Luxury Living Group: Interview with Raffaella Vignatelli

There is an awareness in taking steps along a path well marked by passion and vision, in conserving a structured company heritage of unlimited potential. Above all, there is a determination and rationality in looking at the present, and even more importantly, when looking to the future of Luxury Living Group. However, in Raffaella Vignatelli there is also that spirit of highly imaginative creativity and freedom of thought with which the company has been forged and nurtured, the fundamental value of a "magic circle" which embraces it

Present and future: what do they have in store for the company?
We are walking along a well-defined path, so we know where we want to go. We are not worried about tomorrow: dad has left us with an abundance of long-cherished dreams, things to do for future generations. However, there will come a moment when this path will lead us onto a different identity and personality, a point in which his and our path will converge and trace a new map. We will be called to make certain decisions according to our own taste, our own ideas and intuition, so everyone will endeavour to make their own contribution. Although it has to be said that having worked by his side for 30 years so I, like many of our collaborators, have a good idea about how he’d act and think when faced with certain situations.
This is a year of transition, but at the same time, we have no intention of transforming it into a void, or filling it with questions and doubts. This is a company that was founded and guided for 50 years according to the motto “he who hesitates is lost”: it runs in our lifeblood, so we could never act differently.

So what role will this “magic circle”, gravitating around the company, have to play?
If it is true, I certainly like to think so, that we are a group, a team, a family – as in the company work along with us also Daniele Vignatelli and Olga Vignatelli – I want everyone’s creativity to emerge. Together we decide our next moves, according to an established and shared project, and our final goal. When I first started working at the company there were forty of us, this number has since grown to 370 in Italy and the world.
The added value of our company consists in a circle of collaborators and family members, what my father famously described as the “magic circle”, people who are committed to and passionate about a common purpose.
Before there was only one ‘official’ dreamer, however now this role is shared by everyone, in an even more structured manner, because the company’s sheer size requires creativity to be underpinned by procedures and numbers.

Have you been working on any other areas of internal development?
Of course. Starting from production. Last year we made large investments in tools and technology. We rationalised logistical layout and in September, we began opening a few of the company’s departments to the press, customers and collaborators. Today we are proud to be able to show the company’s heart along with some of its departments, such as leather processing, which have become veritable ‘jewels’ to us. So we are focusing on technology and specialised manpower for internal production. We also have our very own internal Research and Development departments, which experiments and works on products and materials.

Fendi Casa – Blixen armchairs

There is talk of sustainability. What affinity does the company feel with this concept?
Luxury Living Group signed up to One Ocean promoted by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, focused on Ocean protection and which has also developed into the eponymous foundation presented in Milan in March. In its capacity as a sponsor of this operation, the company has made a commitment to replace all our packaging with entirely recycled and eco-sustainable material by mid 2019. Then there is also PEFC certification, a wood flow registration system which the company has adopted and laid down as a requirement for all our suppliers. Lastly, there is energy efficiency enhancement aimed at reducing atmospheric emissions. The company avails itself of Sorgenia, therefore energy exclusively derived from renewable sources.

Bentley Home – Butterfly armchair, Todd ottoman

It is not common to hear talk of attention to environmental impact in the luxury segment…
Perhaps not all of our end customers are interested in knowing that by buying a Fendi Casa table or a Bentley Home sofa they have not contributed towards polluting the planet during the manufacturing process, but sustainability is a central issue for us. For us and above all for others, it’s important to be one of those companies who care about where we live. Knowing that we have done something to make this a better place, or not contribute towards making it worse, is a value, because we are thinking about future generations.

What are the next steps going to be?
In the years of my father’s governance many paths were traced. Our current objective is to review the projects already underway, redirecting them if necessary to guarantee positive results. At Salone del Mobile we will celebrate 30 years of Fendi Casa, which actually made its début at the 1988 edition of Salone del Mobile. The Bentley Home collection will be enriched by a kitchen, in a space enlarged from 400 to 630 sqm to make room for a complete home: from kitchen to living room, studio, bedroom and even a garage with car. We will be present in the xLux pavilion with Bentley Home, Heritage and Paul Mathieu; in Design with Fendi Casa, Trussardi and Luxury Living Contract.

Bentley Home – The new Buxton kitchen, designed by Carlo Colombo
Fendi Casa – One sofa

Are there any markets yet to be explored or reinforced?
Reinforced yes, undoubtedly so. Over the years many seeds have been planted in international markets, now we need to nurture them, make them grow and support them. We are focusing on our shops in Paris, London and New York, where we opened five years ago on Madison Av. and which we are currently restyling. These are all our priorities over the next years. Then we will look to other locations. However, I don’t exclude the possibility of collaborations with partners, should they propose openings.

Do you follow a shared strategy or do you try to differentiate channels for each brand?
The world is changing considerably and the era of dealers is coming to an end. Dealers are currently declining in number, furnishing selections are constantly on the rise.
As a Group, we want to speak a different language, the language of single-brand and franchising. I’m talking about the single brand Luxury Living Group: the company itself becomes a multi-brand dealer with seven collections and all kinds of furnishings, in addition to services, design and custom.

Do you define contract in terms of providing support for customer requests, or is your ambition to develop Luxury Living branded projects?
Both. I spoke about how retail is drawing towards a reorganization: new business will be half way between retail and large contract. This halfway world embraces an ensemble of different projects searching for a brand and which will make our business grow. Therefore, we have structured ourselves in response this, by establishing the Luxury Living Contract division which was presented at the previous edition of Salone del Mobile, and by associating ourselves with partners for the creation of turnkey projects, from foundation to decoration, all over the world. Also on this subject we will soon have important updates.

Trussardi Casa – Band sofa and Larzia armchair