International furniture fair Salone del Mobile looks for its roots by celebrating classic furniture traditions through an interactive display and a film which will be presented during the next edition this coming April. Reaffirming Milan’s role as capital of design, each year the event takes over 207,000 square meters just outside the city, bringing together over 2,000 exhibitors which includes Italian companies, international brands from over 160 countries and young designers under the Salone Satellite aegis.

Now in its 55th edition, the fair continues to strengthen its offer with cultural projects that look at the past and future of architecture and design, working closely with Italy’s most celebrated creative minds. Mixing business and culture has been the goal of Salone del Mobile, a faithful interpretation of how design companies operate in the company.

‘Before Design: Classic’ is this year’s special project, which will reflect on the classic soul of contemporary living through a multi-disciplinary display. Curated by Studio Ciarmoli Queda, a Milan-based artistic duo operating in the fields of architecture, art and design, the exhibition develops as a multi-sensory journey through a dedicated 800 square meters space inspired by a classic Palladian villa. Visitors will be led through a series of rooms, discovering the different characters and themes of classic furniture. Each room will be characterized by different moods and highly emotional displays, and themes will range from a music space to a light room, to one dedicated to the art of shadows. Italian visual artists such as Lisa Rampilli and Marco Basta, who will respectively work with velvet and ceramics, created decorative elements inspired by the classic styles on display throughout the exhibition.

The journey through classic furniture ends in a purpose-built theatre inspired by the Teatro All’Antica, a 16th century theatre built in Sabbioneta, northern Italy; a rare surviving example of Renaissance’s Olympic theatres. Serving as a nucleus to the exhibition pavilion, the theatre will be a solid monolith placed at the centre, whose architecture will merge classic language and modern styles to sum up the function of the classic furniture presented in this context.

The theatre will introduce a movie created for the exhibition, directed by Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone (who sprung to international fame for his movie Gomorrah, in 2008), who took to the challenge to talk about furniture through the medium of film. ‘I really like the idea of classic which traverses different eras, preserving its own modern characteristic and building a bridge to the future,’ he notes, focusing on the classic as beauty as his central theme for the picture. The clip presents a post-atomic world, in which children (a symbol for a pure vision and ability to perceive beauty) save a few pieces from the city’s ruins, true design and craftsmanship gems that have lasted in time. Acting as ‘custodians of taste’, these children preserve the pieces for the future, ensuring that beauty is passed on through the generations, ‘surviving through the ages and embodying an unchanging contemporary taste.’