Salone Milano and Milan Design week are exceptional design showcases, primarily thanks to their top-notch organizers. But each and every participating brand, small and large, national and international had something extraordinary to add. Salone Milano seems to magically bring out the best of everyone who wants to play. Whether it was a large brand exhibiting a full new collection or a small brand launching a single product, the sensitivities and sensibilities of each brand could be seen and felt quite intensely.
Undoubtedly, the majority of products launched during the Salone Milano and Milan Design Week had already undergone scrupulous testing before being exposed to the discriminating public eye at the show. As we know, there is a whole gamut of details a successful product needs to embody in order to become aesthetically and functionally desirable. The brands we saw seemed to consider this not once or twice, but endless times before bringing their latest to this international trade exhibition of such enormous reputation and magnitude. In other words, the successful brands, small and large, did their homework with uncompromising diligence. Everything needed to and did go a step beyond to make it there.
It’s a quality that seems to be lacking from numerous other trade shows, including our own Interior Design Show (IDS) or IIDEX hosted annually in Toronto. Most of the trade booths there are short on imagination, while the products themselves lack newness and desirability. The ethos seems to be about being just good enough, rather than being exceptional. Could it be that for the brands participating at Salone Milano, it is more about pride and joy, whereas here it’s about obligation and responsibility?
What drives crowds and generates well-deserved attention is thoughtful artistry, not only when applied to products, but also when applied to the booths themselves. Every item, even the promotional literature, needs to be infused with the power of invisible yet fully present design to withstand the fierce heat of scrutiny that a trade show and design week will generate. Ultimately, that’s the acid test that produces a show that will make people from around the world come year-after-year to experience it. And as the brands at Salone Milano proved, it’s not about deep pockets, but the willingness to stand out – through thoughtfulness, confidence and exceptional creativity.
Let’s be open to learning from them.
In our next post we’ll look at what sparks an idea. See you in September.