In Brief

Salone del Mobile under threat


26 April 2021

Claudio Luti, president of the Salone del Mobile trade fair, has resigned, throwing plans for the September event into doubt.

Luti is reported to have resigned over fears that the event would be severely diminished, with fewer exhibitors and attendees as a result of Covid-19.

The 2020 edition of the fair had to be cancelled as a result of the pandemic, while the 2021 edition has been moved from its traditional April time slot to September.

Luti, the CEO of Kartell, is said to have cited a lack of unity among the trade fairs various stakeholders, stating that “The common will of purpose [...] has failed.”

Italian newspaper La Reppublica reported Luti as saying: “Leaving the presidency of the Salone in such a delicate and complex moment is a [..] painful choice.”

“Over the years I have worked hard to affirm the event as a representation of the system at an international level, but there are no longer the conditions to pursue my vision of compactness in the sector for the common good.”

Luti's resignation comes after the Italian government announced plans to relax some Covid-19 restrictions to allow trade fairs to take place from 1 July – a move that the Salone has pushed for.

However, bookings from exhibitors are reported to be down, while international travel to Milan is expected to be reduced from the norm. These strains on the event are said to have provoked division among key stakeholders, with some Italian brands said to have cancelled their booths.

“I respect everyone's decisions but I do not share the desire not to team up in such a delicate moment and to at least give up trying to define a concrete path to do what could be the symbol of the country's recovery,” Luti is reported to have said.

“I certainly recognise the difficulties and also the unknowns that prevent us now from clarifying all the uncertainties given by the still looming pandemic scenario. But what matters to me is the common will of purpose, which has failed.”

Organisers of Milan's Fuorisalone, which takes place in the city at the same time as the trade fair, have already committed to hosting events regardless of what happens with the Salone.