Milan – “Leathership” is the accident furniture company Poltrona Frau who coined it to describe its leadership in the leather industry. Italy-based Tolentino has perfected the art of craftsmanship for over a century, making a name for itself worldwide with three divisions dedicated to projects spanning from residences to automobiles and custom interiors; Through a large number of collaborations with eminent designers – from Gio Ponti to Peter Marino – and brands from Ferrari to Loro Piana.
In this edition of Salone del Mobile, the company will celebrate its 110th anniversary with a special collection called the “True Evolution 2022 Collection”, intended to honor its legacy and identify the drivers of its next chapter. Migrations will surround iconic designs with new products as well as an innovative sustainable solution, indicating that there will be no true “leather industry” in 2022 without a sustainable commitment.
In particular, the label hired Argentine-Spanish visual artist Philip Pantone to reinterpret its Archibald armchair in a limited edition of 110 pieces. Originally designed by Jean-Marie Massoud in 2009 for the occasion, the minimalist frame of the furniture is finished with a whimsical split graphic in vibrant colors sprayed onto new Pelle Frau Impact Less leather. Tanned with sustainable ingredients and with a chromium-free process that reduces the use of water and chemicals, the material sets a new strategic tone that will gradually see the introduction of the chromium-free tanning process into all Poltrona Frau leathers in the catalog by the end of the year. As part of its sustainable mission, the company aims to halve carbon dioxide emissions by 2030.
“We use only natural fabrics, and starting this year, we have also added fully recycled fabrics,” said CEO Nikola Koropolis. “These are not intended to replace leather, but certainly to offer alternative solutions.” He also added that through Project Pantone, the company “discovered the beauty of printed leather,” in which the style was achieved using the same technology typically reserved for small luxury goods rather than furniture.
With a Certificate of Authenticity, a custom-made handle, a leather cleaning kit, and a handcrafted miniature scale, the Archibald Chair Limited Edition also bears a plaque referring to the ceremonial Poltrona Frau emblem created for this important event, running through “100 + 10” to highlight the past decade. who was pivotal to the company.
“The company has been able to adapt and evolve according to the great changes that the world has gone through,” Koropolis said, noting the drastic transformations ranging from globalization to digital transformation, as well as the pandemic and the recent war in Ukraine.
While these aspects represent the company’s major challenges – particularly in terms of retooling strategies in a flexible and flexible way to counter its disruptive power – they have also opened the door to a paradigm shift and business opportunities that continue to define Poltrona Frau’s strategy for the future.
“We have made acceleration and become a global company: only 10 years ago, about 70 percent of our business was done in Italy. This year, more than 70 percent of the country is generated,” Koropolis said.
Combined, the three Poltrona Frau business units generated nearly €200 million in sales last year. The CEO said the goal is to reach €300m in the near future, making it a “realistic target”.
“But I don’t know if this will happen in three or five years because it will also depend on how the external environment develops … and the lockdowns in China are certainly creating some disruptions and disruptions in the normal flow of business,” Coropulis in the market, although That even through COVID-19, China rose to become the top performing region for the company, followed by Italy and the United States
Whereas 10 years ago Poltrona Frau counted only one dealer in China, it’s now available in 30 doors nationwide, as well as a direct-operated store in Shanghai that will be surrounded by a 16,146-square-foot unit by the end of the year.
Over the past decade, the company has launched six directly operating stores in other strategic locations including Milan, London, Miami, Los Angeles and Dubai, which are adding to the stores located in New York, Washington DC and Mumbai, among others. Coropulis revealed that a lease agreement for space on Madison Avenue and 34th Street in New York has been signed and that the new Poltrona Frau department store will bow in the spring of 2023.
“We have set up a setting for the company that is growing…. We are strengthening our local organizations in Asia but also in North America because we want to take advantage of all the opportunities that come from being part of a large industry group in the United States,” said Coropulis, referring to Michigan-based Haworth Inc. , which took control of Poltrona Frau in 2014 and whose portfolio also includes Cappellini, Cassina, Kvadrat and Janus et Cie, to name a few.
To revamp its expanded retail network, Poltrona Frau has also improved its catalog, not only studying eco-friendly solutions but also revising color palettes and adding product categories. In the past 10 years, Poltrona Frau has launched more than 200 products across 40 different furniture lines – for indoor and outdoor – textile collections, leather accessories and fashion and contract furnishings.
The wider telegraph range led to a shift in positioning and perception that Coropulis seemed particularly proud of. “More and more customers are looking at us not only as a manufacturer of [furniture] But as a provider of luxury lifestyle solutions.
In terms of furniture, the CEO highlighted the growing demand for flexible and versatile solutions. “It was a trend that really started before the pandemic, but was reinforced during COVID-19 as people spent more time at home doing things they would normally do outside,” he said, pointing to dining tables and sofas that could double as work stations, for example. “We are incorporating many of these needs, including needs for a more compact type of designs.”
Some of the new pieces included in the True Evolution 2022 collection will match the trend, like the “Happy Jack” sofa designed by Ludovica + Roberto Palomba. Other editions in the 20-item collection will include the “Nice” drawing chair and “Homey” table designed by GamFratesi, as well as an unseen design by Tito Agnoli from the company’s archives. The collection will also start a new collaboration with Bulgarian designer and glass expert Assia Karaguizova on accessories and complements.
“We are a company that has been in business for 110 years, so we tend to prefer long-term relationships. At the same time, we understand that sometimes you need to add new blood to the group,” said Coropulis. Poltrona Frau has partnered with more than 200 international architects and designers over the years, including Achille Castiglioni, Michele De Lucchi, Frank O. Gehry and Renzo Piano, among others.
Other relationships have included collaborations with international architecture firms such as Zaha Hadid Studio, Foster & Partners, David Chipperfield Architects and Studio Odile Decq, major projects developed with Herzog & de Meuron for the Elbphilharmonie complex in Hamburg; With Doriana and Massimiliano Fuxas from the La Novola Convention Center in Rome and with Jean Nouvel for the Louvre in Abu Dhabi.
“But we tested with Felipe Banton how fruitful collaborating with an artist can be in opening new avenues for the future, also considering that the world of art and design is very close and with a similar type of client,” Koropolis concluded.