The future of Italian design: the trends from the Pambianco 2023 design conference
The ninth design conference organized by Pambianco on 28th June 2023 in Milan was an opportunity to take a look on the current situation of the furniture market. The meeting, titled The new normal of Italian furniture, was in fact attended by many protagonists from the world of furniture, finance, design and related sectors.
A new way of designing
During the conference, sector experts analyzed what is now considered the “new normality” of operations in the Furniture & Design sector. The ninth edition of the Pambianco conference was introduced by David Pambianco, CEO of Pambianco, who later acted as moderator of the Summit, and Gilda Bojardi, editor in chief of Interni Magazine. The latter analyzed the theme of the Summit starting from the Exhibition Event that Interni organized during the Fuorisalone 2023, attended by numerous internationally renowned architects and designers.
Interni’s Fuorisalone event showcased a new attitude in architectural planning and interior design; an anthropocentric vision that puts human beings and their needs at the center and underlines the value of the experience of the individual user with the relative involvement of the entire design chain. In this new process, therefore, the furnishing elements are not individual supplies but personalized elements based on an abacus that fosters conscious choices.
The new normal in Italian furniture
Alessio Candi, Consulting and M&A Director Pambianco, introduced the topic of discussion of the Pambianco 2023 conference with the presentation of the research “The new normal of Italian furniture. Opportunities and strategic options to continue the development path”. The presentation began by sharing of some fundamental data that framed the sector as a whole. First of all, it was highlighted that, worldwide, 2022 recorded consumption of furniture and lighting for $581 billion, a value substantially in line with the previous year (-1.4%).
From a geographical point of view, however, Asia Pacific, which remains the most important area in terms of volumes with 39% of the total, fell together with Europe to the advantage of the United States (+7%). Italy, in particular, today accounts for just 2% of world consumption of furniture and lighting; just as brands still weigh little compared to unbranded products (15% vs 85%). We therefore still see an important space for possible growth for our high-end Italian brands, which, in order to achieve better results, in addition to having to grow in size also through aggregations, must rebalance their efforts between wholesale and retail and digital.
As regards exports, however, Italy is growing by 13%, recording a value of 15 billion euros in 2022. The first markets are France, with 16% of the shares, followed by the United States (14%), Germany (9%) and the United Kingdom (8%). Finally, e-commerce continues its growth trend, reaching $96 billion worldwide, equal to 11% of the sector’s total turnover, with an 18% growth over 2019.
The excellence of Made in Italy
Walter Ricciotti, Managing Director Made in Italy Fund II, underlined that design today represents one of the most interesting sectors for Private Equity operators. His speech explored the main dynamics of the sector and the ways in which a thematic fund such as Made in Italy Fund II can accelerate the development of a market that is a symbol of Italian excellence, not only by contributing equity, but by supporting companies in their path of innovation, digitization and internationalization. Made in Italy Fund II accompanies them in their development process, making them more competitive on a global scale and consolidating their positioning also through M&A and add-on operations.
Speeches at the Pambianco 2023 Design Conference
During the Summit, managers and entrepreneurs followed one another and exchanged views, sharing their experiences and case histories, on the proposed topics. In order of presentation: Roberto Gavazzi, CEO Boffi|DePadova; Barbara Lunghi, Head of Listing Sales Italy Borsa Italiana; Andrea Sasso, Chairman and CEO of Italian Design Brands; Graziano Verdi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Italcer Group; Stefano Leccese Renzetti, Manager, Multichannel Programs, Google Customer Solutions Italy; Lorenzo Pascucci, Founder and CEO Contract District Group; Francesco Zurlo, Dean of the Design School of the Milan Polytechnic; Sergio Nava, Director of Education Istituto Marangoni Milan • The School of Design; Cesare Chichi, Partner Architect and Co-Founder of 967arch; Michele Rossi, Co-founding Partner Park Associati; Marco Piscitelli, CEO Molteni&C | Managing Director Molteni Group; Daniel Lalonde, CEO of Design Holdings; Dario Rinero, CEO Lifestyle Design.