#Designgoeson: Stefano Gavazzi, Concreta and the hospitality industry

#Designgoeson: Designdiffusion.com talks with Stefano Gavazzi, co-owner of Concreta, about the health emergency and the hospitality industry

Stefano Gavazzi, co-owner of Concreta

Now that nearly two months have passed since the beginning of the health emergency, what is the situation of your company?

Stefano Gavazzi: “Working in the contract industry, our situation is quite different; all in all, it is slightly better than that of companies working in the residential field. Of course, we will suffer from the consequences of the compulsory stop as well, but, if the closure does not last too long, the consequences should not be too serious. The contract sector works on projects covering a quite long period of time, which gives us some breathing space.

Read also the other interviews with leading figures from the design world:

Lobby of the Sheraton San Siro hotel, Milan

We have reorganized our work so that, even during this period when factories, offices and construction sites are closed, our technical department has continued to work, perfecting the final aspects of ongoing projects. The possibility of working remotely has been extremely helpful because it has allowed us to go on with our projects in spite of production being stopped by decree of the Prime Minister. Smart working has been a precious help in this difficult moment. To this, we can add the fact that we operate much in the hospitality sector, mainly with major groups, which are able to absorb this shock – hoping that this stop does not last too long.

Silene bar, Sheraton San Siro hotel, Milan. Communal areas are by Concreta

Currently, the hospitality sector is the most affected by the health emergency. How do you envision the future of the hospitality industry?

Now it is not easy to predict what will happen in the future. However, I am optimistic after all, and I think that, in the long term, the natural tendency of the human race to socialize will emerge again. Of course, we will face a period when we will have to respect social distancing but I think that, as soon as we discover an effective pharmacological treatment or develop a vaccine, we will go back to our normal life, we will go out again, and we will go to the restaurant again. In the medium term, it could be slightly more complicated. We work with large groups that can withstand some months of closure but, sooner or later, it will be necessary to reopen everything, albeit gradually and safely.

El Patio del Gaucho, restaurant owned by Argentinian former footballer Javier Zanetti, within the Sheraton San Siro hotel, Milan, whose communal areas were created by Concreta

In short, I think that some tough months are ahead of us but the human tendency to socialize will emerge again. From an economic and financial point of view, however, it will also depend on the ability to react of all the players. Concreta works mainly with important hotel groups, which can withstand some months of closure without particular problems. However, the following evolution will depend on the evolution of the travel industry, which is among the reasons why I hope that the natural sociability of mankind reemerges soon.

Lobby of the Sheraton San Siro hotel, Milan

A year without the Salone del Mobile di Milano: what impact will this absence have?

The absence of the Salone del Mobile di Milano will be one of 2020’s hardest facts. For Milan’s hospitality sector it will be a major loss; some operators, during the Milano Design Week, get half of the turnover of the whole year. For exhibiting companies the impact might be less serious if we consider the financial side alone. However, besides the economic loss, the Salone del Mobile and Fuorisalone are unique and irreplaceable chances for cultural and social exchange, which is the real loss. I heartedly hope that the Salone del Mobile will be back in 2021, bigger and more interesting than ever.

Read also the other interviews with leading figures from the design world:

Detail of the lights of the Sheraton San Siro hotel, Milan

Do you think that online communication may replace offline communication?

Online communication is a very useful resource that is becoming increasingly vital. There are many initiatives, webinars and meetings, even with many participants, very important moments of exchange, that are fundamental to keep relationships alive. Personally, however, I think that in-person meetings are irreplaceable. The social aspect of meetings, whether they are commercial negotiations or convivial meetings, cannot be replaced. But, as I said before, I am optimistic and I hope that we will meet again as soon as possible.

Below, some pictures of Le Massif hotel, in Courmayeur, a project by architect Andrea Auletta, carried out by Concreta

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