of the fair are reserved for the design industry only and on the Sunday the fair's doors are opened to the general public. The Fuorisalone is a week of aperitifs, art exhibits and design shows. There are also DJ sets and parties that attract the young and hip from all over the world. Events begin in the morning and the music of the last parties lasts very late into the night.
During Design Week visitors can find, buy or get gifted with all kinds of design gadgets and obtain great ideas from the Salone. As you can imagine accommodations in Milan are both expensive and scarce during Design Week. This year Life in Italy was at the fair for you. We visited the Salone del Mobile di Milano and felt the vibe of international design on our skins, an experience not soon forgotten.
The halls of the Milan Fair were filled with the latest products of the world's top furniture design firms. We were lucky enough to attend during the operator-only days, so we were able to look around with relative ease since the halls and stands were not overcrowded. Armed with our trusty Architonic Guide (download it just to get an idea of the sheer size of the fair and the impressive number of exhibitors), we strolled around the halls and took a look at the stands. It's incredible how many variations you can have on old concepts like chairs, tables and beds. Many of the booths were an experience in themselves, built in order to better convey to the visitors the emotions that the objects were meant to provoke. There were stands built like posh bars, luxury gyms, spas, labyrinths and hanging gardens. Classical, Bauhaus-style superminimal black and white items where rubbing elbows with almost futuristic, hyperstylized and impossibly colored objects. Many designs took inspiration from the sinuous curves and shapes of nature, taking the place of the hard, rigorous straight lines of years past.
Maybe it's a reaction to the international economical crisis, but everywhere there was a tangible need for beauty and cool, even in the attire of people visiting the fair. It seemed like an unspoken dress code was shared among exhibitors and the attending public, showing once again that there's just something in the Milan air that inspires elegance and style.