Organisers of Salone del Mobile, the world’s largest furniture fair, have announced that the show has been postponed until June, as Italy moves to contain the spread of Coronavirus.
The massive trade show, which includes kitchen furniture exposition EuroCucina, was due to take place between 21st and 26th April in Milan.
However, authorities in the Lombardy region, of which Milan is the capital, have issued strict guidelines aimed at containing the outbreak of the Covid-19 strain of the virus, which has already claimed 11 lives. More than 300 people have tested positive for the virus in Italy, making this the largest outbreak in Europe.
Several towns in the northern region have been placed under lockdown-style conditions, including bans on holding public events.
Last year, Salone del Mobile attracted more than 380,000 visitors to see almost 2,500 exhibitors. However, several exhibitors had already announced their intention to withdraw from the 2020 show due to concerns over the outbreak, and around 30,000 Chinese buyers would have been unable to attend due to travel restrictions.
Following an emergency meeting yesterday, organisers have confirmed Salone del Mobile 2020 will now take place between 16th – 21st June.
In a statement issued last night, organisers said: ‘Following an extraordinary meeting today of the Board of Federlegno Arredo Eventi, and in view of the ongoing public health emergency, the decision has been taken to postpone the upcoming edition of the Salone del Mobile.
They added that the change of date means that ‘manufacturers, in a major show of responsibility, will be able to present their finalised work to an international public that sees the annual appointment with the Salone del Mobile as a benchmark for creativity and design’.
Other Milan-based trade shows have announced similar decisions. The Mostra Convengo Expocomfort (MCE), the world’s leading residential and industrial installations fair, and the Biomass Innovation Expo (BIE), have been pushed back from 17th-20th March to 8th-11th September.
Organisers Reed Exhibitions Italia said that ‘with the recent development of the outbreak in Italy, especially in Lombardy, and taking into account the decree announced by the Lombardia Region [to suspend events]… we have decided to reschedule our events to September’.
‘This is not a decision we have taken lightly; our customers, partners and team in Italy have worked incredibly hard on these events and, while it is disappointing to postpone, it’s imperative that we prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved.’
In the UK, organisers of kbb Birmingham have announced that the show will go ahead as planned, with the absent Chinese exhibitors to be represented in a digital pavilion.