Salone del Mobile hopes to top 300,000 visitors

With the presentation in Milan of the 54th edition of the International Furniture Show from April 14 to 19, the wood and furniture sector is focused on explaining and promoting the craftsmanship of Made in Italy products. Regarding the US, the euro-dollar exchange rate is now more favorable to us, moving from $1.50 to $1.12.

The strength of Italian goods in the US is also the centerpiece of “Plan USA” developed by the Ministry of Economic Development and the Italian Trade Agency. As for China, last year Italy outclassed Germany for the first time in terms of furniture sales to Beijing.

China will see the launch of its first Italian Furniture Show, or Salone del Mobile, as it’s called in Italian, in 2016. The Chinese market surged by more than 22% in the first nine months of 2014 (the latest available data) to €180 million of euros, while the U.S. market grew by nearly 10% by €600 million.

As for the dark clouds looming over Moscow (which is Italy’s fifth biggest export market overall but, for instance, the first in office furnishings), the Salone del Mobile is taking note. The vice minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda announced that a new Russian offshoot of the Salone – the Worldwide Salone of Moscow to be held in October, – will be one of 40 trade shows with international projects receiving funding worth nearly €50 million euros.

The projects for this edition are already all financed. With some added funds we could target international promotion in the US and support the ’debut’ of our production in the China show

explains the President of Federlegno, Roberto Snaidero, who becomes president of the Salone as well starting this year.

The Furniture Show hopes to exceed 300,000 visitors (in the past, it just barely reached this number)  from more than 160 nations. Its centerpieces are the biennial Euroluce lighting and Ufficio office exhibits.

“The lighting sector,” said Stefano Bordone, president of lighting industry association Assoluce, is worth €2.1 billion euros, 70% exports. Thanks to exports, we’ve grown by 2.7%.”

Unesco has named 2015 the “year of light.” The Salone’s showpiece will be the installation “Favilla – Every light is a voice” curated by Attilio Stocchi in Piazza San Fedele in the center of Milan.

Marco Predari, president of Assufficio, is a bit more worried about the effect of the Russian crisis. “As a nation, we are the biggest exporters of office components to Russia,” he said. But he said the recovery of the U.S. this year, “has helped us grow by 90% in that market.”

He said the sector is expanding its range of offerings to include paneling, systems for acoustics and ways to improve the “passive comfort of the workplace.”

A project of international architect Michele De Lucchi (The Walk), and the new Workplace 3.0 is highly anticipated. The concept is that new businesses and new ways of working will generate different kinds of work spaces and projects to “live” comfortably in an office, which has increasingly become a nexus of relationships, meetings and living together.

The Furniture Show will debut an App called “In Italy” to help tell the story of Italian craftsmanship and manufacturing to overseas visitors. The App will feature five versions of living solutions “alla Italiana,” in Lecce, Milano, Rome, Venezia and in the Val d’Orcia for five style of interiors. By clicking one of the 64 companies that participated in the display, one can “enter the factory,” virtually, learn its history, its mission and its products and to collaborate with architects.

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