April 21, 2020

Italian Designers and Manufacturers Unite to Address Industry Challenges

Earlier this month, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte extended Italy’s country-wide lockdown through May 3, at the very least. While this pandemic spread across oceans and continents leaving the global economy facing an unexpected phenomenon, a group of Italian designers and manufacturers united to ensure production recommences as soon as safely possible. Though they had hoped for an April 14 start date, which is no longer a viable option, they are putting plans in motion now to assist the industry in more ways than one. 

Despite countless timeline changes for reopening the country, B&B Italia, Bisazza, Boffi, Cappellini, Cassina, Flexform, Giorgetti, Molteni Group, and Poltrona Frau—traditionally competitors—joined together in solidarity to discuss industry concerns and posit ways to safely reopen their respective production facilities. The first piece to come from this united front was a request to put a rent moratorium on all commercial spaces that are currently closed. Together, the companies proposed to landlords a rent reduction of 50 percent from April through December of 2020. This financial relief will allow the companies to adjust to the countermeasures that will linger long after the virus is gone.  

Photography courtesy of Poltrona Frau. 

While working from home, the ateliers and companies involved in the group also created an internal task force for crisis management. With an understanding of precautions for the sake of society’s health, the coalition of brands is confident that their showrooms and factories can return to functioning with people in-house while maintaining distance among other necessary precautions. Currently, 130,000 Italians are employed within the country’s 20,000 furniture and design companies, with exports constituting 60 percent of the multi-billion dollar industry’s business, fueling the group’s main objective to get production back up and running sooner than later. 

> See our full coverage of COVID-19 and its impact on the A&D industry

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