Italian furniture and building matrials manufacturers are redesigning their customer relation approaches with new relational spaces.

When -19 became a pandemic, the way we communicate had to change. From Italian's Salone del Mobile to London Festival, form Maison & Objet to Light and Building, from festivals to every design week, tradeshows and meetings worldwide have been postponed or transformed into a digital experience.

Getting back to normal will probably be a slow process and every furniture and design company in the world is now improving its digital communication skills and strategies.

In the meanwhile, we have seen many Italian funiture and building materials manufacturers presenting new design hubs, new headquarters showrooms, new business and relational spaces.

Are Italian furniture manufacturers rethinking the way to interact in the future with their customers, dealers, buyers, architects and designers? Are we moving toward a future of more careful and discerning relationships?

Italian design company Arper, renowned for its chairs, tables, and furnishings for workspaces and home, announced the investment in a new innovative research and development centre, the Arper Design Lab. They recently started some impressive renovation works at its Headquarters, located near Treviso, in the North East of , for the creation of a new area of 1400 square meters, in addition to the existing 300 square meters occupied by the Technical Offices and Test Laboratory.

Arper Design Lab new relational spaces 

Courtesy: Arper

The Arper Design Lab will make room for a multifunctional space, where the most crucial phases of the development of product collections. Definition, design, development and market launch of the new collections will be managed in-house, thanks to the Design Lab, which will allow the company to optimize and speed up its approach to the international markets.

“The investment will help Arper reduce the time needed to present new products to the market and anticipate trends, test the aesthetic and qualitative efficiency of the new collections. Besides, it will also reduce the time required to obtain international certifications, an essential requirement to compete in different areas of the world.” said Claudio Feltrin. The works began in early December and are expected to finish within the first half of 2021.

Lago, the Italian furniture manufacturer well know for its digital approach to the market, recently presented Lago Campus, a new building that stands next to the Lago Factory, the existing production site at Villa del Conte, in the province of Padua, Italy.

Lago Campus new relational spaces

Courtesy: Lago

The building includes new functional and relational spaces like Lago Logistics, optimizing internal organization with new technologies, and Lago Osteria, a dining hall for socializing and relaxation.

The pure, monolithic volume designed by Zaettastudio recreates the setting of a typical woodworking shop: here the warmth of wood, a feature of the entire structure, enters a dialogue with the abundant presence of diffused natural light, thanks to the large windows and skylights.

Together with the garden, the oasis for visitors, the factory, the showroom and the offices the whole complex shapes Lago Campus.

Abet Laminati presented their first in-house showroom, Abet World. The Italian coating manufacturer is Internationally opened doors intending to become the home of designers, an open book to offer designers, architects and companies a world of possibilities, the best of the universe of surfaces and coatings.

Abet new relational spaces

Courtesy: Abet Laminati

Design curators Giulio Iacchetti and Matteo Ragni say: “The sample room is a special place for every company, moreover for Abet by virtue of the many noble design stories of which the company is the bearer, of the relevant and extensive typology of materials, of the variants of finishes, of colors, of dimensions, of thicknesses. A universe of materials that suggested the name Abet World”.

Abet World is a journey into the universe of surfaces. An entrance portal that extends towards the center of the room, directing the visitor's steps and gaze towards the exhibition of the laminate samples: a palette of colors, decorations, materials, finishes. Here the story of Abet manifests itself in its spectacular entirety. To the right of the visitor is the special display for large slabs.

A mechanical system that was purposefully designed makes the large sheets slide on special wheels to offer the visitor a complete view of the decorated plate.

Targetti rececently inaugurated TH01, a new multifunctional space inside their Headquarters in Florence designed by Deferrari+Modesti.

TH01 is an acronym: T stands for Targetti while H is everything this space represents – House, Hub, Headquarters, History, Happening – 01 because it is the first of the spaces that expresses their desire to meet their partners, lighting designers, architects and interior designers, in a place that represents brand's ethos.

Photography: Anna Positano

TH01 is a laboratory, a showroom, a location for meetings and events, a dynamic and evolving environment that is open to dialogue and discussion with their partners and customers. The new relational space is the first step in a process that involves the compnay on an international level and that will see the opening of two similar spaces in Shanghai and Paris.

In tune with the place where they are based, the renowned Italian faucets manufacturer Fantini implemented Casa Fantini an exclusive concept hotel with a refined and contemporary design, which harmoniously sits amongst the old buildings of Pella. Designed by Lissoni Architettura as a fully-fledged home, Casa Fantini/Lake Time perfectly takes on the spirit of kind hospitality of the brand.

Casa Fantini/Lake Time is not a new space but it's significantly up with the times and recently awarded with the Altagamma “Premio Giovani Imprese – Believing in the Future” for the Hospitality & Wellness category.

As we wrote in “Designing for social interaction after Covid19“, even if we are living a “digitalization of our relationship” and new digital experiences, the desire to interact with other humans is the driving force behind the establishment of large and small communities and industries.

This is the most significant reversal of globalization we have seen in decades, but all the architects we interviewed said that we have the opportunity to reinvent spaces and evolve the way we relate with the aim of focusing on what matters most – connecting people with place in the most sustainable and healthy way, with human interaction always at the core.

Many Italian furniture companies, as we have seen, had already started this path.




Cover image: Anna Positano