Is Italy returning to medieval-era warfare between city-states Milan and Venice? AN’s own Julie V. Iovine reports from Milan that Milanese and Lombardy officials are more than a bit miffed that Venice is proposing to start its own design fair in 2011, seeking to steal the spotlight from the nation’s long-established epicenter of design.
Milan has been displaying its prodigious output for nearly half a century at the annual Salone Internazionale del Mobile, and sporadically at the Triannale’s Palazzo del’Arte. But Carlo Guglielmi, the president of Cosmit, which runs the Milan fair, said that Venice’s sophisticated biennale exhibition and marketing organization would like “to pick off a little bit of the Salone for its avant-garde furniture, and from the Triennale for culture.”
The annual Milan event attracts more than 300,000 visitors and brings in, according to Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, at least 7 million euros a year for the local Lombardy economy. Siphoning some of that wealth into Venetian coffers would be a blow to both the Milanese pocketbook and to its powerful design community.
Venetian officials are said to be giving a serious look to the proposal, which would add another high-style biennale to its roster of well-known art and architecture events. Whether the dueling design capitals can reach a peace accord over the matter remains to be seen.