The Salone del Mobile.Milano meets Tokyo

The Salone del Mobile.Milano meets Tokyo

Established in 1886 as a shop selling fabric for kimonos, the Isetan department store opened its flagship store in Tokyo’s elegant Shinjuku district in 1933, becoming a must-see attraction for visitors to Japan’s capital. Its Italian Fair has been held every year in September for many years, featuring Italian products, ranging from food through fashion to design, and this year the Salone del Mobile.Milano will be the star attraction.

From 18th to 30th September, the 9 shop windows will be tinged with red, which has always been one of the hallmarks of the image of the event since its inception in 1961. They will feature the portraits and short biographies of 11 masters of Italian design celebrated by the Salone del Mobile.Milano Isetan Shinjuku installation, conceived and curated by Ferruccio Laviani.

Entering the spaces on the ground floor, the visitor is greeted by four mirrored totem displays introducing them to the Salone del Mobile.Milano, recounting its history and carrying images of the last few editions.

The escalators, decorated especially for the event, lead to the fifth floor, normally given over to furnishing, where a large rectangular space welcomes the visitor. Large spheres on the ceiling continue to tell the story of the Salone del Mobile.Milano while a large screen presents the story of Italian design through that of the 11 masters who made Italian design famous the world over: Franco Albini, Gae Aulenti, Achille Castiglioni, Joe Colombo, Anna Ferrieri Castelli, Vico Magistretti, Alessandro Mendini, Bruno Munari, Gio Ponti, Ettore Sottsass and Marco Zanuso.

Ferruccio Laviani comments: “The idea is to communicate the Salone del Mobile through images of the inventors of Italian Design: 11 Masters such as Gae Aulenti, Castiglioni, Mendini, Sottsass, Ponti, Colombo and others.

I worked on two main areas: the shop windows overlooking the street at ground floor level and an exhibition space on the 5th floor.

In the first part of the project, I brought all the windows together by harnessing the colour red (the trademark colour of the Salone del Mobile), and turned them into an enormous video in which the portraits of the masters and their products alternate in an interplay of still and moving images in order to draw the attention and pique the curiosity of passers-by.

The exhibition space on the 5th floor on the other hand, is an area that I’ve tried to isolate as much as possible from the rest of the space, in order to allow visitors to detach themselves from their surroundings and enjoy a different kind of experience, away from shopping. The area bordered by walls (also red and decorated with the Salone del Mobile logo) has been ‘dilated’ with mirrors and spherical volumes which, enhanced with screenings and video content, ‘breathe new life’ into images of the Salone del Mobile whilst also conveying a little extra something about this event of international importance.”

Isetan media partner: Elle Decor Japan

Istitutional Partner

Intesa Sanpaolo

Official Partner

Cà del Bosco
Fondazione Fiera Milano