An urban vision of spaces and walkways. What to expect at the International Bathroom Exhibition 2024

salonemilano, laufen

Laufen Stand, Matter, design by Snøhetta

Not just visits, but experiences and spaces that bring the event alive. The changes and experiments under way at the Salone del Mobile.Milano are triggering important developments. Leveraging neuroscience

In order to exhibit innovation, you must, first of all, be innovative. This also applies to the project for the new layout of the International Bathroom Exhibition at the 62nd edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, which will feature 180 exhibitors, 25% of them from other countries, ranged over 18,000 square metres in Pavilions 6-10. To make visits more intuitive and easier to navigate, Lombardini22, a multidisciplinary studio that has been applying neuroscience to support the architectural design process since 2013, has reimagined the biennial event dedicated to bathrooms in a more "urban," ring-shaped form. In a bid to make the visitor experience more engaging and less hard work, whilst also being efficient, they have opted to abandon the traditional cardo and decumanus scheme. 

The project extends beyond the commercial dimension, to focus on the quality of the visitor experience and on maximum visibility for exhibitors. "The spaces work to make the event work," says Cristian Catania, Reinventing Fair project director at Lombardini22.  

The Neuroscientific approach  

In a bid to improve the visitor experience, Lombardini22 has brought neuroscience into play for the first time in a trade fair environment. Its analysis, which explores the world of cognitive science and studies how the built environment influences our emotions and ability to interact, threw up the need for a symmetrical route with stands positioned right along the outer perimeter walls, widening the main walkways and introducing cultural installations and quiet areas.  These changes have meant that people wishing to visit all the stands at the biennial will only have to walk 640 metres rather than the previous 1.2 kilometres.   

Listening, innovation and sustainability 

Listening to the visitors, the companies and the stakeholders was fundamental to determining perceptions and desires and to producing a cutting-edge Salone. “After the 2022 edition, which put sustainability right at the heart of its content with the large installation by Mario Cuccinella, and then being awarded ISO 20121 certification in 2023, we believe it is crucial to continue along our path to sustainability by officially setting out our strategies and objectives, and measuring our progress in a timely manner. For this reason, we are renewing, strengthening and perfecting the Sustainability Policy drawn up last year – this revision is useful to us in terms of acquiring increasing awareness as we go about our daily business, as well as in building an even more constructive dialogue with all the stakeholders involved. We are a global event. As organisers, we know just how important it is to  share this ethical and responsible choice with all the exhibiting companies, the fitters, the visitors and the entire design ecosystem,” said Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano. 

Getting out of one’s comfort zone to open the mind and spur innovation 

The Salone del Mobile.Milano has devised a cultural programme of new forms of experimentation, discussion and insight in the artistic, cultural and aesthetic fields. The cultural programme is designed to accompany visitors along the entire visitor route. 

The "Under the Surface" installation 

Designed by Accurat, Design Group Italia and Emiliano Ponzi, Under the Surface (Pavilion 10), tackles the subject of water sustainability in bathroom design. The exhibition “illustrates the complexity of the world in which we live, where it is no longer enough to simply analyse the surface of things, but vital to get to the bottom of them. Taking a deep look at it and at oneself is the only way to understand, learn and become better people and better consumers,” said the design team. A reflection on the positive and respectful relationship with water - the most precious resource on earth - and on the pivotal role the bathroom furniture sector can play in terms of building environmental awareness and technology. The form of the submerged island tops the aesthetic aspect, triggering awareness of the environmental impact of our daily water-related practices. The constantly moving reflections of light represent data on global water consumption.   

Dynamic data visualisation  

The use of visual narratives shows how the new products presented at the International Bathroom Exhibition have been designed to cut water consumption, both during production and in daily use. The decision to use the intuitive language of data visualisation allows visitors to immediately grasp the positive impact of these innovations. Turning complex data into readily accessible and visually appealing information helps people to understand the importance of their adoption for a more sustainable future. Providing a clearer and more explicit illustration of technological and manufacturing advances related to water safeguarding in the field of bathroom furnishing.