“supersalone” week as narrated by the Italian press

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The six days of the event as seen by the Italian media. The “supersalone” project managed to win over even the greatest sceptics, arousing great emotions amongst its supporters.

It was a real pleasure to hear what Michele De Lucchi, one of the initial waverers, had to say: “I thought it was a huge risk, but the attraction proved irresistible,” because “supersalone” and the city of Milan seduced and inspired the visitors and the sectoral professionals who come here in search of new content and original ideas, seeking visions for the future. In an article in La Repubblica, Teresa Monestiroli described the event as a signal of recovery and quoted the words of  Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano: “We couldn’t have done more to send out a signal to the city and the country: being there, despite everything. In a different and smaller guise, not comparable to the 2019 edition, but by no means inferior.” The answer to those who wondered what this “supersalone” was all about came from Paola Carimati’s article on “supersalone” in the paper edition of ELLE Decor Italia, in conversation with the curator Stefano Boeri and his team of co-curators. Then there was Isabella Prisco’s online article, which said: “The promenade that follows the unique exhibition installation is a flow of ideas that leaves room for and allows time for observation.” Laura Traldi, in her article for  INTERNI,Com’è (e Cosa è davvero) il supersalone [What’s “supersalone” like (and what is it exactly)] perfectly captured the significance of the project, describing it not as a trade fair but as a “gigantic collective communication operation for an entire sector.”

The start of “supersalone” had been awaited and announced with particular interest, not least because of President Sergio Mattarella’s presence at the opening launch. A major signal “of the backing of the institutions.” Marking the re-start, according to Marta Bravi who, in the pages of Il Giornale, underscored the President’s words “A message of courage for the entire country.” Il Sole24 Ore proffered an analysis of the professionals who attended “supersalone.” Giovanna Mancini spoke to entrepreneurs and exhibitors and recorded that their satisfaction had exceeded expectations, as Maria Porro observed: “We counted up 120 countries, especially from France, Germany and other European countries, even the Americans were there.” More than 250 buyers from 57 different countries were invited by the Salone del Mobile, supported by the Italian Trade Agency ICE. La Stampa also referred to Ms Porro’s delight in its article by Chiara Baldi, published the day after the launch: “It was a day packed with energy, extremely positive, which began with a wonderful surprise: the President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella not only took part but even made a speech, which was totally unexpected.”

Aurelio Magistà’s editorial in the  Design insert of the daily newspaper La Repubblica, opened in more critical vein, confirming remarks made over the months leading up to “supersalone” - “critical observations with the common good at heart … Because the Salone (at the Fairgrounds) and the multitude of events in Milan together make up the premier hub of ideas and creative interface for home-related projects, it’s an asset to us all,” but ended with a rallying call to pull together and safeguard a common heritage. The special edition publicised events in the city and devoted ample space to the Italian furnishing companies showcasing their latest products, carrying out technological research and formal revisions of historic pieces. This feeling was also echoed in Alessandro Cannavò’s editorial in the Design Special issue of the Corriere della Sera, which summed up as follows: “The furnishing world took the “supersalone” operation on board with a degree of perplexity. Over time, the sense of a mission gathered speed: to protect Milan’s supremacy.” The Corriere also took note of the opportunities offered by this concept, attempting to preserve the advantages of a fair made up of in-person human relationships, bolstered by the introduction of digital speed for doing business with a click or a QR code. Stefania Consenti, in Il Giorno described “supersalone” as a place where furnishing and art meld in narrow spaces, yet full of creativity, such as the enchanting exhibition of Compasso d’Oro-winning chairs.

In another article, Giovani Designer e la Sfida Globale: Migliorare Questo Pianeta [Young Designers and the Global Challenge: How to Improve our Planet], the journalist shifted the focus onto the projects presented by the young students in The Lost Graduation Show, curated by Anniina Koivu. The exhibition also gained media coverage in the pages of the Corriere della Sera, which wrote: The Responsibility of the Young. The Pandemic Triggers their Creativity, and the article in Elle Decor by Bianca Felicori,  Al supersalone il Futuro del Design con The Lost Graduation Show [The future of design as showcased at The Lost Graduation Show at “supersalone”] as the biennial SaloneSatellite, promoted by Marva Griffin, founder and curator of the design scouting event par excellence, took its  sabbatical year.

Following the inauguration, “supersalone” generated its own rhythm, as the visitor numbers confounded even the organisers, and the meetings with designers, artists and well-known architects – such as Humberto Campana, Alejandro Aravena, Bjarke Ingels, Carsten Höller, Formafantasma and Philippe Malouin, and museum curators  Lilli Hollein, Tulga Beyerle and Alexandra Cunningham Cameron – followed on from each other at the Open Talks, curated by Maria Cristina Didero, which were booked out with real and virtual visitors, thanks to the live streaming on the Salone’s digital platform.

The newspaper headlines thus reflected the mounting feelings of confidence and satisfaction among the protagonists of design week as the days went by. The immediate impressions were that it had been a success, as the Corriere della Sera observed: “supersalone” is an extraordinary launchpad for recovery with an incredible response from the public, and a superlative test bench for the organisers already hard at work on the real Salone del Mobile, from 5th to 10th April 2022.

23 September 2021