The show must go on

Milan’s Salone del Mobile postponed until June over coronavirus fears

Italy’s Lombardy region has seen the most confirmed cases of coronavirus outside of Asia. Pictured is Milan, Lombardy's bustling capital. (Harmishhk/Flickr)

The 2020 edition of Salone del Mobile, slated to kick off on April 21 and run through April 26 in Milan, has been postponed until June 16-21 amid fears about the spread of coronavirus in and around Italy’s Lombardy and Veneto regions. The rescheduled event is still set to be held at the Fiera Milano fairground and exhibition center.

While cases of coronavirus, which can cause respiratory illness, have been detected elsewhere in Italy, most confirmed cases are in the north of the country with a vast majority being in Lombardy. At the time of writing, 322 cases of coronavirus in total have been reported across Italy, and 11 people in Europe’s sixth most populous country have died after contracting the virus. Worldwide, Italy has seen the most infections of outside of China and South Korea.

Now in its 59th year, Salone del Mobile—also known as the Milan Furniture Fair—is the largest trade show of its kind, attracting exhibitors, media, and design enthusiasts from across the globe. In 2018, Salone del Mobile broke attendance records with over 434,500 attendees hailing from 188 countries. In a press statement, the event’s organizers pledged that despite the delay, the show—as it usually does—will go on:

“Following an extraordinary meeting today of the Board of Federlegno Arredo Eventi, and in view of the ongoing public health emergency, the decision has been taken to postpone the upcoming edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milan to 16th–21st June.

“Confirmation of the change of date for the trade fair —strongly supported by the Mayor of Milan Giuseppe Sala—means that the manufacturers, in a major show of responsibility, will be able to present their finalised work to an international public that sees the annual appointment with the Salone del Mobile.Milano as a benchmark for creativity and design.”



Milan’s mayor, Giuseppe Sala, expressed similar optimism in a video:

Although Milan Fashion Week proceeded as normal this year—but with at least one major tweak—the spread of coronavirus in Italy and beyond is having a significant impact on planned events in the realm of art, design, and architecture. Originally scheduled for the second week of March, the Light+Building trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany, has been delayed until September. A much anticipated Hong Kong exhibition showcasing the archives of British avant-garde collective Archigram at M+ has also been postponed.

Back in Italy, the status of the Venice Biennale of Architecture, set to open May 23, is also hanging in the balance. A planned press presentation of the 17th edition of the Biennale scheduled to be held at the Italian Cultural Institute in London on March 3, was abruptly canceled. The presentation will now be held in Venice on February 27 and streamed online.

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