The President of the Salone del Mobile on Big Data and Artificial Intelligence: "a resource that we exploit to optimize the collective and shared development process of the fair"

Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and the creation of datasets starting from inputs coming from the world of neuroscience will be the absolute protagonists of the Salone del Mobile 2024.

A choice that has nothing to do with the hype around these topics but which arises from the desire to exploit the enormous possibilities that machine learning offers to help decision makers in the creation of concrete and shared strategies.

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The revolution of the Salone del Mobile therefore continues based on listening that the President Maria Porro, since her inauguration in 2020, has placed the most important furniture fair in the world at the center of her idea of developing . Which intends to remain so by not perched on its throne but by riding the challenge of change: in relation to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the event, the digitalisation of services, the design of the 'experience and the cultural as well as commercial offer.

Big Data and the Salone del Mobile

The first innovation in relation to Big Data and AI and Salone del Mobile 2024 concerns the process of choral analysis of the event - which for two years has already included 1200 interviews with stakeholders in relation to the event. And the expansion of the analysis to the entire FuoriSalone.

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“The ecosystem of the Salone del Mobile and the FuoriSalone has never been measured in its entirety from an economic point of view, nor from the point of view of its positive and negative effects on the city,” he said Maria Porro during the traditional Christmas lunch with journalists.

“Yet the two events have a key role towards Milan, its inhabitants and the design community. With the success of one positively influencing the other and vice versa, with citizen services at the center of this exchange movement. For this reason, in planning the future of the Salone del Mobile it is essential to start not from questionable personal ideas or from the sole point of view of one of the stakeholders but from that broad and collective vision that the data, if well collected and analyzed, they know how to give."

The permanent observatory on the Salone del Mobile

Who will collect and analyze this data is soon explained.

In fact, the work of a newly created Permanent Observatory on the Salone del Mobile will begin shortly, created in collaboration with the Department of the School of Design of the Polytechnic of Milan directed by Francesco Zurlo. Professor Stefano Maffei will take care of the project.

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“This is a research and monitoring project,” explained Zurlo, “which will analyze a multitude of sources – economic, cultural, social, from the impact of Design Week on hotel prices to that on waste collection. The objective is to explore in depth this relationship that escapes the best descriptions, to promote greater sustainability by taking into account what happens within the walls of the fair but also what happens outside".

The FuoriSalone will therefore be an integral part of the research work of the Salone del Mobile Observatory, with the concrete support of the Municipality of Milan.

“The Observatory will document the Salone del Mobile and FuoriSalone phenomenon through the analysis of the available data”, continued Francesco Zurlo, “which are not all 'clean' like those coming from the trade fair event but will have to be collected and then analysed – involving stakeholders of all types, even the less obvious ones – following precise scientific principles that we are defining. The analysis of the datasets will allow us to offer ideas for building the future governance of the Salone del Mobile", concluded Zurlo.

A communication campaign designed using AI

“The communication campaign for the Salone del Mobile 2024 will be a project that uses AI,” said Maria Porro.

And it is the second novelty in relation to the use of Big Data within the development of the Show.

Read also: general director Marco Sabetta on the digital news of the Salone del Mobile 2024

“Artificial Intelligence will be used to monitor on the web and on social media the sentiment of people who will participate in the Salone del Mobile or express interest in the event online in the lead-up to and during the event”.

The collected datasets will be processed and will give life to a series of images which - being linked to a constantly evolving platform - will change over time and will be offered to the public with a legend. "The aim is to obtain graphics that are not only beautiful but also an expression of precise content: a visual representation of our public's emotion regarding the Salone del Mobile 2024", specified Maria Porro.

The campaign will be carried out in collaboration with Publicis and with Prof Paolo Ciuccarelli of the Polytechnic of Milan who will be responsible for the scientific part relating to data collection.

Neuroscience to measure the real level of satisfaction of visitors

The third innovation with a tech flavor that the Salone del Mobile 2024 will offer is linked to the introduction of the methodologies used by neuroscience for the analysis of visitor satisfaction.

“Neuroscience helps us when testing layout projects,” explained Maria Porro.

In fact, some volunteers will travel the fair itineraries wearing instruments for measuring biometric data and capable of translating them into measurable emotions based on their degree of intensity.

This is an important approach, especially because the layout of the 2024 Salone del Mobile Biennials (EuroCucina and Salone Internazionale del Bagno) will be presented for the first time with a new layout, inspired in its design methods by that of Euroluce.

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“The aim is to understand how people live the three-dimensional, immersive experience of walking among the pavilions: what they appreciate, how many choice points there are, the turning points, how this new layout works or it doesn't work, what are the weaknesses. And we will also use neuroscience during the opening phase of the exhibition, therefore measuring the level of satisfaction and appreciation of the visitors. This will also allow us to give indications to companies regarding whether a stand built in one way or another works or not, the fact that the presence of a queue can be an incentive or a factor buffer, whether an open space can help the fluidity of the stand. Here, it will all be information that is not only useful for the show, but also useful for companies", concluded Maria Porro.