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Design with Nature at Salone del Mobile

Salone del Mobile announces 60th anniversary edition with focus on sustainability

Milan furniture fair Salone del Mobile has revealed plans for its upcoming anniversary edition on 12-17 June, which will include an installation by architect Mario Cucinella.

At a press conference held at the recently-renovated historical Teatro Lirico in Milan, Salone del Mobile – the world's largest and most important furniture fair – unveiled the program for its 60th-anniversary edition.

This will see the fair make its return to the Fiera Milano fairground after the event was cancelled in 2020 and postponed in 2021 with a pared-down version of the event called Supersalone held and curated by Stefano Boeri.

While the coronavirus pandemic and the Ukraine war continue to impact the design industry, the mood in Milan was hopeful that Salone del Mobile's decision to move the fair from April to June, will enable the full-scale fair to go ahead.

"Everybody hopes that in June covid won't be an issue anymore – we have to hope this for humanity and human beings and to have peace, not just for Salone but for everybody," Salone del Mobile president Maria Porro told Dezeen.

Fair to return to full capacity

The upcoming edition of Salone del Mobile will see it showcase more than 2,000 exhibitors, a return to its pre-pandemic size.

According to the orgamnisers, the event will have a strong focus on sustainability and Salone del Mobile has released a set of guidelines to help its exhibitors.

At the moment these sustainable guidelines are only recommendations, but the plan is for them to eventually be implemented across the fair.

View of sustainable exhibition at Salone del Mobile
Architect Mario Cucinella's Design with Nature installation will be at the centre of Salone del Mobile

"We wrote guidelines that we shared with all the exhibitors to be followed, such as what kind of materials you will have to use," Porro said.

"In this first edition, it's not that you have to do it, because it requires investment and a change of mind – we want to make this process step by step together with other exhibitors," she added.

"So at the moment, it's guidelines, but in the near future, it will be rules. It includes the use of materials, the kind of lighting that you use to reduce the waste of energy, of the logistic processes, and the catering and the volume of plastic used for catering."

All the common areas at the upcoming exhibition will follow the new guidelines, Porro added.

Cucinella installation to showcase sustainable materials

The fair will include an installation designed by Italian architect Cucinella called Design with Nature, which will be created to celebrate the 60th edition of Salone del Mobile.

Set over 1,400 square metres, it will focus on themes of circular economy and reuse, as well as the idea that cities could become sources of raw materials for construction.

The installation will feature sustainable building materials meant to inspire architects and designers to use them in their own projects.

It will be set in the centre of the exhibition space and reused and recycled after the fair, with visuals showing pillars made from tiles and green walls.

"We aim to show that our vision of the future needs to be ecosystemic and capable of bringing knowledge, skills and technologies together for a new generation of materials and design," Mario Cucinella Architects explained.

No Russian or Ukrainian exhibitors at this year's fair

Salone del Mobile parent company Federlegno Arredo is working with the UN World Food Programme to make a donation to help Ukraine, Porro revealed at the press conference.

While she could not reveal the sums involved, she said a number of other companies will also contribute.

"It's a donation from Salone del Mobile and Federlegno through Federlegno Arredo Eventi and we already know that a lot of furniture brands will join us," Porro said.

"We are all deeply touched about what's happening."

Mario Cucinella design for Salone del Mobile
The exhibition will showcase sustainable materials and be recycled after it closes

Salone del Mobile does not have any Ukrainian exhibitors this year, according to Porro. It also won't have any brands from Russia.

"We don't have any Russian brands," she said. "We used to organise Salone in Moscow, and we stopped two years ago with covid – the same happened for Shanghai."

"So this is a very difficult and shocking moment, but more than ever we have the responsibility to create opportunities for the exhibitors, let the people be able to meet and exchange opinions."

Salone del Mobile launches bursary to honour Manlio Armellini

Salone del Mobile in June will also feature Salone Satellite, the initiative that focuses on emerging designers. Over 600 designers will take part under the theme Designing for our Future Selves, which will focus on inclusive design.

Last year's Supersalone event featured a number of talks, which were livestreamed on Dezeen. The initiative continues this year and will be curated by author and curator Chiara Alessi, Design Miami curatorial director Maria Cristina Didero and MAAT executive director Beatrice Leanza.

New for this year's event is a study bursary in the name of Manlio Armellini, one of Salone's founding fathers, who passed away in 2020.

The bursary will go to one international and one Italian student who are studying a Masters in Furniture Design at Milan Polytechnic University and pay for 50 per cent of the course's enrolment fees.

Numerous fairs moved as impact from covid continues

The impact from the coronavirus pandemic on tradeshows continues to be felt, with Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair the latest to announce it is postponing this year's event.

The tradeshow, one of the largest in Scandinavia, will move from its planned September date to February 2023.

Copenhagen design festival 3 Days of Design announced in January that it was moving its June dates to avoid clashing with other festivals after it was set to take place during the same time as Salone del Mobile and Design Shanghai. The event will now be held on 15 to 17 June.

The images are courtesy of Mario Cucinella Architects.

Salone del Mobile takes place at the Fiera Milano exhibition centre in Milan from 7 to 12 June as part of Milan design week. See our Milan design week 2022 guide on Dezeen Events Guide for information about the many other exhibitions, installations and talks taking place throughout the week.