Francesco Favaretto: the essence of industrial design

At the helm of the studio Favaretto & Partners, he moves forward with a concept of design in which creativity and business have parallel lives. Across international markets, lasting relationships and uncompromising work

Francesco Favaretto, AD Favaretto & Partners
Francesco Favaretto, AD Favaretto & Partners

“I’m a young designer, born in 1983; I don’t consider myself anyone’s ‘heir,’ and I am not a designer who makes compromises.” Direct, detached, genuine. A bit like his design approach.
Let’s make the introductions. He is Francesco Favaretto, managing and creative director of the studio Favaretto & Partners, a design firm based in Padua that has completed over 500 projects on a global level, winning 121 awards, and is about to celebrate its 50th birthday. Our conversation has this same spontaneous, determined tone, covering collaborations and markets, anecdotes and new developments. The philosophy that guides the studio is clearly explained: “I live on my ideas; I am proud to see them become furnishing products, and above all to see that people purchase them and transform them into everyday presences – Favaretto says. – I do not go through seasonal phases, or fashion-oriented influences. I work on industrial design, innovation and technology in their purest forms.”

Lisetta by Bottega Intreccio, Design Elena Salmistraro

Favaretto & Partners design studio

Francesco Favaretto fits perfectly into the definition of a technical industrial designer – a “rare species” – with expertise developed over the years by the side of his father Paolo, who founded the studio in 1973. His father taught him the profession, and he has inherited that rigor and cleanliness of forms, blending it with his own personal creativity and a particular taste for experimentation. “If you look at the progress of our studio in recent years, since I took the helm in 2016, you can definitely see a change with respect to the past. This is why I don’t identify with the definition of an ‘heir,’ although of course I have a great debt to my father. Starting with the ability to create a product, from the sketch to the finished piece: we are one of the few firms that can go to a client with a finished item.” Recently the process has gone even further, with the creation of an e-commerce area in the studio website, for the sale of products created for Italian clients.

The continuity with the past is also represented by the collaboration with a group of leading international brands in the office and contract sector, an area of specialization of the studio, such as Emmegi, which was actually the very first client of Studio Favaretto. Today, the respective new generations interact, collaborate and create. “We prefer to have relationships with companies that are well structured, lasting, with deep roots. We may not be the ‘cover story’ or the trendy name, but we are trusted partners: we have long-term working relationships because apart from the aesthetic aspect, which is extremely subjective as a parameter, on the objective side – feasibility, comfort, cost – our products are 100% functional. I think a designer should not design everything for everybody: you have to have extreme consistency, transparency, knowing how to put human relations on the front line.”

Crono by Luxy

Crono by Luxy

Thanks to this ideology and ability, the studio has conquered various markets and realities, especially abroad – only six or seven of the companies are Italian, out of a total of 35 clients in the portfolio (USA, Canada, Holland, Portugal, Germany, all the way to Brazil, China and Korea, among the main countries). And they are not all in the field of furniture, since there are also collaborations in the high-tech sector.
“Our leading client is Haworth, with which we have worked for over 20 years; then comes Nienkamper, one of the biggest Canadian workspace companies, the US-based Bernhardt Design, the Dutch Casala, the Portuguese Vista Alegre; in Italy we work with True Design, Gaber, Panzeri, Vistosi, Infiniti Design, Luxy, where I took over the artistic direction in November. I usually travel about 200 days each year, which allows me to multiply my opportunities. Just think: in 2020 and 2021 we launched as many as 65 collections.”

Tonica by Casala
Aeire_Versteel
Fender by True Design
D-series by Sunon
Bombom by Infiniti Design
Tonica by Casala
Aeire_Versteel
Fender by True Design
D-series by Sunon
Bombom by Infiniti Design
previous arrow
next arrow
 

Recent creations include the Aerie desk for Versteel, the Crono writing desk for Luxy, the Bombom armchair for Infiniti Design, the office seating program D-Series for the Chinese company Sunon, the Tonica ottoman for Casala. Products of refined design and engineering, versatile in terms of functions and contexts of use.

“We are mostly known for office furnishings, but thanks to our know-how and our technical approach we can go beyond: new frontiers can be very effective, to demonstrate what we are capable of doing in design. The projects are all marked by flexibility, crossing over roles, because we have always been guided by a ‘one size fits all’ approach: a seat that can be inserted in the home or in a hotel, an office or an airport, permits important optimization of investment, as well as maximum functional quality. The pandemic has then made this approach more widespread.”

One example of this mutable identity is the new Ambrogio table designed for Slide, an amusing, ironic object (a tribute to Francesco’s father’s moustache), ideal for both residential and contract applications, but noteworthy first of all due to its sustainable aspect: it is made in 100% recycled polyethylene derived from aluminium and cardboard packaging, to demonstrate that “even a friendly object, outside of our everyday style, can contain the innovation and sensibility that should always be parts of the designer’s work.”

The Space Escape by Moooi, Design Elena Salmistraro

Ambrogio by Slide

This is the dimension of Favaretto & Partners, where values and avant-garde coexist in a perfect balance, where design is practiced as a complete process, sustained in terms of creativity, but also in terms of business and connections. And with a touch of irony, which never goes to waste: “When they copy me I’m pleased: it means I have done a good job.”