Salone del Mobile is finally returning to Milan. After the 2020 edition was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic—and then subsequently postponed several times—the Rho Fiera fairgrounds and the Fuorisalone will open on September 5. This edition, dubbed Supersalone, is being considered a trial run prior to the full-strength edition that will be held in April 2022. “The idea behind this year’s fair is inclusivity, to finally bring people together after all of this time,” says Maria Cristina Didero, a curator who has contributed to Salone’s Open Talks program. “It needed to reinvent itself after the pandemic.”
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While the vibe in Milan is overwhelmingly one of enthusiasm, the impact of the ongoing pandemic will still be felt on the ground. (If you’re traveling from abroad, be sure to check the latest entry requirements—and don’t forget your mask.)
This edition of the fair will take advantage of its smaller scale to introduce new ways of operating. For example, rather than the elaborate booths of years past, brands will pop up within a modular system of plywood walls that can be broken down, reused, and recycled. What’s more, the general public will be allowed to attend the event for the entire week, and for the first time, manufacturers will be able to sell pieces from their catalog right on the fair floor. Major brands including Kartell, Molteni, Artemide, Boffi DePadova, and Knoll will present projects at the Fiera, though a number have chosen to skip this year entirely or have opted to mount exhibitions at their showrooms instead. Most notably, Design Holding, parent company of B&B Italia, Flos, Louis Poulsen, and others, is opening a new showroom in the Via Durini neighborhood, where it will present each brand’s latest collections.
The highly anticipated Alcova exhibition, which highlights independent designers and galleries, will be held in an abandoned military hospital in the city’s Inganni neighborhood. Organized by design curator Valentina Ciuffi alongside architect Joseph Grima, the latest edition will present works within spaces that were once home to nuns who worked as nurses in the hospital. “When we first toured the building, everything had been left as is—it’s as if the sisters ran off in the night and never returned,” Ciuffi says. She and Grima plan to reanimate the historic space with over 60 projects. Among them, a project by AD Hall of Fame designer India Mahdavi in collaboration with students at HEAD Genève, who together will explore the concept of “the bar” through immersive installations. Artist and chef Laila Gohar will present “HumUs Fluid Ground,” pairing edible exhibits with a table designed by Fabrizio Milesi for the brand Ciam. In the center of it all will be a chandelier by Venetian glass brand 6am in collaboration with Spotti Editions Milano.