What a strange sensation to realise that so many years passed and it seems just like yesterday. In reality there is nothing new about this feeling but it is still strange. When it sinks in that it was not just yesterday, one starts to visualise the changes that have taken place over these years.
As in many stories, everything just happened by its own natural course….. This is a chronology of memories of the last 30 years.

The Early Years – introduction to the design scene

Returning from a Spanish course in Cantabria in 1988, I worked as press officer for a young company called Edra. On the second day of my job, I was mentioned in the daily newspaper as the ‘arrogant blond guy of the press’ of Zaha Hadid’s first ever realised project. Zaha was one of the few individuals that despite her fame, always gave a warm and respectful welcome.

Getting into the scene – From then onwards, I worked extremely hard to familiarise myself with and integrate into the system, It was fascinating. The fair was in no way as huge as it is now, and new to the scene, I could observe objectively. The Fuori Salone (outside the fair) was still in its very early carnation and some galleries and showrooms were starting to participate. The tipping point was the first presentation of Memphis in the Gallery Arc 74 in Corso Europa in September 1981.

Early influences – During my time at German School in Milan, I grew up with names as Frattini, Ohl, Sapper, Gis- mondi, Eco and more. It was only later that I understood the connections in the world of intellectuals and designers. The father of a close friend was the owner of the Restau- rant Spluegen Braeu, where we often lunched, which was designed with by Achille Castiglioni.

The Early Years – my calling and mentors

Zaha’s launch was truly extraordinary and the party was fantastic, but that year there was also the legendary party for the presentation of Palucco. Everything was so fresh and vital and it was a life changing experience.

Diplomacy in Design
I then decided not to follow my father’s career to become a diplomat, but to combine diplomacy with design. I had yet to complete my Ph.D. in Political Science at the Uni- versity of Vienna, specialising in the subject of corruption. My paper was titled ‘Banco Ambrosiano a Financial Tool of Underground Policies. This represented the start of what has become my work for the last 30 years.
Alessandro Mendini – designers in marketing strategy
The bridge to my future life was laid out in an interview
I conducted with Alessandro Mendini, who is the all-time highest theoretician alongside Andrea Branzi, on the sub- ject of design influencing politics and society. I was bold in questioning, which shocked him as much as I surprised myself. I didn’t want to miss a thing. His approach to Alessi marked a first for designers driving the marketing strategy. It was truly avant garde. Since the Wiener Werk- staette no corporate identity has been presented in such a particular or convincing way.ere we often lunched, which was designed with by Achille Castiglioni.

Edra – my first job

Late ‘80s – Edra
I will always vividly remember Prof. Dr. Sandro Pizzorno, a Harvard profressor, and a dear friend of my father, who supported my research. Around 1987, he confronted me at the time, why are you writing a paper on the Italian mafia / Vatican, when you should be researching the Chinese mafia this spurred me to follow my calling ‘Diplomacy in Design’
My first professional job was International Sales and Communication Director at Edra, which was then in its infancy, with a bold energy so it was an ideal match.
Massimo Morozzi – Gesamkunstwerk
Massimo Morozzi had adopted a similar approach marketing strategies driven by designers, as Mendini at Alessi. He promoted young unknown designers who were attention grabbing, which was then unheard of. Massimo’s vision was absolute, which resulted in any project becom- ing a total art piece. His had an innate sense of proportions, and clarity of thought. This, he combined with a global understanding and a focus on new social developments, colours and designs. The extraordinary combination of these elements was always presented at the Salone del Mobile. His enthusiasm and good humour was the driving force of many meetings that carried on into the early hours.

Edra and visionaries

Clarity of thought and Innovation
The discussion always started the day the Salone ended. The combination was always highly complex as many co- lours, fabrics (many never before seen), and surfaces were rejected until Morozzi was happy with the final result.

Vision – contrasts of textures, colours, and materials
Massimo immediately knew what he wanted and his thought process was unparalleled. When he did define a theme, he was unmovable. This vision skillfully played contrasts of brilliant gloss and matt, and focused on colour and shape. Names of new designers were put forward and the company became one of the most desirable companies to design for.

Giulio Cappellini
Mr Giulio Cappellini was the other important visionary who has launched many iconic designers who has become central to the Italian landscape of design. I hope that they were aware of this huge honour and fortuity. I believe the power of true creativity and in those great figures it shone forth. Nowadays, there are many more jobs as creative directors, but few can rival the vision of Morozzi or Cappellini.

Edra – pushing the boundaries

Vivienne Westwood
When I saw the Swarovski crystal fabric I fell in love with it and approached Vivienne Westwood, who made it into men’s underpants. I thought it would also be cool to use for upholstery, so I went to Wattens in Tirol to put my idea into practice. After months in development a sofa was completed, even though Massimo was not entirely happy about it.

Individual expression and provocateur
Individuality and self-expression through clothing is part of my dna. I like to shock and provoke, and to be differ- ent. Through my outfits, the contrasting finish of materi- als the combination of colours, and attention to detail, I managed to convince everyone that my colour choice was influencing Morozzi for the next season. Massimo had a quiet sensibility and dressed in jeans, yet his wife Cristina was always in up to the minute fashion worn with a cool elegance. She is a dream companion for shopping, with a global black book from luxury stores to unknown markets.

Colour – the pink obssession
I once owned a fabulous pink suit by Dries van Noten, so obviously the whole exhibition was pink. A year on, Karim Rashid, before he had adopted pink as his colour, used to chase after Massimo trying to attract his attention, in vain.

Edra – enters UK as provocateur

Fashion and furniture
Fashion and furniture design has been overtly intertwined since the Wiener Werstaette. This was an important to me from a human point of view as well as for business.

Joe Corre and Serena Rees – Punks meet the architects
In 1993 I met Joseph Corre and his fiancé Serena Rees. Edra management had told me that the son of Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren was visiting the Edra showroom in the Tuscan countryside on a Saturday I thought it was a joke to get me to work another weekend. I had always believed that I was a failed punk, so I was curious, and went to meet them. We immediately became friends and Edra found perfect agents in Joe and Serena.

Provocateurs, the glamour and business success
Having two outsiders as furniture agents totally threw the design industry. Yet, the Edra profited from it for many years. For the first 100% Design fair, we installed a model languishing on a sofa upholstered in polka dots, reading the verses of Rimbaud. All aspects of business were run- ning fantastically well until the company decided to take an office from the Finance Police as CEO. Joe is convinced that rock ‘n’ roll died when Elvis Presley joined into the US army, so the collaboration came to an abrupt end.

Edra – Morozzi master of innovative thinking

Fortune telling future success – Morozzi
A key pointer to his status is that thousands of keen young designers submitted their concepts to Morozzi. He became mythical in the possibility of making their future fortunes.

Master, filter and learning from his lessons
An intrinsic character of the Italian design scene, his way of developing a new domestic landscape from year to year is legendary. He was a total atheist and believed that the more atheist one is, the more the search for religion is fundamental. Massimo was also very traditional, being a father of four, and a dining table, the centre of family life, and the only piece of furniture he really wanted. Hard to explain that to clients that wre specifying full interiors.

Rising stars – Marraten van Severen
Van Severen was discovered by Morozzi, one of the most valuable minimalists after Adolf Loos. The Blue Bench was an indepth research on proportion and revolutionary finishing – a minimalistic total look. With Maarten we worked on this lacquer that was supposed to be soft and extremely flexible. The piece and its concept was highly lauded, yet never a bestseller. Minimalism is confused with lack of culture, yet bad imitations totally miss the point. Minimalism is viewed as dignified in times of austerity, when decorative elements are deemed as bad taste.

Edra – the Campana Brothers

The next important chapter – new wave Brazilian design
Massimo met some weird Brazilian designers at the exhi- bition at Palazzo Reale, organized by the grand dame of Brazilian design Maria Helena Estrada, who stood for a new wave of contempoary design.

From phone book to winning the lottery
Intrigued, Massimo asked me to contact the Campanas.
I found eight Campanas in the phone book in Sao Paulo. After several calls, I reached the right Fernando. For him it was like winning the lottery.

To aim beyond the limits of production
Massimo’s desire was always stronger than the limits of production and the Campanas’ proposal was highly experimental. To communicate the making of the Vermelha rope chair, the brothers sent a video. It was hilarious, as the two of them squabbled between themselves
humourously on how to make this chair. Despite this un- usual way of working, it was a huge success and Vermelha became iconic.

Edra – the Campana Brothers visit

Unknown designers to overnight success story
Unknown designers from overseas and heirs of some Ital- ian immigrants, almost instantly become some of the most influential designers towards the end of 2000.

Love at first sight and start of on-going friendship
The brothers visited Edra in Tuscany, visiting my house
in Monteggiori next to Pietrasanta, in a rented Fiat Uno, which unfortunately happened to be the same model used by a serial killer of that time. The two had a hard enough time to coping with the hairpin bends in Chianti region, let alone understanding why people reacted weirdly to the vehicle. Added to that, they got lost on the mountain roads near to my house. I then got a phone call from a flustered local shopkeeper asking to get rid of some Brazilian guys that were stranded in her store.

Conviction to be oneself
From that moment onwards, I knew that by just being themselves, they could make design history. Genius has its own dynamic. Certain intellectual movements that bring us to higher levels understanding might form new approaches, but the fascination is when great ideas happen by accident.

Edra and the Campana Brothers

Inspired by the ingenuity of the poor
The Campana brothers’ inspiration came from the hut shelters, created by people out of waste for new solutions for living. The enjoyment of simple things can sometimes not been appreciated by those with many material items. The poor without many possessions, create existential basics from nothing. This has been adopted into another stratas of society who have then created some of the most modern and fashionable pieces of the time.

Luxury from ‘waste’ – humble vision and joyful creativity
People fell in love with this concept. Is this hypocrisy? Could buying something so specific could absolve you from your deepest sins? It is a magic formula that is created by their humility and an amazing capacity to pre- dict the future. If there is something in the air they grab hold of it and create a new sensational story.

Compassion attracts opinion formers
More than twenty years into our ongoing relationship, the incredible productivity from the Estudio Campana has subsequently generated a very positive attitude to Brazilian culture. Their work is multilayered and is a culmination of deep research. Their message is absolutely pure and their focus on the poor is genuine in nature.

Instituto Campana

Personal heritage
We are often talking about the attempt of translating egoism into some form of art. Working together so closely together and as brothers they are more likely to be brtual in expresing their feelings. Humberto thought he would become an Indian when he grew up and Fernando is felt he was an AfroBrazilian mixture. It is a fabulous way of focusing on another reality that maybe is much more important and deeper than our everyday superficiality.

Concrete development of Sao Paolo
The fact is that since 2010 there is more illegal concrete then legal. How much this percentage developed in the last eight years I personally have to research. This data gives us a very precise vision about the reality, which the brothers already anticipated through their work in the eighties.

The Instituto Campana – philanthropy
The analysis they did on the favelas that inspired their creativity and the Instituto Campana they started six years ago, is one of the few complete visions I know. The Insti- tuto Campana is developing a program for teaching in the poor areas of Brazil the understanding beauty and is doing whatever possible to preserve the skill of handcraft all over the world.

Cerruti Baleri – my ten years at the company

Reinvigoration of a ‘grey’ brand
Mr. Nino Cerruti made a very shrewd move buying Baleri Italia, which had a few key design pieces such as the huge- ly successful ‘Tatino’, yet mostly somewhat ‘grey’. Mr. Enrico Baleri was the first to give a platform to Philippe Starck. Today, on Starck’s website he quotes important people from the past eras, stating that to escape you have to create your own universe. His began thanks to a very grey character from Bergamo and his brilliant wifeMarilisa Decimo, who funded setting the company up, washugely influential board director and soul of the company.

Sale to Nino Cerruti
Mr. Baleri organized for Mr. Cerruti a special handover event when most important designers of the company’s history were invited to speak. Denis Santachiara made an eloquent speech, yet Philippe Starck’s was close to the edge and aimed insults at Mr Baleri, who however seemed to deserve it.

Cerruti appointed his nephew Federico Carandini as cre- ative director. Something felt missing. I helped formulate a more fashion-oriented vision for the Chinese market and it was then I learnt about the difficulties and idiosyncracies of a fashion and interiors brand, which are two different worlds. It is like to try to grow potatoes in the wrong soil.

Cerruti Baleri – the other sex, the other culture (China)

Feminine role in the home – ‘The Other’
In 2005, Cerruti invite Ilse Crawford to design her first piece of furniture. This piece then became a collection with an approach that was genuinely feminine. In the male oriented world of design, as a woman, Ilse elaborated ‘the other’ vision of the interior. It is after all the woman makes the purchase decision in furniture, wherever the man pays for it or not. At that time, Ilse was head of the department of Man and Wellbeing at the Design Academy Eindhoven.

Da Vinci, China – selling furniture the new Chinese retail
A prominent retailer selling in S.E. Asia and China, Da Vinci had an impressive structure and had developed a powerful network. They owned enormous and impressive buildings that hosted the stores in Jakarta, Brunei, Kuala Lumpur and Singapore, and seventeen stores in China. The inimitable Doris da Vinci had the ability to combine European historical styles and eras without inhibition and to sell the fashion brands like potato chips. I asked her husband (the financer) why he made his life so difficult.
He replied that when he gave the first villa to his wife she bought so much furniture, that they had to set up a chain of stores to sell it. Props included the portraits of Leonardo da Vinci hung next to his de facto ‘wife’ Maria Theresia von Habsburg, who was from a totally different era, and gay.

China – my personal connection

Bangkok, my city of birth, 1962
I feel part Asian and I’ve grown up watching the development of the Chinese market.

Vittorio Sun Qun – the Chinese italian
Vittorio’s father translated the Red Book of the Mao Zedong into Italian and held a very important post at the Chinese Embassy in Rome. We met in 2000 when I sold him a good selection of furniture for this store. I then introduced him to all the western sins including our costly shopping trips to Corso Como 10 and other cool places. It’s now come full circle, as the chinese approach to luxury retail is now concept stores. Vittorio’s story is symbolic. He had a tough time in retail, as the Chinese market was then very abstract, and on top of this, a number of commercial directors were not supportive.

A virtual tutor to design for the People Republic of China
As President of the Beijing Design Week, his direction has been hugely influential in the market. He cleverly realised the demand for global design. His current interest is slow food and the demand for quality. Vittorio and I are both sons of diplomats and trained from birth to read between the lines and to find a way to express ourselves by influencing the decision-making process. He introduced me to the reality of the Chinese market – I thank him.

Lasvit – strategic consultant and brand catalyst

Expansion into new markets and new demands
I had the luck or maybe the destiny to run into Leon Jakim- ic from Bohemia, founder of Lasvit, then two years into conception. Proudly he showed me his catalogue and I
told him that is was terrible. He listened to me as I talked through Milan furniture fair and its orbit. He asked me to join as strategic consultant and brand catalyst. I was clear from the start, that when Lasvit was able to attract design- ers such as the Campanas, he would have reached a certain level and his goal. The first person I wanted to involve
was Fabio Novembre as he is extremely talented in creat- ing spectacle. Understanding that it was crucial to tie into Lasvit’s Czech highly respected glass crafts heritage, he proposed a’Bohemian Rhapsody’ show in reference to the seminal album by Queen.

The event in garage in Via Tortona was show stopping and Fabio Novembre showed alongside two projects of then unknown designers, Mathieu Lehanneur and Oki Sato (Nendo). The after effect was Nendo’s near vertical ascen- dance to the hall of fame, also reflected on Lasvit’s posi- tion in the world of design.

Lasvit – building a brand internationally

Shaping Lasvit’s Czech identity with global impact
I proposed Maxim Velcosky as art director, who
continues to do an incredible job in pushing forward this fascinating culture. I watch happily as it goes from strength to strength.

International recognition building solid revenue stream
Lasvit has a strong core business built on bespoke projects. Their network is incredibly well organised and the skills of their craftsmen are shine through on all the hugely diverse creative concepts. The collections launched at the fair have exponentitally gained more recognition, which translates into bespoke orders and a solid revenue stream.

Investing in the next generation of craftspeople
To further strengthen the core of the business, Lasvit is admirably investing steadily in their in-house designers, and in creating the next generation of craftspeople.

Brand catalyst and re-shaping the company
When approached to sell the company by a cany entrepreneur, Leon was asked how Lasvit was able to reach this level when the company was merely eight years old. He directly gave me credit for re-shaping the company, as he has done so in many interviews. I will always remember this sincere and thoughtful gesture.

Lasvit – the prestige of Czech crystal

Lasvit’s restoration of the Napoleonic chandeliers
On our first site visit, we immediately knew from the clearness of the material that it was crystal from Bohemia.

Historical impetus in Czech crystal production
When Austria governed Czechoslovakia, the austrian Empress Maria Theresa ordered Count Kinsky (landlord of area of all Czech crystal production) to stimulate the production of crystal chandeliers, with the aim to occupy a superior position to that of Venice’s glass production. He did, and then she honoured him by making him a Prince.

The allure and prestige of Bohemian crystal
When Napoleon conquered Milan he stayed at the Palazzo Serbelloni as guest of the family, and as a gift he left chandeliers of Czech crystal. This was a strategic purchase in which he sought a connection to the imperial bloodline of the Austrian Hapsburgs. Napoleon later married the daughter of the nephew of Maria Theresa, Francis II, Maria Luisa.

Milan – centre for sales with political relevance
This exemplifies Milan’s long-standing position, where throughout history, pivotal dates and periods can be identiified through the construction of public buildings and those behind their infrastructure.

Lasvit – winner of best exhibition (fuori) Euroluce

Euroluce year – showstopping Monster Cabaret
Lasvit reaffirmed their commercial position at the Euroluce and this year won a prize as the best exhibition outside the Salone at the Teatro Gerolamo with the Monster Cabaret.

Creating a collection for Collectors
The collection of Monsters is a very important collectors club. It came about when Leon asked to come up with
an idea that would appeal to collectors. My immediate thought was Monsters, as everyone’s monsters are distinct, so all the designer’s concepts would demonstrate the full range of glass making skills.

We all have our own monsters – individualism in crystal
The many prestiguous designers for Lasvit contributed their own Monster with great enthusiasm. Maestro Mendini likened it to the Middle European spirit that was very evident through the cabaret theatre. He further commented that the atmosphere that was very effectively transmitted the cultural tradition that had influenced the area.

Vibram – the sole factor

Soles – the foundaiton for all of us
Since 2013, I have applied my strategy thinking to Vibram, a prestigious brand for soles, founded in Mipan, yet with international renown. The company is now embedded in the USA and China.

Brand catalyst
My role was to reawaken awareness in the public eye of the design qualities of the brand, and their vast amount of research and technical knowledge that was hidden within the company.

Carrarmato Tropicale
I am very proud as they made a huge step forward, and no doubt that bringing the Campanas on board would have contributed to that. Their design of a Vibram flip flop is just about to arrive to market. The ‘Carroarmato Tropicale’ celebrates the famous carrarmato shoe sole designed by the founder Vitale Bramani. Vitale began his career in 1937 as a cabinet maker and then developed this shoe sole in collaboration with Pirelli that became his legacy and fortune. At the time his first Vibram store was on Via della Spiga and his brand logo is octagonal with reference to the building shape of Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in the heart of Milan.

Salone etiquette

Superficiality in scenes Art v Design
Despite human traits of jealousy, maliciousness and superficiality, the design scene is one of the least guilty industries. The fashion scene is worse and the Art scene is wins hands down. There are so many instances that would be impolite to mention.

Rituals and tactics to attract attention
Greeting is an essential ritual, particularly in amongst a huge crowd during the Salone, and the centre for the design scene, and an essential annual fixture At the infinite receptions and social events of the week, in the middle of an in depth conversation, suddenly a loud scream distracts you. Your concentration is lost, everyone stops to stare, then after the scream, the two rebound from a polite embrace to observe each other from head to toe. Every minute detail is scanned especially the brands of clothing. Then a smile of mutual satisfaction appears when they feel fashionable enough for their 15 seconds of fame, then posted on instagram. It is a very poignant social and cultural analysis, as these gestures are defining a territory, one that belongs to creatives. Air kissing is a declaration of belonging to one group and chosen elite.

Salone personal preparations and appearance

Months of preparation and wardrobe analysis
Everything has to be perfect for the week and the outfits have to work for the day and the night. People cannot imagine the amount of preparation pre-Salone, and one’s wardrobe is just one of the items on the list. It is fascinating to see how global fashion is interpreted and elaborated on by different nationalities.

Personal expression
Certain individuals express their work through their outfits, which I admire. Bethan Laura Wood is one of the most exuberant and successful. Layer upon layer, without holding back, she has the courage to be herself.

Milanese reserve
The Milanese favour sober is grey from top to toe, and for them extreme elegance is understatement. They don’t want to stand out from the crowd, and this is a consequence of two factors. One is that the city of Milan at the end of the Roman Empire was a capital with a court and after that the city has always been conquered. The rich aristocracy never wanted to show off so they weren’t noticed by the taxman. The Milanese palaces from outside are plain and only when inside is the richness and beauty flourishes.

The Elegance of Milan

Foreign relations
During the Roman Empire when the statues of foreigners, otherwise known as barbarians, were always made in coloured marble, just to highlight the ostentatious and unusual fashion. There is a perceived arrogance of foreign guests, which is referred to in several historic papers. Elegance is in the blood and in the DNA of the Milanese and Italians in general which they enjoy showing off.

Unspoken codes of conduct
I will be always very grateful to this Italian Milanese attitude from which I learnt so much, but sometimes I adore escaping into the freedom of colourful chaos. I am
a proud fan of Vivienne Westwood, as some might have noticed, and she helped me differentiate myself from my colleagues clothed in navy blue. As the color-coded Roman statues manifested the impression and concept of the foreigner in the imperial mind, still do many Milanese believe themselves to be the height of understated elegance. Then and now these external codes are understood differently depending on who you were, where you were, where you are from and your values.

Conversation and hospitality at the Salone

Gossip, sustainability through to digital world and craft
Obviously there is gossip, catching up with friends and colleagues from around the world. Everyone pretends to
be professional, but I have more respect for those that
are more candid. Conversation is directed by intellectual guidelines on important subjects as sustainability and re- cycling, but in recent years technology and digital design are a safer subject matter. The applied arts as the important factor of the show and the tradition of handicraft is import- ant to celebrate, particularly in Italy with our heritage of master craftsmen across the spectrum from glass to marble, from wood to mosaic.

A welcome living room to the world
The Salone del Mobile has a very special elegance, more than other major Art or fashion events, one of a distinct generosity, with thousands of events, where hospitality is central. I have seen pyramids of oysters, rivers of cham- pagne, the best wines and the delicacies offered to all, without asking for anything in return.

The city opens up from behind closed doors
Fuori Salone is a rare moment in the calendar when you can visit different beautiful spaces in the city.

Cultural changes and retail and consumer behaviour

Different political changes in luxury retail
Design, in emerging societies often appears as status
symbols. The East bloc nations, especially the Russian were the first, where fashion brands emerged with the
semblance of understanding the basics of design. Their suc- cess was not a designer’s creativity, but big shiny logos and la- bels, which however met tremendous turnovers. One Milanese fashion designer with a ‘minimalistic’ approach, furnished his yacht throughout with his home collection, which sank when it hit the water. Good taste, bad taste? You can imitate but you can’t buy style.

Your house is your temple, the bed the altar of your passion
The fireplace replaced the television as the focus of living space, then mobile handset and the virtual world. And, the bed is the altar of your passion. With physical space becoming smaller and smaller, we still take an immediate impression of someone when entering their home, and with that, a feeling for their emotional values. A home, workspace, or hotel mani- fests how we work, rest or play.

Fashion in the Design world
The fashion consumption is huge, and now we realise that we don’t need the hundreds of white shirts. We need to stop still and to sleep. A couturier can have a vision of interiors yet cre- ate furniture to concept has a different timespan and longevity.

Milan – the headquarters of design, all year round

The original and the best – in figures and reputation
Salone del Mobile was founded in 1961 one year after Cologne. At the end of the second world war there was high demand for new furniture especially in Germany, a country who remains one of the Italy’s closest commercial partners. The first fair had 328 exhibitors
and 12,100 visitors, of which 800 were foreigners, over 11,860m2. From 1967 it was international biannually, and from 1991 it became international annually, with 1,959 exhibitors, of which 258 were foreigners across 144 000m2, with 147,000 public visitors of which 53,000 were from around the world.

Young rebels to industry titans – designers and industry
The Italians gained notoriety for industry picking up young and rebellious designers and putting them in the spotlight, many of which came out stronger than their sponsors. Important figures such as Pierino Busnelli and Cesare Cassina were the centre of this scene. some such protegees included the iconic Memphis movement founded by Ettore Sottsass in 1980. Italian furniture companies are brilliant at developing prototypes and able to experiment up until the very last minute. This combined with a legendary attitude to branding is celebrated with an extremely generous hospitality.

Milan – leader of the pack

Brianza reigion – highest quality of craft skills
In recent years other countries have attempted to dabble in the design festival game, although to this day, Milan continues to be the leader of the pack. The Brianza area, north of Milan, deserves its very own analysis due to the highest calibre of craftsmen in the furniture industry who also survived the punitive Italian politicians. We should never forget that Napoleon used already to furnish his places with furniture produced in Brianza.

Incremental success and attendance figures
The 2018 Salone del Mobile had 434,509 visitors from 188 countries which is an increase of 26%. The Fuorisalone had 1,367 events, with 2 million users on the webpage of Fuorisalone. The total estimated number of visitors is between 500,000 and 750,000. These figures demonstarte the fair’s appeal to tourists in addition to industry insiders.

The city of Milan’s economy flourishes
Hoteliers are estimated to gain 38 million euros over the period. Their outrageously elevated prices uncontrolled
by the city government are being challenged by the B&B market. There are 23,000 companies providing services with some 150,000 workers, and a service provider for any request. Restaurants new and old are jam packed.

National treasure and a Milan instituiton – Bar Basso

The ultimate hang out and networking spot
Undoubtedly the place to be seen, Bar Basso, is run by
the indefatigable Maurizio Stoccheto. His father invented the Negroni Sbagliato and his son carries a passion for the art and creative world and specifically design. He knows everybody and everyone knows Maurizio, as they have
at least once come to the holy altar to have a drink or bite to eat. He is a superstar of the Salone. The dense crowds form like swarming bees around Bar Basso, sometimes even blocking the neighbouring roads. If you want to meet someone, you know you’ll bump into them at Bar Basso.

A consummate professional
Maurizio is an extremely gentle and professional person. He is approached to cater for design all over the world. I am always very impressed by his patience. On many oc- casions I have tried to persuade him to write a book about his experience but he is too humble and protective of his clients.

Reflection on 30 years of my design career

Memory Lane – politics in aesthetics
This exercise of rolling back the thirty years of my career in design made me reflect on the end result. Besides the obvious commercial exchange there is also a very important political value in addition to just a game of aesthetics. As well as many moments of superficiality and niceties, there is the opportunity to develop a goal for a better way of living. Design attempts through applied art
to foster a harmonious coexistence of objects in spaces to improve life. This principle together with function can only work towards a better world.

The responsibility of future generations
At this point in the existence of the planet, there is an urgent need to re-think at institutional level the design world’s approach to recycling, sustainability and ultimately how to save the environment. The challenge has been set by younger generations who are the decision makers of the future and who want a better future for the planet.

Clarity of experience
My only regret in these thirty years is that right at the beginning I wasn’t able to see everything as clearly as I do now, and how quickly time passes.

My reflections

Thank you to the city of Milan
This is my moment to thank the city of Milan for being as special as it is and the residents for not freaking out, but instead welcoming the integration of other cultures. It is this genuine curiosity that is the city’s excellence. The highest recognition goes to the masterminds who developed and participated over the years to create this unique event.

Love wins above all
I learnt many things through the Salone del Mobile but the most important is that only true belief in and sincere love wins whatever project you commence.

Emotional engagement and commitment to work
Through emotional engagement, commitment to work and focus on every detail of the final presentation we can provide a system of education for the next generation. They can then take this learning forward to formulate their own vision of design and its culture. As Vivienne Westwood always said ‘Tradition into the future’ and Mi- lan continues to occupy the central position.