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You, the designer, are a desirable audience

Putting design on a global stage, the Salone del Mobile isn’t just for showcasing the newest product. Increasingly it’s about the activities outside the fairgrounds, and as commerce moves in at the juncture of art and design, one crowd of people are clearly being targeted.

You, the designer, are a desirable audience

Air Inventions by Panasonic for the FuoriSalone 2018.

If you take a look outside the fairgrounds of Rho during Milan’s design week, you’ll find the nexus of art, design and commerce. But just who sits at the centre of all of this? Designers of course. You’re a desirable bunch with big brands just fighting for your attention.

Last year it was LG collaborating with Tokujin Yoshioka, with Samsung seeing the design cred of Zaha Hadid Architects to try and flog the technology of its new device. This year Panasonic leveraged its 100-year anniversary by creating an installation. 

Mini is a staple at the FuoriSalone, using the design week to work with designers while pushing an ‘on brand’ message. More car brands have jumped on board in 2018, with Hyundai presenting Energy Zone, “An experiential path designed by Carlo Bernardini that guides the visitor through a special study of optical fibres that draw light forms, to discover the energy of the new KONA by Hyundai.” 

Hyundai Kite, which uses fibre optic lighting.

Hyundai Kite presented as part of the FuoriSalone 2018.

These collaborations are deliberate. Big brands, who are vaguely related to design, are trying to get in front of you, and the Salone is the perfect opportunity to do so.

In an age of ‘influence’, designers are sitting in the upper echelons of the influencer landscape.

Samsung x ZHA from 2017. Photo by Luke Hayes.

Samsung x ZHA from 2017. Photo by Luke Hayes.

Designers and architects set trends, whether it’s in the spaces you design or otherwise. You are tastemakers in the truest sense of the word. And most importantly, you have a direct relationship with clients who trust you to guide them in the design of workplaces, cafés, hotels… the list goes on. It was only a matter of time before brands outside of the traditional design realm would come flocking.

MINI Living showcases the future of living in smaller spaces.

MINI Living showcases the future of living in smaller spaces, a theme that the company continues to explore in different ways each year.

These installations offer an opportunity for artists and designers to explore new innovations and technology. It would seem that as the FuoriSalone continues to grow in scale, so too will the hybrid/branded messages that come through in unexpected ways. Quite simply, the FuoriSalone has become a breeding ground for ideas. But to be remembered in all the fanfare of the design week, the message and execution must be bang on. 

Follow @indesignlive and #milanindesign on Instagram for regular Milan Furniture Fair updates. 

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