The lecture by INTERNI director Gilda Bojardi at the Pambianco Interni 2024 Design Summit dedicated to retail: DESIGN IN MOVEMENT, the evolution of markets and sales channels
Good morning everyone and thank you. I thank David Pambianco and Paola Novati for the invitation extended to Interni also this year for the seventh time to participate as a partner in these 10 years of life of the Summit. Before going into the merits, let me say a few words about Interni.

INTERNI, the first 70 years of the magazine

In 2024, the magazine celebrated its first seventy years, during which it has closely followed the growth that design has been able to express thanks to the intuitions and work of brilliant men of culture, architects, designers and capable and courageous entrepreneurs.

INTERNI's activity also includes the conception and coordination of events, including this one and event-exhibitions such as the FuoriSalone, organized with the aim of encouraging meetings between those who design, those who produce, those who distribute and the public.

The American market and BIG ITALY New York

Connecting to today's meeting dedicated to RETAIL (DESIGN IN MOTION, the evolution of markets and sales channels) I would like to highlight the importance of the US market in the Export of Made in Italy.

Read the special: BIG ITALY NEW YORK

This aspect was highlighted by the Interni Event last May in New York - BIG ITALY in NY - which celebrated the 50 Single-Brand Stores of Italian Design, n. 33 from Madison Avenue (59st-31st) to NoMad (30st-19st) n. 17 in Soho and surroundings and by a meeting-debate at the Consulate between 5 Italian companies well-established in the United States, with their respective CEOs and 5 important American architectural firms very strong in the design of large-scale building-towers.

Read also: BIG ITALY NEW YORK, the circuit, the showrooms, the events

And how important it is for Italian brands to enhance the quality of the product and the coherence of the image with an organized distribution through single-brand stores on the street in the most representative areas of the big cities, from New York to Los Angeles, Miami, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington etc… “They call it the New York Design Week but, if you look closely, you could define it as the Italian Design Week in Manhattan”, with these words the Consul General of Italy in New York Fabrizio Di Michele opened the crowded talk organized by us at Interni on May 20 at 690 Park Avenue, home of the Consulate.

Read all about the talk at the Consulate General of Italy in New York

We can argue that today the store is a ‘mutant’, an environment destined to transform into ‘an experiential space’, with a high rate of communication and seduction. Behind me are the images of the windows and spaces of the 50 brands we talked about and that you can clearly see in the projection.

The American Design Market: An Evolution from the 70s to Today

The 70s: The Pioneers of Italian Design

In the 70s, the American design market began to develop, especially thanks to companies such as Artemide, Anonima Castelli, Kartell, B&BItalia, Cassina etc. At the time, the activity was mainly concentrated in the Design Buildings (D&D building, A&D building). These spaces were dedicated to interior design, where the private client accessed only with the Interior Designers in charge of the project and the choice of products.

The 80s: The Growth of Design Distribution

In the 80s, design distribution began to take hold in the United States with even street shops. Some representative spaces such as Luminaire in Miami, Montage in Boston, Domus in Atlanta, Diva in Los Angeles and Mary Moss in New York begin to import and distribute the most important brands of Made in Italy Design. These stores contribute significantly to the diffusion of high-end Italian brands on the American market. French companies are also present on the US market with a franchising approach for Roche Bobois and Ligne Roset, direct and franchising.

The 90s: Investing in Single-Brand Stores

In the 90s, several Italian design companies began to invest in single-brand stores on the street. This happened for two main reasons: the difficulty of finding adequate partners to represent the brand in its entirety and complexity. In 2000, especially in the Soho area of ​​New York, many brands such as Boffi, Kartell, Flos and Artemide, Poltrona Frau, Molteni, Poliform, Cassina, Moroso, Cappellini, Foscarini etc. opened single-brand stores, further strengthening their presence on the market until today, when most of the companies then present in SOHO concentrated on Madison Avenue, also to avoid the high costs of Soho, as told by the Interni circuit BIG ITALY IN NY and celebrated on the evening of Friday 19 May last. This strategy is consistent with the desire to always best represent the quality of the product and the coherence of the image and the strength of concentration (see Via Durini).

The store as a cultural container

The store therefore becomes a cultural and product container and a brand story in which the actors have the opportunity to build professional relationships and gain inspiration from different perspectives.

The potential and challenges of the US market: the role of architects

The US market offers enormous potential, but presents difficulties in achieving widespread distribution like the one we are used to in Europe. Of great importance for companies is the importance of Contract, which is favored by the interface with the large Architecture Firms, for which Interni organized the meeting-debate between companies and designers at the Consulate. On the opening night of BIG ITALY NY in partnership with ICFF (fair at the Javits Center / and with the city of New York NYCxDesign), the much recognized and “envied” groupings and “queues” in Milan were seen in front of the showrooms presided over by the iconic Interni flag.