Milan’s Salone del Mobile postponed due to coronavirus
The furniture fair is the largest in the world with around half a million visitors, and the most important to the industry, with brands spending huge sums on their exhibits.
- Jenny Brewer
- 26 February 2020
- Reading Time
- 2 minute read
Milan’s Salone del Mobile, the largest furniture fair in the world and the most important to the product and furniture design industry, has been postponed until June due to Italy’s coronavirus outbreak.
Organisers of the fair met yesterday to discuss whether to cancel or delay the event, which has taken place in mid-April since it first opened in 1961. The emergency meeting was arranged after 11 people died over the course of a few days in the region, and the number of cases rose to over 300, while a number of towns close to Milan have been quarantined.
In an announcement on Twitter last night, the Salone del Mobile stated defiantly: “We won’t stop. We can’t stop,” declaring the fair would take place from 16-21 June, and shared a video of the mayor of Milan Beppe Sala calling on the industry to “pull together to make sure Milan doesn’t grind to a halt,” and the government to aid in the inevitable economic damage caused by the postponement.
“We need to work objectively to stop this virus spreading, but we must also take care not to spread the virus of distrust,” Sala said. “Milan has to carry on. So I would like to thank them all for this proof of confidence, because it’s not easy right now to try and appeal to visitors and convince professionals from all over the world, but I believe this is the right decision.”
He also asked hoteliers to be “especially careful about how we pitch the price of hotel rooms,” which usually skyrocket in cost around the time of the fair. Salone del Mobile is a major event in the city's calendar, with the trade fair and hundreds of satellite events taking place across Milan, providing a huge surge in income not only for the design industry but the city’s economy as a whole.
Other major Italian events including the Venice Carnival, Bologna book fair and MIDO eyewear fair have also been cancelled and delayed. Frankfurt’s Light + Building fair has also been postponed until September. The Venice Biennale is still set to open on 23 May, but a press launch scheduled for 3 March in London has been cancelled, and instead will be held in Venice and streamed online.
The Foreign Office has warned against all but essential travel to 11 quarantined towns in Italy, predominantly close to Milan in the Lombardy region. Those returning to the UK from these locations have been advised to self-isolate if they develop flu-like symptoms.