Franco Ceccotti is the spokesperson of a company – actually a factory, as he puts it – that is a milestone of design. Even without looking at any products, listening to Franco one is swept away by a history full of events and success, a story of great passion mixed with absolute expertise. IFDM met with him in the Milan showroom on Via Durini.
Three years have passed since the merger of Ceccotti into Poltrona Frau: what has changed?
I must say that Nicola Coropulis has turned out to be a great professional and a true friend. At first I thought we would be talking only about numbers. I acted as CEO for the first year and a half, but then I told them I was not used to board meetings every other day, because I am oriented towards invention and production. I needed to get back to my roots, and to do what I enjoy doing most. Nicola immediately understood, and I went back to being the artistic director, with an independence that is a rarity in this sector.
Ceccotti has always stood out for fine, even extreme manufacturing, and a very selective range of products. What has the impact been like with the Americans at Haworth?
The mediation of Poltrona Frau with them has been fundamental. The Americans don’t always understand the dynamics of a small company that wagers on absolute quality. When we decided to double our production facilities they said, of course, that this had to correspond to a doubling of sales: we had to explain that the mechanism was different. Nicola Coropulis was very convincing in his presentation of our industrial plan, and his central message was “to increase production, to conserve quality and, if possible, to raise the bar even higher.”
Ceccotti and Poltrona Frau: how has this merger translated into concrete terms?
It is a very healthy relationship. They also involve me in the choices connected to their products, asking me what I think: this is a very good things, because the collaboration is tangible, we are in tune, apart from roles and backgrounds. The machine works, and the results are there to see.
Is this also true of the distribution?
Absolutely! Until a short time ago, the Ceccotti products had their own separate space in the showrooms of Poltrona Frau, but now everyone has understood the value of integration, where the wood of Ceccotti brings an added value, and the craftsmanship is pure emotion. The mixture is excellent. In London, New York and above all Shanghai the reactions were immediate. In China we are racking up important numbers. Things work well in China because both our company and Poltrona Frau have worked there for some time, so we had clients in common, which has facilitated the process. Ceccotti has focused on oriental culture for decades – Japan was our first market. Many sales meetings have increased our sensitivity to what clients want. For example: the Chinese see glass tops as very cheap, and always want to have tops in marble. It is not simple to adapt the slim, essential structures of Ceccotti tables to marble tops with a thickness of 2 cm, which are very heavy: with Poltrona Frau we have found a technical solution that enables us to produce many tables without compromising on quality: now that’s integration!
So there will be a big debut, together, at the Supersalone?
Of course, we will be at the event in Milan together. The focus will be on the unity of Frau and Ceccotti, and the operative translation – as is obvious, given the logistical conditions – will be a large space designed by Calvi Brambilla, based on visual and graphic impact.
Franco Ceccotti is from Tuscany, and he is always ready to lower the drawbridge and to offer hospitality and communication, bringing a passion that does not cloud his thinking, an energy that has found its “better half” in the partnership with Poltrona Frau. For a mix that is truly max.