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ABET LAMINATI: SYNONYMOUS WITH 50 YEARS OF ITALIAN DESIGN
Design is integral to the character of Abet Laminati, the company from Piedmont, founded in the town of Bra in the province of Cuneo at the end of the 1950’s which went on to become one of the biggest global manufacturers of decorative laminates. Under the auspices of Abet, laminates have assumed a real personal identity, with an infinite number of variations and novel interpretations. This has all been due to the close relationships, developed over decades, with high-status design professionals such as Giorgetto Giugiaro, Ettore Sottsass, Alessandro Mendini, Mario Bellini, Enzo Mari, Joe Colombo, Francois Burkhardt and many others.
Fifty years on from its conception, the commercial enterprise founded by Enrico Garbarino turns over 150 million Euros a year and exports 60% of its production to more than 90 markets. Thanks to its production capacity of more than 170 m² per day, Abet Laminati is the European leader in its sector and one of the top world players. Its two factories, both situated in Bra, cover a surface area of more than 175m² and employ more than 800 workers. The total workforce of the group is 1,350, all highly qualified personnel.
The company has an extensive commercial network, spread throughout Italy and abroad. In fact, the business began to internationalize right at the beginning of its existence. It was founded in1957, and already in 1962 it had expanded into France with its first European partnership. That year was also important for the launch of "Colours", the firm's first historic collection of strong, lively coloured laminates. In the period between the 50's and 60's laminate had not yet assumed a real identity and worth, and was generally used in the form of fake wood or marble.
But Abet Laminati made a firm strategic decision to increase the value and sophistication of their product. So, at the end of the 1960's, they introduced their "Alchimia" line onto the market, followed by "Memphis". This signalled a real cultural revolution in Italian and international design, and a means of promoting Italian goods throughout the world. Indeed, the designs were put on display at MOMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Thousands of designs have now been developed in Abel Laminati's silk-screen laboratory, which was inaugurated in 1967. Amongst the most innovative products which have been developed over the years we should mention "Straticolor", the first coloured free-standing laminate, "Decori Minimi", a highly successful slightly textured product, and the "Milano" series, the first surface with the unmistakeable velvet effect. It is also worth mentioning the "Meg" range of coverings for use in external and urban environments, allowing laminates to develop their presence in the building industry. In the 1990's research was directed to more ecological concerns, with the development of "Tefor", the first laminate made from recycled materials and the "Naturali" series laminates characterized by the addition of small fibres on the surface, or enhanced with wood veneers (as in "Printwood").
The company has been repaid for its constant efforts to improve its products by being twice awarded the "Compasso d'oro", the most coveted recognition in the world of design: the first time for the translucent laminate "Diafos", and the second time, in 2001, as recognition of their contribution over the years. Between the timing of these two awards a great revolution took place within the company: in 1996, digital printing was introduced, which allowed for personalized design solutions, making each piece of laminate unique, with its own printed decorations and motifs. So, thanks to the technology developed in its R&D laboratory, Abet is able to offer its clients personalized coloured designs, even if the order is only for a small quantity