After the opening remarks by David Pambianco, CEO of Pambianco, and Raffaele Jerusalmi, CEO Borsa Italiana, the morning session moderated by the journalist Nicola Porro continued with a talk by Gilda Bojardi, editor of Interni: “For Italian companies the contract sector represents a channel with great potential that has yet to be developed. The B2C points of sale are important as a showcase, a place for final consumers to have an experience, but the decisive client is the so-called intermediate consumer, the designer, the person who chooses and specifies, who uses products on a large scale, often in tailor-made versions. Here there are potentialities that have yet to be explored, because contract products do not enter only the traditional areas (large buildings and hotels) but also – as many of the projects published by Interni show – villas, boutique hotels, yachts, restaurants. All these types of projects fully belong to the sector we call contract.”
Next, Alessio Candi, consulting and M&A director of Pambianco, presented the research The design industry across consumer and contract channels. The project shows that in a sector which has grown by 25.3% over the last ten years, reaching an overall turnover in 2018 of about 553 billion US dollars, the main market is now Asia Pacific, for a value of 237 billion US$, recording growth of 108% over the last 10 years, accounting for 43% of the worldwide market. The channels through which products are distributed are wholesale, contract, e-commerce and DOS (directly operated stores).
These channels are the points of direct or indirect contact between companies and consumers, and they are in rapid evolution. In this context the companies have to be able to also govern key dynamics in their relationship with end consumers.
To kick off the part of the morning set aside for interviews, Luca Fuso, CEO of Cassina, shared the brand’s new strategic vision. He was followed by Gilles Bonan, CEO of Roche Bobois Group, who analyzed the two new distribution challenges faced by the brand today: contract and e-commerce. Brigitte Silvera, general manager of Silvera, emphasized the importance for a high-end point of sale of creating an effective relationship with Italian manufacturers.
The morning continued with a round table: “Design, the starting point for growth in residential contract, hotels and retail.” The debate involved Leonardo Cavalli, managing partner of One Works, and Marco Piva, founder of the architecture firm of the same name.
The first part of the conference concluded with a talk by Walter Ricciotti, managing partner of Made in Italy Fund, who analyzed the relationship of private equity with Italian companies in the furniture sector, and the possible benefits such financial opportunities can have for companies in this field.
The second part of the event began with an interview with Sara Mojdehi, home & furniture category leader at Amazon, who explained the opportunities offered by the American giant for the growth of design companies. Then Daniela Riccardi, CEO of Baccarat, shared her experience on the theme of retail as an experiential space applied to the art de la table.
The second round table, “Intercepting new demands of the market to create coherent offerings,” included the participation of Caterina Pepori, head of marketing and communication of IOC Project Partners, Antonia Pianca, head of marketing and communication of Pianca, and Maria Porro, head of marketing and communication of Porro. Angelo Meroni, president of Lema, addressed the opportunities and critical issues of the contract market for Italian companies.
The session concluded in an interview with Marc O. Eckert, CEO of Bulthaup, on how to grow on the market by promoting the culture of wellness.