If you love home décor and interior design, just like us, then there is an Italian brand that you are quite likely to at least have already heard: Natuzzi. Natuzzi has become a symbol of Italian quality and expertise; despite having become a global giant, with flagship stores all over the world, Natuzzi creations are still renowned for the craftsmanship skills of the amazing artisans that put them together, not to mention the creativity of the designers who first imagined those creations. However, Natuzzi was not always a giant; as it is common for many other Italian companies, the origins of this brand were humble, rooted in a small, provincial reality out of the spotlight. Shall we learn a little bit more? Let’s take a look, then!
Natuzzi is certainly one of the most famous Italian furniture brand, both in its home country and overseas, but where did it come from, originally? In 1959, in a small town in Puglia, a charming region located in southern Italy, Pasquale Natuzzi opened his first workshop. Here is where Mr Natuzzi started creating those sofas that, in due time, would eventually make him famous, identifying him as one of the greatest Italian craftsmen -- and businessmen. Every single sofa was entirely handcrafted from the most high-quality materials, and would bring together the two main features every sofa should be characterized by: comfort and style.
Like a phoenix
After just a few years, Natuzzi’s sofas had become popular thanks to all the recognition they had been increasingly receiving, so much so that in 1967, Pasquale Natuzzi took the first of many leaps of faith: he started producing them industrially. However, soon enough a tragedy would happen: in 1973, just one year after Pasquale Natuzzi officially established the company Natuzzi Salotti S.r.L, a fire completely destroyed the establishment. Still, as the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”: this terrible accident was far from being the end of Natuzzi. The business was moved to Santeramo in Colle, another small town in Puglia, which is where Natuzzi still has its headquarters today, and thanks to years of hard work, Natuzzi was reborn from its ashes, stronger than ever, like the legendary phoenix.
The big jump
During the 80s, Pasquale embarked on a journey that would change his life forever: he crossed the Atlantic Ocean and went on a trip to the United States. It may not have been his first one, but certainly it ended up being the one that changed the destiny of Natuzzi. Mr Natuzzi came back from this trip absolutely, firmly convinced that the American market was ready, and in fact craved, for some Italian excellence and know-how inside the nation’s living rooms. Which is why in 1985, he established Natuzzi Upholstery Inc, which had its headquarters in New York, and started producing a new line of sofas. The most striking feature of these new creations was their colored leather upholstery, which softly enveloped rich, firm cushions, thus giving birth to a new kind of sofa characterized by an unparalleled level of comfort. The quality of these sofas was so undeniable that, not only did they become incredibly popular, both in the US and back home in Italy, but they also allowed Natuzzi to be listed on Wall Street, in 1993. A fairly big jump from the humble beginnings in a small town in southern Italy, right?
The world is not enough
Not that Pasquale Natuzzi ever needed a confidence boost; however, it is true that if he ever needed one, the Wall Street listing would have been it. From that moment on, Mr Natuzzi’s vision became clearer than ever: the time was right to really start expanding to other countries. He started off by continuing to establish his North American empire, which officially culminated in 1998, with the opening of the Natuzzi America headquarters in High Point, North Carolina. While he was conducting these operations, he kept strengthening the company’s position in the European and Italian markets, where in fact, the first Divani & Divani by Natuzzi had already been opened almost a decade before. A sign of the global appreciation for Mr Natuzzi’s work? In 2008, he was inducted in the American Furniture Hall of Fame: the first non-American to ever receive this incredible award.
What made Natuzzi so strong?
Considering Natuzzi made its way to the hearts of hundreds of thousands customers from all over the globe, it is natural that you would wonder where all this success came from. Well, the answer is: from the values that helped the company maintain a high-key, respectable profile all through these long years. Quality is of course the first and foremost value that helped establish this brand. If anything, the widespread appreciation Natuzzi has received for decades, now, is a clear sign that quality is a universal value, no matter what language people speak or what cultural background they come from. Secondly, other values that have always been important, but which have become especially fundamental today, are represented by the company’s efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. It is 2018 and our ecosystem is in critical conditions: there simply should be a zero-tolerance policy towards companies that do not take environmental friendliness seriously.
Blending tradition and innovation
Many companies that were first established around the middle of the 20th century are characterised by what we may call a “mixed” approach to the process of furniture-making. They are aware of the importance of keeping their knowledge and skills updated, while at the same time being aware of the critical importance of learning from experience -- which sometimes also means, from past mistakes. Natuzzi is definitely the best example of this blending of old-school tradition and innovation throughout the entire process of crafting perfect high-end furniture, starting from the first sketches and ending up with the final, priceless home décor piece that we all dream of one day style our living room with.
In conclusion: welcome to the world of Natuzzi.