We would like to share with you our experience from one of the biggest antiquarian trade fairs in Europe, Mercante in fiera in Parma which took place during 27th September to 7th October 2018. Enjoy the reading☺.
We came to Parma Thursday late evening. Fortunately, we found opened local trattoria, ate typical Parma ravioli and drank couple glasses of wine. By the way, we had to serve the wine ourselves from the faucet. The unit of measurement was 25 centilitres so we had the chance to try many kinds of wine. Regarding the accommodation – be sure to avoid hotel Ibis.
We went to the exhibition area in the city outskirts on Friday morning. First 2 days are reserved for the antiques business men. We showed our trade licence to the boy behind the bars – he just laughed, gave us card to fulfil and we got the free entry passes. We also got an “international buyer” status. Maybe the school leaving examination would be enough as well for him☺
We had no idea what to expect. After we entered the trade fair, we felt like Alice in Wonderland – it was like the stock-market multiplied by 25 times.
There were three pavilions full of antiques – you could find ancient sculptures, vintage frames for glasses and boat sea chests from Louis Vuitton there.
For better idea how it looks like – one pavilion was as big as football field. We lost our way twice until we went through the whole pavilion. The orientation point for us was the stuffed lioness.
The most interesting for us was the pavilion number 6. It was the place where sellers of antiques from 20th century were gathering. Beautiful and luxurious arm chairs, poufs and sofas were blazing with colours. Not a single shade of grey but shades of blue, green, violet and yellow were dominating the whole pavilion. They were usually in one-colour version and often with velvet surface. Pieces from the 1950s and 1960s modern were prevailing (photos 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).
Stands were full of designer lamps mainly with colourful metal or glass rounded shields. And not to forget chandeliers made of crystal or murano glass.
Commodes, bedside tables and small tables had the shape that was very interesting and timeless. You could find items from world famous designers like Gio Ponti and Ico Parisi. Some of the exhibitioners were offering luxurious Art Deco furniture, only Tamara de Lempicky was missing on the walls. We saw only a bit of classical functionalism, like few chairs and couchettes LC4 from Le Corbusier.
When we are reflecting back on our impressions from Parma, the whole city had kind of graceful and curvy shapes. Nothing sharp, no edges. Sellers were chatting together, drinking coffee and smoking directly in the pavilions, even near the upholstery fabrics☺ It was not important that some of them still had their furniture packed in the boxes and plastic foils. It does not matter (photos 13, 14).
To sum up, here is some practical information. The trade fair lasts for 11 days, first 2 days is open for antiques sellers, the remaining days for the public. You can find there antiques of all kinds under one roof. If you want to see all pavilions, you will need the whole day. The best offers are presumably the last day of the trade fair because all the sellers want to get rid of the most of their items. Otherwise, you have to count with the trade fair extra charge which is usually two – three times bigger than normal prices. But it is worth it!