Roberto Gavazzi, CEO of Boffi-DePadova talks about the passion necessary to develop an evolved proposal for the contemporary domestic landscape

Founded in 1934 by Piero Boffi as a cabinet-making workshop, it is under the guidance of his three sons, Paolo, Pier Ugo and in particular Dino, who Boffi begins collaborating with architects.

Luigi Massoni, who already in the 1960s was thinking of standardized prototypes to optimize production, was followed by Sergio Asti, Joe Colombo, Antonio Citterio, Paolo Nava, Pepe Tanzi.

Their innovative work made history.

To define your production you use the metaphor of the domestic landscape, accompanied by that of "always seeing the forest and not just the trees". What is this vision expressed in?

Roberto Gavazzi: "We build a project - the forest - rather than adding pieces - individual trees - to a collection. The single piece does not sufficiently represent what we are.

We must be perceived as a company that carries out this project over time with continuity, coherence, ability to propose a timeless style and elegance. A sum of elements that together generate an overall scenographic impact".

Boffi's key words are craftsmanship, elegance, integrity

Roberto Gavazzi: "Our history is divided into three parts. The first, craftsmanship refers to foundation of the company by Piero Boffi in 1934, when there was still no industry and the objects were handcrafted.

After the war, with the second generation, elegance: Boffi began collaborating with designers and art directors, an activity that was totally new for the kitchen companies of the time. The precise vision of Dino Boffi is outlined, the man who truly established Boffi as a leading company in the high-end design sector. This was until 1989, the year I joined the company.

The following 35 years – integrity – mark a change of pace and strategy. The company becomes international, it opens up to all interior sectors: from the kitchen you move to wardrobes, to bathrooms, until you find the ideal company with which to create a complete home project.

By uniting in 2015 with Maddalena De Padova - a company that has made a decisive contribution to the culture of modern design in Italy - Boffi becomes a group capable of serving all areas of living".

What was Paolo Boffi's teaching?

Roberto Gavazzi: "Great technician, passionate about systems, Paolo has been very important since my beginnings, as a support on technical products such as kitchens. Piero Lissoni, already in the company when I arrived in 1989, was my teacher. From him I learned everything I needed to know in terms of design, rigor, coherence, style, elegance.

We owe Paolo Boffi the collaboration with Piero Lissoni, in his first experience as art director, an intuition that gave life to a partnership
Paolo Boffi was instrumental in the creation of one of the most intuitive and brilliant ideas in the world of kitchen systems.

He brought so much innovation and courage to the world of cooking, where Piero Lissoni was the tailor who sewed everything together, removing and adding until he made the leap in quality.

Lissoni's contribution was decisive in the creation of the stores, not only in terms of style but also of coordinated image between catalogues, photos and products that were in line with the soul of the company.

Regarding the acquisition of DePadova and the other operations we carried out subsequently - Time & Style ēdition, Paul Smith – those are part of my strategy work and search for ideal partners for expansion to all rooms of the house".

In April you present the Xo model designed by Elisa Ossino, inspired by the Xila kitchen designed by Luigi Massoni in 1972

Roberto Gavazzi: "It was a beautiful intuition. Elisa Ossino is the designer who best interprets the total integration into the broader project that Boffi is pursuing. It's a real pleasure to be able to offer you the opportunity to intervene on an important project such as Xila, our most important kitchen model still today.

Going to reinterpret and correct it with small but significant changes was not an easy task.

This year we wanted to show how the collection as a whole, with slight adjustments, continues to be extremely current and in line with contemporary needs. The important thing for a product like cooking is that it doesn't lose its relevance."

Patricia Urquiola and Zaha Hadid also designed for Boffi

Roberto Gavazzi: "As many as three women design kitchens for us: in addition to Elisa Ossino this year, Patricia Urquiola designed the modular kitchen Salinas – “the machine that doesn't perform”, the designer herself defines it - and Zaha Hadid the Cove Kitchen, sinuous monobloc, work island and place of conviviality.

I really like this rebalancing of our way of being a very "male" company in the products characterized by Lissoni's style, square and essential.

The arrival of these three designers has brought more feminine content to our offer, relaunching our way of being, demonstrating the versatility of our solutions".

The 21st and 22nd were extraordinary years; the 23rd perhaps less brilliant: what are the expectations for the 24th?

Roberto Gavazzi: "In 2023 we managed to grow by an overall 4% in all companies: a year with a much better start and a less exciting ending.We find ourselves facing a less favorable period for furniture due to the extraordinary boom of 21/22: it was therefore normal to expect a 24th of greater consolidation.

I think it's a very interesting challenge for those of us who have substantial content to show; the battle will be fought on this in 2024, which we see positively not only in retail but also in the world of contract where high-end projects are growing. In short, we are seeing new opportunities for very high quality projects."