by Valentina Croci

wager on the web and the university

For Flou, Natevo represents an entrepreneurial challenge in terms of typologies and business strategies. The idea of luminous furnishings comes from the Essentia bed by ThesiaProgetti, which reached the company via Internet. The possibility of replacing traditional lighting, one the one hand, and the use of the collaborative logic of the web, on the other, have unleashed an entrepreneurial vision that combines a research project in universities with a new idea of pointof- sale and a logic of advance purchasing online, followed by more sustainable production. The minimum common denominator: ecology in the use of energy and human resources. “The collection of luminous furnishings,” says Massimiliano Messina, president of Flou, “can replace traditional lighting, leading to tangible savings in both new and existing buildings. This implies starting to design the product together with the space, and changing the approach to sales. The Natevo collection is distributed via Internet and in the Natevo Labs, which are not so much stores as centers of consulting for designers, in direct contact with the Flou research division and universities. We are conducting research projects with the School of Architecture of Genoa and the Second University of Naples (and soon there will be projects at the School of Architecture of Catania and the Milan Polytechnic), spreading the culture of light in the territory. Model Apartments are also being made to display how luminous objects can replace traditional lighting: there is a whole world to explore, from contract to ‘retrofit’ in renovations. We want to widen the range of designers to anyone who wants to submit an idea, taking advantage of the ‘social’ dimension of the web even in production. Today we make only those objects that reach a certain number of online advance orders, so we limit waste and have a way to test the reaction of the public.” debut in design

Four designers, Paolo Ulian and Lorenzo Damiani with a more poetic approach, Delineo Design and Enrico Azzimonti with a more experimental vision, have been called in to create a collection of lamps for the ‘design debut’ of the brand Zava. The idea comes from Francesco Zavarise, owner of the family firm specializing in metalwork for the design industry. He has a passion for lamps, and likes to design them himself. Zavarise has decided to create a furnishings collection, and to start with lighting. The shared characteristic is the leading role of metal, worked in-house and transformed into products with affordable prices. Zava does laser cutting, bending and turning in a production plant that is thermally self-sufficient, free of toxic substances and oriented towards quality workmanship. “We started with lamps because this is the sector in which Zava has its reputation, and because it is a typology that brings out the full potential of metal,” says Massimo Rosati, art director of Zava. “In 2014 we want to widen the collection to furnishings and complements, and to develop a contract line above all for foreign business. Controlling all work inhouse, we can apply affordable prices and find the right compromise between aesthetic results and sustainable production costs. We also want to offer opportunities to young designers: with an invitational program, starting in October we will organize workshops for the design of new collections to present next April at the Salone.” believe in the poetry of material

Atanor was the ancient crucible of the alchemists, in which they transformed matter. This idea lies behind the brand that is part of Merotto Milani, a Treviso- based company that has operated in the contract and private sectors since 1970. Atanor has launched its first collection of seating and complements in solid wood, from carefully managed forests. The products feature joints, interlocks, dowels, ties and simple forms, underlining the virtues of manual craftsmanship. Under the creative direction of Tobia Scarpa, many outstanding designers have made a contribution, including Luciano Benetton, Guido Guerzoni, Ciro Cacchione, Piero Lissoni, Matteo Thun and Enrique Cordeyro. “The basic idea is to offer products that put the sensibilities of those who purchase them in touch with the history of the object and the spirit of those who have imagined it,” says Adriano Sordi, owner of Merotto Milani. “This reflects our belief in the critical capacities of clients, offering a collection of objects that are different from one another, but share a narrative that leads to more awareness in the purchase. Objects imagined with passion and made with care and delicacy. Their character reflects that of their makers, proposing simple, useful, direct products, interpreted by craftsmen using modern ideas and technologies. Atanor wants to be a ‘petit poésie de la matière’ in keeping with a logic that is consistent with the philosophy of the design.” experiment with new languages

Re Made in Fiam is part of the celebrations of the Marches-based company’s 40th anniversary. But it is not just another advertising campaign: it is a strategy that puts young designers to the test on the theme of recycling glass, seeking interpretations from different sources to put in the catalogue. Five Italian designers (Paolo Cappello, Nicola De Ponti, Roberto Giacomucci, Alessandra Pasetti and Donata Paruccini) have made prototypes starting with the work scrap from the Ragno table, designed by Vittorio Livi and made with a curved sheet, 2×3 m by 15mm of thickness. Three of them, Butterfly, Ovidio and Ceralacca, will make it into the catalogue. “We want to make Re Made in Fiam a biennial project,” says Daniele Livi, chief product manager of Fiam, “starting with scrap from the making of other products, to hypothesize new economies of scale in the production ecosystem. The designers visited the company to understand the manufacturing processes: Fiam is the last firm of its kind left to have these processes in-house, while the others assemble curved glass from places where it costs less. Re Made is not a set of limited editions, but a research project that combines poetry with sales, a concrete narrative that rewards the time and work invested by all. The market target is medium-high: Ceralacca and Ovidio, in welded glass, will go in the Liv’it catalogue, which is entry level, while Butterfly, in curved glass, goes in the Fiam catalogue. Some of the prototypes combine glass with other materials like raw cement or natural beech, with an aesthetic connected to the Macramé table, helping to update the company’s languages. The next Re Made will have other designers who have not yet been ‘contaminated’ by the world of Fiam.” rationalize resources and products

From the five trademarks of Firme di Vetro, with different characters and separate corporate organizations, to a single brand that rationalizes resources and products, without making a break with company history in the field of glass. This is the operation of Gruppo Leucos under the guidance of the new CEO Gherardo Flaccomio. “We have done three catalogues with the same spirit, as suggested by the three lines of the new logo: Studio, with a more architectural vision and also alternative materials to glass; Idea, which has selected products with a more contemporary taste from the FDV catalogues; and Modo, contemporary classics that reinterpret Venetian craftsmanship. The operation is a courageous one, aimed at bringing out the identity of a trademark. We have decided to keep the Leucos name because it was the most famous brand,” Flaccomio explains. “45% of our market is national, which is a quota we need to maintain, sustained by our corporate history, roots in the territory, and Venetian know-how. In Italy there is still the possibility of making solid visions into reality. The national lighting market is still one of the first in Europe. And gains can be made over those competitors who have relied on financial operations that are not based on the real economics of the situation. Nevertheless, the Group focuses on exports: we already have a good position in Russia and the USA, but we are also focusing on emerging markets. Glass has great potential in the world of contract, which now accounts for 30% of our sales, a figure we want to bring to 50%. We are thinking about the hotel sector, in which the reinterpreted classics in glass of the Modo line are meeting with great success.” complete, with outdoor, a concept of total living

Rather than an outdoor debut, Minotti has gradually completed its offerings of home furnishings, spreading the ‘Minotti style’ throughout the living environment. The outdoor venture starts with the new versions of iconic pieces like the Cortina chair, the Claydon table and the Bellagio and Cesar small tables. These are joined by the Alison divan and the Warhol chair, created from the start with an indoor-outdoor approach, thanks to the structure in iroko wood. The first collection conceived for outdoor use is Lifescape, shown at the Salone del Mobile 2013 together with the Le Parc series. “We were not thinking precisely about a new market,” says Roberto Minotti, co-owner of Minotti, “but our network of 28 monobrand stores in the world is already demonstrating that investment in outdoor exists. We want to transmit elegance, intimacy and comfort starting from inside the home and reaching the garden and terrace, reflecting the same refinement and continuity of style. The company’s vocation of production of quality furnishings, made to last, is expressed in the outdoor collection through the choice of fine materials that stand up to use over time and to atmospheric agents. So we invest a lot in research and development. The Le Parc series has won praise for its retro look, reinterpreted in a contemporary style, in a versatile family of items. The leitmotiv of the collection is represented by the sinuous iron structures with a cross motif and geometric decoration of laser-cut sheet metal. This kind of Made in Italy translates intuition and creativity into forms and objects that combine tradition and innovation. In keeping with the typically Italian approach that is coveted abroad; for Minotti, over 85% of sales are exports, to over 60 countries.” renew in a context of continuity

At Driade there is a passage of the helm. But it will not alter the meaning and quality of the research created by Enrico Astori in 1968 regarding different languages and an interdisciplinary take on design. “The entry of Italian Creation Group, as majority stakeholder, has happened in perfect symbiosis with the founders,” says Stefano Core, the new president of Driade. “In terms of the character of the brand, we intend to work in continuity, further reinforcing its position in the high end, also with intervention on the product portfolio and communication. With strong management orientation towards international markets.” Continuity can also be seen in the logistical and productive model, almost entirely done through outsourcing: “We are already relocating some of the production in Italy, for greater logistical efficiency and to increase levels of customer service, reinforcing the identity of Made in Italy of the brand, and rediscovering an Italian supply chain that needs an injection of business confidence in this moment. In short, we want less delocalization and more internationalization, counting on the unique ability of Italians to combine creativity and skill with high-quality materials.” So the idea of the aesthetic laboratory goes on: “Driade has been able to make very different, unique designers coexist in an eclectic trademark, integrating different cultures from Minimalism to Neo-Baroque. This is also a strong point for internationalization, which calls for greater entrepreneurial critical mass.” intercept different cultures

The voyage, the English colonies, the pursuit of new worlds… these are the ideas behind Ivory Collection, a brand based on the art direction of Gian Paolo Venier with a group of crafts companies from the Northeast that have completed custom projects, over the years, for Venier’s own design studio. “This is a matter of evolved crafts, in small editions, to create objects that last in time and establish a dialogue among themselves,” Venier explains. “The materials are worked in an original way. For example, the solid surface is not interpreted just as a thin sheet, but also engraved as if it were stone and combined in unusual ways with leather, metal and wood.” The companies involved take an active part in the research on materials and techniques, in coordination with the project team (Adriano Riosa, Fabio and Adriano Marzan). “There are two production chains: one for products that cannot be standardized, the other for more serial items, in the catalogue. But each project is developed on its own, in relation to specific problematic issues.” The trunks have been the biggest hit of the collection: “because they evoke collective imagery. They identify the meaning of the Ivory Collection, and other versions are now being developed. We pay close attention to the language of objects because it is a key aspect for intercepting different cultures and aesthetic backgrounds. Likewise, the suggestions products evoke are fundamental to communicate the crafts skills behind them. Furthermore, the collection is aimed at an audience that has culture, that appreciates and understands luxury.” bring out the sense of design history

It is a sort of predestined encounter. The Cassina brothers and Dino Gavina were friends and competitors, pioneers of Italian design history, often conducting research along the same lines. And on July 1st, Cassina acquired the Simon brand, with the aim of reviving it and integrating it in the entrepreneurial plans of the Poltrona Frau Group. “The acquisition,” says Gianluca Armento, director of the brand division Cassina and Cappellini, “also happened due to the personal interest of the CEO of the group, who fell in love with the Doge table by Carlo Scarpa. In any case, the qualitative affinities of the Simon Collezione products make them ideal for the sales channels of Cassina, which is a confederation of companies with an aggregating spirit. The new brand will be a project in its own right, since we have inherited about fifty products and an archive. Probably some of them can become part of the I Maestri collection, but the brand is conceived as part of the I Contemporanei collection, with its own identity. At the moment we are operating in continuity with what already exists, also as a sales force, but we are already launching the brand on an international level thanks to the presence of Cassina abroad, which accounts of 80% of sales. We want to communicate the value of Simon Collezione with a program of international exhibitions that narrate the story of Dino Gavina: a ‘captain of industry’ who, like the Cassina brothers, played a fundamental role in the cultural growth of Italian design. Furthermore, as we have done with Le Corbusier or Rietveld, we can reissue archival pieces or make small variations on the level of finishes and measurements, to keep the historic legacy of products alive. In the Simon catalogue today there are iconic tables and polyester lacquers that have stood up to the test of time. This is why we are starting from this base.” propose concrete, coherent things

Finely crafted solid wood is transformed into chairs with contemporary but not extreme design, through the creativity of Sergio Brioschi, Sebastian Herkner and Patricia Urquiola. Very Wood, a brand founded in 2009 by the contract company IFA, fully demonstrated its productive potential this year. This is a result, as Giovanni Gervasoni, president of IFA and managing director together with his brother Michele of the Gervasoni Group explains, of the know-how already inherited in the acquisition of IFA: “The chairs demonstrate the company’s productive capacity: in the factory, there is an almost clinical order and cleanliness, with advanced machinery and excellent work organization. With Sergio Bertossi, an IFA partner and head of contract for the whole Group, this year we have focused on internationally renowned and also emerging names, to round out the core business of the company and to approach the hôtellerie sector with wooden seating made with total control of the production chain, from the supply of materials to the finished product. Nevertheless, though Very Wood is positioned only in contract, because we think this is the most interesting path for this type of product, at the Salone del Mobile it was also perceived as a retail brand, which raises the hypothesis of this kind of diversification in the future. With the Very Wood products we want to underline a concrete, coherent and flexible approach to customization, in small or large lots produced on a tight schedule. While the domestic market is still important in terms of size and tastes, simplicity and proximity for sales, the European market accounts for most of our sales (70%). Therefore Very Wood is now concentrating on the US and Far East markets as well.”