Branding, desire, and design come together each year at Salone del Mobile in Milan. Started in 1961,
the ‘furniture’ trade fair turned into something of a spectacle in the mid-2000’s, as scores of companies, designers, and manufacturers competed for the attention of those who descend upon the city for this annual event. Ranging in taste from the ostentatious to the refined, the presentation offers up the new to those eternally searching for that quality in pieces of furniture, or other products for the home and office – essentially, this event seems to be nothing more than a delicious cacophony of consumerism; a temple for those designers whose eponymously christened companies churn out one product after the other. Or is it? 

While true that the event was dominated by f lash-andbling in the prior decade – perhaps
Salone most notably by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, his Amsterdambased
studio, and his firm Moooi – the Great Recession changed all that as the pendulum of focus in
the world of design shifted toward the use of natural materials, local production, and a renewed appreciation for handcraft, often interwoven with increasing amounts of technology. While the one-name designers who have dominated this fair remain a presence, a crescendoing cascade of young designers are pushing against them and their values, which has had the effect of forcing manufacturers to adapt to their new production processes and reconsider marketing tools for their
newest wares.

So much of what fuels human desire, are the narratives created within our minds, of our
individual, idealized worlds, as they could one day be – often embodied by the domestic; such as the perfect house with its perfect kitchen, Viking range included. Yet the world of products and consumerism is only one piece of the equation when considering ‘Salone’–as those
who’ve attended for years fondly refer to this Milanese gathering.

SaloneSatellite was started in 1998 to showcase the work of emerging designers – specifically those under the age of 35 – and was this year, held at the city’s fairground. And it’s within this corner of the event, where some of the most inspiring creations are to be found.

Immersion, experience, and intimacy have in the last few years steadily increased in importance at trade shows such as these; Salone de Mobile 2016 is no exception.

David Chipperfield, Daniel Libeskind, Nendo, and Mario Trimarchi all showed their faces, products, and sometimes, spaces. Yet fashion is getting into the mix too; ‘Don’t miss the Fondazione
Prada,’ says Jeannette Altherr of Barcelona-based Lievore Altherr Molina. Having attended Salone for
the past 25 years, the designer is hyper- aware of the changes that have taken place within it, and within the world of design itself. ‘

The full story is published in the 2nd Platea print issue available online & at selected stores.

P h o t o g r a p h y b y VINCENZO BUSCEMI
Pr o d u c t i o n b y BERNARD WERKMEISTER

Text by John Bezold