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.
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.”
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.