It’s not just furniture, it’s a mood
Italian furniture maker comes to Manila, showcasing clean lines, a fashionable look, a green philosophy–and the same leather used for Prada bagsBy Anne A. Jambora
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Italians are famous for the three Fs—fashion, furniture and food—said Dario Reicherl, director for Asia-Pacific of the Italian furniture brand Novamobili.
As the three Fs are inextricably connected with art, Reicherl talked about the company’s design sense, and why Novamobili is selling not just furniture.
Novamobili, meaning “new furniture,” showcases the clean lines of modern contemporary designs. Colors and fabrics rely on fashion trends, and change every six months. And, just like in fashion, the furniture is coordinated from color to finish—from sofa and wardrobe shelves to table legs, for instance—instantly transforming the atmosphere of any home.
“We don’t sell furniture. We sell mood. Interior design can help improve your life. It can give you a good mood,” Reicherl said.
The furniture’s leather is supplied by the same company that supplies the Italian fashion brand Prada. Run your hands over the immaculate white sofa set and feel the soft, luxurious velvety surface of nubuck leather.
Reicherl, however, said that Novamobili is pushing affordable luxury furniture. The nubuck sofa set, probably made up of around 100 Prada bags, said Reicherl, costs about P700,000.
“There is a substantial discount to our sofa as opposed to the Prada bags,” said Jaime Daez, Novamobili’s managing director in the Philippines. Daez, who also owns Fully Booked, brought the high-end Italian furniture brand into the country.
The Novamobili Manila branch is the seventh store to open in Asia in 10 months. Other flagship stores in the region are in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, Bangkok, Hanoi and Singapore.
Everything at Novamobili is 100 percent made in Italy, with 98 percent made in their five factories in Venice, so clients are guaranteed the distinct, fine Italian craftsmanship and quality. Even the cows raised for their leather are Italian, said Reicherl.
“African and South American cows are raised in an environment with a lot of mosquitoes. Their leather has a lot of little defects. Their cows are also skinny, so the leather is loose. That’s why Italians are very famous for the finest leather. We raise the animals in the Alps,” Reicherl said.
Novamobili is also a green company. According to Mario Battistella, owner and son of Novamobili founder Alfredo Battistella, it is also the first Italian furniture company to obtain the Greenguard certification, the most stringent international certification on chemical emission.
Fifteen years ago, Novamobili pioneered in Italy a water-based painting method that decreased dangerous chemical emissions by 95 percent. It’s an expensive process, Battistella said, that involves “baking” the furniture in the oven for hours and even going through UV ray for thorough inspection.
“We have the lowest emission of formaldehyde in the market,” Battistella said.
They don’t grow forests, like some furniture brands do. Instead, it recycles everything, from panel wood to paper for their catalogs. Employees in its compounds, from executives to factory workers, even go around from building to building on their bicycles.
Among its enduring designs are the Reef sofa, Sissi armchair and tables, Pigreco table, Wing walk-in closet, Plisse wardrobe, Tempo Giorno wall system and Hilde chair.
The furniture is integrated into, say, an apartment, optimized and designed to flow seamlessly in the space. Its product line For Single, with loft beds and loft kitchens and home office, is very popular in Singapore where living space is an issue for most residents.
“We are going out from a five-year period of dark wood. Now we are focusing on lighter-colored wood with long-lasting quality and design. We work with young designers aged 25-40, because we believe young people have fresh ideas and bring positive energy into the company. These are timeless styles you will not get tired of, even after 20 years,” Reicherl said.
These are also multifunctional furniture. Beds, for instance, also double as storage spaces. A four-seat dining table can be extended to accommodate six. Sofas offer two sitting positions, for chatting and watching TV. Just pull out an extended backrest and you can relax, sit back and watch movies.
Novamobili, said Daez, reflects the contemporary market where everyone is involved in the design of his/her home. “Everyone wants to take an active part in the creation of their space. We offer current, contemporary, fresh, versatile and affordable furniture compared to other Italian brands,” Daez said.
Novamobili was founded after World War II and initially made wardrobe and furniture for children. Today, children’s furniture is under the Battistella brand, while the adult furniture is under Novamobili.
Novamobili is at 2/F Building 6, 11th Avenue, Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Call tel. no. 7382430; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org (the showroom can also be accessed at the 2/F of Fully Booked).