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The Heritage of Bontempi – Making the Most of Metal

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

“Good enough is never good enough if your target is pursuing excellence”  Samuel Johnson 
The Bontempi business started in 1963 with a production capacity of less than 20,000 packages and 200 accounts. After gaining experience and expertise in metal handcrafting techniques, Alessandro and Giancarlo Bontempi established Mobilfer – a manufacturer of metal structures and equipment for warehousing. This sparked the beginning of their entrepreneurial career. Owing to their obsessive pursuit of quality and daily passion for their work, they employed a company of people determined to turn dreams into products. And in 1980, the Bontempi Casa brand was born, and a new collection of tables, chairs, stools and coffee tables were launched.

bontempi-history-metal-manufacturing  bontempi-delfina-chair

As pictured above from left to right: The Bontempi business began in 1963 and In 1987 Bontempi received an Oscar of Design Compasso  d’oro  in 1987, for its chair – Delfina

It was in 1985, with the continuous improvement of quality standards for products and manufacturing processes, that Bontempi Casa was able to establish a plant for galvanic treatment, in order to provide its clients with a special lifetime guarantee on chromed and gold-plated iron beds.

They received an Oscar of Design Compasso d’oro in 1987, for its Dining Chair – Delfina. The Jury of XIV edition awarded the Oscar: for the wise use of different technologies in a harmonious summary, also fit for purpose both structurally and ergonomically. In the continuing years, a further increase of production facilities was carried out, and manufacturing techniques improved, enabling the production of quality furniture on an industrial scale.

1989 saw their passion for design continuing, using the latest cutting-edge technologies and ergonomic solutions. Throughout the following decade, Bontempi developed internationally and in 2002 they launched their new collection of Design Beds, thoroughly researched for design and comfort.

It was in 2004 that Bontempi wanted to promote a young design and meet the modern furnishing needs. So, they introduced the new collection Ingenia Casa – using the best processes, offering a brand of wide-ranging quality products with good value for money.

Encouraged by the excellent results of the beds’ collection, in 2004 they focused on perfecting technologies and manufacturing procedures, introducing Bontempi Sofa – a range consisting of high-quality products, with advanced technological and aesthetic standards.

In the subsequent years, the second generation took charge of managing the company and today the sons are following in the footsteps of their parents in developing the business. The sons’ passion is equally as strong, and they are forward-looking, open to new ideas and research and always committed to achieving excellence. Their goal is to preserve Bontempi’s family business identity for the future.

Bontempi Casa has always been committed to the safeguard of natural resources. All the Bontempi Casa production is conceived and manufactured with extreme care, regarding the eco-sustainability of materials used.

Manufacturing processes and finishes are carried out, avoiding treatments with harmful substance emissions that can be noxious to human beings and the environment. Bontempi Casa uses non-polluting, solvent-free and plastic-free paints, recyclable glass, wood selected in forests managed according to strict environmental, social and economic standards.

Thanks to their 50 years of experience, Bontempi’s passion is to turn raw materials into bespoke design pieces. They thrive on enthusiasm, managing their work with a positive attitude and promoting innovation at every point. Every single day in their factories, they work on new techniques, new design concepts, new products to develop the best solutions for any kind of environment.

The Bontempi Casa dream is to furnish spaces where you can experience the unforgettable daily emotions and looking back through their history, they have certainly achieved it.


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The Heritage of Calligaris - The Italian Dream and Bonaldo: Happy Days


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The Heritage of Calligaris – The Italian Dream

Sunday, 4 November 2018

“Old empty chairs are not empty in reality; memories always sit there!”  Mehmet Murat ildan 
There was once a man named Antonio Calligaris, who in 1923, had a small artisan workshop in Manzano, Italy. This man created a chair – the Marocca chair, which features a wooden frame and caned seat. It was this simple chair that started the Calligaris business. Antonio employed men to cut and assemble the wooden parts, while the women would work on caning the chairs, in customers’ homes.
Throughout the following decades, the chairs went into production. Antonio used wood from the surrounding mountains and straw from the Friulan lagoon. The apprentices would dye the cane with natural pigments and because machines were few, the women would often finish the chairs manually.


As pictured above from left to right: The Calligaris stores are located in strategic, highly trafficked areas of big cities and traditional handmade methods were practised when the company started in 1923
It was in the 1950s, that Antonio’s son, Romeo, inherited his father’s business. In the 1960s, it was passed on to the third Calligaris generation – to Alessandro and Walter, who put their faith in an automatic caning machine that could cane a seat in one minute and twenty seconds, compared to the two hours it took by hand. They also began using synthetic fibres that had similarities to straw.

In subsequent years, production capacity continued to grow and the business gradually transformed into a well-structured industrial company – leader in a geographical area, known worldwide as ‘the chair district’. The brothers created their first catalogue and started exporting abroad. From then on, Calligaris used dealers located across Italy and Europe, to distribute its products to the customer.

Alessandro Calligaris took over as President of the company in 1986. Calligaris expanded its range with chairs, tables, furniture, beds, sofas, furnishing and decorative accessories. Wood was no longer the only material they were using. Innovation meant that the company now began to work in metal, plastic, leather and glass.

In 1998, Calligaris opened its first American subsidiary in High Point, North Carolina, and in 2008 its first flagship store in Milan was born, which was followed in 2012 by a second one in Paris, becoming a truly international company.

For its 90th anniversary, Calligaris began exploring and reworking the trends of contemporary living and gave itself a new website, a new system of communication to end users and a retail network made up of 400 partners around the world, including over 70 mono-brand stores.

It was in 2014 that Calligaris became even more Italian with foreign investors buying in a season that highlighted the Italian brands of fashion, design and luxury. This marked a re-launch with a new phase of expansion, consistent with the history of a company that, since its founding in 1923, believed in the future and in Italy.

Today, with its three Flagship Stores, Calligaris celebrates its 95th anniversary in true global style, and 2018 has been rich in news with many exciting projects presented during the year.

With a catalogue of more than 800 products sold in 100 countries around the world, Calligaris is a modern enterprise with outstanding teamwork by expert designers, architects, trendsetters, artisans and specialised employees, that enables them to transform the most interesting and fruitful ideas into furniture and accessories. A harmony between technique and aesthetics, reason and emotion. A mix of contemporary design and functionality. That's why today Calligaris has become an international brand in terms of quality, creativity and technicality. It offers a wide range of functional furniture with an incomparable style, satisfying each taste and mingling with other forms, colours and materials with infinite possibilities. Elegant spaces, modern, beautiful products made to be functional, ergonomic and designed to simplify everyday life. 

And to think, it all started with a basic chair.


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Bonaldo: Happy Days

Monday, 8 October 2018

Design concepts have taken a powerfully positive turn this year, with interesting neutral palettes, pastel shades and power pinks signifying an energetic shift towards a colourful future in design.

Delivering positivity with a punch, Bonaldo’s 2018 collection personifies the exuberant energy our homes currently crave. This colourful collaboration with young designers extends on ‘new geometric shapes, colours and materials inspired by positive memories’.

bonaldo tirella bonaldo cabinet de curiosité

As pictured above from left to right: The Bonaldo Tirella Lounge Chair and Bonaldo Cabinet De Curiosité

Highlighting the happiness associated with a soft and relaxing pillow, the Bonaldo Tirella Lounge Chair is inspired by the formation of fabric swatches laid on a cutting table. Colour contrasts and an eye-catching structure of overhanging bolsters delightfully evoke the feel of clothes hanging out to dry on a beautiful summers day.

Aiming to achieve a ‘new recipe, new flavour and new shape,’ the Cabinet De Curiosité opposes the structural notions of a bookcase. Igniting creativity, this playful and architectural design harks back to the voyeuristic pleasure of a bookcase. 

As a reminder that curiosity provides greater opportunity to experience joy, Bonaldo celebrates the unfamiliar with unique arch shelving that can be packed with books, art and essentials to manifest ‘a place for thinking, for creating and for recalling memories’.

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Cattelan Italia: The Wow Factor

Friday, 14 September 2018

Milton Glaser, the American designer, once said, ‘there are three responses to a piece of design – yes, no and wow’. The latter was certainly the response when Cattelan Italia presented its new collection during the 2018 Milan Design Week.

One of the most memorable pieces from the 2018 collection, is the Skorpio Round Ker-Wood table. It echoes the Skorpio dining table, but instead of a crystal-clear glass top, gracefully balanced on an abstract, geometric steel base, this work of art features a circular Canaletto Walnut or Burnt Oak top with a ceramic insert for a contrasting finish.

cattelan italia skorpio round ker-wood table cattelan italia cloudine ceiling lamp

As pictured above from left to right: The Cattelan Italia Skorpio Round Ker-Wood Table and Cattelan Italia Cloudine Suspension Light

Another unforgettable highlight is the Cloudine suspension light. While maintaining the unchanged structure of the central rosette of the Cloud table lamp, the suspension light is suspended by fine cables and resembles surreal, distorted bubbles in iridescent or smoked glass, each with their own unique character. 

Also featured in the new collection is the Planer Keramik table – a dining table with a strong personality, created by the acclaimed designer Paolo Cattelan. Its symmetrical steel base and luxurious top in ceramic Marmi make the perfect combination and give a sophisticated balance between the different materials. 

Something to look out for this autumn is the new selection of dark, moody finishes that dominate the Cattelan Italia range. Marmi Portoro ceramic and Brushed Bronze metal are just two of the striking new colourways that are not to be missed.

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Milan 2018: A Sustainable Design Week and Let's Read


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