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The first edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai, a showcase for Made in Italy products and the Italian way of living, took place November 19-21. Far exceeding expectation, 20,750 visitors came to this exciting new event over a three day period. Visitors were offered a unique insight into emerging trends for 2017 in the design industry – both in terms of economics and with respect to iconic Italian style.

Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai opens to the public
Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai opens to the public

China is now the eighth largest destination country for Italian furnishings and products (Source: FederlegnoArredo Study Centre) and as a country increasingly drawn to high-quality products, this event offered a groundbreaking opportunity to economically and culturally bolster trade between the two countries and set the stage for a fertile dialogue around the issues of excellence and manufacturing quality.

Design Trends for 2017

At its core, the Salone brought to the Shanghai Exhibition Center (SEC) the best of Made in Italy interior design and furniture with a showcase of 56 luxury Italian furnishing brands. Characterised by a cosmopolitan elegance that is minimal and luxurious at the same time, these latest products and collections seemed as if they were tailor-made for this Salone in China and gave us a preview of what is to come from the design world in 2017. A comprehensive look at these latest designs can be found here. Exhibitors featured include Annibale Colombo, Arketipo. Artemide, B&B Italia, Calligaris, Cattelan Italia SpA, Cornelio Cappellni, edra, Fantoni, Flexform, Flou, Foscarini, Lema SpA, Living Divani, Minotti, Molteni&C, Natuzzi, Oluce, Porada, Porro, RIVA Industria Mobili, Visionnaire, Zanaboni and many more.

Italian luxury brands take centre stage at the SEC
Italian luxury brands take centre stage at the SEC

 

The colour red features throughout the exhibition
The colour red features throughout the exhibition

 

Contempoary design trends: minimal yet luxurious
Contempoary design trends: minimal yet luxurious

Life in the Beautiful Country:

In addition to the latest furniture and interior design, this was an exhibition full of content, images and Italian lifestyle values. A 360-degree video presentation called Panorama brought to life almost all aspects of the beautiful country, including fashion, food and beverage, hospitality, automobiles and even sport. With the help of drones and immersive media technology, Panorama 360 allowed visitors to virtually enter the Roman Coliseum and visit a collection of master Italian artists such as Raffaelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Giotta and Botticelli. And beyond works of arts, one could also experience high fashion runway shows and luxury auto racing, not to mention a taste of Italy’s refined cooking and exceptional winery culture.

A taste of Italy at Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai
A taste of Italy at Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai

Take a Master Class:

Further fostering cross-cultural ideas and exchange, Master Classes devoted to key topics and issues in architecture and design were another success aspect of this show. Leading representatives from the Italian design world included Fabio Novembre, Marco Romanelli, Tiziano Vudafieri and Massimo Iosa Ghini. The Master Classes also marked another step in the partnership between the Sole 24 Ore Group and the China Economic Daily Group, with a focus on the ability of design to combine innovation and sustainability. The speakers discussed from various angles success stories that exemplify the delivery of these two characteristics of Italian and Chinese design.

Italian architect Fabio Novembre leads a Master Class
Italian architect Fabio Novembre leads a Master Class

Emerging Talent: SaloneSatellite Shanghai:

But perhaps nothing points the way forward more than young and emerging designers. Making its debut in China was SaloneSatellite Shanghai, a launching pad for the creativity of young designers. This leading event focuses entirely on young designs, offering a platform for interface between entrepreneurs, talent scouts and promising young talents.

Winners this year included Fang Gao, who took first prize for the sideboard ‘In-between dimensions.’ Inspired by the light filtered from trees in the woods, this work is an elegant game of light, shadow and grid. Meanwhile, Weiwei Wu took second place with ‘Line series: shelf,’ a bookshelf in which the absence of vertical supports transforms it into a sculptural piece. And third prize went to Anqi Tang for the small tea table ‘Softwood,’ which features 6 blocks of different forms and functions with a waterproof and non-toxic surface.

First prize winner Fang Gao with ‘In-between dimensions.’
First prize winner Fang Gao with ‘In-between dimensions.’
Weiwei Wu takes second place with ‘Line series: shelf'
Weiwei Wu takes second prize with ‘Line series: shelf’

These three winners, from the 41 young designers who participated from all parts of China, are invited to participate in the upcoming SaloneSatellite Milano, held from 4-9 April 2017 in Milan.