The evolution of the Salone del Mobile: from the furniture fair to the international design hub

Born in Milan in 1961 with the aim of promoting Italian exports of the furniture industry and its accessories, the Salone del Mobile has become an international reference event for the design and furniture sector. With over sixty years of history, the Salone has been able to evolve and adapt to the needs of the market, each year representing a unique opportunity to discover the latest trends and the most interesting protagonists of the sector.

But how has it evolved over the years? Read on to find out more about the Milan Furniture Fair!

Salone del Mobile in Milan: the story

Italy emerged from the Second World War with a strong push towards building reconstruction to face the heavy marks that the long conflict had left on the cities and on the national territory. It was necessary to build new houses and large buildings that also required furniture.

In 1960, the historic Cologne exhibition dedicated to home and furnishings, “Koelnmesse“, reopened in Germany, giving inspiration to Italian entrepreneurs. The following year, in 1961, the first edition of the Salone del Mobile was inaugurated in Milan, with the participation of 328 companies and 12,100 visitors, of which 800 came from abroad.

Since then, the Salone Internazionale del Mobile has become the international reference event for the furniture and design sector, going beyond national borders since 1967 and becoming the first salon in the world in 1994.

The Salone del Mobile today

The Salone del Mobile in Milan is an event that takes place every year in April together with other biennial exhibitions such as Euroluce, EuroCucina and the International Bathroom Exhibition and annuals such as the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition and Workplace3.0.

FTK (Technology For the Kitchen) and S.Project are collateral events dedicated to design products, decorative solutions and furnishing techniques.

In the FieraMilano district in Rho, these events occupy a net area of almost 210,000 square meters and each year represent over 2,300 of the most dynamic and creative companies on the world market.

Since 1998, the SaloneSatellite (better known as FuoriSalone) has also become a springboard for young designers and a point of reference for companies looking for new talent.

How did the 61st edition go?

The Salone del Mobile in Milan has now left the pandemic behind, given the success of this latest edition (April 2023). In fact, it attracted 307,418 visitors in six days, a 15% increase compared to 2022 and a gradual return to pre-Covid levels. More than 2,000 exhibiting brands were present, with 34% coming from 37 different countries, including 550 young designers from 31 countries and 28 design schools and universities from 18 countries. China once again became the first host country of the event after Italy, followed by Germany, France, the United States, Spain, Brazil and India on equal merit.

These numbers demonstrate the international importance of the Milanese event, which is a point of reference for the world of design, as also stated by the president Maria Porro.

In conclusion, we can say that the success of the Milan Furniture Fair derives from the solid industrial network at its base, combined with the quality of the projects that promote sustainability and excellence of form and content. Furthermore, it stands out for its ability to create a system, train young people and take advantage of the exceptional integrated mechanism of communication and culture that characterizes the Ambrosian metropolis and the surrounding area.

We at Manaly were proud to have followed projects both at the Salone and at the FuoriSalone and we can’t wait for the next edition in 2024!