Furniture surfaces with the colour, tactile and sensorial aspects of materials and finishes have in recent years become increasingly essential to be successful in the market. Precisely in response to the growing demand from companies in the sector for professionals able to design and manage the perceptive and technical aspects of surfaces, with particular reference to the interior design and furnishing sector, as well as experts in colours, materials and finishes, POLI.design has realised a Master's course, which has just reached the conclusion of its first module, in collaboration with Assopannelli and the active participation of partner companies.
Apprenticeships and a new Master's degree
Conceived a year ago, the Master's degree course in "Sensorial Surface Design, Colour, Material and Finish design for interiors and furniture", a high-level multi-disciplinary training course, has been so well received that it will be offered again in a second edition.
This is what emerged at the annual meeting of Assopannelli of FederlegnoArredo, which was held at POLI.design. In fact, the president of Assopannelli, Paolo Fantoni, commented: "We are very satisfied with the first results of this pilot, experimental and innovative project, carried out through the Group Coordinator, Luciano Caspani, which does not end here: internships will also be activated at some participating companies, and we are already working on a re-edition, trying on the one hand to attract companies interested in expanding know-how and on the other hand attracting more and more professional figures capable of designing in the CMF design field in a competitive way. After all, the sector is also evolving abroad and especially in the field of furniture surfaces, which are gaining share in non-European countries, both in emerging countries and in traditionally strategic destinations for furniture such as the United States".
Semi-finished furniture system: better export
The annual meeting of Assopannelli was also an opportunity to provide industry data.
The Sistema Semilavorati per Arredi, with a production turnover of over 6 billion euros, feeds, with its products, the downstream furniture sectors, not only domestically but also abroad where the quality of Italian component finishes is always highly appreciated.
In fact, exports absorb 46% of the total, for a value of 2.8 billion euros (+12.3% over 2021). The first destination market is the United Kingdom (+11.4%), while the United States (+28%) is the leading non-EU market.
Production for the domestic market, mostly destined for the furniture industry, absorbs the remaining half with a 5.9% growth over 2021. As far as 2023 is concerned, the FederlegnoArredo Study Centre Monitor, conducted on a representative sample of companies, indicates a drop in total sales in value of 10.8% in the first quarter, with a more marked drop on the domestic market (-15.2%) than on foreign markets (-8.2%).
Panel System: estimated downturn for 2023
The figures for the Panel System show that it has indeed suffered a sharp slowdown in production in the latter part of the year, but despite the critical issues related to soaring gas and electricity costs, it has shown resilience and adaptability, closing 2022 with a production turnover in value of more than 3 billion euros.
Production for the domestic market, which accounts for 63% of the total and is mainly destined for furniture companies, closed at +24.3%. Exports are on the rise (+27.6%) and will exceed 1 billion Euro in 2022; foreign markets are driven by Germany (22% of total exports) and France, followed by the United States and the Netherlands.
The FederlegnoArredo Study Centre Monitor, on the other hand, indicates an overall negative trend (-13.7%) for the period January-March 2023 compared to 2022, especially as regards sales in Italy (-18.4%), while sales abroad, which account for 26% of the total, record +3.2%. Companies estimate a downturn for 2023: total sales will close at -11%, with a more marked negative trend for Italy (-13.6%) than for foreign sales (-2.1%). Entrepreneurs' concerns are still linked to energy costs.
"Italy suffers from an energy cost of 110 euros per megawatt, compared to 61 for our colleagues in Germany and 42 in France, putting us in a clear state of competitive asymmetry," Fantoni explains. "the Italian furniture industry exports all over the world, and a loss of competitiveness of the panel supply chain would mean a loss of market positions worldwide".