New Italian brand, Skitsch, charged on to the design scene at last year's Salone — while everyone else was tiptoeing carefully through the recession — and now it has set foot on UK shores.
To its newly opened showroom on London's Brompton Road, Skitsch brings its collection of playful furniture and objects by an impressive roll call of designers like Maarten Baas, Naoto Fukasawa, and Konstantin Grcic. New names for 2010 include established designers, such as Peter Marigold and Marcel Wanders, and up-and-coming talent, like young French collective, 5.5, and Venetian designer, Luca Nichetto.
'I'm interested in design that is beautiful and surprising at the same time,' says founder and CEO, Renato Preti. 'In Italian, the word "stupendo" means both. The two terms are simultaneous.' Among the unusual pieces in the Skitsch collection are Peter Marigold's '25 litri Coat Stand' -- with a plastic tank filled with water as a base -- and Luca Nichetto's 'Alle' chair, whose surface is painted to look like it's already wearing away. But Preti is insistent that the Skitsch collection isn't about one homogeneous look. 'We don't have a set style. We want people to chose from a range of different design personalities,' he explains.
Though Skitsch is certainly high-end, Preti has made a concerted effort to offer a spectrum of different prices and doesn't believe in limited editions. 'Either you commission a one-off piece of work yourself or you buy industrial design. In my world, there's no in-between. Design is not art,' he says. Instead of an intimidating gallery-style showroom, the new store -- designed by Studio Blast Architetti -- is an inviting space, featuring tactile surfaces and the special 'Skitsch Blue'.
Preti is one of a rare breed of Italians that understands the power of the web when it comes to design commerce. The Skitsch showrooms enable customers to physically experience the products but he expects most of the sales to happen online, which will also help him keep costs down. A revamped Skitsch website -- complete with video -- will launch imminently. Says Preti: 'The web is the future when it comes to selling design.'