May 26, 2011
The original global design event still manages to attract high numbers in its 50th year.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors descended on the city for the biggest event in the design calendar. Also known as Salzone Internazionale del Mobile, the fair was originally founded in 1961 and helped to establish the idea that “Made in Italy” was the ultimate guarantee of quality.
Nowadays, the organisers of the fair are keen to prove that the world’s furniture industry is bouncing back from the recession. The prominence of the event is reflected in the numbers, originally opening to 12,000 people in 1961 and rising to 329,000 last year.
In 2003 the event was forced to move to a new exhibition venue in Rho, just outside Milan, due to the sheer volume of designers that wanted to showcase their talents.
The majority of the design talent on show is international, with Munich-based designer Konstantin Grcic being heavily showcased this year. There was also a strong British presence with London-based studios, Barber Osgerby and Jasper Morrison showing chairs with contemporary designers Vitra.
However, the Italians were also prominent with industrialist, Alberto Alessi showing his version of the greatest hits of Italian furniture – showing that Italy is not just home of quality, but also experimentation.