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Elle Decor Italia

Molteni: 80 years of design

Research, innovation, quality. The story of an industrial group backed by a grand tradition

Eighty years for any company is an impressive milestone. Molteni reached it in 2015 and celebrated its anniversary during the Salone del Mobile of Milan with the event 80! Molteni (see also → Celebrating 80 years of design) at the Modern Art Gallery. The tribute exhibition, curated by Jasper Morrison, which ended in the month of June, marked the changeover between the two centuries with a high-impact formula featuring the iconic pieces of the group. Viewed in chronological order, the selected furniture provided an accurate snapshot of an important period in the history of Italian industry. The exhibition is currently housed in a new location, within the Molteni Museum opened in the headquarters in Giussano last 20 November, with a layout designed by the same English designer, and the image coordinated by Studio Cerri & Associati.

Tracing back through the history of the company is interesting. In 1934 Angelo Molteni opened his own carpentry workshop in Brianza: the debut of a small local business, like that of many other companies in the furniture industry, but as time went on, it evolved to become a consolidated international brand, and a reference point in the world of original design.

So the history of the company is deeply etched. People say that in order to look towards the future, you must always take stock of your past, and Molteni indeed used its past as a launching pad for affirming its high level profile, initially in Italy and later abroad. Starting from traditional processing techniques, the company soon came to identify technological progress and quality design as the founding elements of its own truly unique pathway to success.

In the 1950s, Molteni rules the roost as the star of stylish bedrooms, in perfect coherence with the tastes and requirements of Italy in that era. This proves to be an effective production training exercise, which consolidates the expertise of the brand in the industry, preparing it for the great turning point of the 1960s, created by the economic boom, surge in creativity and desire for change. The company is transformed and Molteni leads the way in the front line, pursuing its mission to convert the innovative values of modernity into products. All under the standard of an undisputed sovereign, wood, abandoning its traditional repertoire in favour of contemporary style.

For the company, this is a point of no return. It is the beginning of a vision of design intended not as an anarchical mark but as an integrated project, fruit of the joint efforts and hard work of technicians and great architects, requiring mandatory prototyping operations.

A brilliant intuition, which Molteni shares with other businessmen of the same period, and an element that may be taken for granted today, but which back then formed the foundation stone for success. An intuition on which to build the productive know-how of a former artisanal company which, with love and passion, had turned into a theatre for style and quality, starring the most interesting designers of the period: a memorable list of talents, spanning from the mastery of Gio Ponti to the irreverent geniality of Ron Gilad.

Today, having acquired companies specialised in office furniture and kitchen design between 1969 and 1979, the Molteni group can boast a 360° presence in the interior design field. The group now encompasses no less than four companies, each with its own specific business objective: Molteni&C designs furniture for the home, Unifor SpA makes office furniture, Dada SpA produces kitchen furniture and Citterio SpA is specialised in separé walls and office furniture. An all-round undertaking in the furniture field which casually moves from the residential to the contract segment. From the more intimate environments of daily living to large public spaces: this is the range of products offered by the brand for the new millennium. Homes, theatres, cruise liners, hotels and residences form part of a bold plan made possible by the full control over the entire production cycle, starting from the careful selection of the materials.

The four brands all work together extremely closely, sharing one precise objective: to explore new types of furniture which cater for the changes taking place in the home and workplace. A responsibility also undertaken by promoting the widespread diffusion of the product, proven by the presence of a large distribution network spanning approximately 80 countries worldwide. And the icing on the cake: the 27 flagship stores opened in the most important international metropolises. A piece of Italy abroad.

http://www.molteni.it/en/
moltenimuseum.com


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Molteni: 80 years of design

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