Mentioning a history of the FuoriSalone, even if to a large extent, is impossible without thinking about that of the Salone del Mobile, the commercial soul and driving force behind this event. Just as it is not possible to imagine the opposite, an exhibition without its' outside', two symbiotic events that have found in the qualities of the productive, cultural and urban fabric of the Milanese territory, a context capable of accommodating and giving space to the different expressions and interests of the international design community. An event born spontaneously, developed over thirty years has become a virtuous example still unsurpassed.
Years 60 -' 70
When the first Italian Furniture Fair organized by Cosmit (the Organizing Committee of the Italian Furniture Fair) was inaugurated in 1961, the world of design had already assumed such autonomy (linguistic, formal and productive) that it would take a few years after the opening of Pavilion 30/III, also known as' Mecca del design', to welcome those enterprises pioneering a new way of conceiving furniture. It is a period of great growth and development, both for the Salone and for design, which at the end of the 70's saw the first signs of what would have become a common practice for many companies: between trade fair constraints and positioning choices, Cassina is among the first to exploit its showroom in the city as an extension of the fair's merchant space, creating a precedent that in a short time would have turned into a distinctive feature of this event.
These were the years of' Milano da Bere', new consumption and mass hedonism. And while more and more companies decide to show off their exhibits in showrooms or other prestigious venues in the city centre, or to celebrate their anniversaries in unusual places in the city, the Fuori Salone lays its foundations. In 1981 Alchemy brought to the Polytechnic new contaminations between languages, that of the design of Mendini's Mobile Infinito and that of the performance of criminal warehouses. At the same time, in the centre, the Memphis exhibition at the Arc 74 gallery has a reminder that makes visible in the spaces of the city the frenetic activity of the world of design that until then had been closed to most people. It was in this climate that Abitare magazine, in 1983, recognized for the first time that something different was happening in the spaces of the city: first by dedicating a section of the magazine to' Fuori Salone', the following year by telling the event with a special video reportage. In the following years, design outside the Salone will occupy more and more pages in sector magazines and more and more places in the city, marking a definitive change of direction in the exhibition forms of design and a different relationship with the city.
1990. Annus horribilis for the Trade Fair, which after decades of service closes its doors. A wonderful year for Cosmit, which on the occasion of the 30th Furniture Fair moves the exhibition from September to April 1991, going to occupy all the exhibition spaces and establishing a new calendar for the sector. In this space left free by the Salone, Gilda Bojardi of Interni organizes that September the first Designer's Week as a network of showrooms in the city, gathered in what will be recognized as the first official guide to the FuoriSalone. This ephemeral experience, interrupted at the second edition and immediately realigned to the new calendar, but sufficient to give a fundamental impulse to the Fuori Salone event and to the birth of the small industry of guides that will invade Milan in the following years. This same magazine will be the protagonist of other relevant changes, on all the realization of themed installations, free from commercial intentions, which from 1998 will mark a new use of public spaces and ten years later will find a definitive place in the cloisters of the State University. To this progressive opening of design towards the city and its visitors, Cosmit will respond, opening his own exhibition to the general public that had, thanks to the growing initiatives outside of the exhibition, discovered a new cultural and consumer interest.
Urban marketing, expressive contaminations and digital media. The years of Tortona Zone and temporary district design, which in 2013 will be 7 (or 6, or 8 depending on the points of view). In 2000 SuperStudio, at the instigation of Gisella Borioli and Giulio Cappellini, expanded its spaces to accommodate after fashion also design, and the following year was born Zona Tortona, thanks to the intuition of Recapito Milanese by Luca Fois, as the first territorial branding project of FuoriSalone. These have been years of great change: the Fiera di Milano, and with it the Salone, moved to the new pavilions of Rho in 2006, but at the same time the Cosmit opened up to the city through various cultural and other initiatives. Follow the evolution of the FuoriSalone becomes from year to year.
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