Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Shanghai Exhibition Centre lit up in red for the VIP opening of Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai on November 22nd, 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

VIP opening of Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai 2017. Nick shooting and drinking champagne at the same time. Skills! Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left: Communist Chinese slash Soviet Terrazzo. Is there such a thing? Why yes there is, and I think I like it. Right: Cooltown wait staff at the VIP opening. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Right: Supergraphics meet overscaled typography at the punchy IDEAT magazine lounge. So much fun. Right: One my favourite moments from the opening, nay, from our entire trip – gorgeous female pianist dressed in red lace playing a grand piano in front of the monumental arch of Shanghai Exhibition Centre. Holy shit! Incredible! Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

This life is pretty crazy, you know. When I first went to Milan for Salone del Mobile back in 2007 (before this website ever began), I never anticipated so much of my life and my professional output would be tied to this global design event. I returned to Milan in 2011, and have been going there ever since.

These annual trips eventually gave rise to our infamous MILANTRACE project, which takes a comprehensive look at Salone del Mobile, Milan Design Week and many associated events, both online via our digital report and offline via our talk series throughout Australia. The work our tiny team produces has gained a lot of attention both here and overseas (and we’ve been lucky to receive an incredible amount of support from so many people – thank you all!).

In response to our work this year, particularly relating to our inaugural MILANTRACE Edizione E-report, Team Yellowtrace were invited to attend the Shanghai edition of Salone del Mobile, which sees the world’s most important design event transported all the way from Italy to China. As the only international media on the ground (I know, how crazy is that?), Nick and I spent a few amazing days exploring the event, meeting Salone organisers, reuniting with the brands we’ve gotten to know in Milan, and making a fair share of new discoveries.

 

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left: THAT MOMENT AGAIN! I was dying. She was an amazing, spunky player and the setting, the setting! Gaaaahhhh!!!! Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Ornate details from Shanghai Exhibition Centre, laced with many communist references. SO GOOD MAN!!! Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

The second edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai took place at the incredible Shanghai Exhibition Centre (SEC). Visiting this very special building was in and of itself a pretty special experience.

Built in 1955 by the Soviet Union as a gift to fellow communist China, both the interior and exterior draw heavily on Russian style neoclassical architecture. Nestled between Yan’an Road and Nanjing Road, the arresting building measures close to 100,000sqm and bears many marks of communism, such as the iconic five-pointed red star seen throughout the interior.

It just so happens my mind got flooded with countless happy memories of growing up in communist Yugoslavia, and my childhood and adolescence spent in the old country. This link to my old life was pretty random and truly bizarre, to say the least.

 

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Porro at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Edra at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Moroso at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Kartell & Oluce at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Living Divani & Magis at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

Witnessing some of the finest and best known Italian brands from Salone del Mobile in Milan showcased in the Soviet/Chinese setting was absolutely exhilarating. From Flexform, Poliform, Molteni, Moroso, Baxter, Magis, Kartell and Foscarini (to mention only a few!), the presence of each brand made this event an experience to remember. Are we in Milan? I kept asking myself around every corner…

But then I’d see a Chinese guard, or take in the splendour (and many quirks) of the building we were in, and quickly realise we were in fact in Shanghai.

 

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Ernestomeda & Arclinea Kitchens at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Gallotti & Radice and Minotti at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Baxter & Foscarinin at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Sigma L2 & Barovier Toso at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Citco Design & Flexform at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Flexform & Ceccotti Collezioni at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Artemide at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017.(Just in case you couldn’t work it out from the signage – hahahaha!) Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Favourite new discovery at Salone del Mobile. Milano Shanghai 2017 was the amazing luxury bathroom ware by antoniolupi. Yes, that’s an integrated sink on the right. Amazing! Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

What struck me the most while visiting the Shanghai fair is how clever the Italians are at presenting their brands to the world, even when they are not building mega-stands, like they do in Milan. The ingenuity of their smaller but equally beautiful presentations was one of my favourite aspects of the show. We also really appreciated the edited nature of the event, which could easily be covered in a single day, providing a comfortable and manageable alternative to the magnitude of Salone del Mobile in Milan.

Oh and one more thing, and this one is pretty obvious – Chinese market is colossal. And I mean holy WOW! It’s one thing to read about the population of China in the atlas and the scale of their economy in the financial publications, but it’s quite another to experience it all first hand, and witness China’s thirst and appetite for development, progress and their interest in design. It’s a real eye-opener.

 

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Yours truly on the First Day vs the Last Day of Salone Shanghai. Not sure what happened but I literally went from ‘totes profesh’ to fully ‘gangasta’ hahahaha! Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Mario Bellini is not only a major, major dude, he gave the most excellent talk at Salone Shanghai on the first day. Massive respect! Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Little moments from Salone Shanghai. Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace
Salone del Mobile Shanghai 2017. Photo by Nick Hughes | Yellowtrace

Left: It’s important to stretch. Right: Team Yellowtrace gone wild! Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.

 

So howzat? I hope you’ve enjoyed some of my favourite moments and new discoveries from our visit to Salone del Mobile.Milano Shanghai 2017. There are many more images in the gallery below for your perusal and viewing pleasure.

And do keep an eye out for a separate report from SaloneSatellite Shanghai, dedicated to young Chinese designers. It’ll be a good one, promise!

 

 


[Photography © Nick Hughes/ Yellowtrace.]

 

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