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DE PADOVA: WORLD-FAMOUS ITALIAN DESIGN
Italian design is renowned and appreciated all over the world. Run by siblings Luca and Valeria, De Padova is a company flying the flag for Italian design on the world stage. How is it that Italian design and the De Padova brand have come to be so successful?
De Padova is more than just a family name: it’s the trademark of a firm that has contributed to the worldwide success of Italian design. The company was founded in 1956, the same year that our parents - Maddalena and Fernando - opened a small Scandinavian furniture shop in Via Montenapoleone, Milan. 50 years on and the name De Padova remains synonymous with superior design in quality furniture as well as style. The company developed through becoming the licensed "Herman Miller" manufacturer - an American brand specialising in home and office furniture - before starting to produce its own collections in collaboration with big names in international design. After almost 50 years of business, De Padova continues to remain faithful to the philosophy from which it started out: design as a means for creating emotions, drawing inspiration from great design classics, love of good craftsmanship and research paired with innovation.
How has De Padova evolved in its transition from first to second generation?
Maddalena's life has been a journey of rare intensity and success ever since she opened her small Via Montenapoleone shop in Milan in 1956. Her journey led her to discover Scandinavian and 1950s American design and the legendary Albini, as well as other big names in international design such as Ingo Maurer. In 1965 she opened up one of the world's most beautiful furniture shops and went on to collaborate with exceptionally talented designers such as Vico Magistretti and Achille Castiglioni. Maddalena De Padova has exercised extraordinary influence on middle-class lifestyles throughout Europe, building an outstanding reputation for the De Padova brand. In 2009, company leadership was transferred from first generation (Maddalena) to second generation (us). We were given the task of further developing the company abroad, a challenge we faced head on by giving the company a managerial structure, establishing partnerships with new designers such as Patricia Urquiola, Jasper Morrison, Naoto Fukasawa and Nendo, and by investing significant sums to consolidate and increase our presence on both traditional and emerging foreign markets.
How do you address the International market?
We have set the wheels in motion for exhibiting our products in the main foreign markets. We have also planned cultural events and the restructuring of our operations in terms of trade, production and finance. All of these plans are already underway, and we expect to have them fully implemented in 4 - 5 years' time.
In your opinion, why should foreign markets choose Italian design?
Because design adds greater value to your home and to how you live. This is especially true for cities where, with certain exceptions, you can no longer find original sites. It also makes environments more pleasant and comfortable to work in.
Are future generations of Italian designers who have grown up in the wake of some great predecessors also ready to follow in their footsteps in terms of international market domination?
If we think about the designers who collaborate with De Padova, it's important that they feel in tune with the company because this is what enables our two names to live alongside one another. At the end of the day, the recipe for success is made up of simple, key ingredients: good design, good products, a good trade policy and good media exposure.
How can we emerge from the present financial crisis afflicting the global economy?
By vigorously pursuing our "mission" and taking nothing for granted; by expanding our visibility and presence wherever possible.
Looking to the near future, do you think the overseas reputation of Italian design will remain as strong as it has been in the past?
If we also manage to penetrate "emerging" markets, then yes. These markets remain far from conquered and so we must continue to innovate and pay close attention to optimizing resources.