Beppe Finessi talks about Universo Satellite, the exhibition at the Triennale di Milano which traces the history of the twenty-five editions of the Salone Satellite: three hundred products and many designers launched by the Under 35 exhibition of the Salone del Mobile

twenty-five editions have passed since the first Salone Satellite in 1995.

“It is right that the Salone del Mobile exhibition dedicated to young people arrives at the Milan Triennale with an exhibition that tells the many stories that began here”. The historian Beppe Finessi took care of the curatorship, with the collaboration of the inevitable Marva Griffin, undisputed patron of the Salone Satellite.

Here the design historian tells what we will see exhibited and, above all, explains the ever-widening orbit of an event to be retraced through archive documents and images, as well as around three hundred products.

Marva Griffin, the inventor of the Satellite Salon

Beppe Finessi: “The òbelo studio has done an extraordinary job of graphic updating, treating all the photographic material, sometimes of poor quality, as if it were a pop collage.

I am satisfied, it was a philological and historical-critical research, but in the final result it is the stories of the designers and the objects that narrate a courageous and very important experiment of the Salone del Mobile.

Marva Griffin intensely wanted the Salone Satellite and always took care of it personally. She is linked to every single participant, she remembers their projects, their history. She manages to talk about the meetings, the couples and even the families born during the twenty-five exhibitions.

And she calls the children born from these meetings “satelitos”. Her attachment and her vivid memory made us discuss a lot, because she would have liked to include everyone, from the first to the last. Obviously it wasn't possible.

What we will see at Universo Satellite

“We made a selection obviously based on the material available, also focusing on the sign left by the designers who were “discovered” at the Satellite.

On display there are the objects, but above all the photos of the installations, the awards ceremonies, the press review, the big newspaper headlines, the first correspondence between Marva Griffin and Manlio Armellini. Giving prominence to this part of documentation was the curatorial objective: the finished product is always the result of a process that can only be traced in an archival path".

“Reorganizing the materials made us understand that the Salone Satellite is above all a great theater of life in which everything imaginable happened. There are those who have become famous designers, those who have changed jobs.

There are those who started as designers and built a company, like Davide Groppi. It is a very live encyclopedia of the designer's profession, with dreams that come true, unexpected turns and, of course, failures. For someone so painful that they no longer want to be remembered."

Not just design, but life stories

“I found the images of a beautiful project by a German boy. Marco Romanelli had dedicated an article to him, which however he never saw. He had an accident while returning to Germany after the fair. The life of people, which is the most exciting object of Universo Satellite, is complex, sometimes cruel."

“The biggest difficulty was tracking down all the products. I believe that sometimes it is easier to find a Stradivarius violin than a prototype or a product. There are very few examples of some and their location is not so obvious.

Collecting three hundred objects to be able to talk in a balanced way about the different and fluctuating periods of the Satellite made me think that the middle years were splendid. Between 2000 and 2010 Nendo, Marc Newson, Satyendra Pakhalé, Francisco Gomez Paz passed... it's impossible to mention them all, but they are the names that we now recognize as important in our history".

From the Salone Satellite to the Compasso d'Oro in three years: this also happens

“One last thing to underline: those quick, perfect and amazing parables. In 2018 Patricia Arvid exhibited a textile panel, which Caimi noticed and put into production as a sound-absorbing wall. Klipper won the Compasso d'Oro in 2020.

Not all stories end so well, professional paths are more or less joyful, more or less exhilarating. But in Universo Satellite we rediscover the beginnings of many excellent designers and we manage to evaluate, in all its fullness, how essential the under 35 space of the Salone del Mobile is for design".