Claudio Luti resigns as Salone del Mobile president

Salone del Mobile president Claudio Luti resigns amidst questions around a Salone 2021 postponement

Salone del Mobile at Rho Fiera, Milan
Salone del Mobile 2019 at Rho Fiera, Milan, 11 April 2019. Photography: Marta Carenzi / Mondadori via Getty Images
(Image credit: Marta Carenzi / Mondadori via Getty Images)

Salone President Claudio Luti has announced that he has resigned from the post. The news comes after a long period of uncertainty related to the fair’s September 2021 dates, which were announced last November after the fair’s original April plans had to be cancelled due to the pandemic.

Claudio Feltrin, president of Federlegno Arredo (the Italian timber trade organisation that owns Salone and its franchises) announced with a brief note on 23 April 2021 that reads: ‘Claudio Luti has informed the Board of Directors of his resignation as President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano. No decisions have yet been taken as to the organisation of the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2021.’ The company’s Board of Directors, the note continues, will meet in the following days to discuss all future plans. The decision is reportedly driven by a large number of furniture companies having expressed doubts about taking part in the September fair.

‘Leaving the Presidency of the Salone in such a delicate and complex moment is a painful decision,’ Luti said, according to Italian news agency Ansa. ‘Over the years I have worked hard to affirm the event as a representation of the system at an international level, but there are no longer the conditions to pursue my vision of compactness in the sector for the common good.’

In March 2021, Luti had lamented a lack of clarity from the Italian government regarding a plan for the reopening of fairs, calling Salone 2021 ‘a precious tool for the recovery of the industry, the city of Milan and the whole country.’ What followed were a series of meetings between Luti, Federlegno Arredo executives and the Italian government bodies, which had left all parties optimistic about the imminent fair.

Mayor of Milan Beppe Sala, took to social media with a message to the key players in the design and furniture industries, urging them to seriously think about the consequences of a cancelled Salone. ‘We have been working for months to be able to guarantee the conditions for furniture companies to safely take part to Salone 2021. There are categories like hospitality and communications that need to work, and in this time, communities must come together [...]. The collaboration between Milan and the furniture industry through Salone del Mobile has been going on for decades, but let’s be careful because it’s not unpredictable that during this difficult time other European cities claim this important role in design – something that as Milan’s Mayor, I won’t allow.’

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.