In 1948 Alberto Minotti started a small scale artisan workshop in his local town, creating handmade contemporary furniture that uniquely brought together modern style with classic Italian design.
Throughout the sixties, the company quickly grew and became known across the country for its high-quality designs that were 100 per cent made in Italy. Alberto Minotti died in 1991 and the company was inherited by his children Roberto and Renato Minotti. The two continue to run the company today, together with their own children.
This family business has grown hugely over the last three decades after the two brothers decided to take Minotti into international markets. Today Minotti is present in almost 70 countries worldwide. In 1998 the Minotti family partnered with architect and designer Rodolfo Dordoni who was assigned the strategic role of coordinator of all the company collections.
Made in Italy has always been at the heart of the Minotti brand. Their factory remains in Meda, in the heart of Brianza and all of their pieces are created by expert Italian craftsman. Today, these artisans embrace new technology, combining it with their skills to create furniture that is seamless and has the highest commitment to excellence. Over the years the company has conceived a specific “Minotti code”, that has become a constant feature of every collection, always following the key principle of “innovation in the spirit of continuity”. To share his vision on the future of the brand and how Minotti is navigating through the current situation, we talk to Roberto Minotti Co-CEO with his brother Renato Minotti, of Minotti S.p.A.
What does Italy mean to you personally?
Italy is firstly home and family. It is, of course, one of the best countries in the world to live and grow up. Italy is a synonym of beauty, creativity and quality expressed in several aspects. These values are truly embodied in our people, our history, our culture and our places. Our beautiful landscapes, our historical sites and all our excellences in food, design, fashion and manufacture are desired all over the world. Italy has an important heritage that we need to preserve and nourish day by day.
Tell us more about the importance of “Made in Italy” and why do you think there is such a fascination with this concept globally?
‘Made in Italy’ is the expression of our heritage and our capability in rereading our traditions and history, combined with our innate attitude towards beauty and creativity. It is linked to craftsmanship, artisanal skills, a high degree of know-how and an everlasting tradition of excellence, which has been handed down from generation to generation. All ‘Made in Italy’ products are truly appreciated and desired worldwide because they are, in some ways, an expression of our unique lifestyle and guarantee of excellent quality. Italy is a brand in itself.
How do you think the values and culture of Italy are reflected through Minotti?
The identity of our company draws from our ability to “innovate in the sign of continuity”, a value deeply rooted in our DNA. Innovating remaining true to our history, our roots and our territory. We believe in Made in Italy and for this reason, we continue to design and produce in Italy, at our headquarters in Meda, in the heart of Brianza. Over the years we have always maintained an “artisan” attitude towards our work, we have focused on attention to detail and quality, values we have never given up on. Our commitment to excellence, quality and research involves our entire company and is more than evident in all our collections. Our sense of beauty and creativity is reflected in our unique lifestyle and our way of manufacturing – always driven by passion and rigour – and in our way of doing business. The decision to share with the Italian Architect and Designer Rodolfo Dordoni the company’s creative vision and its aesthetic key-principles since 1998, it is, of course, a specific and strategic choice in the direction of enhancing Made in Italy. An overall approach that, over time, has translated into a result of excellence recognized throughout the world.
Italy has suffered greatly throughout the global pandemic we are currently experiencing – when all of this is over what do you expect to see from the recovery of this crisis?
We’re finally back, we’ve reopened and resumed our production and commercial activities, in full compliance with the protocols for the protection of the health and safety of people and the work environment. A great challenge awaits us to build a new future, with the same passion, courage and creativity as ever. I’m expecting to see more conscious people related to themselves and the earth as well as more attention to all the values that truly count. The whole world has to gradually find its dynamics, market by market continuing to be attentive, as we have always done. We are present in 70 worldwide so we must guarantee each of these the same importance and attention, regardless of the numbers that each of them produces. Every market is precious.
When all of this is over will you be changing any of the strategies of the brand and has it had an impact on how you will move forward?
I can say that Minotti is a “safe” brand: we’ve always worked in the direction of enhancing the timeless design and the highest quality, key-elements that customers will be looking, for now, more than ever. We will continue working with the same passion and attention to details, in terms of products, service and care to our customers.
Do you think it will impact the buying behaviour of customers?
In the beginning, after such a terrible situation, I imagine that consumers will probably reshape their purchasing habits by making more prudent, sober and lasting choices. This approach favours the choice of durable products like ours. As time goes on, people might desire less necessary things again.
Where is sustainability in the world of Minotti?
We, as a family, place the issue of sustainability very close to our heard and have been working for two decades in the direction of optimizing our production process according to the most recent green economy’s standards. Most of our products are now designed and manufactured to allow easy disassembly for recycling purposes. This means that our products – from the materials that make up the product itself, to its packaging and disposal – comply with all the criteria required by the various destination countries. We make use of strictly controlled raw materials such as wood, polyurethane/rubber, leather, glues and paper for printed catalogues. What is important for us is to work in the respect of our values, in terms of ethics and social responsibility towards people and the territory, coherently with that vision of well-living that has always characterized our brand philosophy.
With many Furniture and design exhibitions around the world being cancelled, how are communicating your novelties to your customers?
The numerous furniture and design exhibitions cancelled around the world, starting from Salone del Mobile in Milano this Spring, we’re planning the launch of our brand-new collection with a showcase on our digital platforms. I cannot say more but keep in touch!
Can you tell us more about Minotti and the Middle East?
The Middle East is one of the most dynamic and promising business areas for Minotti. We have been present in the UAE for more than 25 years, so we can say that we are one of the design brands with the longest presence in the area. We are now recording very positive experiences in Lebanon, KSA, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Iran. The sophisticated aesthetic taste, the attention to details, the long-lasting quality – fundamental values of our brand – are all features very much appreciated by the Middle Eastern consumers.
Can you take us through your latest collection?
We have developed our 2019 Collection in close collaboration with our Art Director Rodolfo Dordoni, affirming a new stylistic language and embracing a fresh new approach to décor: a new vision of interior design, mixing different styles and welcoming the voices of architects and designers from different cultural backgrounds including Rodolfo Dordoni, Christophe Delcourt, nendo, Marcio Kogan / studio mk27 and GamFratesi. Three major seating systems – accompanied by a wide-open seating proposal and a huge series of dining, coffee tables and accessories – outline elegant spaces for the home and the hospitality sector and harmoniously flow into our “Minotti project”.
Simultaneously, our Outdoor Collection responds to our desire to create an aesthetic and stylistic continuity between indoors and outdoors as well as a striking dialogue with surrounding nature. We designed impeccable pieces with character and exclusive elegance to create welcoming outdoor environments, also on-board yachts, with a truly international style.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of a family business?
Being a family business has a lot of advantages. My brother Renato and I are part of the second generation in the company. We work side by side with our children (my daughter Susanna and my nephews Alessandro and Alessio). Each of us has specific skills in different departments. Working together, guided by the same long-term vision, allows us to be faster in decisions and strategies and this had a positive impact also on our production. On the contrary, we’ve sometimes had to face up to the generational gap among us, but at the end – thanks to a vivid dialogue and an exchange of views – we find a common outcome to proceed in the shared direction.
When this pandemic is over, what is the first thing that you will do?
I would love to enjoy a special dinner on the beach at the seaside.
Growing up, what are some of your first memories of Italy as a child?
My first memories of Italy as a child are truly linked to the sixties. The energy, the enthusiasm, the desire to do, the evolutionary spirit and the understated elegance that animated those years – despite the overall simplicity affecting people and the country – are among my major vivid memories.
Where in Italy do you like to travel to and what is your favourite city and why?
I would love to explore again the traditions and the stunning landscapes of our Amalfi Coast and islands while enjoying the energy and the real Mediterranean vibe.
Can you share with us any Italian traditions that you have with your family and friends?
During festivities we love staying together at our family home, gathering around a huge fireplace in the centre of the living room. It’s a tradition since I was a child and now, that my family continues. I am always grateful and happy to share such beautiful moments. During the last decades, our fireplace became an important company symbol and we decided to interpret it in the living rooms of our company showroom in Meda, as well as of our exhibition booths and flagship stores around the world.
What is the motto you are living by during this time?
We’ve to stand up again and run faster to face all the new upcoming challenges.
How are you spending your days while staying at home in quarantine mode?
Since my house is very close to our company, I spent most of my quarantine days at the office aiming at strengthening my relationship with our friends and clients.
What’s your favourite Italian phrase?
My favourite Italian quote is “Aiutati che il ciel ti aiuta!”. Its meaning is that if you work hard and you give 100% in everything you do, consequently things will work out positively in your favour and everything will fall into place.
How would you describe Italy in one word?
What’s the message you would like to tell our Middle Eastern readers?
Stay strong and safe, we’re all together in this. I can’t wait to unveil our brand-new 2020 Collection, it will surprise you!
What is a message to all the Italians that will be reading your interview?
Italiani, siamo forti. We faced unprecedented times, but we will be for sure stronger together again
Minotti is available at Aati in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Visit us at www.minotti.com