In 1959, the teenage son of a cabinetmaker opened a small workshop in Puglia where his first sofas were made entirely by hand. Pasquale Natuzzi unknowingly founded an incubator for made-in-Italy excellence destined to become one of the most revered names in furniture. Natuzzi Italia showrooms now dot the globe, and clients across Europe and the United States join those in China, Japan, Taiwan, Russia, India, United Arab Emirates, Australia, Brazil, and Mexico in a shared appreciation for contemporary Italian design, comfort throughout the home, and buttery leather sofas.
Locally on Palm Desert’s El Paseo and at its second location in Los Angeles, Rapport International Furniture is the exclusive distributor of Natuzzi Italia. Celebrating 70 years in business, Rapport has invited Pasquale Natuzzi Jr., vice creative director and communications director of Natuzzi Italia, to Palm Springs this month to lead an enlightening discussion open to the public.
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At 27, the third son of Pasquale Natuzzi represents a new generation’s passion for beauty, quality, experimentation, and innovation. During his presentation, “Natuzzi Italia: The Harmony Chain,” Natuzzi Jr. will delve into Natuzzi’s time-honored creative process. He’ll touch on the philosophy behind each new collection and explore the brand’s retail and in-home experiences centered around a harmonious culmination of comfort, color, texture, and exceptional materials.
Natuzzi Jr. shares the spirit of his father, who has said, “Home is where the heart is. It is a sanctuary for feelings, affection, and intimacy.
A place to return to, a safe harbor, a comfortable nest for ourselves and our family. I have dedicated my life to the home and its central role, pursuing an ideal of harmony that over the years has defined the Natuzzi style around the world: an environment where every element, shape, and color expresses beauty in itself and is perfectly in tune with all that surrounds it. This idea has inspired every one of our models, at every point in their creation.”
Rapport International Furniture, as presenting sponsor of the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Architecture & Design Center, hosts the event at the Palm Springs Art Museum’s Annenberg Theatre, Nov. 16 from 4 to 5 p.m.
Here, Natuzzi Jr., shares a glimpse into his stateside presentation.
What overall design influence has Puglia, Italy, had on your work?
Puglia is our muse. Puglia is where the company was founded in 1959 and where our headquarters are still located. Castles, cathedrals, farms, whitewashed villages, ancient olive trees, fields, and vineyards meet the sea and the light it brings. We find harmony, the very essence of our brand identity, in our landscape, our architecture, our history, our food, our culture. This is what Puglia means to us. It’s the cornerstone of our identity and the soul of everything we do.
Pasquale Natuzzi Jr., vice creative director and communications director of Natuzzi Italia, will speak Nov. 16 at the Palm Springs Art Museum.
Building upon the “in search of harmony” pursuit, how does Natuzzi Italia create products in line with emerging lifestyles?
Dreaming up new shapes and colors, sketching them out on paper, and then transforming them into something concrete. Identifying the best combinations, imagining the future, discovering new trends, and converting them into unique, one-off furniture ideas. These are the missions of the Style Centre, the place where Natuzzi’s beautiful creations take shape. The starting point is an exploration of the social, economic, and cultural context — because it’s impossible to talk about trends without beginning from a broader standpoint, which looks at the general forces affecting human beings. This could mean lifestyle changes, economic factors, and ethics, including a focus on values such as environmental sustainability or respect for human rights.
What is Natuzzi Italia’s design and function process?
Creating is about looking beyond — it’s about being able to sense the future and anticipate trends. Every creative project is adapted to fit an aesthetic idea focused around simplicity, proportions, and harmony, which lie at the base of the company’s identity. The subsequent steps of choosing materials and colors are even more delicate, because it is the balance between these elements that creates the product.
How do furnishings come to life at Natuzzi Italia?
The Natuzzi creative process starts at the Style Centre with a simple sketch. This phase is pure invention; it represents the designer’s vision and imagination. The sketch then becomes a 3-D rendering and subsequently an industrial prototype, which is vital in terms of identifying the adjustments and necessary improvements. Each model is tested and analyzed from different points of view to check proportions, function, and comfort. The first production stage begins in our experimental laboratory. This is a hub of excellence and innovation, which allows us to optimize timings and achieve the best result possible.
What’s special about Natuzzi’s production?
We directly control 92 percent of the production chain and manage the entire production process. This is the only way for us to be certain we’re achieving the highest possible standards in terms of quality, legal compliance, and environmental factors.
Natuzzi produces the leather, wood, and padding ourselves. At our tannery, we select the best leather, in full compliance with anti-pollution laws. We produce our own polyurethane, without using Freon or other harmful agents, while our joinery only uses wood from renewable forests. Production is carried out by our best craftsmen, in the factories based in Italy. Our control of the production chain makes us virtually unique in the world of furniture.
Natuzzi Italia: The Harmony Chain, 5 p.m. Nov. 16, Palm Springs Art Museum, 100 N. Museum Drive. 760-325-4490; psmuseum.org