Four aces up his sleeve

ItalianCreationGroup has certainly acquired an historic brand in FontanaArte, but how do you define the brand now, and how will it come to be defined in the future as part of the ItalianCreationGroup approach?

We’re doing something extremely aspirational and right now our goal is to focus on defining what the DNA of FontanaArte really looks like. It’s impossible to rebuild the brand identity, given its history and links to names like Gio Ponti, Pietro Chiesa, Gae Aulenti and Max Ingrand, but obviously we need to shake the cobwebs off a little. It’s hard to maintain such a rich heritage, and it’s my belief that in recent years the brand’s potential hasn’t been fulfilled.  While it’s a very respected name, the brand isn’t completely in sync with what its clients now expect – a truly high-end brand, very decorative, very aristocratic.

What role will the designers play within this process of introspection and revaluation?

There won’t be an art director any more. Being the art director of a company with the heritage of FontanaArte is a bit like being a curator of design history. Right now we would rather look at any creative ideas that match the positioning of the country, that come from designers who understand the FontanaArte DNA – not just to revisit and celebrate its history, but also to think to the future, to create new history.

ItalianCreationGroup now has an enviable portfolio of four huge brands. How do you intend to strengthen the group’s presence in the Italian and international markets?

In our main sector – retail – we see real synergy between FontanaArte and Driade on one side, and Valcucine and Toscoquattro [also acquired in August 2016] on the other. In terms of dealerships, there will be strong links in showrooms and across all our distribution channels in Italy and around the world.
The other really relevant channel is contract. ItalianCreationGroup is working on a wide range of projects in the sector and we have now completed our offering, ensuring strong synergy between the different brands.
Our approach is moving towards personalised design, whether that’s from the catalogue or completely custom-made. For instance, we’ve recently supplied a reissued 1950s Ingrand lamp for the Four Seasons, while for the Bulgari stores we’ve reinterpreted a number of pieces from the 1960s, especially for the project.

What do your online strategies look like?

From a sales perspective we’re present on a range of platforms, including lovethesign and luisaviaroma. But we’re also working on the online presence of the brands in our group, because I believe that before selling online, it’s important to build up online visibility using websites and social media.
FontanaArte is already very strong in this regard, but we’re also preparing online stores and both FontanaArte’s lighting and Driade’s products will lend themselves wonderfully to that. As well as investing in the quality of service, the online experience will be split up according to product type and purchasing process.