Founded in 1912 in Turin by Cagliari native Renzo Frau, Poltrona Frau reaches its 110th year, expressed in the formula 100+10: “We wanted to specify this sum for the anniversary, putting the spotlight on all the steps forward we have made in the last ten years, because the company has rapidly evolved in this decade, accelerating a series of processes in line with the major transformations taking place in the world,” says the CEO Nicola Coropulis.
“We have chosen the slogan 100+10 years of true evolution because we like to talk about honest, authentic evolution, projecting the brand into the future without overlooking the values of the tradition.” An anniversary that is not a self-congratulatory narrative, but – as Coropulis explains – “an opportunity to document what has been done, and to look forward to new developments.”
Many new initiatives, in fact, will be unveiled in the months to come: “On April 1st, in the shop windows of Harrods in London and in our showrooms and digital channels, at the same time, we will present the Limited Edition in 110 pieces of the Archibald chair designed by Jean-Marie Massaud in 2009, which has become the new icon of Poltrona Frau, replacing the Vanity Fair in a certain sense. It has been interpreted by a young talent who began as a street artist and has evolved into digital art, whose name and whose new design interpretation are still under wraps.
This artist has reinvented the Archibald chair, applying digital laser-printed chromatic patterns on the Pelle Impact Less, something very innovative because it represents the first time we have done digital printing on leather, a technical breakthrough that opens the way for new, incredible personalization. This is also the first time we have opened to the world of contemporary art with a young talent who is very popular with the new generations.”
A limited edition with a sustainable spirit: “Starting this year, on a stable basis and in all the colors of the catalogue, we will use the new Pelle Impact Less, tanned without chromium or heavy metals, with total recycling of the water used in the production process, and recycling of all scrap materials.”
Among the many activities for the anniversary: “We will also be presenting a book, which is an addendum to the volume published in the past on the centenary, retracing the fundamental phases of this last decade; furthermore, we will be introducing – already at the end of April – the new True Evolution collection, in the store in Milan and on our digital platform, to then take part in Design Week in Milan in June with a large installation in the prestigious Palazzo Gallarati Scotti, at Via Manzoni 30, with a lounge in the apartment of the prince of the same name.”
The CEO Nicola Coropulis also told us about some products in the new collection (though we still cannot publish their images at this time): “Among the new items, I would like to mention the compact sofa by Ludovica+Roberto Palomba, created for smaller contexts, and the table-chair combo by GamFratesi, a very innovative design. We have also delved into our archives, rediscovering a designer who has been somewhat overlooked, though he made a great contribution to the history of Poltrona Frau: Tito Agnoli. We have recovered a sketch for a bed that was set aside towards the end of the 1980s; we think it is very timely today. It will be called Aurora Tre, and it is very soft, with a headboard and sides in leather, also conveying a visual idea of comfort. There will also be new additions to the outdoor collection, and extensions of very successful ranges of products, including the Ren and Lloyd bookcases.”
Over the last ten years Poltrona Frau has updated its historic legacy of leatherworking, becoming an interpreter of contemporary living operating in many contexts: “We are a company with multiple points of contact with our clients, not limited to the experience in the field of home furnishings, because we also reach into the world of public spaces, theaters, airport lounges, the automotive and nautical sectors. Our objective is to expand these touchpoints with our clientele, also exploring new approaches.”
A historic firm that has never rested on its laurels, but has continued to interpret new developments in the society: “The secret of Poltrona Frau has been the fact that it is always contemporary, always connected to the present. Relying on its roots, it has adapted to the evolution of tastes, offering new solutions, and it has done this in various ways, also when the company was moved from Turin to Tolentino, with the brilliant intuition of linking a traditional reality like Poltrona Frau to the current of the golden age of Italian design, combined with an ability to constantly foster dialogue with customers, press and designers.”
In these years Poltrona Frau has always stayed in touch with the transformations in progress: “The company immediately embraced digital innovation, and today we are one of the few furniture companies to have an e-commerce site; we have a new digital platform, and in parallel we are investing in human relations and physical locations, with the renewal of the museum in Tolentino slated for the end of the year, and the opening of a new store on Madison Avenue in New York, which will be a hub of experiences in which to connect with our clients, followed by a store in Shanghai.
What counts is to be physically present; this is an epochal change in the concept of exports. We offer solutions that are perceived as a synthesis of style, elegance, history and Italian taste, but not far from the sensibilities of the countries where we have a presence around the world.”
Nicola Coropulis offers a preview of what’s in store for the next ten years: “We have accomplished a lot in this last decade, and we will continue along this path, in terms of brand enhancement, from a company of excellence in the field of furnishings to something more, a true lifestyle brand, a recognizable reality above and beyond the objects, whose desirability is clearly linked to the firm’s iconic products, but also to a sort of association of styles, tastes and aspirations.
Then we will continue with our digital transformation, our organic presence on markets of reference, and in the transformation of the entire company in terms of sustainability, while wagering even more on communication that utilizes different codes, channels and media.”