The sixth edition of the Pambianco Interni Design Summit, entirely dedicated to the Furniture & Design sector, was held on 14 July simultaneously in live streaming and, for a limited number of participants, in the hall of Palazzo Mezzanotte in Milan.
Theme of the meeting “The design industry and the challenge of recovery“ followed by a very significant subtitle “The impact of the crisis on markets and the response of companies“. The objective of the Summit was precisely to open a discussion table between entrepreneurs and managers of important companies in the sector to understand the effects that the global crisis caused by the Covid-19 emergency and the consequent lockdown has had on the various markets and above all to understand how companies are managing the recovery.
Present at the Summit were the first five Italian multi-brand design groups represented by Giulia Molteni, Head of Marketing and Communication of Molteni Group, Giorgio Gobbi, Managing Director of IDB, Stefano Rosa Uliana, CEO of the Calligaris Group, Gabriele Del Torchio, President and CEO of Design Holding and Dario Rinero, CEO of Lifestyle Design.
David Pambianco, CEO of Pambianco, acted as moderator while Gilda Bojardi, Director of Interni Magazine, in the opening speech, quoted an enlightening phrase by Albert Einstein: “Creativity comes from anguish as day comes from dark night. It is in the crisis that inventiveness, discoveries and great strategies arise“. The common goal, said Gilda Bojardi, must be to seize every opportunity to transform this great crisis into an opportunity to do more and better than we did before.
The Pambianco research “The design industry and the challenge of recovery“.
The Made in Italy design industry is coming out of the lockdown phase better than expected and is ready to restart looking to the future with optimism. It is undoubtedly important to understand what will happen in the second half of the year when the unknown Covid still looms over most of the world markets. This is what emerges from the interesting research presented at the Pambianco Summit by Alessio Candi, head of the Consulting and M&A divisions at Pambianco Strategie di Impresa.
The design industry recorded constant growth between 2009 and 2019 with a growth rate of 38.6 and an annual growth of almost 4 per cent.
However, Csil data show that, already in 2019, the furniture sector recorded a slowdown compared to the previous year with a total turnover of about 539 billion US $, down 1.4% compared to 2018. For the top 50 Italian design companies, 2019 was a year of consolidation, with sales growth of 1.2%.
The post-lockdown recovery gave positive signals, better than expected, driven by the residential segment and, geographically, by Europe and China. The contract segment also held up well, thanks to the fact that these are projects with a rather long business cycle.
The research also analyzed the main post-Covid-19 trends: it emerged that the health emergency has led to the rediscovery of homes and in many cases to make them more functional, also in relation to new needs related to smart working and enjoyment of outdoor spaces.
Digital and Sustainability the strongest trends in the medium term
The Research has also highlighted a very interesting factor: in two months there was a forced leap forward of two years: digital has been discovered as an internal and external resource, smart working has become almost widespread throughout the supply chain, in addition, the lack of the Salone del Mobile in Milan has led all companies in the furniture industry to find “digital“ answers to present the collections to customers.
In the U.S. e-commerce is accelerating considerably, but also in Italy B2C e-commerce sales in the furniture sector are strong: +30% compared to last year.
The pandemic has also relaunched the issue of sustainability, pushing the design industry towards the search for new materials, the recycling of existing materials and prioritizing product and process sustainability.
The digital revolution and its opportunities
Two interesting round tables were also held during the Pambianco Interni Design Summit: the first saw Giulia Molteni, Head of Marketing and Communication at Molteni Group, and Lorenza Luti, Marketing and Retail Director at Kartell, discuss the theme of the digital revolution and the incredible opportunities it offers to companies in the furniture sector. Giulia Molteni said that flexibility, the ability to manage orders and custom-made projects, even complex ones with multiple hands and on different locations, together with the acceleration of the company's digitalization, are today Molteni Group's strong points. Lorenza Luti also stressed how digital, which is fundamental for the company, has helped her above all to understand the needs of the consumer and be able to assist and advise him proactively.
The second round table compared the two Italian leaders in the design market: Gabriele Del Torchio, President and CEO of Design Holding and Dario Rinero, CEO of Lifestyle Design. From their speeches emerged above all the radical change, accelerated by the crisis, which will also lead design and architecture to have to keep pace with a world that proceeds according to new dynamics compared to the past, where spaces and functions become more flexible, where the concepts of mobility and proximity take on new meanings, where attention to the consumer becomes increasingly crucial and where digitization is now a reality.