Edra celebrates 20 year birthday with its top designers.
Italian furniture innovator, Edra celebrated its twentieth anniversary last month with a gathering of all the products and designers who have contributed to the furniture firm's success over the last twenty years. CID spoke with Edra co-founder Valerio Mazzei who described the journey Edra has undertaken and the secrets behind its success.
The story began back in 1986 when Valerio Mazzei and Massimo Morozzi started talking about a new collection in Tirrenia over a meal. Mazzei said: "During our meetings we talked about sofas, about the idea of comfort and we found out we had a common interest in developing and projecting not only products but a whole new concept of brand from A to Z." They decided that whatever type of products they offered to the market it would encompass: "a truly new spirit."
They bypassed the talents of established renowned designers and big names in product design, and instead selected a handful of design graduates from Milan's Domus Academy, the first post-graduate design school where Morozzi often held workshops. They picked four young designers to create a product each: No-Stop by Maaten Kusters; No-Step by Clare Brass; No-Problem by Giovanni Levanti and No-Stalgia by Giorgio Ferrando. Their finished creations were showcased at the contemporary Milanese art Gallery, Galleria Marconi in 1987, and was an immediate success.
Mazzei explained: "We are very proud of using unknown designers and grateful we had the chance to work and develop their know-how and quality. Some projects are industrialised, such as Flap or Paesaggi Italiani and some of them are still produced today using traditional skills. Our strength stays in combining craftsmanship and technology."
When asked what separates Edra's product line from other Italian furniture manufacturers, Mazzei said: "All our products have soul which comes from cultural origins, innovation, new idea of comfort. We never follow the fashion trends but most of the time they've inspired fashion itself. Today we are proud that some products in our collection have become 'classics' in furniture design." He cites Tatlin, Flap, the Flower Collection, Vermelha, Homme et Femme as examples of the most popular products over its 20 year history.
Its anniversary coincides with the inauguration of its showroom at Perignano, adjacent to the factory. Overlooking an artificial lake, the showroom will house the entire Edra collection and showcase the history of the Italian furniture giant. In addition, Edra has published a book that contains contributions from many of those who have worked with the company for the past twenty years, and highlights the key designs of the past.