Milan Furniture Fair | Strong attendance for the design planet

(Milan) High mass of the design planet, the Milan Furniture Fair opened its doors on Tuesday, giving pride of place to sustainable interiors and sophisticated craftsmanship, against a backdrop of high attendance.

“Among the key materials of 2024 are natural fibers and recycled materials, which meet high standards in terms of sustainability, design and functionality,” Maria Porro, president of Salone del Mobile, explains to AFP.

Shades inspired by nature, such as earthy shades, including dark brown, but also sage green and ocean blue, will experience “a real boom” this year, according to her.


In another register, the pop colors of the 70s are celebrating their return, illuminating the world of Italian design, some brands of which are bringing the furniture of the period up to date.

Visitors flocked to the entrance to two identical “thinking pieces” designed by David Lynch, imagined as symbolic doors to pass through to immerse themselves in the exhibition.

Famous filmmaker of the bizarre and the unconscious, also a painter, musician and photographer, the American artist erased the boundaries between the real and the unreal by confusing physical space and interior life.

Dreamlike interior

David Lynch, 78, passionate about designer furniture that he has designed himself for over twenty years, takes the visitor into a dreamlike interior reflecting the state of mind of the person who inhabits it.

Another immersive experience called “Under the Surface” designed by illustrator Emiliano Ponzi takes the form of a sunken island and warns against wasting water.

The show will be open until Sunday and welcomes 1,950 exhibitors, 33% of whom come from abroad, on an area of ​​more than 17 hectares. Last year, this design mecca attracted 307,418 visitors from 181 countries, an increase of 15%.


Absent during the coronavirus pandemic, many Chinese visitors walked the long corridors of the show, testing the lounge chairs and sofas and carefully filming the furniture on display.

“Italian design is like works of art, it’s very classy,” marvels Xingjian Ma, 31, from Shanghai, speaking in perfect English with a big smile.

“Twenty years ago, the Chinese copied Italian furniture, but now they have developed their own style,” explains this manager of global operations at Homestyler, a platform specializing in 3D interior design.

Chinese buyers made their comeback in 2023, taking first place among foreign visitors with 13,500 participants.

“China is an important market for “Made in Italy”, especially for products of high quality, creativity and innovation. The Chinese love the craftsmanship and know-how of our country,” assures Maria Porro.

After double-digit growth in 2022, driven by a renewed interest in the home, a refuge during long periods of confinement, the furniture industry in Italy saw its revenues fall by 3.8% to 27.8 billion dinars. euros in 2023.

Conquest of new markets

For the entire wood and furniture sector, the fall in turnover even reached 7.8%, to 52.7 billion euros, in a context of high inflation which dampened household demand.

“The ongoing wars, the heavy economic crisis in Germany and the uncertainty of the Chinese real estate market” have also contributed to pulling down the market, notes Mme Porro.

Buyers from Russia, who before the war in Ukraine occupied second place among foreign visitors to the show, are almost absent.

But Italian design has managed to conquer new markets such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Vietnam and even India, notes Maria Porro.

The show also has its side in the city which attracts thousands of visitors each year: 1096 events are taking place this week across Milan as part of the Fuorisalone (the Outside Show).

A highlight at the Triennale museum, an immersive installation imagined by designer Philippe Starck immerses visitors in the unconscious and creative universe of Alessandro Mendini, one of the masters of Italian design who died in 2019 in Milan.

source site-49