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Milan Preview: Gessi

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014


Along with the help of his father, Umberto, Gianluca Gessi founded his name-bearing company in a small workshop in 1992. With a focus on the design and production of exclusive furnishings, objects for the kitchen and bathroom, and wellness shower systems, that small company rapidly expanded into an Italian empire. Today the brand’s oasis-like compound, Gessi Park, spans a mind-blowing 8.6 million square feet and combines technology, sustainable architecture, and landscape with a focus on the aesthetical impact that the factory has on its surroundings as well as the adoption of cutting-edge green practices.

During the 2013 Salone, the Gessi Underground Experience—a multi-sensory event unveiled in the construction site, 65 feet underground, of the new Spazio Gessi Milano showroom—was the talk of the town, eventually winning a prize at the European Best Event Awards. “It was built as a metaphor of the inner path that everyone has to take to gain back contact with the most profound part of oneself,” Gessi says.

Although he couldn’t reveal much about what audacious plans the company might have for 2014, we can’t wait to see what Gessi’s cooking up this year.

How would you describe the Salone?

During this week, you breathe internationalism and modernity. The [spread] of trends, culture, and technologies from around the world offers a global vision of research on style and forecasts on the new needs and pleasures of the contemporary home dwelling. The Salone is the week in which Milan makes its usual aplomb sparkle, and every corner of the city is dedicated to design.

Gessi has an excellent reputation for how well your employees are treated. Why is this an important aspect of your company?

Our concept of an oasis-like industrial park was borne from the desire to create a work environment where people can enjoy a sense of wellbeing. If you do a quick count, you’ll realize that between the ages of 20 and 60, a person spends 60 percent of their active time working. If the work takes place in an oasis, it’s much more serene and pleasurable. A satisfied person produces great results and great products.

Gessi also boasts high levels of technology that allow for a low environmental impact. Why do you think that sustainable design is important?

In today’s world, designs cannot just be based on aesthetics, ergonomics, functionality, and the ability to manufacture the product. Rather, today’s designs must take social values and concerns into account: the environment, energy resources, and new ways of living, as well as new individual and collective needs. Today technology has provided us with new tools that allow us to develop a better relationship with the objects and to maximize the individual’s sense of wellbeing within the environment.

What can we expect from Gessi at this year’s Salone?

This year Gessi will present at both the Salone with a large space inside the fair’s bathroom section and at Fuori Salone with a special setting of the gigantic Gessi Milano space in the heart of the fashion district. I cannot reveal much because Gessi has a long tradition of surprising exploits at each fair, and I don’t want to spoil the wow effect.

I can say that we’ll launch two new collections that, within their design and styling, go in two opposite directions. One is very contemporary, setting a new standard in decorative plumbing, as it is very architectural in its elements and design to embody our concept of functional art for living everyday life to the fullest. The other is our tribute to classic forms, a pure expression of elegance that interprets a timeless style through the designer lens of Gessi. Both collections come complete with brassware, sanitary ware, accessories, basins, wellness shower fixtures, and baths, according to our concept of a signature total look for the bathroom.

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