From the 10th to the 15″ of April, Milan hosted the International Furniture Show and a number of related events, among which, for the first time, GrandHotelSalone – the Hotel Furniture Exhibition. Up to now, it had been the domain of fairs specialised in technical equipment for the industry, such as Tecnhotel in Genoa or ExpoTour in Milan, to present the most recent and advanced furniture solutions for hotels; the news that the Furniture Show, too, had developed a specific area in the hospitality sector was therefore welcomed with interest. I visited the event with some curiosity, wondering what new proposals one might find adding to the current – and rather repetitive – offering of products, classifiable into three large groups: carbon copy hotels (the same in every town), classical hotels (more or less luxurious, but all with common connotations and tending to produce a soothing effect), and trendy / designer hotels, with motives rooted in fashion. GrandHotelSalone, directed by Adam D. Tihani, has been inspired by the awareness that Made-in-Italy furniture can constitute an important resource for the development of the contract and collective-living industry, and thus presents itself as an innovative proposal. The most interesting idea, I think, was that of asking ten famous architects to design as many rooms, located in cities of the five continents, thus expressing their vision of a city through the hotel room of the future.If any visitors to the show planned to make use of the design proposals to furnish their hotels, they must have been disappointed: they will have to keep on using their own architects, because the solutions presented are only to be taken as cultural stimulations; as a proof of this, the least interesting project was precisely the one that was most immediately applicable, a hotel room in London by Vico Magistretti, a famous name in Italian design.The cities providing the settings for the ten architects’ hotel rooms were Berlin, Hong Kong, London, Mexico City, Moscow, New York, Paris, Rome, Sydney and Tokyo. Among the interpretations proposed, each with its own flavour and filtered through the authors’ personal sensitivities, I particularly enjoyed the work relative to Berlin, designed by the Mexican architects Logorreta, father and son, where surfaces are dilated in a play of transparencies.The event has been a positive experience: we wait for a confirmation from the next edition.
Furniture and the hotel industry
Di Antonio Caneva English translation Paola Pr, 19 Aprile 2002