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Slowd uses the Web as a network to create and sell furniture

Slowd uses the Web as a network to create and sell furniture

Slowd, an Italian company, has found a very creative and original way of producing and selling Italian design furniture, using the web to generate a network. Their strategy works like this:

  1. a designer creates some furniture
  2. Slowd finds a craftsman that produces prototypes
  3. Slowd publishes the prototype on its website
  4. A user buys
  5. Slowd produces by craftsman
  6. designer and craftsman receive a percentage of collected prices

From their web site : “It is a network of people before things. Slowd is the community where designers and craftsmen work together to build a new culture of manufacturing and production. Behind every product, there is the story of an encounter and a period of growth, a sharing culture. Before making products, we like to think of making this possible. It is a place where you can meet different products with a soul, born of a chain finally dynamic and sustainable production.”

a Slowd's design chair

a Slowd’s design chair

Italian design furniture taps the web for sales and innovation

office chair

Until 2011 online sales in the sector of Italian design furniture were worth less than 1% of all purchases over the Internet, but last year the incidence has doubled. And for the Politecnico di Milano  in recent months  the sites that offer home decor products and office furniture have multiplied.

Without a doubt, the web is less expensive. It’s promising for Made in Italy office and home furniture: a channel with which to reach new customers and new markets. The only viable if you do not have budget to spend between millionaires fairs and marketing. In recent months, manufacturers and designers seem to understand, as revealed by the data on e- commerce at the Milan Polytechnic. “In recent months we have multiplied the sites that offer home decor products,” says Valentina Pontiggia, a researcher at the Centre and the Polytechnic University of Milan – commerce.

The most popular model is that of flash sales. Limited offers, at a significant discount on stock that big brands want to dispose of. Dalani ( ), a community of online shopping, is accessed by invitation only Open to all instead Lovethesign ( ), a site which from November until now scored a million hits. ” We are leaders in Italy for variety of catalog : over 5 thousand products of 200 companies,” says the 32 year-old Simone Panfilo, co-founder. Known brands such as Foscarini lamps and creations of artisans, as the tables of the woodwork Venetian Bortolato : the furnishings are offered in time with discounts up to 60%, or at list price in the catalog permanently. ” We treat the selection, only one in ten of those which we examine is involved,” he continues. ” We want to be, for quality, the next step to Ikea.” A startup that convinces the lenders: Lovethesign has just raised one million euro from United Ventures, which it uses to launch abroad.

The Internet as a sales channel, then. Others, however, are betting that the web can revolutionize the entire production process, for example by a dialogue between young designers and craftsmen. Formabilio ( ) is an idea of Maria Grazia Andali, 36, and her husband, Andrea Carbone, 37: ” A real company, with its own brand,” she explained. Notably, though : the projects are collected through themed competitions online and voted on by the creative community. The production, then, is carried out by small craft.  At the moment, there are four supply agreements, 67 thousand designers enrolled in the community, mostly young talents : the one who wins a contest is paid 7% of the selling price. That happens only online : “After the summer we get to about 40 furniture, with a tab on the designer and manufacturer Company.” And in September 2013 will start the activity of SlowD ( ), a startup that will offer  ” zero kilometer ” furniture. A widespread factory : the designers designs, the user buys online, the order is assigned to the artisan closest to him.

Attempts to enhance the heritage crafts typical of Made in Italy. A value that the Internet is likely to conceal, but also allows you to communicate in innovative ways. Just look at the videos made in the workshops by creative Italian company ( ), which reactivates brand and sells Italian excellence in danger of extinction. From copper to Trentino lightweight chair of Chiavari, “A Slow Food design “, summarizes the Milanese architect Alberto Nespoli, one of the founders. “Let us forget productions and with the help of craftsmen update.” The products are all customizable, the target high, the turnover 90 million Euros. On the site you will discover the stories of objects, which can be ordered directly through the portal or at the store. “The process of purchase is now multi-purpose, explains Mr. Pontiggia – the integration between online and offline leads to new sales strategies.”

“For us it is a tool able to connect new customers and internationally,” says Diego Paccagnella, 36, creator of Design- Apart ( design – ), living showroom of Made in Italy furniture, which will open in September in Manhattan. Living, because Paccagnella will dwell there for a year with his wife and son, presenting the furniture in a daily context. ” “Online you can buy items of the collections base, but the one on which we focus are the custom-made furniture, to be developed together with the customer. The site will help create the community, valuing our history and that of the company.”

Some  younger and innovative manufacturers also try to tap the web on their own. Filippo Berto, 36, is the owner of the company Brianzola Sofas. It’s online since 1999, then came the blog, Facebook page and e-commerce, ” Worth 20 % of sales, about € 4 million per year,” he says. ” But the web has helped us above all to communicate our story and our territory, building a deeper relationship with our customers.” To which the whole company had to adjust, ” On the net you promise transparency,” he concludes. ” Then you can not back out, you need to fulfill your promises.”


Customizing IKEA furniture to create new design desks, office furniture

office furnitureIKEA furniture have the merit of not being expensive. However, they often look pretty standard. Moreover, they are found everywhere, so they give a deja-vu impression. Hence the idea of the Italian design firm Teste di Legno (wooden heads!)  to customize IKEA furniture, e.g. a design desk ou another piece of office furniture, to create new design desks, office furniture, and even home furniture.

Customization is achieved by combining several IKEA furniture parts to form a single unit, sometimes adding colors and decorations. The result is interesting, isn’t it?

design desk

Recycling objects of daily use to make original and functional furniture

An emerging trend in furniture, whether office furniture or home furniture, it is recycling objects of daily use to make original and functional furniture having a unique charm, while providing  a touch of sympathy. Here are some examples:

Coffe tables from car tires



The Italian design firm Tavomatico realized small design tables that also serve as a storage space from car tires, to which it has just added two panels of Plexiglas and wheels.

Beautiful lamps made with recycled cassettes

 recycled cassettes lamp

recycled cassettes lamp

People at OOO My Design have found a way to recycle the tapes. This collective based in Madrid uses the tapes to make lamps, to put on a stand or hang from the ceiling. It is true that our consumer society produces billions of objects that are then thrown when a new, more efficient technology arrives. This was the case of tapes, abandoned to adopt the CD-ROM. It would be economically very profitable to transform waste into objects of such daily use.

Vespa design chairs, a brilliant idea

Vespa chairs

Vespa chairs

Another example: the designers of Bel & Bel in Barcelona, ​​thanks to whom, when the time comes for some Vespas to retire, they will be transformed into still elegant leather office chairs.
All chairs are made with Vespa original frames, which are then padded and lined with leather to give you office chairs among the most comfortable.

Finally, shelves for office or home made from old skateboards

Furniture that sometimes would not of sufficient quality for a professional office furniture, but which are of interest in terms of design and production costs.

skateboard shelves

skateboard shelves

R.I.P. Ottavio Missoni, great master of Italian design

Missoni's fashion

Missoni’s fashion

Italian design is well ranked worldwide among the most innovative and creative. That’s why La Mercanti, specialising in design office furniture from Italy, wants to thank hereby a master in Italian design. Italian fashion designer Ottavio Missoni, a master of color and style, just died. Known to all as Tai Missoni, he was the man who revolutionized fashion, and not only the Italian one, who has dared bringing new patterns and colors on the catwalks, who has captured the world with its yarns. Death took him away on May 9th, 2013; he was 92, born in 1921 in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The encounter that will forever change the history of fashion takes place in London: there Ottavio Missoni met Rosita Jelmini, the woman who would later become his wife. Together, they open a first small textile workshop in Gallarate, near Milan, but from that moment on, his life changes radically. In 1950, he founded the Italian fashion house, in the seventies its success is known worldwide. Makes it popular with a scandal in 1967, in the Palazzo Pitti, his models parading without underwear and under the lights appear naked bodies to the public.

Missoni was a free spirit, who managed to introduce innovation, a craftsman who creates something brilliant and unique from nothing, an artist of color, who for the first time has approached nuances that nobody had dared. His geometric lines, his abstract patterns, have conquered the fashion market. His style is that of the “put together”, pulling colors and shades, forming a veritable kaleidoscope of fantasies. And the colors he chose were not random, but wer born from his life.

In the biography he wrote, «from Dalmatia and Dubrovnik I brought with me the blues, that smell overseas, orange and red sunsets over the Adriatic, the warm yellow ocher and brown flecked speak of rocks and sand, lapped, reshuffled and eroded by the waves. Cannot miss the blacks, which blend. And then the purple, my favorite color, in all its nuances. If it looks good, it’s always there, even if it appears at first sight. “

Her fashion has been continuous research and exploration, ingenuity and hard work, elegance and simplicity. His works of art most times have been exhibited in major museums. His unique style, the plot of the simple yarn, the seemingly random juxtaposition of different colors, gave him the opportunity to enter the history of fashion. A lifetime of success but, he’s never moved away from his family. Beside him he has always held his wife and three children, Angela, Vittorio and Luca.

Karim Rashid with La Mercanti office furniture

Karim Rashid is one of the most prolific designers of his generation. Over 3000 designs in production, over 300 awards and working in over 40 countries attest to Karim’s legend of design. Below in the pictures together with La Mercanti at Milan design week, presentation of Hook range by Newform.

Karim’s work is featured in 20 permanent collections and he exhibits art in galleries world wide. Karim is a perennial winner of the Red Dot award, Chicago Athenaeum Good Design award, I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review, IDSA Industrial Design Excellence award. In his spare time Karim’s pluralism flirts with art, fashion, and music and is determined to creatively touch every aspect of our physical and virtual landscape.

Pedrali: Red Dot design Award 2013

RED DOT DESIGN AWARD is the international prize issued by Red Dot Institute constituted by a jury of 37 design experts that rewards the best products and projects of the year.

Pedrali won the REDDOT DESIGN AWARD 2013 in the Product design category with three products: ARA armchair designed by Jorge Pensi Design Studio, MALMÖ armchair by Michele Cazzaniga, Simone Mandelli and Antonio Pagliarulo and NOA chair by Marc Sadler.

The victory of ARA and NOA chairs confirms the high design performance of Pedrali that celebrates its 50 years activity and its 25th attendance at Salone Internazionale del Mobile in the year 2013.

The RED DOT DESIGN AWARD 2013 ceremony takes place in Essen on 1st July and the winning products will be displayed at Red Dot Design Museum in Essen.

Italian glazed partition walls

Transforming a Wall into a design object: mission accomplished. Wall that furnish work environments. Technology, design, excellence: La Mercanti demountable partitions.

Thanks to a continuous scouting into new creative possibilities La Mercanti has succeeded in offering a range of design walls unique within the market, capable of satisfying almost all requirements. Available in a range of versions that can be tailored to meet the client’s needs and speak the designer’s language: horizontal and vertical modularity, solid or glazed panels, single or double glazed wall, storage wall, with venetian blinds, with sound deadening panels, hinged or sliding doors.

LaMercanti walls are on the cutting-edge of partitioning; a unique blend of design and technology: made in Italy.