Salone del Mobile 'in the balance' - Photo by Andrea Mariani, courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano.

Salone del Mobile ‘in the balance.’ Photo by Andrea Mariani.

Design – On his Instagram page, Beppe Sala has invited the companies unwilling to invest and take booths to reconsider their position. Owned by Italian timber-trade body Federlegno, Salone del Mobile Milano is the world’s most influential design fair. After being canceled last year, it was postponed to 5-10 September.

On Thursday, Claudio Luti resigned as president of Federlegno, the Italian timber-trade body that owns the Salone del Mobile Milano, amid concerns that Salone del Mobile would be diminished. “Over the years I have worked hard to affirm the event as a representation of the system at an international level, but there are no longer the conditions to pursue my vision of compactness in the sector for the common good.”

I respect everyone’s decisions, but I do not share the desire not to team up in such a delicate moment and to give up at least trying to define a concrete path to do what could be the symbol of the country’s recovery.” Added Luti, who is also the CEO of Italian lighting brand Kartell.

Salone del Mobile 'in the balance' - Photo by Alessandro Russotti, courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano.

Photo by Alessandro Russotti.

If you fear to be tight on time, remind we all bent over backward to fix the damages caused by the pandemic. If you are concerned over return investments – I do know that it won’t be like the last years.” Said Beppe Sala in an open call to Italian design companies. “But remind that the pandemic didn’t heavily impact the furniture industry like other businesses, like restaurants, hotels, or communicators, they need to work. In these times, communities come close together. It’s time to be generous.”

The mayor also warned not to take for granted Milan’s leading role as a design capital as other European cities could reclaim an important role in the design sector. Earlier this week, the Italian government gave reassurance that it would allow the Salone to go ahead in September by lifting the ban on fairs from June 15.

Salone del Mobile 'in the balance' - Photo by Andrea Mariani, courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano.

Photo by Andrea Mariani.

Indeed, immediate was the response of the Hotels Association and the Chamber of Commerce, which noted the heavy impact on business – 200 million Euros according to the Chamber of Commerce – but also grave damage to the image of Milan and Italy.

After Luti’s resignation, the fair’s board of directors has postponed the final decision to confirm or cancel the event. Meanwhile, politicians from almost all parties have endorsed a go-ahead. Organizers of Fuorisalone, the Salone del Mobile’s satellite event taking over the city of over 1.700 events across Milan’s famed design districts, also confirmed the 2021 edition, even without the fair.

Salone del Mobile 'in the balance' - Photo by Andrea Mariani, courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano.

Photo by Andrea Mariani.

All photos: courtesy of Salone del Mobile.