A new book offers a cinematic view on Molteni & C

‘Molteni Mondo. An Italian Design Story’ published by Rizzoli celebrates 90 years of the Italian furniture company Molteni & C

Molteni Mondo Molteni&C Flagship Stores
(Image credit: Jeff Burton)

A new book published by Rizzoli celebrates the world of Molteni & C, as the Italian furniture company marks its 90th anniversary in 2024. Aptly titled ‘Molteni Mondo. An Italian Design Story’, the tome features photography by Jeff Burton, artistic direction of Zurich’s Studio Achermann and is edited by curator Spencer Bailey with further contributions by Jean Nouvel, Jacques Herzog and Molteni & C Creative Director, Vincent Van Duysen among others. 

The book’s over 400 pages are a true celebration of the many forces that contribute to this company, from the global designers that behind its contemporary collections to the richness of its archives and the world-class quality that originates from its manufacturing facilities.

Man holds up giant chair

A 3D-printed model of Ron Gilad with a ‘Teatro’ chair by Aldo Rossi and Luca Meda for Molteni & C, part of an installation by Gilad, conceived as a ‘theatre of the absurd’

(Image credit: Photography: Jeff Burton)

‘[This book] is an almost cinematic story that affords an unprecedented and authoritative look at the present, past and future of the company,’ says Giulia Molteni, chief marketing officer of Molteni Group and third-generation of the founding family. ‘It traces the identity, relationships with architects and designers, history, symbols and distinctive features of this company, founded in 1934 in Brianza, the heart of the design district, by my grandparents Angelo and Giuseppina Molteni and today an independent global industrial group and leader in high-end furniture.’

Molteni Mondo Foundation Cartier in Paris

The first collaboration between Jean Nouvel and Molteni & C, the ‘Less’ tables were designed by the French architect for his Fondation Cartier project in 1994. The slender steel tables mirror the diaphanous, grid-like façade of the building

(Image credit: Jeff Burton)

The universe of Molteni & C is unravelled through Burton’s photography, capturing the puzzle of parts that contribute to making the company into what it is today. The book opens with a section dedicated to the Molteni family, gathered at the company’s Giussano HQ and photographed as if they were on a Hollywood movie set. Posing alongside the company’s CEO, Marco Piscitelli are two generations of Molteni, representing the force that drives the company forward. Molteni Group president, Carlo Molteni, is also captured riding a red bicycle around the industrial Compound, against a backdrop of the distinctive brick towers of the factory and the white Molteni trucks.

Molteni mondo book

A truck at Molteni & C’s HQ in Giussano, Lombardy, where its factory, showrooms, pavilion, restaurant and museum are located

(Image credit: Jeff Burton)

The book offers a bigger look at the spaces that are key to the company’s industrial and cultural history, from the Ron Gilad-designed cube that hosts the Molteni museum to Vincent Van Duysen’s Pavilion, the most recent addition to the complex. But Burton also offers viewers a glimpse into the company’s factories, guided by some of its historical collaborators and detailing every aspect of the manufacturing, honing in on materials and processes but also the textures and light pervading the workspaces, so much that you feel you are right there, where the magic happens.

Molteni Mondo Production

(Image credit: Jeff Burton)

An important part of the book is dedicated to the company’s creative collaborations, and featuring portraits of van Duysen, as well as the designers who contributed to the company’s exceptional design identity. Photographed interacting with the making of their pieces at the Molteni & C HQ are Patricia Urquiola, Yabu Pushelberg, Tobia Scarpa, Michael Anastassiades and Ron Gilad among others. A special section that concludes the book is dedicated to the work of Gio Ponti, of which Molteni&C is the only contemporary manufacturer through a collaboration with the architect’s foundation.

Molteni Mondo Michael Anastassiades

Michael  Michael Anastassiades with his ‘Half A Square’ table for Molteni & C 

(Image credit: Jeff Burton)

‘We bring together designers’ ideas, tradition and innovation, art and technology – inspiring and pushing ourselves to think ahead,’ says Giulia Molteni. ‘We exist to promote an art of living that is high quality and healthy for people and the planet. To do so, we give people the possibility to experience, belong, and live moments that inspire authentic and creative self-expression.’

Molteni Mondo Book cover

‘Molteni Mondo. An Italian Design Story’, by Rizzoli

(Image credit: Jeff Burton)

Van Duysen, who has been closely intertwined with the family since becoming creative director in 2016, has collaborated on putting together this manifesto of the company’s creative and industrial universes. ‘With Mondo, we want to show the world of Molteni&C, which is unique,’ he says. ‘For me it is amazing to be part of their 90-year history steeped in excellence, heritage, and outstanding craftsmanship. The book is meant to be a mirror and a journey back on memory lane, a testament to what the brand and the family stand for, and have been promoting for nine decades. The excursus goes from the masters behind the heritage of the brand all the way through the talent and craftsmanship of artisans and personnel, to today.’

Molteni Mondo Patricia Urquiola

Patricia Urquiola at Molteni & C’s Giussano HQ

(Image credit: Jeff Burton)

A true celebration of Molteni’s contribution to the Italian and global furniture panorama, the book is visually arresting and a successful mix of design history, celebration of the industry’s key players and a story of human success. ‘It’s a story that recognizes people, and human talent, as the greatest form of capital, not only the added value of an innovative company, but its highest and most lasting challenge,’ says Molteni. ‘At the centre is the representation of a world of objects and thoughts, ambitions and imperfections, rooted in the desire to continue to cultivate a deep knowing of how to do and how to be.'

‘Molteni Mondo. An Italian Design Story’, edited by Spencer Bailey, published by Rizzoli


Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.