“The big heart of Moroso”

A “small” company in Friuli, but also multicultural, open to others with great attention (and respect). We talked about the secret of Moroso with the company’s CEO since 2018, Damir Eškerica

Damir Eskerica - photo © Studio Eye

According to Damir Eškerica, CEO of Moroso S.p.a. since 2018, “bringing out the value of diversity is a great source of wealth.” And in his case, this is not just a passing observation. 

Born in that “sum” of cultures, religions and civilizations that is Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Eškerica truly knows what he is talking about in terms of diversity and cultural resources. Having escaped from the war in his homeland – and in the former Yugoslavia – at the age of eleven, Eškerica began a new life in Italy, where he continued his studies, taking a degree in International Sciences in Gorizia. He then began to work in the “international” world of design: first in the outdoor furniture company Medeot, and then with Moroso, where he continues to develop the business of this brand of upholstered furnishings founded in Udine in the postwar era, now famous and admired all over the world for its exceptional multicultural approach. 

From 2018 to the present, your relationship with the Moroso group seems to be very stable.
Damir Eškerica: When I came here I found a healthy, positive environment, open and international. What fascinated me from the outset about Patrizia Moroso (art director of the group and daughter of its founder Agostino Moroso, who passed away at the age of 93 in June, ed) was (and is) her ability to guide the designers with whom she works in a very respectful way: she takes care of them, she doesn’t “use” them, and she allows them to express their gifts and characteristics with great freedom. This generates very stimulating and “complementary” projects. 

The CEO of Poltrona Frau, Nicola Coropulis, also comes from a background of diplomatic studies. What are the connections between international sciences and the design sector?
There is the sense of universal belonging that connects us as human beings, beyond diversities, making us all equal. The deepest objective of design, in my view, is precisely this: to unite people in the direction of beauty and innovation, bringing value to the lives of all and attempting to improve them. 

How, for example?
By creating closeness between different cultures, as we have done and continue to do, in our small way. Although Moroso is not a particularly big company, it still operates in over 70 countries, and our designers come from over 30 nations. This allows us to adapt and to respond to a wide range of different needs: a single strategy on a global scale would never work for us. 

Which market are you wagering on most for your future?
Italy is still the most important, together with the United Kingdom, Germany and the United States (where last month the Friuli-based firm brought “Play with Fire” to the NYCxDesign Festival, with a conversation between Patrizia Moroso and Zanellato/Bortotto to explore the age-old tradition of hot glazing on copper together with the editorial director of Dezeen, Max Frazer; this technique has been recovered to give rise to the new collection Mangiafuoco, on view inside the flagship store on Madison Avenue, together with products from the Pebble Rubble collection by the Swedish designs of Front; the new lounge version of the Mathilda chair, and the new round model for the Rows table, all by Patricia Urquiola, ed). In October, we are planning two events, in Hong Kong and Shanghai: the Chinese market, known for its difficult aspects, is also an area of evolution for our company.

In China you have a number of monobrand stores. Has this been a special choice?
In that country we make direct contact with consumers, because it leads to greater achievements: in spite of the distance and the cultural differences, they can identify with our values, the research on fabrics and colors, and all the characteristics that add character to a given space. 

In general terms, how would you describe your audience?
Our clients are increasingly well informed and aware when it comes to purchasing. This is a very positive signal, because if they choose you as the supplier of their products it means they are fully aware of what sort of company you are, what you represent on the market, and the values with which you operate. 

And what, in particular, are the values embodied by Moroso? 
As I answer this question, I would like to take the opportunity to pay homage to our founder, who recently passed away: every time he came to see us at the company, Agostino Moroso was hand in hand with his wife Diana Mansutti (who passed a few months before he did, after they had celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, ed). Also for this reason, he was a great source of inspiration for me: not only as an entrepreneur, but precisely for his human side. Above all, I would say that Agostino Moroso had a big heart. 

Moroso Flagship Store, Milan Design Week 2024 – photo © Leonardo Duggento