It starts from Euroluce 2023 to transform the Salone del Mobile in Milan: a regeneration project that is also cultural, explained by the President Maria Porro

The Salone del Mobile 2023 (these are the dates: 18-23 April 2023) will be very different from the previous ones: more usable (for visitors) , more attractive (for exhibitors) and more sustainable (for the environment). It is also full of things to see and food for thought in addition to the products.

It is a revolution that starts from Euroluce 2023 and which sees a total rethinking of layout of the light fair based on a project by Lombardini 22.

What will the new Euroluce 2023 be like?

At Euroluce 2023, the traditional grid-lined path will be replaced by a curvilinear circuit: following it in its entirety will lead the visitor to confront all the exhibitors, none excluded. Grinding, among other things, far fewer kilometers than the traditional route.

When we are tired, we can sit down, making ourselves comfortable in areas specifically designed to recharge the batteries. And, in these common areas, we will find mini-exhibitions, works and installations created by artists and designers on the theme of light: so that a tour of the fair is also truly a cultural experience.

But if Euroluce 2023 will be the heart of the revolution that the Salone del Mobile is beginning to implement, there will also be other important innovations: in fact, even the general route of the fair is changing, it is a sustainability certification for the entire event is on the way (in January) and a digital platform is already active which helps exhibitors to create stands with a low environmental impact by providing key information on materials, suppliers and stand construction techniques.

She explains everything to us Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile.

Maria Porro, the news seems to be part of a revolution. Is that it?

Maria Porro: "Changes that last are those that are planned over the long term and implemented step by step. In fact, we have been talking for some time about greater attention to the public's needs (visitors and exhibitors), of sustainability and the need to integrate the commercial proposal with a cultural offer.

However, the Salone del Mobile 2023 will certainly offer a tangible manifestation of what this change - which we have been planning for two years and which we will develop over time - can mean. Especially as regards Euroluce 2023, but not only".

What will Euroluce 2023 be like?

Maria Porro: “Different. Designed starting from the needs of exhibitors and visitors that can be summarized in three points: contents, itineraries and experience.

First of all, we changed the contents.

People came to Euroluce above all to discover the story of the object that produces light: the lamp. But light today is also architectural design, technology. Something that relates more and more to all those aspects that allow you to regulate its intensity and relates to the human being, qualitatively influencing his sphere of experience. We therefore worked to integrate the technological aspects of lighting into the pavilions, previously less present.

We then worked on the paths. And this is the most visible side of the change.

We are accustomed to a format made up of streets perpendicular to each other, a mesh that makes it possible to optimize space but forces the consumer to follow an articulated path. With Euroluce 2023 we are experimenting with a layout that allows for an organic visit, organized as a loop, a circular route, developed by Lombardini 22.

Finally there is the theme of experience.

A visit to the fair should not be a tour de force but a journey of discovery. For this reason we have created common areas, respectful spaces dedicated to peace that are also bearers of values. This is why we have introduced a scheme of events, exhibitions, small cameos within Euroluce that will pollinate the entire layout from an interdisciplinary perspective: design, architecture, the relationship between the latter and light , graphics, contemporary art. It is a path in which Beppe Finessi supported us together with a varied team of curators while Formafantasma who designed the main public space".

Why the ring route is better than the traditional one?

Maria Porro: “In the traditional mesh, the visitor who has a fixed destination takes the fastest route to get there (always the same).

This means that discovery is precluded, which is the real plus of fairs such as the Salone del Mobile and Euroluce.

With this new layout, which offers a practically unique path, no exhibitor is penalised: everyone faces the walkway equally and has the same chance of being seen.

It is also a better optimization of the available and walkable space: even if it may seem paradoxical, to see all the exhibitors it would take many more kilometers with the grid layout than with this one”.

How did you arrive at this design solution?

Maria Porro: "We worked on several fronts, starting from quantitative and qualitative data.

As Salone del Mobile we did a huge listening job, consisting of 2300 field interviews with visitors during the last edition, both at the fair and in the city. In addition, we conducted 100 qualitative interviews with CEOs and architects and working tables with lighting designers, light exhibitors, planners: all with the aim of identifying needs and possible evolutions. In parallel, Lombardini 22 has studied, also using analysis software, the flows within the spaces and the points of attraction: where the gaze actually stops.

The layout that we will create is a response to all the findings of these researches which, for example, also revealed the need to sit down, to enjoy more space - compared to the simple experience of a business visit".

Can we say that Euroluce 2023 is a new format, an experimental space?

Maria Porro: "Yes. We started with Euroluce because there were specific critical issues. And then because light, being immaterial, gives many possibilities to work on a project of this kind in a short time. In furniture, on the other hand, there is a need to have more conventional stands: it is difficult to display furnishings without a space with right angles. Euroluce 2023 will therefore be an experiment that we will evaluate. That said, the study that led us to its renewal it is also the basis of the other innovations that visitors will find at the Salone del Mobile 2023".

Which ones? What else will we see at the Salone del Mobile 2023?

Maria Porro: "The first big news is that this year the Salone will be on one level: therefore the pavilions that used to be on the upper floor are being moved to the lower to optimize spaces always with a view to greater and better use.

The Salone Satellite is moved inside Euroluce: it seemed sensible to place the future of design within the evolution of the trade fair format by putting schools and new talents in a very close relationship with what will surely be the pavilion more evolved.

Read also: What young people taught us at the Salone Satellite

There will no longer be the Classic pavilion. In fact, the year of furnishings will close with a +8% (good but down compared to 2021 which had marked a +14%): large and international companies are doing very well, while the small and less structured ones suffer – it causes the increases in energy and materials and all that goes with it. The preponderant part of these companies is about the classic. After careful consideration, we have therefore decided not to propose it as a stand-alone pavilion. There was the possibility of filling the spaces, but we chose the quality of the visit, of the experience and also with a view to the 2024 biennial in which - due to the presence of Eurocucina - the exhibitors on the upper floor will also return".

In January 2023, the Salone del Mobile will be certified as a sustainable event. What does it mean?

Maria Porro: "We are getting certified ISO20121, which is the management standard for the sustainable organization of events.

Concretely, it means being a reality that works with its entire organization chart on the issue of sustainability, setting itself objectives at all levels to respect specific criteria (from the technical and commercial departments to communication). It means sharing one's journey with all the stakeholders (in our case Fieramilano, the exhibitors and fitters) and allowing them to align themselves with the guidelines we have defined.

An example? The materials for the construction of the stands where a recycled wood panel is preferred to plasterboard, a carpeted flooring from recycled or reusable flooring. Or energy efficiency: which solutions to choose to consume as little energy as possible.

Like Assoarredo we have a portal with a collection of sustainable materials – a sort of library where materials and suppliers who work according to our guidelines are indicated".

What does participating in a sustainable furniture fair mean for an exhibitor?

Maria Porro: "When you work on a sustainable event, the path is made in stages and also with a progressive approach and change.

There are companies that have already implemented it, others that are on the move. Let's not forget that there is also an economic advantage in sustainable choices. But in a moment like the one we are experiencing, in which there is a shortage of raw materials and price increases on many fronts, it is not possible to suddenly ask everyone to adapt.

As I have already said: for real and substantial change we need to proceed in small steps. The important thing is to all go in the right direction."