Much as the conviviality of a dinner party begins with an invitation and is infused with the individual spirit of each guest around the table, Natuzzi’s 2020 collection blends the individual vision and philosophy of each designer into a perfectly balanced collection.
For its 2020 collection, Natuzzi invited eight contemporary designers to interpret the brand’s identity, capturing its relationship with Apulia. The result is The Circle of Harmony, a collection inspired by Apulia and its connection to the sea, and the brand’s spirit of elegance, comfort and harmony.
“In the tradition of our land, Apulia, and in the tradition of the whole Mediterranean area, hospitality has an extraordinary value because for us being together and sharing thoughts, emotions, looks, beauty, food and wine is always enriching and always a joy,” says Pasquale Junior Natuzzi, Chief Creative & Marketing Officer and Regional Manager Emerging Markets of the eponymous family-run firm. “Each of the design performers responded to our invitation bringing something personal inspired by Apulia and by the Mediterranean, interpreting the idea of Harmony in a new way.”
In perfect balance itself, the circle epitomises harmony and the quest for equilibrium and perfection. Both literally and figuratively, it is an inclusive space where different spirits can meet and interact. In this spirit, The Circle of Harmony is the conceptual thread linking Natuzzi’s 2020 collection of pieces designed by Claudio Bellini, Mauro Lipparini, Maurizio Manzoni, Paola Navone, Nika Zupanc, Marcantonio and Fabio Novembre, and incorporating textiles by innovation studio ByBorre.
Deep, Nika Zupanc’s contribution to The Circle of Harmony collection, is inspired by the Adriatic Sea which reaches from her origins in Slovenia to the tip of Puglia, where Natuzzi was founded in 1959 and remains firmly rooted today. “There is an ocean of peace beneath the waves,” Nika Zupanc says, and there is something of the soothing, cocooning effect of diving into the deep in every piece in her collection.
The fluid shapes of water in all its forms flow through every object in the collection, from the rippling curves of the sofa, aptly titled Wave, through the W-shaped magazine rack in light gold metal inserted between the two half-moon shapes that make up the ottoman, to the curvy lines of the powder varnished metal of the Tide bookcase.
The Joy lamps, graceful curves or iridescent painted blown glass decorated with metallic gold, bring the soft light of an evening by the sea into the home. The collection flows into the dining area with the sculptural Voyage table with its metal-covered monolithic pedestal topped Stardust – Terrazzo stone surfaces made from an exclusive mix of marbles – and accompanied by single-legged swivel armchairs in particular shapes and materials.
“Our strong connection with Apulia has always distinguished our firm’s DNA so deeply,” says Pasquale Junior Natuzzi. “This is the area to which we belong. Our land has given us so much and inspires us every day. This is a global brand, but as a firm, we remain anchored to our roots. Apulia is our motherland and we have a long history here.”
Pasquale’s father, from whom he takes his name, was the son of a cabinet maker. Aged 19, he set up a workshop in Taranto to produce sofas and armchair. Three years later, he moved to Matera, his birthplace, and after five years, he began to produce sofas on an industrial scale. “Manufacturing in Puglia was something really special,” Pasquale Junior Natuzzi says. “There were no major companies below Bologna at the time. My father’s entrepreneurial experiment is unique.
The Natuzzi brand is now being taken to the next level as a global brand with a strong sense of authenticity rooted in Apulia. Working one year with an expert in luxury brands a few years ago helped evolve Natuzzi’s DNA, infusing its visuals with an air of luxury. The upshot was that Apulia, the firm’s home region, could be made iconic for the brand itself. As head of marketing, Pasquale Junior Natuzzi translated the Mediterranean lifestyle design into the visuals of the company’s communication and design thinking. “I am proud of what we are doing,” he says, “we are iconsing the idea of Puglia.”
“the circle is the epitome of harmony, it symbolises the quest for equilibrium and perfection“
That meant bringing in new designers, inviting collaboration. The Circle of Harmony design collaborators are linked by the land and the sea, firmly rooted but with an international outlook. Of the Deep collection’s designer, Pasquale Junior Natuzzi says “Nika is a woman of great taste and a designer of great talent who has worked with Italian companies for many years. Her mindset is international but is also close to the Italian outlook.” His favourite piece in the Deep collection is the table with a stone composite top. He and Nika Zupanc took an early morning flight on a Friday to “select stone by stone what the texture should express.” The next day Italy went into lockdown due to the pandemic. The disruption it caused and the extraordinary travel restrictions it imposed has forced designers to rethink how they work. “How do we connect with each other when we are geographically divided?” Pasquale Junior Natuzzi asks, “The sea is the story that we have to tell. It both unites and divides us. Like the best wines, our Harmony collection is a blend.
“I myself am a blend. I am American and Italian, born and raised in Puglia, and have always travelled the world. I grew up in the deep south of Italy and went to public schools as a kid. I played soccer in the streets, giving and getting slaps as normal kids do. I didn’t grow up in a bubble. I feel a sense of authenticity in me and in everything that is diverse. I mix Apulian authenticity with new and continuous research.”
The firm’s marketing Whatsapp group is called Contamina because “sharing our ideas helps them evolve, whether we find them by getting lost in the streets of Mexico City or working alone in Shanghai, looking at the French connection and the architecture. I can interpret what I see in my own way and I like to be mentored by people who can give me their vision of the world. It is what I do as a professional.”
The pandemic’s ongoing impact will affect the design industry and how designers work and communicate and realise their vision. “E-commerce and digital will take over more and more,” Pasquale Junior Natuzzi says. “With the pandemic, we were forced to learn how old our ways were, and how they need to change. We just had to make the change faster because we have been forced to. Traditionally, design is store-centred. That is the old school path to purchase.
“What the pandemic should teach us is that more than ever we need to be flexible in our companies and strategies. At Natuzzi we started giving interior consultancy online using visual sharing platforms and using chat support and then, to make it more real and interactive, we started to do video call consultancy online. The change was needed. We made it. But, to be honest, I think we will also go back to interacting directly. In this moment, we have to be able to mind to gap and narrow that with technologies. But we are humans and we need to interact like human beings.”
Article written by Taste & Flair and published in the Sept 2020 edition.