IN THE LAP OF LUX­URY

Shang­hai gets a large help­ing of Ital­ian glamor through the Salone delMo­bileMi­lano, along with a vir­tual tour of the coun­try’s rich cul­tural spots. Sun Yuan­qing re­ports.

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - Contact the writer at sun­yuan­qing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ital­ian cul­ture in a mere 15 min­utes. That is what was on of­fer at the Salone del Mo­bile Mi­lano’s Shang­hai edi­tion from Nov 19 to 21, through Panorama, a 360-de­gree video pre­sen­ta­tion, cov­er­ing al­most all as­pects of “made in Italy”, in­clud­ing fashion, de­sign, food and bev­er­ages, hospi­tal­ity and au­to­mo­biles.

With the help of drones and im­mer­sive me­dia tech­nol­ogy, the video takes the au­di­ence on a vir­tual jour­ney, where they fly over the Coli­seum in Rome, see fashion shows by top de­sign­ers and visit Mediter­ranean winer­ies.

It features 250 of the coun­try’s great­est art­works by artists such as Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, Giotto di Bon­done and San­dro Bot­ti­celli. It also show­cases Ital­ian crafts­man­ship and jew­elry, with mu­sic by renowned Ital­ian mu­si­cians play­ing in the back­ground.

The video features more than 200 lo­ca­tions, in­clud­ing mu­se­ums, the­aters, city squares, build­ings and nat­u­ral land­scapes.

The video, which made its de­but at theMi­lan Expo last year and was screened at New York City’s Grand Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal in June this year, has been seen by 260,000 peo­ple so far.

The mis­sion of the video is to show­case the Ital­ian lux­ury in­dus­try, which rep­re­sents about 5 per­cent of the coun­try’s gross do­mes­tic prod­uct, says An­drea Illy, chair­man of the Al­t­agamma Foun­da­tion, the Ital­ian lux­ury in­dus­try as­so­ci­a­tion. He is also the pres­i­dent of Il­ly­caffe, a renowned Ital­ian cof­fee brand.

The video is also part of the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s ef­forts to pro­pel the growth of the lux­ury in­dus­try in Italy, he says.

“This (the video) is the best way to show Italy’s nat­u­ral beauty, cul­ture and man­u­fac­tur­ing prow­ess. We want to im­prove the en­gage­ment, the im­age and the rep­u­ta­tion of Ital­ian lux­ury.

“It is to pro­mote the lux­ury in­dus­try rather than spe­cific brands. If you show­case fashion items, it (the impact) is only for a while and then it is gone. New con­sumers want to un­der­stand the cul­tural side of Ital­ian her­itage. So, it be­comes im­por­tant to show them the cul­ture and the roots of Ital­ian lux­ury. This is what Panorama hopes to do.”

Illy, who first vis­ited China more than 25 years ago, has re­turned to the coun­try more than 25 times since, and has wit­nessed how the coun­try has changed.

He says Chi­nese cus­tomers, in par­tic­u­lar, are now more ed­u­cated and so­phis­ti­cated. And Ital­ian brands have been quick to re­act to this chang­ing trend.

He re­calls when he first vis­ited Shang­hai he could not even find proper socks, but this, he says, is no longer the case.

He adds that though China’s lux­ury An­drea Illy,

“This (the video) is the best way to show Italy’s nat­u­ral beauty, cul­ture and man­u­fac­tur­ing prow­ess.” chair­man, Al­t­agamma Foun­da­tion

in­dus­try is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing a slow­down due to a cam­paign against ex­trav­a­gance and an economic slow­down, it is in fact en­ter­ing a new era.

Ex­plain­ing his point, he says: “No econ­omy can sur­vive for long only on ex­ports and pub­lic ex­pen­di­ture. So, the main driver, at the end of the day, has to be in­ter­nal con­sump­tion. And that is what is hap­pen­ing in China now.

“So, what I am say­ing is the very op­po­site to what is gen­er­ally be­lieved— that isChina is en­ter­ing a very pos­i­tive phase in its economic cy­cle, which is of in­ter­nal con­sump­tion. Now, dis­pos­able in­come is grow­ing and con­sumers are get­ting more drawn to qual­ity prod­ucts and ser­vices. So, this is the mo­ment when­lux­ury busi­nesses will find solid growth.”

PHO­TOS PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Top and above left: Vis­i­tors at­tend the screen­ing of Panorama, an Ital­ian video show, at the Grand Cen­tral Sta­tion in Man­hat­tan in June. Above right: An­drea Illy, chair­man of the Al­t­agamma Foun­da­tion, says the video is tai­lored to im­prove the “en­gage­ment, im­age and rep­u­ta­tion” of Ital­ian lux­ury.

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