By  on May 23, 2007

MILAN — Dynamic trade exhibitions should reflect brisk business — and vice versa. For this reason, trade fair organizers are investing in restyling, repositioning booths and updating show spaces to keep current with contemporary design and avoid sameness.

In addition, collateral events are increasingly considered a must to add energy to trade fairs. "We are always looking for initiatives that will make Unica a must-see, an event impossible to miss, both at the fairgrounds and outside in the city," said Paolo Zegna, president of textile show Milano Unica. Zegna said the layout will change for the Sept. 11 to 14 edition, and that the women's exhibitions will be repositioned, with Moda In, Prato Expo and Idea Como on the top floor, and with more focus on fashion trends.

"Exhibitors and visitors are always looking for novelty, and we feel there is an increased attention to women's fashion," said Zegna. "As organizers, we must know how to pick up on cues, follow with concrete projects and avoid inactivity."

Zegna compared the textile industry to a hare, as it needs to "run faster and be one lap ahead" to defend its role as a leader, competing with countries such as China and India. "We must always aim at the top and find new ways to be vital — a vivacity exemplified by an equally vital trade fair," said Zegna.

Cirillo Marcolin, president of Mido, agreed. "We always need to renew ourselves to ensure an updated service and meet expectations. Companies change and Mido needs to, as well," said Marcolin. Mido, which ran May 4 to 7, moved to the new Rho-Pero fairgrounds this year, although there was no immediate need for the change of venue. "We could have remained in town for a few more years, but we feel the Rho-Pero space is more modern, the right structure that pushes exhibitors to renew themselves and help convey a new image of Mido," said Marcolin.

The new fairgrounds, located about a half hour subway ride outside of Milan, were designed by Massimiliano Fuksas and inaugurated in 2005. Marcolin said the new location allows a 15 percent increase in show space per exhibitor.

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