The Salone del Mobile.Milano in the career of architects and designers

salonemilano, delucchi, tihany, burks

From left: Michele De Lucchi, architect and founder of AMDL CIRCLE; Adam D. Tihany, architect and designer; Stephen Burks, designer - Ph. Davide Colombino

Our interviews continue with some of the most important figures in the world of design: the Italian Michele De Lucchi, the American Stephen Burks, and Adam D. Tihany, an Israeli architect and designer who trained in Italy 

After Luca Nichetto, Barber&Osgerby, Patrick Jouin and Felicia Arvid, our round-up continues with some of the most prestigious international architects and designers, who spotlight the pivotal role of the Salone del Mobile.Milano in developing the careers of professionals. The event is of central importance to the evolution of the whole sector and the companies that are part of it. Thanks to the network of relationships formed during the Event, brands are able to develop an international dimension. It is also a valuable ally for all those professionals who gravitate within the industry, offering important opportunities for exchanges, reflection, comparison and relationships. We talked about this with Michele De Lucchi, architect and founder of AMDL CIRCLE; Adam D. Tihany, an Israeli architect and designer trained in Italy; and Stephen Burks, an American industrial designer. 

Michele De Lucchi: “The Salone del Mobile is much more than a commercial exhibition, it is a stage for discuss and reflect on modernity and the future”

“As a trendsetter, the Salone presents projects that chart the course for the design of tomorrow, and generates continuous intellectual stimuli, which in this constantly changing world lead us to cultivate an idea of ourselves projected towards the future,” explains Michele De Lucchi, one of the protagonists of the New York leg of Road to Salone 2024 at the iconic AKA Nomad Hotel. The architect and founder of AMDL CIRCLE brings back memories of the history of a project that made the history of design and table lighting. “I remember, on the evening of the inauguration of Euroluce in 1987, when Ernesto Gismondi called me enthusiastically to talk about the success of Tolomeo: 10,000 pieces booked in a single day with the presentation of the prototype alone. It was there that I understood that the Salone del Mobile is not just a showcase for products, but an opportunity to present new concepts, and understand whether we have managed to interpret the spirit of the times.” 

Adam D. Tihany: “Good design means added value. But adding value without significance is bad design.”

Architect and designer Adam D. Tihany, who spoke during the Dallas leg of Road to Salone 2024 hosted at The Joule Hotel, talks about his connection with Italy, and in particular the training phase in the late sixties in Milan: “When I was in my second year of architecture at the Politecnico, I worked as an assistant in the design studio located next to the offices of the Salone del Mobile. That’s how I met Manlio Armellini, becoming friends in the years that followed. The studio designed many of the stands at the Salone, and gave me the opportunity to work on several of them. Having formed those early bonds, I have been visiting the Salon religiously every year since. I set up my office in New York in 1978, without ever interrupting the connection with the world of Italian design. Even today, most of our projects are nurtured by a close collaboration with Italian manufacturers, and we consider our annual ‘pilgrimage’ to the Salone an absolute must.” Tihany recalls a key moment related to the event: “In 2001 I was asked to curate and design the first exhibition that the Fair ever devoted to Hospitality Design. The project, called “Grand Hotel Salone”, covered 4,000 square meters. At the center were 10 identical hotel rooms, designed by as many internationally renowned architects and built by 10 celebrated Italian manufacturers. Zaha Hadid, Richard Meier, Arata Isozaki, Jean Nouvel and Vico Magistretti were among the names involved, to mention only a few. With its unique mix of design, architecture and experience, ‘Grand Hotel Salone’ was a huge success, followed nine years later by the ‘Dining by Design’ exhibition. This time it invited 10 of the world’s top design schools to create imaginary restaurants where the students could play the parts of managers, waiters and bartenders. The main attraction of the event, in this case, was the 120-seat restaurant that really worked, reinvented every two days by an important designer (Moschino, Missoni and Paul Smith) and an internationally renowned chef.” A bond with the Salone that continues and has grown stronger over the years: “Obviously, my love story with the Salone is still as strong as ever. Its contribution to the identification of Milan as the Capital of Design is now widely recognized, and seeing it grow with ever greater influence and relevance to the design community is a source of inspiration for all of us.” 

Stephen Burks: “As an American designer working internationally, exhibiting at the Salone del Mobile, has been fundamental to my success”

The American industrial designer Stephen Burks, who spoke together with Michele De Lucchi in New York during Road to Salone 2024, focuses on the uniqueness and pre-eminence of the event on the international scene: “At Stephen Burks Man Made we make our contribution to this industry, and the Salone del Mobile is the best platform in the world for doing this. Even before the United States, I owe my success to Europe, above all due to collaborations with some of the world’s most important design brands during the Salone.” Burks stresses his close ties to the event: “At the start of the new millennium, Italy and the Salone del Mobile enabled me to get my start, working in the field of design. Historically speaking, the designers I have always admired and who inspire my practice have been at home at the Salone.”