Crowds return to Milan Furniture Fair after two-year hiatus

The furniture and design industry has embraced the Milan Furniture Fair in Italy, after a two-year pandemic delay with unapologetic, over-the-top statement pieces, multi-purpose furnishings adapted to small spaces, and sustainable creations by young designers pushing the industry towards a greener path.

After a surprising pandemic redecorating boom, the industry is looking to an uncertain future. There are raw materials shortages, higher transport costs and general economic uncertainty generated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sales of Italian furnishings surged to 16 billion euros (about NZ$26.5 billion) in 2021, a 16% increase over 2019 and 25% more than 2020.

Despite the murky outlook, the world’s premiere furniture and design fair, known in Italian as Salone del Mobile, kept the focus on innovation as it recorded a rebound in attendance during six days of previews that closed Sunday.

Visitors enjoy 'Labyrinth garden' by Raffaello Galliotto designer, for Nardi outdoor, part of the 'Fuorisalone', during the Design Fair exhibition in Milan, Italy.

Luca Bruno/AP

Visitors enjoy ‘Labyrinth garden’ by Raffaello Galliotto designer, for Nardi outdoor, part

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