Seven are the brands of the ITALIAN CHAIR DISTRICT who conquer South Africa with a special project: Domitalia, Fornasarig, Frag, Gervasoni, Moroso, Potocco and Tonon protagonists together for the first time a temporary showroom
It has often been said that Italian firms have a hard time networking, but the exception that proves the rule came from 7 leading companies from the chair manufacturing industry, as part of the operation entitled ITALIAN CHAIR DISTRICT MEETS CAPE TOWN.
Domitalia, Fornasarig, Frag, Gervasoni, Moroso, Potocco and Tonon landed together, beating everyone to the draw in the 2014 World Design Capital, by presenting themselves as an Italian network and showcasing a collection of products of excellence that received an amazing response.
As part of a broader project entitled “Gateway to South Africa”, where the Chamber of Commerce of Udine is the lead partner and the Italian Char District – synonymous with a historic industrial cluster - is the main coordinating body, this operation proved that opportunities come to those who know where to look, that the world demand for furniture has not slackened, but has simply moved to other markets and South Africa, with its effervescent drive forward, is one of them. Last May, the most influential architects, interior designers, specialized journalists and operators of the trade on the domestic market but also on the more interesting Sub Saharan African markets, were drawn to the Temporary Show Room that was staged in the heart of the city. An influx of distinguished operators – one for all, Makena Makeka, the founder of MoDILa (Museum of Design, Innovation, Leadershipt & Art), but also celebrities from the world of luxury and fashion and a strong media presence – which proves that the Made-in-Italy that comes with quality, passion, productive expertise, and a world of cultural references that evoke our lifestyle, is highly appreciated.
Visitors also appreciated greatly the exhibition of the signature pieces of each brand, created by top international designers: from the upholstered furniture and coffee tables designed by Patricia Urquiola for Moroso, to the collections of chairs and leather armchairs created by Frag in collaboration with Gordon Guillaumier, Michele Di Fonzo, Calvi & Brambilla; from the innovative chairs designed in 3D by Mac Stopa and the new leather variants created by Martin Ballendat for Tonon, to the wooden chairs for the contract sector designed by Luca Nichetto for Fornasarig; from the collections of indoor and outdoor stools and armchairs presented by Potocco and designed by Hannes Wettenstein and Wolfgang Mezger, to the versatile polypropylene and polycarbonate chairs designed by Radice&Orlandini, Fabrizio Batoni, Fabio Di Bartolomei and Dual Design for Domitalia, and the collections of chairs created by Paola Navone for Gervasoni.
The temporary show room was also the venue for quite a number of panel discussions and meetings; one of the most successful was the one with Sam Baron. The Design Department Manager at Fabrica was invited by the Italian Chair District, to describe its business setup and to inform the audience about its great variety of products.
The event was extremely encouraging also for our companies, who drank in the great excitement and talent that drive this new market, welcomed the suggestions made by the many designers attending the event, gained insight on possible new productions, and consolidated existing business relations. The formula was so successful that future operations in South Africa are already being planned, as well as events aimed at taking the Italian Chair District brands to other markets, using the networking formula.
The opening ceremony of the show room was attended also by His Excellency Vincenzo Schioppa, Italian Ambassador, who pointed out that Italian design holds a strong stance in the South African market, and that this event in particular was one of its best manifestations.