Milan’s Salone Del Mobile, now in its 60th year as the world’s largest furniture fair, was forced to delay its 2020 edition first to June, then to September of 2021 as COVID ravaged Europe and especially Italy. Now, even as the Venice Architecture Biennale still plans to go ahead with a physical festival in May, Salone Del Mobile organizers are pushing the Italian government to clarify its safety precautions before they can open the fair to the public September 5 through 10.
Cases of COVID-19 are currently exploding in Italy and over half of the country’s 20 regions are under lockdown through April 6. Vaccinations are lagging as the E.U. tries to crack down on vaccine exports outside of the bloc that are further reducing supply, and Italy is averaging about 22,000 new infections per week at the time of writing while only 4.92 percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
All that said, Claudio Luti, president of the Salone Del Mobile, is reportedly urging the government to answer its questions on estimated vaccination dates, when international travel will reopen, how vaccination passports will work, and when trade fairs, currently forbidden, will be allowed to be held again. If the government can’t figure it out in time, Luti told Interni Magazine in an interview on March 26, then the festival will have to cancel its 2021 outing and focus exclusively on the April 2022 iteration.
The interview came on the heels of a press release from Salone organizers, wherein they asked for the government’s help in promoting the festival and demanded clarification be issued on the above in the next Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers (DPCM) on April 6.
When asked if he was concerned about potentially staging two fairs so close together, Luti was unconcerned, telling Internia that there was now a backlog of products that manufacturers would be eager to present:
Given that the response from kitchen manufacturers has been positive, we are working to find a solution that allows everyone to make the most of the opportunities in September 2021 and April 2022. It is clear that companies will have to make choices on the number of new products to bring. at the fair, but let’s not forget that after two years of absence from the event there will be a great desire on the part of professional visitors to leave and return to see the best of world production live. The management of the Salone is in constant contact with the realities of the sector and I am sure that we will have significant representation in both editions.
In the meantime, Luti said that organizers were also working on building a new digital platform to showcase high-concept design and help augment the fair’s offerings.