The last chapter of Italian furniture brand Natuzzi’s first book is titled ‘The beating heart of Natuzzi’. It would also, one could argue, act as a fitting title for the new tome itself. When a brand revisits its history and successes, it tends to take a ‘greatest hits’ approach, delivering a catalogue-style book of brilliant designs. Natuzzi took a different tack, creating a narrative of its intriguing business history.
‘The story of how a small workshop located in a village in southern Italy transformed itself into a multinational company, selling its products all over the world, is just remarkable,’ states author Luca Condosta in the opening pages of Natuzzi: The Italian Harmony Maker. Like any epic, the story kicks off at the beginning of the journey, in this case right after the Second World War, where brand founder Pasquale Natuzzi is described as coming from a humble family of carpenters. What follows is an in-depth exploration of how he built an empire. Natuzzi is now Italy’s largest furniture company, with an annual turnover of over €457m.
But the story isn’t just a long list of successes. There are defeats, losses and tragedies along the way. The growth of the company is not just celebrated – rather, it’s explained right down to R&D, human resources and the quality of craftsmanship, Condosta leaving no stone unturned in the nitty gritty of Natuzzi’s evolution.
That success came, said Natuzzi in his 2004 and 2005 annual reports, ‘by sailing towards the future with unique straight and energy, sticking together during hard times and working closely towards common goals’. As the pages turn, Condosta turns Natuzzi’s business profile into a biographical-style read, reflecting on relationships as well Natuzzi’s personal achievements as an entrepreneur.
When discussing why the author, a finance professional, decided to take on this project, Condosta writes that ‘there must be some magic in this small village that guards the history and success of Natuzzi’. For those seeking inspiration, Natuzzi: The Italian Harmony Maker is a refreshingly honest, all-encompassing thesis on how to run a successful business.
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Sujata Burman is a writer and editor based in London, specialising in design and culture. She was Digital Design Editor at Wallpaper* before moving to her current role of Head of Content at London Design Festival and London Design Biennale where she is expanding the content offering of the showcases. Over the past decade, Sujata has written for global design and culture publications, and has been a speaker, moderator and judge for institutions and brands including RIBA, D&AD, Design Museum and Design Miami/. In 2019, she co-authored her first book, An Opinionated Guide to London Architecture, published by Hoxton Mini Press, which was driven by her aim to make the fields of design and architecture accessible to wider audiences.
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