This was a special Salone for me, because I presented two new brands whose evolution I followed down to the tiniest details. Both of these were born last fall: we started from scratch and we created everything in six months. Qeeboo is my new brand, whereas I’m art director for Ghidini. My new job as an entrepreneur – a role that has given me great satisfaction – has allowed me to visit the Salone in a much fuller way with respect to the past. Over these last years I grew more and more frustrated working with companies. I was less interested working on the products and instead more focused on helping these companies grow – especially those I had close ties with. Unfortunately, in this context and this moment of crisis, it’s not easy to convince companies to relaunch on brand strategies. This is why there’s a certain inertia in the system. Instead, I find that today there’s a great opportunity to use the Internet and to establish a dialogue with other companies around the world. In emerging countries impressive design operations are underway, which in the end, will somehow become a part of our own context. Alongside eye-catching events that can still be seen in occasions like the Salone del Mobile there’s also the overall difficult economic situation of design companies, with retail clearly paying the consequences. These hardships for stores are then reflected in the investments companies make, since they realize they are limited in investing in these products. So, the quality drops. What often happens is there’s a shift in focus from the product to communication, with dubious results. We are experiencing a moment of reflection, of pause. The energy of the past is missing. Design brands are in stand-by, also because the market is saturated and the pool of designers invited by companies has grown smaller: the result is scarce differentiation of products among companies.
Despite this, the Salone this year attracted a record number of visitors. Here in the Tortona area – where I really liked Moooi, who for years now plays an important role where installations are key – attendance grew day after day, thanks to the relaunch of Superstudio, whose spaces hosted a series of important international companies that have developed significant image operations, especially through very spectacular installations.
This year Milan was more pleasant to be in, also in the other districts, even though, in many cases, the great number of visitors flooded certain sections. The city responded better than in the past. It was more organized in managing the traffic and in transportation.