We were all very curious, and our curiosity has certainly been satisfied by the very extensive offer that each trade fair has organised. We are truly amazed by the number of available options, by being able to contact individuals and checking that they were “present” in the virtual rooms we entered, allowing us to chat as if we were old friends…
We have found dozens of company presentations, catalogues – largely in video format – of hundreds of products, presentations, insights, opportunities…
We have found many materials that companies have recycled and used, thinking that “…they were still useful”, however, the result was certainly not inspiring. Many of the people we contacted replied after hours or days, a very concrete sign that in-person attendance in a certain space is entirely different and that it’s not easy to recreate the art of meeting in a digital format.
TRADE FAIRS ARE A PLACE TO MEET IN PERSON
This is where their history lies and their future will be.
The present could have been “different”, for reasons that are clear to us all, but this does not alter the fact that the pandemic has triggered an exponential acceleration of concepts that trade fair organisations worldwide were already considering, namely the need to enhance the exhibition model known to everyone by “taking advantage” of the enormous potential of a digital format.
The digital version has been completely new to us in such a highly complex period.
However, we chose to give companies an opportunity, to take a risk and try.
This is exactly what Piemmeti has done with Wood-Experience, our other event in October this year.
When companies had to decide whether to participate, the number of infections was still high despite it being the summer. Quarantines were a recurring nightmare, but we had no doubts: we cannot stop the world and it’s essential to find the way and the courage to make precise, careful and bold choice.
We are totally convinced that, amidst doses of disinfectant, social distancing, face masks and many other indispensable measures, we also need to return to meeting each other in business environments.
IT TAKES COURAGE
to stop, stand at the window watching with the highest possible level of security and risk letting your company get left behind, just as it takes courage to decide to participate in a trade fair, whether it’s Progetto Fuoco or Salone del Mobile,m because you cannot delegate everything to a digital format.
More than 700 exhibitors will be taking part in the 13th edition of Progetto Fuoco. We have planned a “Covid-free” event, preparing ourselves to comply with the current regulations of national and regional authorities. We are also ready to adapt to any new situations, confident that we have the skills and tools to guarantee a safe trade fair for exhibitors and visitors.
Over the last 18 months, we have constantly been in direct touch with our exhibitors in order to build the “fair of recovery” with them, sharing the desire to return to normality, to personally testify to the need to give the world “fair” the only meaning it can and must have, namely a gathering of people”.
Such a choice shows, albeit with all due caution and care, how strong the need is to bring work, production and the economy back to the way we knew it. We have all managed to adapt to the restrictions imposed by lockdown, favouring digital events and ways of working that are valuable, but which – when all is said and done – have proved not to be the solution, but certainly and interesting way of dealing with the emergency.
DIGITAL IS NOT THE SOLUTION
Such new ways of doing, working and communicating will enhance certain experiences in the future, but they will never replace the trade fair event, personal contact – whether planned or by chance – and the opportunity to understand more and better, get the first-hand experience, discern and share gestures and emotions.
The first in-person international trade fair for the industry will host, as already mentioned, more than 700 exhibitors from 30 countries, mainly from France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Turkey, Greece ad Poland. To date, more than 70% of the exhibition space has been allocated and this year, once again, we will occupy all 8 of the available halls and the outdoor area. The trade fair will be enhance with the new events, such as the design competition, the outdoor village and Innovation Village.
The data and, above all, the list of exhibitors taking part in the Verona-based event are the best visiting card for a lively, content-rich and effective trade fair: in the coming weeks, the most intense work will clearly be on the visitor front, although the number and quality of exhibitors inspires much optimism about arrivals in Verona next May.
Once again, we will be able to make Progetto Fuoco the highlight of a promotional and development campaign in the industry, which has always been the mission of Piemmeti.
But above all, the atmosphere and the pleasure, means and opportunities, guaranteed by the fact that we are all really in the same place at the same time, will be the distinctive feature of the event: it has always been so, but this time we will really notice it.