Marco Sabetta in conversation with Ivan Carvalho

Marco Sabetta

“We want to let the world know that Milan is not at a standstill, not ready to cede its place as the number one venue for talking about and purchasing design products” says the General Manager of Salone del Mobile.Milano.

Big changes are afoot in Milan as the organizers of Salone del Mobile.Milano, the world’s most important event on the design calendar, prepare to give the decades-old trade show a refresh. First off, there is a new digital platform, salonemilano.it, aimed at enthusiasts of furniture design, journalists and industry players that gathers together insights and news about the sector. Second, there is the upcoming “supersalone” event in September to boost interest in all things design and cement Milan’s position as the leading venue to explore the latest developments in the furniture and lighting industries. Marco Sabetta, General Manager of Salone del Mobile.Milano, sits down to discuss what’s in store in the coming months.

Marco Sabetta, what changes can we expect to see?
We have spent the past year working on a new platform, salonemilano.it, that will be an important tool that will act as a companion to our physical activities that revolve around the trade shows, be they in Milan, Moscow or Shanghai. I call it a platform rather than a website because it is rich in content. It will be a multimedia platform where one can visit in order to attend webinars, presentations as well as access articles, interviews and videos about brands and designers working in the furniture industry. It is important to have an interactive component to act as a supplementary tool to the in-person events that we hold.

Annalisa Rosso, who has worked both as an editor and curator, including her tenure as editor-in-chief of interiors magazine Icon Design, will be the editorial director of the new Salone del Mobile.Milano digital initiative. We plan to have weekly interviews with key players and businesses in the field of design to learn about innovations and trends as well as the stories behind some of the sector’s most storied brands. What we really want is to have our new platform become a key go-to resource for those interested in the world of design.
Tell us a bit about the upcoming “supersalone” event to be held in Milan in September 2021 at the Rho fairgrounds.
This event will be quite different from our traditional Salone del Mobile.Milano furniture fair that we hold in April each year. Major design brands will bring novelties to the show as well as have the opportunity to exhibit past iconic pieces from their collections. We also want to bring in designers and experts to hold talks about their work and the evolution of the world of interiors. We will have a selection of top projects from dozens of design schools from around the world to show off the next generation of talent. There will be a special food court where the people from Identità Golose, a respected trade show dedicated to quality foodstuffs and prominent players in the culinary world, will put on events and serve delicious meals.

We hope this can be a pioneering event that brings together not just buyers but also the general public, who will be able to access the fairgrounds from day one. Consumers will have the possibility to purchase products on display using a QR code once they have had the chance to see the items up close in person. One of the terrible things about the pandemic is the fact that we have been forced to stay in front of digital screens where everything is flat. There’s no way to touch, feel and experience the products. One cannot sit down and test a chair or sofa, admire the upholstery or run their fingers along the fine marble countertop of a new kitchen model to get a better sense of how the product looks in natural light. We have to remember that digital is important to facilitate the process of purchasing design products but it can’t replace the experience one has when they are standing before an actual piece of design.

I believe it is important to hold this “supersalone” event in September prior to our regular Salone del Mobile.Milano trade show in April 2022. We want to let the world know that Milan is not at a standstill, that Milan is not ready to cede its place as the number one venue for talking about and purchasing design products. To stay at the top of our game we need to remain active in order to stay ahead of the others.
15 July 2021