Paradise developed: design incorporates nature
The new wet set: bathrooms go beyond grooming
Fantastic plastic: Claudio Luti’s polycarbonate vision
Global fusion: trends, concepts, innovations of NOW!
Year eleven
september 2013
dhs 20
Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority
Celebrating 90 years
in the sector, Calligaris
regularly collaborates with
top design firms such
as Pininfarina to create
technological advanced
and eye-catching furniture.
The comfy pillow
collection from Academia
attracted much attention
at the Salone international
del Mobile in April.
Driven by the creative energies of
Patrizia Moroso, the 60-year-old
Moroso company works closely with
top designers, including Ron Arad
and Patricia Urquiola, to generate
artistic, innovative and generally
unconventional furniture solutions that
many consider to be works of art.
Iconic coffee brand
Illy is headquartered
in Trieste, one of
the world’s most
important coffee
trading centres.
The seat of
Innovation, creativity and evolution continue
to be at the heart of Italy’s wealthy,
industrialised Friuli Venezia Giulia region,
which is home to some of the world’s top
designer furniture firms.
text: catherine belbin
identity [interior/design/property]
Considered to have one of the highest densities of industry in Europe, the
Friuli Venezia Giulia (FVG) region is perhaps best known as being the chair capital
of Italy. It is also the headquarters for a bevy of global design brands, including
Moroso, Calligaris, Nonino, Snaidero, Presotto, Zanussi-Electrolux and Jacuzzi.
Also located in the area are leading food and beverage brands such as Illy and
San Daniele, many of which have been in business for decades but constantly
dig deep into their cultural and historical roots to look for new trends.
Nestled between Austria, Slovenia, the Adriatic Sea and the Veneto, the region
is often referred to as ‘Little Beirut’, in reference to its mixed ethnic, religious,
cultural and social groups. This is shown in its determination to overcome all the
social, political and economic obstacles with which it has been confronted.
Every year, some Euro 1.2 billion worth of furniture and accessories are
generated from this small area in the northeast of Italy, accounting for about 15
per cent of the country’s exports in the sector. This makes it one of Italy’s most
important manufacturers and exporters of furnishings.
While FVG is considered to be highly industrialised, the artisanal traditions
behind many of the leading brands are strong and a large proportion of the
items continue to be handmade or hand-finished by experienced craftsmen
who have a unique knowhow in furniture manufacturing and detailing.
Traditionally the region provided textiles, swords, bricks, mosaic and food
to the Romans and later to the Republic of Venice. Many of these industries
continue to dominate today’s global marketplace; however, more than 90 per
cent of the companies are small and are mainly family-owned with less than
30 employees.
Designed by Paolo Vernier, the lightweight Nene chair
from MIDJ is a contemporary take on a classic. This
high-tech chair is available in a variety of colours, that can
be personalised with adhesive upholstery pads. MIDJ
has earned a reputation in the hospitality sector and has
designed chairs for clients such as Manchester United.
September 2013
Rich in natural resources, the region is home to numerous top
brands including leading kitchen manufacturer Arrital. Its AK_04
kitchen, designed by Franco Driusso, won the Good Design 2012
award. Arrital supports the idea that the kitchen is not just a place
to cook and eat, but also a cultural hub of the home where people
meet for convivial gatherings and rituals in a comfortable setting.
Over the centuries the region has produced several internationally recognised
inventors and investors. Arturo Malignani created a vacuum in a glass light
bulb, a patent that he sold to Edison, and Udine was the third city in Europe
to have electric lighting after Milan and London. Malignani was also a pioneer
in hydroelectric power, which substantially helped the development of Italy’s
industrial sector.
In 1869, inventor Josef Ressel made the first experiments involving
applications of the Archimedes screw for naval shipping, while Baron Pasquale
Revoltella from Trieste was one of the financiers of the Canal of 1869.
The chair sector remains important in and around Udine. In the late 1800s,
local artisans began working as third-party manufacturers for the Thonet
bentwood factory in Austria.
identity [interior/design/property]
Academia’s Nesta
table lamp is part of a
collection featuring hand
crocheted light bulb
covers, showcasing rope
traditionally used in the
yachting industry.
Potocco's Spring lounge and ottoman.
When the Thonet patent expired in the late 1960s, having mastered the
technique of bending wood the Italians began manufacturing their own versions.
Also popular at that time was the Chiavarina chair, the inspiration for Gio Ponti’s
iconic 1950s Superleggero, which is still produced by Cassina in Milan today.
Udine also played an important role in the development of the folding chair,
director’s chair and deck chair.
The chairs were initially produced for the local naval industry, where some
of the word’s most innovative cruise liners have been manufactured, including
Designed by Willy Dalto Imago
Design, the Aria bathroom collection
from Altamarea is a novel take on
the traditional vanity unit. The oak
leg acts as both a support and a
towel rail, while the irregular height
and the slim frameless mirror
add to the contemporary feel and
make it functional and aesthetically
pleasing. The collection features
the use of cutting-edge materials
such as ‘eco-malta’ lacquered and
veneered finishes for the cabinets,
shelves and washbasins. The
company also uses eco-friendly
‘paper stone’ – 100 per cent
recycled from paper to create a
super strong, high-performance
material for use in kitchen and
bathroom units.
Established in Pordenone in 1948, Presotto has continuously expanded to offer a wide variety of bedroom and living room furniture. Collaborating with big names such as Marco
Piva, Toyo Ito, Simone Micheli and Lorenzo Bellini ensures the pieces are always forward-thinking. Designers and engineers work in tandem with the Presotto Research and
Development Centre, which is considered one of the most modern in Italy. The 2013 collection presented at the Salone de Mobile in Milan earlier this year features innovative
finishes generated from 3D prints and an irregular-shaped shelving unit that is designed to maximise space while creating a sense of movement and drama.
identity [interior/design/property]
September 2013
Located in Sarone, Alea designs and
manufactures contemporary furniture
solutions for some of the world’s leading
offices and hotels. Established in 1973,
its collection collection is 100 per cent
made in Italy. With a 15,000-square
metre production facility, equipped
with state-of-the-art technology,
the company has the capacity to
manufacture 1,000 finished items a
day. Alea is known to propose spaces
and furnishings that are contemporary,
sleek and light – environments that
encourage collaboration and harmonious
co-existence with fellow workers.
architect Renzo Piano's Regal Princess, which was launched in the early 1990s and
represented a new technological benchmark in ship-building and high performance.
Working in colaberation with the Udine, Trieste, Pordenone, and Gorizia
Chambers of Commerce, the FVG regional government continues to be extremely
supportive of the initiatives and achievements of the highly successful manufacturing
industry. As part of their ongoing internationalisation programme, a fund has been
established to provide loans and financial initiatives to assist companies in their bids
to become more global and to combat growing international competition.
identity [interior/design/property]
Workshops, training programmes and international networking events are
all part of the package that aims to encourage entrepreneurs to develop their
websites in foreign languages and to exhibit at world-class international shows
and exhibitions.
Entrepreneurs, designers and export specialists from the region will
participate in the Hotel Show in Dubai (28-30 September), where
their famous skills and expertise in furnishing and accessories will
be featured. ID