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After several attempts to go to the annual Salone Internazionale del Mobile (International Furniture Show) in Milan, I finally made it this year. Sue was traveling with her parents on a trip in Asia so she did not come with me. The event started on April 8 and ended on April 13. The last two days, Saturday and Sunday, are open to the general public. On other days, it is strictly for the trade only.


On the Saturday, I left Lausanne on the 06:17 train and arrived Milano at about 09:30. The train made a special stop at Rho Fiera, the station that serves the fairground where the show is held. It saved me probably an hour or more since I did not have to go to Milano Centrale and change to either a metro or a suburban train.


So I arrived soon after the show opened its doors. General admission was 30 euro. With online pre-registration, it took me very little time to buy a ticket.


The Fiera Milano fairground is one of the largest in the world, according to Wikipedia. Located in the west of Milano, near Rho, it was opened in 2005 with an investment of €755 million.


The complex includes eight pavilions for a total of 3,710,000 sq ft of covered exhibition space and 650,000 sq ft of outdoor space. Forget the numbers, it felt bigger than an airport  The web site of the Fiera Rho exhibition center is here.


This area is going to be the site of Expo 2015 – see graphics in photo above. I was hoping to see the one in Shanghai in 2012 but missed it. Given Milano’s proximity, I would definitely come to see it next year.

A central double-level corridor runs east-west in the middle of the fairground with pavilions/exhibition halls lining each of the sides. The top level has an automatic walkway like those that ferry passengers between airport terminals.


This is a map of the fairground.

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 10.45.41 PM


Built in record time to plans by Italian architect Massimiliano Fuksas, the Rho complex is an avant-garde glass and steel structure.


The glass and steel structure is composed of vortices and wavy surfaces.


There were restaurants, cafes and small shops located in the spaces between the exhibition halls and the central walkway.


Unfortunately, the quality of food in the sit-down restaurants looked no better than shopping mall fast food. I ended up eating a kebab on the lawn outside under the spring sunshine.


One of the exhibition hall is shaped like a UFO circa 1960’s due to its metallic skin and legs. It was the site for Design in Puglia during the Salone.


Underneath the giant creature is a small pool.


From a distance, it looks like the undulating roof above the central walkway has swallowed a small building.


I will take you inside some of these exhibition halls in the next few posts.

In the mean time, take a look at the designer-graphics posters for past Salone which I posted here after I canceled my last attempt to see the Salone.



  1. interesting…looking forward to the interiors too.

  2. i believe the correct year for the Shanghai Expo is 2010…

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