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Design world prepares for 'minimalist' Milan Furniture Fair

Global recession sets the tone for 48th Salone Internazionale del Mobile

The event, also known as the Milan Furniture Fair, opens this Wednesday 22 April and is expected to attract 1,500 exhibitors to Milan. In spite of the global recession, organisers say all 200,000m² of exhibition space has been rented for the show.

In recent years the fair, which began as a showcase for the furniture makers of northern Italy, has showcased extravagant works such as Jaime Hayón’s giant mosaic dolls with Bisazza tiles, 2m-tall stereo speakers costing £100,000 from Ross Lovegrove and a £500,000 wardrobe from Tord Boontje.

The New York Times predicted: ‘The dominant style of this year’s Milan Furniture Fair seems to be utilitarianism, with many designers showing spartan, minimalist objects.’

British designer Tom Dixon told the Daily Telegraph: ‘If anything we’ve gone more fundamentalist in our approach this year, I think things have to be more solid and honest in design today. And they should be longer-lasting.’

Last year 350,000 people visited the event. Responding to this year’s sell-out of rental space, Carlo Guglielmi, President of Cosmit, the event organiser, said: ‘It would be impossible not to be thrilled by this initial result.’

He added: ‘I hope that all those companies who have committed themselves to taking part in this edition of the Saloni, which has entailed great sacrifices on their part, will discover it to be the best possible marketing tool, offering huge visibility that will help to send out a positive signal in these difficult times.’

The Architects’ Journal will post daily reports on the Milan Furniture Fair blog.


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