written by:
February 11, 2013
Every year, Cosmit, the Italian organization behind Milan's annual Salone Internazionale del Mobile furniture fair, the ne plus ultra of all international design shows, holds a press conference for journalists from all over the world. Under the new leadership of Claudio Luti, CEO of Kartell, this year's conference was bigger than ever, and presented an unusually candid board of directors ready to answer questions about everything from China's growing influence to the future of Milan as the world's reigning design capital.

While the word 'preview' might imply that journalists are privy to the furniture pieces to be unveiled in April, this is not the case. Rather it's an opportunity for Cosmit to tout the show itself, in an effort to boost attendance and garner international attention in advance of Salone. Kicking things off, Luti and his board, comprised of company heads from other major Italian furniture interests like Flos, Poliform, Federlegnoarredo, and more, first made a couple announcements:

- On the show floor this year will be French architect Jean Nouvel's project "Offices for Living," the Pritzker Prize winner's repudiation of the "totalitarian nature" of closed space and bad design. Comprised of different scenarios unfolding over 12,000 square feet at Salone Ufficio, the portion of the show dedicated to office design, Nouvel's concept will undoubtedly present lessons gleaned from his many office building commissions, from CLM-BBDO in France in New York to Torre Agbar in Barcelona.

- For the first time ever, this year COSMIT has worked with the city of Milan to offer an all-inclusive ticket that encompasses public transport to the fair—located in Rho, a thirty-minute ride from the city's center, entry to the fair itself, and free admission to all public museums for all ticket-holding Salone attendees. This agreement is a much needed step in the right direction, since so many important events happen outside the trade fair, throughout the city, and creating an inclusive ticket will encourage even more people to come to Milan during the design week.

Once these announcements were made, the board of directors opened the floor to questions from the 95 journalists present. One point in particular that piqued the interest of the crowd was the talk of authentic design, and the need to fight the knockoff trade.

Q: What are we supposed to do with the Chinese, who copy everything, who are beginning to run the world, and who are very good at it?

Claudio Luti: Yesterday we had a meeting with entrepreneurs and designers to talk about what can be done against this. On one hand we should be very proud because the copies are only of the bestsellers of the world. But we should conspire to fight against this unfair competition. I would say those who copy are thieves, they steal work from companies who invest in research. I think the Chinese are beginning to change their minds, from the information I've gotten, they are beginning to think copies are no longer enough, that they should start making ideas themselves. Already now in the Chinese distribution system, if you go into the important malls you see the copies have been sent away by the Chinese themselves. We also have [the problem] on the Internet, with sites that sell copies. We should educate the world in understanding the difference and the effort in making something original or buying something original. The title [of the meeting] was "Be Original" and this is something we should all do. Remember how important it is to respect the original, there's an intrinsic value, there's an intrinsic quality. Every day of the year, remind people that what is original must be supported. Acknowledge the original and always buy the original. This is very important and obviously, the better the distribution, the better the partners, you can defend the originality, the uniqueness.

Following of this, Luti said, "My dream is to remain the capital of design and fashion. Even a small city like Milan has a lot of energy, and it's emblematic of a city that works. There's no Paris, there's no London, there's no Shanghai—Milan will remain most important thanks to Salone del Mobile."

"Crisis or no crisis, Milan goes on."

Join the Discussion

Loading comments...

Latest Articles

45 dva 2270 persp1 cmyk 0
The prospect of retirement doesn’t just signal the end of a career; it offers the chance to recalibrate and re-prioritize in life.
July 25, 2016
18
You don’t have to choose between sustainable energy and curb appeal.
July 19, 2016
jakemagnus queensland 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
July 06, 2016
content delzresidence 013 1
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 29, 2016
abc malacari marwick stair 01 0
A simple set of stairs is a remodel’s backbone.
June 28, 2016
Design Award of Excellence winner Mellon Square.
Docomomo US announces the winners of this year's Modernism in America Awards. Each project showcases exemplary modern restoration techniques, practices, and ideas.
June 27, 2016
monogram dwell sf 039 1
After last year’s collaboration, we were excited to team up with Monogram again for the 2016 Monogram Modern Home Tour.
June 27, 2016
switch over chicago smart renovation penthouse deck smar green ball lamps quinze milan lounge furniture garapa hardwood
A strategic rewire enhances a spec house’s gut renovation.
June 26, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent coralie gourguechon treviso italy cphotos by coralie gourguechon co produced by isdat planche anatomique de haut parleur1
Coralie Gourguechon's paper objects will make you see technology in a whole new way.
June 26, 2016
green machine smart home aspen colorado facade yard bocci deck patio savant
Smart technology helps a house in Aspen, Colorado, stay on its sustainable course.
June 25, 2016
Compact Aglol 11 television plastic brionvega.
The aesthetic appeal of personal electronics has long fueled consumer interest. A new industrial design book celebrates devices that broke the mold.
June 25, 2016
modern backyard deck ipe wood
An angled deck transforms a backyard in Menlo Park, California, into a welcoming gathering spot.
June 24, 2016
dscf5485 1
Today, we kicked off this year’s annual Dwell on Design at the LA Convention Center, which will continue through Sunday, June 26th. Though we’ve been hosting this extensive event for years, this time around is particularly special.
June 24, 2016
under the radar renovation napa
Two designers restore a low-slung midcentury gem in Napa, California, by an unsung Bay Area modernist.
June 24, 2016
Exterior of Huneeus/Sugar Bowl Home.
San Francisco–based designer Maca Huneeus created her family’s weekend retreat near Lake Tahoe with a relaxed, sophisticated sensibility.
June 24, 2016
light and shadow bathroom walnut storage units corian counter vola faucet
A Toronto couple remodel their home with a special emphasis on a spacious kitchen and a material-rich bathroom.
June 24, 2016
Affordable home in Kansas City living room
In Kansas City, an architecture studio designs an adaptable house for a musician on a budget.
June 23, 2016
modern lycabettus penthouse apartment oak vertical slats office
By straightening angles, installing windows, and adding vertical accents, architect Aaron Ritenour brought light and order to an irregularly shaped apartment in the heart of Athens, Greece.
June 23, 2016
kitchen confidential tiles custom cabinetry oak veneer timber house
A modest kitchen addition to a couple’s cottage outside of Brisbane proves that one 376-square-foot room can revive an entire home.
June 23, 2016
feldman architecture 0
Each week, we tap into Dwell's Instagram community to bring you the most captivating design and architecture shots of the week.
June 22, 2016
Blackened timber Dutch home
A modern dwelling replaces a fallen farmhouse.
June 22, 2016
hillcrest house interior kitchen 3
Seeking an escape from bustling city life, a Manhattan couple embarks on a renovation in the verdant Hudson Valley.
June 22, 2016
angular
Atelier Moderno renovated an old industrial building to create a luminous, modern home.
June 21, 2016
San Francisco floating home exterior
Anchored in a small San Francisco canal, this floating home takes its cues from a classic city habitat.
June 21, 2016
modern renovation addition solar powered scotland facade steel balcony
From the bones of a neglected farmstead in rural Scotland emerges a low-impact, solar-powered home that’s all about working with what was already there.
June 21, 2016
up in the air small space new zealand facade corrugated metal cladding
An architect with a taste for unconventional living spaces creates a small house at lofty heights with a starring view.
June 21, 2016
young guns 2016 emerging talent marjan van aubel london cwai ming ng current window
Marjan Van Aubel makes technology a little more natural.
June 21, 2016
urban pastoral brooklyn family home facade steel cypress double
Building on the site of a former one-car garage, an architect creates his family’s home in an evolving neighborhood of Brooklyn.
June 20, 2016
Modern Brooklyn backyard studio with plexiglass skylight, green roof, and cedar cladding facade
In a Brooklyn backyard, an off-duty architect builds a structure that tests his attention to the little things.
June 20, 2016
the outer limits paris prefab home living area vertigo lamp constance guisset gijs bakker strip tablemetal panels
In the suburbs of Paris, an architect with an eco-friendly practice doesn’t let tradition stand in the way of innovation.
June 20, 2016