April 17 to 22, 2012. In Milan, where else?

There you have the dates and this year’s catch­phrase. The city, inte­rior design pro­fes­sion­als and addicts the world over are gear­ing up to the 51st edi­tion of the planet’s great­est home fur­nish­ing exhi­bi­tion, the Salone Inter­nazionale del Mobile.

The num­bers are sim­i­lar to last year’s: 209,000 square metres of net exhi­bi­tion space at Fiera Milano in Rho, run by Cos­mit, and almost 2500 exhibitors in all, includ­ing the spe­cial Saloni for kitchens, bath­rooms and fur­nish­ing acces­sories, and the Satel­lite expo where 750 cre­ative tal­ents under the age of 35 are flaunt­ing their inno­v­a­tive stuff this time round.

The most sig­nif­i­cant depar­ture from the 2011 for­mat, for non-trade devo­tees, is that the Saloni are open to the gen­eral pub­lic for two whole days — not just on the last day, Sun­day 22nd April, but on Sat­ur­day 21st too.

Look out for col­lat­eral arts events in town. Design Dance is a stun­ning chore­og­ra­phy of bod­ies, voices and design objects by Michela Marelli and Francesca Molteni, per­formed every evening dur­ing Design Week at the Tri­en­nale’s Teatro dell’Arte. There’ll be a mul­ti­me­dia instal­la­tion enti­tled libro­cielo at the Bib­lioteca Ambrosiana, in which Attilio Stoc­chi reflects on life and liv­ing with extracts from ancient texts. And a per­for­mance at the Pic­colo’s Teatro Stu­dio, Mani Grandi senza fine, in which Laura Curino gives us the great Milanese design­ers of the ‘60s - Cas­tiglioni, Mag­istretti, Menghi, Sottsass, Viganò, Zanuso. But these are just the events under the Cos­mit umbrella

The Fuorisa­lone is huge. There’s so much going on in so many loca­tions around the city cen­tre that they’re sorted into 5 dis­tinct itin­er­aries, whole dis­tricts hum­ming with cre­ativ­ity and teem­ing with tem­po­rary show­rooms along­side res­i­dent stores and work­shops. Fresh and dar­ing, it’s the fringe fes­ti­val of the trade fair, with a boun­teous events cal­en­dar to make you wish for ubiq­uity. More on the Fuorisa­lone soon.

Pho­tos cour­tesy of Cosmit.