Milano Special 04.2008
Milan - love with a bitter aftertaste
Salone del Mobile 2008
There's no doubt that Milan's Salone Internazionale del Mobile is the major forum for the international design scene - and we adore it! However, in spite of this we can't deny that it has left a bitter aftertaste: the feeling that in the single week of the exhibition we missed more than we were able to see.
It is a nice utopia: just one single mega design fair per year where we give everything, take everything and then work on it in a concentrated manner for the rest of the year. As efficient as such a process would be, it remains an illusion. In comparison to the mass market, the niche of the premium segment is a diminutive one, but even so it is not possible to cover the world of top design with at least 250 relevant exhibitors at the fair and many more in the city - either for specialist dealers or for architects and design enthusiasts.
A couple of hours spent in the hopelessly packed underground railway and in the middle of huge crowds of people surging from one event to the next is enough to convince you that in Milan the critical mass has already been exceeded. And in spite of this the fair still has a waiting list of more than 400 manufacturers who wish to acquire a stand. They can perhaps take heart from rumours about a new design hall, but we can't help asking how such masses of information and contacts can be digested within a single week. After all, there is one unit of time which even Milan can't overcome - the fact that a business discussion between two to four people can be neither accelerated or reproduced at will.
Our enthusiasm for Milan is unchanged - nowhere else do you meet so many interesting and relevant people from the worlds of design, retailing, industry and architecture as during a single week in Milan. But at the same time we're happy to have such indispensable local fairs with varying focal points as those in Stockholm, Kortrijk and Cologne, Paris or London; they are playing an increasingly important role parallel to and because of Milan.