Manlio Armellini, the heart and soul of the Salone del Mobile di Milano, has passed away

Manlio Armellini left us yesterday (November 16, 2020). He was Secretary General and then CEO of Cosmit  from 1965 onwards.

This is how Claudio Luti, President of the Salone del Mobile.Milano remembers  him: “With Manlio’s passing, we have lost a friend whose tenacity and skill enabled  the Salone del Mobile to achieve the successes recognized the world over. Along with  the entrepreneurs, he oversaw and handled the evolution of what was to become  the leading international event, and not just for design. He initiated cultural projects  that rubbed off on the city of Milan, he was behind and believed in the SaloneSatellite  project, and took on board the many changes that occurred over time, unfailingly  coming up with solutions and innovations to safeguard and bolster the Salone brand,  which was also his home and his life, with his wife Armida by his side. Carrying on  along the same path will be the best possible tribute we can pay to an extraordinary  man who will be much missed by us all. Ciao Manlio.” 


Cavalier of the Grand Cross of Order and Merit of the Italian Republic 

Manlio Armellini was born in Porto San Giorgio (Ascoli Piceno) on 9th October 1937.  

Throughout his 40-year involvement with the furniture industry (tradeshows,  publishing, cultural events – Armellini, who began his career with Federlegno and  was a part of the Salone del Mobile since it began in 1961, earned national and  international awards, prizes, and recognition for the excellent results of the initiatives  he organized and championed. It was Armellini who really put the Salone  Internazionale del Mobile on the map in 1965, when he expanded the commercial  offering by bringing together the key players in the furniture industry. Under his  guidance as Secretary General, a position he took up in 1974, the show has grown  in net exhibition space from 97,000 square metres to 222 thousand square metres,  while trade visitor numbers have risen from 67,000 to over 348,000 including over  210,000 from outside Italy. The figures are testament to the event’s role in fueling the unique phenomenon that is the absolute leadership of Italian-made furniture  internationally.  

As of 1965, he was also responsible for more than 40 collateral cultural initiatives,  which meant that the Salone del Mobile ventured out of the strictly trade fair realm,  prestigious as it was, and into the world of artistic and design culture. 

These collateral events organized in tandem with the Salone saw to it that Italian  design became a stylistic, formal and industrial benchmark for the entire furnishing  sector. 

In 1987, these activities were rewarded by an ADI Compasso d’Oro, “for the  promotion of Italian design.” 

Also a journalist, Armellini started out as an editor of the furniture industry’s longest  established financial monthly, L’industria del legno e del Mobile 1949-2000 – founded by his father Tito Armellini, who was also a director of Federlegno – and  later became the publisher of Rassegna modi di abitare oggi (1968–79). Extremely  active in industry associations, Armellini also chaired Assomostre, under the  umbrella of Confcommercio, the association that brings together 37 international  trade exhibitions, events that rank among the most important in their respective  fields.  

Manlio Armellini was the Managing Director of Cosmit SpA – the company that  organized the Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Euroluce, Eurocucina, EIMU (now  Workplace3.0), the International Furnishing Accessories Exhibition, the International  Bathroom Exhibition, SaloneSatellite, SASMIL – and the Cosmit Events Foundation  in Milan, as well as being President of the Cosmit Foundation. 

He was a Member of ADI (Italian Association of Industrial Design), a Member of UFI  (Union Foires Internationales, Brussels), a Member of ICSID (International Council  of Societies Industrial Design, Helsinki), a Member of the General Council of the AFI  (Italian Forestry Association, Rome), an Honorary Member of District 108 of the  Lions Club and an Honorary Member of UIPPA (Union Internationale de la Presse  Professionelle de l’Ameublement, Brussels). He also chaired the Technical Consultative Committee of the Fiera Milano Foundation, which helped to ensure that  the new Rho-Pero fairgrounds took off.  

He was also a Member of the Lombard Region Monitoring Board for Planning the  Design Museum in Milan. 

On 26th May 1994, he was presented with a Certificate of Merit and Gold Medal by  Federlegno, for “having contributed through the trade fair events to keeping the  whole world’s attention focused on the technological and formal values of the Italian  furniture and furnishing sector, and ensuring that these exhibitions were  unparalleled showcases for the design and creativity of the Italian industry.”  

In 1996, Federlegno presented him with a silver plaque in recognition of the ongoing  success of the Salone del Mobile. 

He was awarded the Tagliacarne Prize “for his marketing policy capable of  disseminating culture” by the AISM (Italian Association for Marketing Studies) in  1998. 

He received the prize for promoting Italian furniture around the world as part of the  Giuseppe Terragni Designer project in 2006. 

He was largely responsible for Cosmit being assigned the Ambrogino d’Oro Award in  December 2007, presented to him by Letizia Moratti, Mayor of Milan. 

He was presented with the 2007 La Lombardia Prize for Endeavour by the President  of the Lombard Region, Roberto Formigoni, in March 2008.  

He was made a Knight of the Grand Cross of Order and Merit of the Italian Republic  by the Head of State, Giorgio Napoletano, on 2nd June 2008.  

On 29th January 2009, he was appointed a Member of the Scientific Committee for  the Farnesina Design Collection Project by Ministerial Decree from Franco Frattini,  Minister for Foreign Affairs.