FLA: the rebirth of the Italy-Russia partnership

FederlegnoArredo and Salone del Mobile supremos Emanuele Orsini and Claudio Luti look back over the ups and downs of the last decade on the Russian market – and explain why the future looks bright

It’s not been an easy few years for the furniture and design sector. But FederlegnoArredo president Emanuele Orsini tells us why 2018 has been a year of recovery after the crisis of 2014 and the negative performance seen between 2015 and 2017, stressing that the bond between Italy and Russia is set to go from strength to strength.

How has the market changed over the past ten years?
The Russian market has witnessed profound changes in recent years, experiencing significant shrinkage as a result of the political and financial crisis, which had a big impact on the country’s economy. After the sudden dip of 2014 and some really negative performance between 2015 and 2017, we’re finally now seeing a return to growth, with export value of €250 million confirming Russia’s position as the eighth-biggest market for the industry.

How has Federlegno responded to the changes? What initiatives have you undertaken in order to incentivise companies?
Russia continues to play an import role for Italy’s furniture export market. Despite the difficulties of recent years, our decision to continue investing in the Russian market has been proved right. We will continue to follow this strategy by supporting the many Italian companies that believe in this market and consolidating the excellent relations between our association and the ICE Agency, with whom our relationship has become much closer and more strategic. It’s a way of maximising the potential of our efforts to promote Italian furniture around the world.

Presidente Salone del Mobile.Milano Moscow Claudio Luti, ©Francesco Brigida
President of Salone del Mobile.Milano Moscow Claudio Luti, ©Francesco Brigida

It’s been ten years since IFDM first visited Salone del Mobile.Milano Moscow. To mark the occasion, we caught up with event president Claudio Luti, who analysed how style of the brands exhibiting at the event have changed over the years and talked about what he believes the Salone represents in today’s industry.

What was Salone del Mobile.Milano Moscow like ten years ago and how is that different to today? How have the brands taking part changed in terms of their style and requests?
Salone del Mobile.Milano Moscow has experienced a constant process of conceptual evolution over the past 13 years. At the heart of the event is quality furniture based on creativity, culture, innovation and the finest manufacturing. Companies that are accepting the gauntlet thrown done by internationalisation still see the importance of taking part in what is a long-term initiative – one that transcends national borders and views overseas markets as opportunities for growth. They come to Moscow (the perfect window into the surrounding geopolitical circle) with renewed enthusiasm, showcasing the best of their collections. They know this is a great opportunity to consolidate their relations with a market that has always appreciated manufacturing and innovation. As a result, the event is always capable of capturing the attention of architects, designers, communications professionals and buyers.