“Milan has to carry on.” That was the message of Mayor Giuseppe Sala, who announced yesterday that this year’s Salone del Mobile furniture fair has been postponed until June. Due to the outbreak of coronavirus in northern Italy, the global furniture fair – which typically takes place in April – will instead proceed on the week of June 16-21.
The decision was sent out in a short statement. “Following an extraordinary meeting today of the Board of Federlegno Arredo Eventi, and in view of the ongoing public health emergency, the decision has been taken to postpone the upcoming edition of the Salone del Mobile,” the statement reads.
“Confirmation of the change of date for the trade fair — strongly supported by the Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala — means that the manufacturers, in a major show of responsibility, will be able to present their finalized work to an international public that sees the annual appointment with the Salone del Mobile as a benchmark for creativity and design,” the fair’s statement said.
Alongside the official announcement, a short video message from Mayor Sala underlined the importance of the fair, which is the world’s largest and most influential furniture exhibition – in 2019, it brought together more than 380,000 visitors from over 180 countries, as well as over 800 international exhibitors.
“I am calling on our colleagues in the furnishing sector and the Salone del Mobile to pull together to make sure Milan doesn’t grind to a halt,” said Sala. “We need to work objectively to stop this virus spreading, but we must also take care not to spread the virus of distrust.”
Milan sits near the epicentre of Italy’s coronavirus outbreak, which has already claimed seven deaths, with 50,000 people now quarantined following the government’s declaration of a state of emergency. Alongside Salone del Mobile, the coronavirus has also prompted the postponement of Milan’s MIDO eyewear fair, as well as a growing number of design events – including Frankfurt’s Light + Building and Shanghai’s Festival of Design – around the world.
Salone del Mobile takes place as part of the fuorisalone Milan Design Week, which will likely also be postponed to coincide with the marquee furniture fair. “It will be a very particular Salone, a Salone in a different month,” said Sala, “but a great Salone to all.”
Taking preemptive action in light of the presence of coronavirus in Lombardy, the world’s biggest furniture fair has shifted its dates to June 16 to 21.