The cultural calendar was thrown for a loop when the coronavirus pandemic broke out last March. One of the earliest and most shocking event cancellations came from Salone del Mobile, the world’s largest and most preeminent design fair that takes place in Milan every April. After a series of delays saw the fair’s launch date get pushed back months at a time as Italy weathered the pandemic fallout, Salone del Mobile is staging its current iteration (Sept. 5–10) in a different format. Called “Supersalone,” the new fair concept forgoes branded booths for products displayed on walls with QR codes for easy inquiry and purchase.
Accompanying the physical fair is an all-encompassing new digital platform that seeks to support Salone del Mobile exhibitors year-round from strategic and commercial standpoints. Exhibiting brands, such as Flexform, Minotti, and Magis, can customize interactive profiles that feature virtual showrooms, product libraries, and easy ways for fairgoers to inquire directly about products.
“The pandemic has been the greatest digital accelerator in history,” says the Italian journalist Riccardo Luna. “We’ve all learnt how to do things we previously didn’t do and discovered that digital is a formidable tool for resilience. Now that we’re cautiously emerging from the pandemic, the world is no longer the same as it was, and we’re entering a new, hybrid world in which the physical and the digital realms coexist, boosting each other and furthering their opportunities. This is the direction in which the Salone del Mobile platform is heading.”