Milan Preview: Poltrona Frau
Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
ROBERTO ARCHETTI, Brand Director
After 25 years of attending the Salone, Roberto Archetti’s biggest issue with the event is that it seems to never end. “Once one edition comes to a close, we have to start working on the following one!” he says. Despite the exhaustion that the cyclic nature of the Salone breeds, Archetti thrives on the team-building spirit and finds himself driven by the curiosity to see what both competitors and non-competitors bring to the fair.
Poltrona Frau was first registered as a trademark back in 1912, long before Archetti came aboard. And despite the company’s German-sounding name, the Turin-based brand has taken the “Made in Italy” mentality and become an international brand with its chairs that are both modern and contemporary.
Last year, the brand presented a balance between new products, such as Jean- Marie Massaud’s GranTorino sofa and Roberto Lazzeroni’s Mamy Blue armchair, and re-editions, such as the Letizia, a classic armchair revived from the 1950s. Archetti would reveal next to nothing of the brand’s plans for this year’s booth but guaranteed further collaborations with both Massaud and Lazzeroni.
When did you first attend the Salone?
It was a very long time ago! The Salone del Mobile 2014 will be my 26th time. But every time is still as the first—the same enthusiasm, the same expectation about the appreciation of the collections, and the same very hard work to get everything done in time. The only difference is that nowadays there is much more competition than in the past, and the general approach toward the market and the clients is more structured and professional. The Salone represents a final result of the teamwork: product innovation, product developments, creativity, and sales. The Salone is our top event of the year, and the work starts one year before.
What is it like to experience the Salone?
It’s a great opportunity to have an overview on the latest international design. It’s about new trends and challenges for the future. It’s also an amazing concentration of creativity and know-how. But it’s a very democratic event. At the same presentation, one could easily meet the big and established renowned designers, as well as the younger ones—the talents of the future, entrepreneurs, and common people.
How does Italy stay ahead of the rest of the design world?
Italian furniture entrepreneurs, such as Giò Ponti, Franco Albini, and Achille Castiglioni, were pioneers for Italian design in the 1950s. The development of a new product involves the investment of a lot of resources, human and financial. This means that companies have risked and still risk their own capital and reputation to achieve the best possible results in terms of innovation, research, attention to details, and new materials. Italian entrepreneurs work with this spirit.
Have you experienced issues with others copying the work of your company?
Copycats are a real problem, though in my opinion, design-addicted people would never buy a copycat because they appreciate the high quality of materials, attention to detail, handwork, innovation, and, most of all, the possibility to have a custom-made product. I think that there are new and old markets that need to be educated about design and authenticity. This is the only way to cope with counterfeiting.