Spotlight back on SaloneSatellite for April 2022

Header_Satellite Ph Ludovica Mangini

Salone Satellite Ph Ludovica Mangini

Not one but three Selection Committees have been working during the two-year run-up to the event, a large number of personalities corresponding to the great many designers about to make their debut

Six months before the curtain goes up on Salone del Mobile.Milano 2022, the SaloneSatellite is back on the starting blocks for its twenty-third edition. This time round, it hopes to put an end to a two-year cycle of hopes, expectations, and general ups and downs, with the event called off twice running. The organization has used this time to move forwards, rebuilding the slate of candidates and the Selection Committee, which has reformed and met on three occasions between 2019 and 2021. Back in March 2020, the usual preparatory excitement was halted by lockdown, activities stopped in their tracks, products left incomplete, schools and universities shut down, flights cancelled... only to rinse and repeat the following year. So here we are, in October 2021, ready to launch the new countdown, with another Committee convening to review the nominations received in recent months, their new selections joining the many previously-confirmed designers who have waited for SaloneSatellite 2022.

The geography is becoming ever clearer: designers from all over the world, large numbers from Europe, as well as Africa, Asia and the Americas. Browsing through their applications, looking at the pictures of the prototypes on show, it is easy to intuit all the work behind every single item, to hear their voices describing them with newfound enthusiasm. Participants selected for the cancelled years who won’t be here this time round have had some life event intervene: a birth broadening family responsibilities, a date finally fixed for a wedding, exceeding the maximum permissible age for the event, a move, the sudden start of a job, a partnership, a master’s... The many who have confirmed have used the extra time to refine their designs and/or develop new ones. And so, following tight-scheduled meetings and reams of candidates to look through, the SaloneSatellite is once again ready to attend to the dreams, moods, expectations and everyday life of a generation that has had to come to terms with this externally-imposed hiatus.

Lorenzo de’ Medici wrote: “...of tomorrow, there can be no certainty”. That statement seems all the more germane after everything we’ve experienced, even if it is a truism that there is always some challenge in planning. Maestro Castiglioni loved to say: “Good design is not the result of an ambition to leave a mark, it comes out of a desire to undertake an exchange of ideas, however small, with the unknown character who will be using the object we designed.”  Today, that unknown “character” is uncertainty itself: the entire world in its current precarious equilibrium. The bar has been raised higher still; this upcoming generation of designers whom we’ll be meeting at SaloneSatellite in April have demonstrated how aware they are of this, and how eager they are to put themselves (and us) to the test.

SAT_Comitato Selezione21

Comitato Salone Satellite

The story within a story of the Selection Committee

Every fall, in the run-up to SaloneSatellite, founder/curator Marva Griffin brings together design insiders to comb through the applications, asking them to consider the design and expression possibilities of the prototype images submitted. It is a task that comes with great responsibility, requiring participatory debate and the unanimous decision-making necessary to reach the threshold number of participants, while at the same time motivating those who are not yet “ready” to face the market, stimulating them to raise their game, hone their creativity, and come back as candidates in future.

Three key figures have long flanked the putative “mother” of so many new stars of design: critic and lecturer Beppe Finessi, who also curated the exhibitions on the event’s tenth and twentieth anniversaries; architect Riccardo Bello Dias, curator of SaloneSatellite’s installations since the very beginning; and Patrizia Malfatti, Head of the Salone del Mobile.Milano’s Communications Department. Given that the SaloneSatellite’s primary and ultimate goal is to showcase new designers to the industry and vice versa, over the years, many renowned designers, industry journalists and, naturally, entrepreneurs, have taken part in the process.

Participating in the 2019 and 2020 editions were Giovanna Giannattasio, architect; Anty Pansera, design critic; Paolo Pastorino, President of Assobagno in 2019; journalists Valentina Raggi and Marco Sammicheli (just before becoming Director of the Museo del Design Italiano at Triennale Milano); designers from Studio Zanellato/Bortotto, themselves former participants at SaloneSatellite (2013 edition); and the eclectic Nanda Vigo, on one of her last public outings before she passed away the following May. Meetings for the skipped 2021 edition, for the first time held via digital link, were attended by: Roberto Gavazzi, CEO Boffi; Andrea Lupi, Creative Director Antonio Lupi; Pasquale Junior Natuzzi, Chief Creative Officer & Stylist Natuzzi; journalists Fernanda Massarotto, “O Globo” correspondent, and Silvia Nani from the “Corriere della Sera”; and designers/former SaloneSatellite debutants Andrea Borgogni (2013-2015) and Nika Zupanc (2006).

Working with them on the 2022 Selection Committee, back around a table once more, were: Giulio Cappellini, architect, entrepreneur and talent scout, and Susanna Legrenzi, who worked with Marva Griffin for many years on catalogue publishing, in dialogue with Giovanni Anzani, CEO of Poliform; Milan-based critic and gallery owner Jean Blanchaert; Elle Decor journalist Paola Carimati; and Albino Celato, CEO of De Castelli.


Marva Griffin


Giovanni Anzani


Patrizia Malfatti


Jean Blanchaert


Albino Celato


Giulio Cappellini


Beppe Finessi


Paola Carimati


Porzia Bergamasco

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16 November 2021