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Published by Sugar & Cream, Thursday 28 March 2024

Images courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano

An Ambassador for Italian Design on Italian Design Day

Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, Marva Griffin, founder and curator of SaloneSatellite, and Lombardini22 discuss the value and meaning of Italian industrial design and furnishing, as well as the Milan event, the roots of its success and its evolution, particularly in terms of sustainability and innovation.

Maria Porro

The eighth edition of Italian Design Day is being held in more than 100 different countries on 14th March. Set up in 2017, the event is organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Ministry of Culture – Directorate General for Contemporary Creativity, in collaboration with the Compasso d’Oro Foundation, the Italian Association for Industrial Design, Triennale Milano, the Salone del Mobile.Milano, FederlegnoArredo, and ITA – Italian Trade Agency, to promote the Italian design system abroad. Throughout past editions, Italian Design Day has seen the creation of around 1,370 events, involving over 580 designers, architects, entrepreneurs, and journalists who have promoted Italian innovation, industry, and know-how, interfacing with the creative, academic, and business host country communities.

Italian Design Day promotes the quality of Italian design around the world, with exhibitions, meetings, and presentations organized by the diplomatic and consular network, the Italian Cultural Institutes, and the ITA Italian Trade Agency. This year’s theme is Manufacturing Value Inclusiveness, Innovation, and Sustainability, which are also the keywords for the 62nd edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, not only communicates them through narratives relevant to the global design community but also translates them into reality thanks to initiatives such as its membership of the United Nations Global Compact, the ratification of its Sustainability Policy, its commitment to reconfirmation of ISO 20121 certification, the Green Guidelines circulated amongst its exhibitors, its reuse of structures designed for the talks and the bookshop, its use of neuroscience to make the visitor experience increasingly inclusive and efficient and its use of Artificial Intelligence to promote the trade fair.

Marva Griffin

The Italian Design Ambassadors include Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, who, following the inauguration and opening in Rome today, 14th March, and an earlier stopover in New Delhi, will be in Osaka in Japan (18th March), and in Seoul in South Korea (20th-21st March), to demonstrate the fact that the beauty of Made in Italy furniture and the products that the event showcases every year is, first and foremost, inclusive, sustainable, ethical, and designed with nature in a circular and holistic approach. Because in Italy we plan for the long term, combining manual know-how with digital innovation. The theme of Italian Design Day puts the accent on the production process involved with design, which leads to the creation of aesthetically “beautiful” industrial design objects, as well as high “material” value, thanks to the use of high-quality raw materials and manufacturing processes that combine tradition and craftsmanship with the most modern techniques in terms of technology and environmental sustainability.

The Italian Consulate General in Osaka will be hosting an event entitled Italian Design Legacy: From Salone del Mobile.Milano Towards EXPO 2025 OSAKA, the central theme of which is the value and the design skills of creatives in both countries. Maria Porro will discuss how the Salone and the wood-furnishing supply chain are addressing the challenges of today, with particular emphasis on aspects such as sustainability, digitalization, research, innovation, creativity, and inclusivity. The event will highlight the long-running collaboration between Italy and Japan in the field of design and will foster further opportunities for collaboration between the two countries.

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In South Korea, the program will be split between two days. At the Hyundai Design Library, on 20th March, the meeting VIII Italian Design Days: Korea and Italy as Partners on Design Innovation and Sustainability will be held in the presence of the Italian Ambassador to Korea, Emilia Gatto, and the Commissioner for Foreign Trade in Korea, Ferdinando Gueli. On this occasion, Maria Porro will present the upcoming edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano to designers, importers, distributors, contractors, industry professionals, and journalists, as well as sharing ideas around the themes of innovation and sustainability in the design industry. The next day’s event, entitled VIII Italian Design Days: Young Talents, will be held at the headquarters of High Street Italia – the showroom for Made in Italy in Seoul. Here is the President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano will address subjects such as Big Data, neuroscience, and Artificial Intelligence, as well as the importance of training young talents, starting from the experience with the “SaloneSatellite” exhibition. From the Korean side, Mr Jaehyuk Yang, from Studio Umzikim, a former SaloneSatellite participant, will present his point of view on young talents’ education. The seminar will pave the way for the creation of an informal group of Korean Friends of “Salone Satellite”. The event is primarily aimed at design students, young designers, teachers, and journalists.

The narrators of Italian design and creativity in the world also include the curator and founder of SaloneSatellite, Marva Griffin Wilshire, who will meet the faculty and students of Interior Design, Industrial Design, and Architecture at the University of Johannesburg on 18th March, followed by a wider audience at IL LUSSO, an important Italian furniture fair in the city. She will take part the following day in a conference at Pretoria’s Tshwane University of Technology (TUT), and in another at the University of Cape Town (UCT) on 20th March. At all these venues, Marva Griffin will talk about the upcoming edition of the Salone del Mobile.Milano, its evolution and trade fair innovation, and the 25 years of SaloneSatellite, the space she created in 1998, which has enabled more than 14,000 young designers from all over the world to present their work to the international public gathered for Milan Design Week.


Lastly, Lombardini22, the leading group on the Italian architectural and engineering scene, has been collaborating on the evolution and innovation of the walkways and exhibition layouts of the Biennial Salone del Mobile.Milano Events to create an increasingly contemporary, streamlined, and rewarding business platform, will act as an ambassador for Italian design in Saudi Arabia, Jeddah, and Riyadh.

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