Natuzzi, along with the number ones in the Italian economy, was invited by Class Magazine to the Pirelli Foundation’s Hangar Bicocca to speak about Made-in-Italy. A “parterre de rois” all together in one room, like an ancient Agora, the Italy that produces: in just one room approximately a quarter of the entire Italian gross national product, for a total of one million jobs created in Italy, “il Belpaese”. While Sergio Marchionne, Marco Tronchetti Provera, Diego Della Valle, Brunello Cucinelli and others sitting comfortably on innovative Natuzzi Revive, a new frontier for an Italian chair that aims not only to be a product of craftsmanship, but also futuristic and increasingly important for human well being, it was Pasquale Natuzzi’s honour to tell the story of Made-in-Italy.
It’s a story about using leather, with its color characteristics, scent and softness, to cover innovative design sofas that are original and unique, and how Pasquale Natuzzi transformed his small workshop into the largest Italian furniture company. The only global player in the industry, with sales of 461.4 million Euros in 2014, seven production facilities, 1,130 stores worldwide, 12 sales offices, 5,300 employees, production facilities in Italy, Romania, China and Brazil.
Pasquale Natuzzi has summarised this story in a metaphor, that of the tree: from the heel of the boot of Italy, to the tips, the high end which best represents the sector. It begins in Taranto in 1959 where along with three employees Pasquale Natuzzi began producing sofas and armchairs for the local market. But it’s 1972 that defines his entrepreneurship, founding Natuzzi Salotti and transferring it to Santeramo in Colle, the heart of the Murgia, that is still home to the Natuzzi Group headquarters.
“To grow in Italy, and establish abroad, those were our objectives back then” recalls Pasquale Natuzzi. Goals that required, to become a reality, capability that was a precious as it was rare: that of replicating on an industrial scale a production that was traditionally one only of workshops. Natuzzi specialised in leather, making new models in casual-chic style, available in a large range of colours and functions. Only by industrialising the scale of a process that was authentically crafted has it been possible to export exquisitely made sofas with contemporary lines, that fully reflect international market trends and encounter the favour of North American consumers without ever betraying its roots. Results came bubbling in and within just a few years the company from Puglia had conquered world leadership, becoming a much imitated model of success. In 1993 Natuzzi went public, and something rare for Italian companies, not on the Milan Stock Exchange but on Wall Street, the sancta sanctorum of global finance.
After 57 years Natuzzi is a solid group, a large tree firmly rooted in Puglia, an inspiring muse that has always animated and identified the brand. With branches spreading around the world, that manage the Natuzzi brand and two product lines, Natuzzi Italia and Natuzzi Editions, aimed at distinct targets. The association with the tree that Pasquale Natuzzi Junior takes from his father’s account is not accidental: “The common thread of all our activities is represented by our respect for the environment. Our Italian factories are surrounded by the greenery of the Murgia, we have no chimneys and the entire production is carried out with the solar energy produced by 21 thousand photovoltaic modules installed on the roofs of the plants. We were among the first companies to obtain the environmental certification ISO 14001, and all the materials we use are traceable and certified, from timber that is sourced from responsibly managed forests” underlines the entrepreneur. “We believe in ethics, legality, transparency and in the implementation of environmentally sustainable products: these values are fundamental, now as in the past, and are present in all our products, in the company and in the people who work there.”
Also the product offering over the years has greatly expanded, Pasquale Natuzzi explained in the event dedicated by Class Magazine to Made-in-Italy. Along with leather sofas, a key asset for Natuzzi, new upholstered fabric and top quality microfibre have been added. Completing the range are coffee tables, carpets, lamps and accessories for the living room, and even beds, bedroom furniture and tables for the dining area. The collection reflects the brand’s DNA, which is based on the concept of harmony. Harmony between objects, living harmony in the home, which makes Natuzzi a Harmony Maker. “What we export, in short, it is not just an Italian product, but a real Italian way of life”
Natuzzi is now the best known global brand in the furniture industry among consumers of luxury goods, according to independent research (Ipsos / Lagardere). And it is thanks to a successful challenge: the challenge of Made-in-Italy that has no fear of globalisation. “We invested in the opening retail and its development on the upgrading of production facilities in Italy, on the opening of factories and commercial offices abroad, on their integration, product innovation and the production process,” explains Natuzzi. “It was a long and arduous path, mainly because of the adverse macroeconomic environment, which has put a strain on the entire furniture industry, to which we have allocated more than 600 million Euros that now begins to show their first results.” In the first six months of 2015, in fact, the group has continued to expand its retail chain in both the US and in Asia, where sales rose respectively by 20.2% and 22.4%, thanks to the opening of new stores. “The United States and Asia, China in particular, are markets that give us great satisfaction. That’s why we expect the opening of new stores in these areas in the 2016-2017 biennium. Aware that we have a great responsibility: to represent Italian excellence in the furniture and design industry, an example of creativity and innovation appreciated around the world”