What new products were presented at this edition of the Milan Salone?
Once again, Natuzzi Italia presented numerous new products for the living area, bedroom and dining area at this year’s Salone, with over 20 new models of sofas, beds, tables and chairs. The Re-vive collection features many new products and there are new complements and accessories including lamps, tables, coffee tables, rugs and vases.
In terms of sofas, one of the standout projects is without doubt the Herman sofa designed by Manzoni and Tapinassi. I see it as a project that perfectly combines harmony, design and craftsmanship, playing with shapes and sizes. With regard to the dining area, we are very pleased with our recent collaboration with Victor Vasilev, who designed the Leggero collection for us.
What concept and philosophy linked to the brand do you intend to promote? I am also thinking about the new press campaign…
The new Natuzzi Italia collection was designed around the concept of harmony, which is fundamental to the brand’s identity: Natuzzi combines design, function, materials and colors, creating harmonious spaces. The key concept is therefore harmony between objects, harmony that you can enjoy at home, which makes Natuzzi a Harmony Maker, which is the slogan of the new campaign.
The spirit of Natuzzi Italia lies in the encounter between these two words: ‘harmony’ is a delicate, aspirational abstract concept, while ‘maker’ is a concrete term that evokes craftsmanship, honest work and manufacturing.
Like the stand at the fair, the new creative campaign makes a strong, direct reference to Puglia, which, with its wonderful colors, is our muse and home. It is the landscape of the soul, the essence of our identity and the lifeblood of all our work.
What solutions are the focus of your stylistic research?
Natuzzi’s stylistic research is a task that proceeds without interruption and has been part of the project since its early stages. This helps us to always be consistent and faithful to our brand identity, which is defined by aesthetic research, design, craftsmanship and function. These different components need to be balanced in order to create a product, or rather a collection, which can truly express our identity. The collection is interpreted with the new moods developed by the Style Center, which communicate a perfectly neutral color philosophy. A timeless style, a modern “less is more”: clean designs and shapes are the milestones in this journey towards harmony.
Do you focus more on maximum comfort, using abundant padding, or on a sophisticated design, translated into special processes?
For us, these two things always go hand in hand. The big challenge is to offer our customers products with an innovative design that embraces current trends, as well as very high quality and unparalleled comfort.
Various designers were invited to interpret Natuzzi Italia’s living philosophy, including Maurizio Manzoni and Roberto Tapinassi of Studio Memo, Victor Vasilev, Claudio Bellini, Mauro Lipparini and Bernhardt & Vella, in addition to the products devised by the Natuzzi Style Center, which also oversaw the development of new coverings, including new natural leathers and fabrics, along with the new padding created with innovative materials to guarantee maximum comfort.
How do you manage to be constantly innovative?
Our ability to innovate is due first and foremost to the people who work at the Group, who have a flair for innovation. The beating heart that gives birth to new ideas is the Style Center, the place where every Natuzzi product is conceived, where craftsmanship is combined with technological experimentation. The Style Center is staffed by 120 architects, interior designers, colorists and specialists in leather, fabrics and wood, who develop over 6000 sketches every year. Only a small number of these ideas become products that enter the Natuzzi collections.
Have your sales increased compared to last year? In which countries have you had your best results?
The Group’s consolidated turnover in 2015 recorded an increase of 5.9% over 2014. In terms of geographic areas, there was a 6.0% increase in turnover in the Americas, while EMEA recorded an increase of 4.9% driven by sales in the United Kingdom, which has confirmed its position as the Group’s second most important market after the United States. There has been continued progress in the Asia-Pacific area with an increase of 16.0%, particularly in China, the most important market in the area, followed by Korea.
In 2015, you opened around 100 new stores worldwide, especially in the US and Asia. Will you continue along this path? Where?
Our strategy aims to capitalize on the branding investments made in recent years: today, Natuzzi is the best-known brand in the furnishing industry among all luxury goods consumers who buy designer products. Consequently, we have focused on strengthening our international retail chain. This year we will continue to work on retail development and on strengthening brand awareness. 2016 began with the opening of a new Natuzzi store in Amman, Jordan. The new openings will be located in global areas with the highest growth potential, Asia and China in particular, where we are continuing to invest despite the economic slowdown, North America and other European countries.
There were also some very important international openings in 2016: for example, the first Natuzzi Re-Vive Gallery in Uruguay, in Punta del Este, and the first Natuzzi Italia store in Philadelphia. And then the first Natuzzi Essence in Treviso. This is a modular corner created specifically for high-end multi-brand stores, which was designed to offer a memorable brand experiences in small spaces.
What will be the focus of the next product innovations? Materials, design or the expansion of other products?
In my opinion, there are three innovations that will change our way of living in the future: small space living, namely products that can perfectly adapt to small and very small spaces, which are more common due to growing urbanization, without sacrificing aesthetics; the internet of things, products that intuitively interact with people and the surrounding environment; and finally, self-assembling, furniture which, thanks to e-commerce platforms, is delivered directly to the home and assembled by the consumer.