What are you most excited about for the 2017 event?
I am most excited about the many industry professionals attending and their genuine attachment to the trade fair – they seem delighted to be sharing this anniversary with us. A 50th anniversary is really something special. The anniversary reminds us of the progress made by an entire profession and industry that has developed with and around the trade fair. I am most excited about this aspect, which is also the most important in my eyes.
The show will be centred on the spirit of sharing and socialising, what does this mean for attendees?
We wanted to avoid falling into the trap of being ostentatious and showing off, and instead wanted to champion one of our renowned and popular values – closeness. This is why we have chosen to celebrate this anniversary with all those – both individuals and companies – born between 6–9 October or who are celebrating their 50th birthday this year. This anniversary is not a solemn ceremony, but a celebratory event.
"The anniversary reminds us of the progress made by an entire profession and industry that has developed with and around the trade fair"
What special events are taking place at the show to celebrate?
We have a special Silmo d’Or awards ceremony, a film, and iconic items on sale in a special e-shop. And, of course, we have our events that provide an overview of exhibitor designs and innovations, such as the Trend Forums, Low Vision, Experience Store, Silmo Academy and the digital magazine. It is worth emphasising that this is not a nostalgic backward-looking event. Instead, we want to look to the future, drawing on everything that makes Silmo the world optical fair.
What have been the highlights of Silmo’s 50 years?
The trade fair has grown with the market. It has to be said that the market has significantly evolved over the past 50 years with millions of people worldwide being fitted with stylish glasses and effective lenses.
The trade fair has significantly supported the development of hundreds of businesses and displayed real foresight in 1967 when business leaders decided to create the first world optical fair in Oyonnax, France’s ‘Plastics Valley.’
Silmo went on to become such a leading trade fair that it moved to Paris in 1981 to make it more appealing to the international market. Over time, the organisers have incorporated unique structure-building spaces for the industry. These spaces help make the trade fair unique.