Paolo Castelli, entrepreneur, talks about the many faces of the furniture industry
Paolo Castelli, a dynamic entrepreneur, has a long experience in the production of furniture. With Paolo Castelli spa, he has diversified production into different branches, each of which has a different focus, and which together make Paolo Castelli spa a modern company with very clear ideas about the future.
Read our interview with Paolo Castelli #Designgoeson
A company with many faces
Where does Paolo Castelli spa fit into the contemporary furniture scene?
“When Paolo Castelli spa was founded, the objective was to collaborate mainly on contract projects. Today, an important and interesting part of our turnover comes from shipyards, a thriving sector. Paolo Castelli spa is also the official supplier of Fincantieri, a collaboration that requires great commitment and gives great satisfaction, and, above all, guarantees large orders that last for years.
The contract sector keeps ensuring interesting orders and works as well. For example, we are currently carrying out a big intervention for the renovation of the Marriott Hotel in Milan. However, sometimes relationships in this sector are a bit complex. And with the pandemic they have become even more complicated because of the shutdown of many businesses in the hospitality industry. We will need some time to get back to pre-Covid levels, and we could take advantage of this setback to reconsider some collaboration modes in a sector that is becoming increasingly complex to manage.”
“Lastly, we work in the consumer segment, to which we dedicate the Inspiration collection, inspired by the Art Deco style, the Greenkiss collection, which includes high-end sustainable furniture, and the collection dedicated to Giorgio Morandi, which includes mainly complements and accessories.”
Discover the Greenkiss collection
Sustainable furniture: tradition wins
What direction is the furniture industry headed for today?
“I currently see a lot of potential for the future of the furniture industry. There are a lot of opportunities yet to be explored, both in terms of sustainable production and sales methods. With our Greenkiss collection, for example, we have developed a series of furniture products in the luxury segment, inspired by the Italian and French design masters of the 1950s and 1970s. The real added value of the Greenkiss collection, however, is in the construction techniques that we have revived with our craftsmen.”
“To make the wooden feet of upholstered furniture burnished, for example, we cook them in vinegar; on other furniture we do oil treatments; and for the Greenkiss collection, designed with Hubert de Malherbe and Thierry Lemaire, we use only FSC-certified woods. There’s a lot that can be done as sustainable luxury furniture production is not very widespread; there are many roads that have not been taken yet.”
“Our pursuit of sustainability also extends throughout the supply chain. For example, we have stopped using plastic packaging to use only cardboard packaging; or, for some custom projects, such as fashion showrooms, we use larch wood discarded from other projects; moreover, we use only water-based lacquers.”
Discover the Greenkiss collection
Design and designers for the luxury segment
How will the furniture market change in the coming years?
“I think the future poses several questions, especially in terms of sales methods. On the production side, Paolo Castelli spa has several plans. I would like to find a designer with whom to develop a new collection, with a well-defined character, that clearly outlines the identity of Paolo Castelli spa in the luxury elegance segment. On the sales side, the matter is a bit more complex. Today it is necessary to deal with completely new sales dynamics, which include the presence of a channel that did not exist until twenty years ago, the internet.”
Discover the collection dedicated to Giorgio Morandi
“The disruptive power of this new medium is influencing people’s buying behaviors, and that’s something we have to deal with. On the one hand, we need to be present on the channels from which the next customers will come – those who are very young today and will buy furniture in the future. On the other hand, we must begin to accept that these customers will not be looking for established brands, but simply for products that meet their needs. These dynamics involve different forms of communication, on which we need to work a lot.”
The future of furniture: e-commerce
“Moreover, even though the amount of furniture sold online is still quite small for the moment, we must get ready for e-commerce. Our intention is to approach e-commerce with a new collection of accessories, we think it’s the right time.”
“Next to e-commerce, there are several initiatives we have undertaken. The Seventyonepercent collection, for example, a project developed with Iris Ceramica Group, is doing very well. It is a project that sees Paolo Castelli spa involved in the production of a collection on sale at Iris Ceramica showrooms: a win-win solution that satisfies everyone.”
Discover the Seventyonepercent collection, by Paolo Castelli spa with Iris Ceramica
“Finally, in our future plans, there may be a new showroom in Milan. The current space, in the Brera area, works well, and we are quite pleased with it, but we do not exclude moving if we find a space that impresses us. Because investing in the internet is necessary, but this does not mean abandoning physical spaces. Furniture is a product sector in which many customers still need to ‘touch’ and see the products up close before making a purchase decision, especially if they are expensive goods.”