Manlio Armellini left us yesterday. He was Secretary General and then CEO of Cosmit from 1965 onwards.
This is how Claudio Luti, President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano remembers him: “With Manlio’s passing, we have lost a friend whose tenacity and skill enabled the Salone del Mobile to achieve the successes recognised the world over. Along with the entrepreneurs, he oversaw and handled the evolution of what was to become the leading international event, and not just for design. He initiated cultural projects that rubbed off on the city of Milan, he was behind and believed in the SaloneSatellite project, and took on board the many changes that occurred over time, unfailingly coming up with solutions and innovations to safeguard and bolster the Salone brand, which was also his home and his life, with his wife Armida by his side. Carrying on along the same path will be the best possible tribute we can pay to an extraordinary man who will be much missed by us all. Ciao Manlio.”
Cavalier of the Grand Cross of Order and Merit of the Italian Republic
Manlio Armellini was born in Porto San Giorgio (Ascoli Piceno) on 9th October 1937.
Throughout his 40-year involvement with the furniture industry (tradeshows, publishing, cultural events – Armellini, who began his career with Federlegno and was a part of the Salone del Mobile since it began in 1961, earned national and international awards, prizes, and recognition for the excellent results of the initiatives he organised and championed. It was Armellini who really put the Salone Internazionale del Mobile on the map in 1965, when he expanded the commercial offering by bringing together the key players in the furniture industry. Under his guidance as Secretary General, a position he took up in 1974, the show has grown in net exhibition space from 97,000 square metres to 222 thousand square metres, while trade visitor numbers have risen from 67,000 to over 348,000 including over 210,000 from outside Italy. The figures are testament to the event’s role in fuelling the unique phenomenon that is the absolute leadership of Italian-made furniture internationally.
As of 1965, he was also responsible for more than 40 collateral cultural initiatives, which meant that the Salone del Mobile ventured out of the strictly trade fair realm, prestigious as it was, and into the world of artistic and design culture.
These collateral events organised in tandem with the Salone saw to it that Italian design became a stylistic, formal and industrial benchmark for the entire furnishing sector.
In 1987, these activities were rewarded by an ADI Compasso d’Oro, “for the promotion of Italian design.”
Also a journalist, Armellini started out as an editor of the furniture industry’s longest established financial monthly, L’industria del legno e del Mobile 1949-2000 – founded by his father Tito Armellini, who was also a director of Federlegno – and later became the publisher of Rassegna modi di abitare oggi (1968–79). Extremely active in industry associations, Armellini also chaired Assomostre, under the umbrella of Confcommercio, the association that brings together 37 international trade exhibitions, events that rank among the most important in their respective fields.
Manlio Armellini was the Managing Director of Cosmit SpA – the company that organises the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Euroluce, Eurocucina, EIMU (now Workplace30), the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, the International Bathroom Exhibition, SaloneSatellite, SASMIL – and the Cosmit Events Foundation in Milan, as well as being President of the Cosmit Foundation.
He was a Member of ADI (Italian Association of Industrial Design), a Member of UFI (Union Foires Internationales, Brussels), a Member of ICSID (International Council of Societies Industrial Design, Helsinki), a Member of the General Council of the AFI (Italian Forestry Association, Rome), an Honorary Member of District 108 of the Lions Club and an Honorary Member of UIPPA (Union Internationale de la Presse Professionelle de l’Ameublement, Brussels). He also chaired the Technical Consultative Committee of the Fiera Milano Foundation, which helped to ensure that the new Rho-Pero fairgrounds took off.
He was also a Member of the Lombard Region Monitoring Board for Planning the Design Museum in Milan.
On 26th May 1994, he was presented with a Certificate of Merit and Gold Medal by Federlegno, for “having contributed through the trade fair events to keeping the whole world’s attention focused on the technological and formal values of the Italian furniture and furnishing sector, and ensuring that these exhibitions were unparalleled showcases for the design and creativity of the Italian industry.”
In 1996, Federlegno presented him with a silver plaque in recognition of the ongoing success of the Salone del Mobile.
He was awarded the Tagliacarne Prize “for his marketing policy capable of disseminating culture” by the AISM (Italian Association for Marketing Studies) in 1998.
He received the prize for promoting Italian furniture around the world as part of the Giuseppe Terragni Designer project in 2006.
He was largely responsible for Cosmit being assigned the Ambrogino d’Oro Award in December 2007, presented to him by Letizia Moratti, Mayor of Milan.
He was presented with the 2007 La Lombardia Prize for Endeavour by the President of the Lombard Region, Roberto Formigoni, in March 2008.
He was made a Knight of the Grand Cross of Order and Merit of the Italian Republic by the Head of State, Giorgio Napoletano, on 2nd June 2008.
On 29th January 2009, he was appointed a Member of the Scientific Committee for the Farnesina Design Collection Project by Ministerial Decree from Franco Frattini, Minister for Foreign Affairs.