MIDO Moves: Italy’s Economy Doesn’t Hold This Tiger Down

By Paddy Kamen
Mido has done it again. With all the gusto and aplomb for which Italy is renowned, they pulled off an increase in both visitors and exhibitors to this year’s event, held March 2 to 4 in Milan. The results show that the trade show is in fine fettle, despite the continuing economic downturn.

One thing that strikes home about Mido and ANFAO, the manufacturer’s organization that puts on the show, is their penchant for innovation, creativity and resourcefulness. They don’t just do the same tired thing year after year.

One creative and highly successful initiative for 2013 was the provision of transportation to the show for hundreds of optical professionals and optical students from other cities.Italy’s famous high-speed train, the Frecciarossa (Red Arrow), was originally chartered for 300 travelers but became so popular that more than 600 professionals took the train to Mido from Rome,Florence and Bologna. One can imagine a sense of excitement and camaraderie as the train carried the group to the show – free of charge.

Cirillo Marcolin, president of Mido and ANFAO, spoke enthusiastically (and poetically) about this year’s show: “This is where professionals meet for an up-close experience of the world of eyewear in all its many facets. This industry is a universe made up of many planets, from sunglasses to ophthalmic frames, and machinery, parts, lenses and large-scale retailers, which are all stars in a complex and interrelated system, and Mido is at the centre of it all.”

This year, Mido also participated in a very exciting event that took place in Milan after the optical show: Milan Design Week, also known as Fuorisalone. The Fuorisalone is not a trade show or an organized exhibition but rather a come-as-you-can event in which companies and organizations that specialize in products having to do with design are free to participate. Fuorisalone piggybacks on the buzz generated by another, formal trade show, the Milan Furniture Fair. While companies attending that fair participate in the usual formal way for such events, anyone can participate in the Fuorisalone by booking space wherever they can find it (streets, hotels, office buildings and shops are rented out for the occasion) and joining in the impromptu festivities.

Mido’s participation in Fuorisalone was coined ‘Out of Mido’, and took place from April 11 to 14 at the Hotel Nhow’s gallery in the heart of the Tortona district. This Mido debut at Fuorisalone offered exhibit space to 15 of the most design-oriented eyewear designers in Italy. Both well-known and up-and-coming young talents showed off their wares to the general public and networked with other design professionals from around the globe.

It’s easy to see how and why Mido continues to excel: new ideas, well executed, and out-of-the-box thinking. As Marcolin says, “Trade shows are evolving and adjusting to the needs of their key players, as they move toward an increasingly specialized future. In the last few years, Mido has been moving in this direction, propelled by solid business principles and a passion for both innovation and specialization. I choose to continue to work with enthusiasm so that this exhibition maintains its world-class leadership position and to ensure that industry firms will vote Mido their meeting place of choice.”