Natuzzi is on a mission to help save Puglia's olive trees

Puglia-based furniture company Natuzzi is on a mission to save local olive trees from the advancement of Xylella, teaming up with NGO Save the Olives on fundraising initiatives that combine design and responsibility towards nature

Natuzzi Pouff photographed in Puglia
Terra pouffe by Marcantonio for Natuzzi, a special edition of which is now sold through Save the Olives, with the proceeds being donated to the NGO
(Image credit: press)

Italian furniture brand Natuzzi has deep roots in the southern region of Puglia: since 1959, the company has been based in the region, growing from a small upholstery workshop to a furniture giant. Alongside collections from world-renown designers, the company has been particularly attentive to the culture surrounding it, partly thanks to the efforts of company chief creative officer and third-generation member of the founding family, Pasquale Junior Natuzzi

‘Puglia is our home, our muse: every new Natuzzi project starts here and reaches the whole world thanks to our stores, where customers can enjoy a brand experience that transmits hospitality, warmth and the beauty of the Mediterranean,’ explains Pasquale Junior. 

Natuzzi is on a mission to help save Puglia’s olive trees

Xylella-hit olive trees

(Image credit: press)

Today, Puglia and the entire Mediterranean suffer from the advancement of Xylella, a bacterial plant pathogen that is slowly destroying local olive trees, some of which have been around for centuries. Since 2013, the bacterium has destroyed more than 21 million olive trees in Puglia, changing the local landscape: once rich and green, and now slowly drying out with a strong risk of desertification.

‘Olive trees are not just trees: they represent a symbol where Apulian and Mediterranean cultures merge,’ observes Pasquale Junior. ‘In this area, there is the highest density of olive trees in the world, and many of them date back to Roman times.’

Aerial view of olive trees

Aerial view of olive trees in Puglia

(Image credit: press)

Because of his family and his company’s links to Puglia, he felt compelled to help his land, teaming up with local NGO Save the Olives, whose mission is to research the disease, safeguard the monumental trees and to help reforest the area. 

Natuzzi’s latest collection, ‘The Circle of Harmony – Second Life’, pays particular attention to the relationship between nature, local territory and society. ‘The goal is to give life to a more conscious design and production,’ explains Pasquale Junior. ‘A collection of targeted pieces, designed to last a lifetime, with the clean idea of reducing pollution, creating materials that live a precious second life: recycled, reused, rethought.’ Part of the collection is the ‘Terra’ pouffe by long-term Natuzzi collaborator Marcantonio. Described as ‘a zero-impact statement piece designed by the earth and for the earth’, the pouffe is made of recycled polystyrene and upholstered with a sustainable textile by Byborre (see more on Natuzzi and Byborre’s textile collaboration here).

Olive tree in Puglia photographed by Giampaolo Sgura for Natuzzi and Save the Olives

Apulian olive tree by Giampaolo Sgura

(Image credit: press)

Concurrently, Pasquale Junior invited photographer Giampaolo Sgura to interpret the richness of ancient Apulian olive trees through a series of images that capture their energy. A special edition of the pouffe, and the photographic prints are sold from Save The Olives' e-commerce, with proceeds donated to the organisation. 

‘My hope is to finally turn the spotlight on such a serious and delicate issue,’ says Pasquale Junior. ‘Save the Olives needs not only the Apulians, but all those who feel the moral imperative to do something to save a territory in grave danger. I hope to be able to stir the spirits of the many people who want to defend Puglia and the Mediterranean. It is a difficult undertaking, but it does not scare us.’

Francesco Winspeare, president of Save the Olives, says: ‘Olive trees are our history, they represent an irreplaceable piece of our territory, and the time has come to unite us all, without any doubts or restraints, in this difficult struggle.’


‘Terra’ pouffe, by Marcantonio for Natuzzi, €500
Prints by Giampaolo Sgura, from €100

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.