“In this difficult 2020, the lockdowns were an opportunity for Poliform. Usually, our business is marked by fairs that require us to work intensely and continuously in order to be present at numerous international events, from Cologne to Milan, Moscow and all the other events we participate in to showcase our latest products. In the absence of these events, we've used the past months to concentrate on the renovation of our showroom in Milan, the Poliform Lab, and to promote the products we had planned for Salone 2020. Today, the new Poliform Lab is ready to receive 100,000 guests like before, and to be a source of inspiration for the design of showrooms and single-brand stores around the world.” These are the words of Giovanni Anzani, at the helm of Poliform and Poliform Contract, together with partners Alberto and Aldo Spinelli. But the three owners have also been successfully supported by new generations: “to whom we’ve always passed on the values we inherited from our own parents 50 years ago: a passion for work, enthusiasm and doing good.”
In fact, Poliform celebrates its 50th anniversary and a prolific history in the book Poliform - Time, Light, Space, illustrated with the images of Paolo Roversi, released in Italian and English, and published by Rizzoli. “In reality, me and my partners founded Poliform when we were young, in 1970, but our parents were already in the furniture business for over 30 years… so we can say we’ve been in the field for 80 years,” explains Anzani. What’s never been missing is the desire to move forward, the desire to experiment and grow. And the results speak for themselves: today the brand flaunts 7 branches, 700 employees, 500 resellers — 180 in Italy, 320 abroad, and 100 single-brand — 85 countries in which Poliform is present. “Obviously this year has been complicated for us, but compared to other companies, the decrease in orders has been rather contained. In fact, the decision to close our stores in November has affected the health of our economy: a total closure could have been avoided by allowing stores to accept clients by appointment, at least for our industry. I think a turning point in terms of consumption will come in spring, after the vaccine is out and the pandemic has slowed, along with all the fears and hesitations associated with it.”
Anzani underscores the company’s massive presence abroad as the reason for experiencing the crisis less than others. “The companies with 75% of turnover generated from diverse markets abroad are those that are doing the best right now. Our focus on internationalization goes back decades. Honestly, there wasn’t a need to go abroad in the past, but from the very beginning, we’ve always believed in our entrepreneurial adventure and from Europe, we pushed towards the USA, then Asia and other countries. Today, there are a lot of people looking to invest in Poliform. In fact, we’re concentrating on new projects to inaugurate another 10 single-brand stores, particularly in South East Asia and Europe. We’re a standard bearer of quality, but also Made in Italy service, and our style is recognized and appreciated in countless regions around the world.” And speaking of style, we asked Anzani why Poliform furnishings continue to please, capturing an intergenerational market. For the cosmopolitan accent? For its transversal collections? “A little bit of all of that, but especially for the possibility to personalize. Take upholstered pieces, for example: you can choose between 700 types of textiles and leathers, infinite colors, and countless finishes. In this way, we satisfy the tastes of consumers around the world and also in the contract sector, allowing our architects to design in the name of fantasy and comfort. Every offering from Poliform is characterized by a rigorous and essential style, far from passing fads, with a quality aesthetic that keeps it current. Finally, these characteristics are reflected in a balanced economic value and, above all, representative of a fair and successful quality-price-image relationship.” And the future path will be just that: to further expand the gamut of finishes, products, and offerings, investing heavily in new technologies and communication, both traditionally and via social media.
We close out our interview with Giovanni Anzani by mentioning the new dates for the 2021 Salone del Mobile — September 5-10 — and a brief reflection on the “post-pandemic” period. “It was the right choice to reschedule the Salone di Milano for next September: it will be the first international fair that — we hope — will usher in a more prosperous period. In terms of turnout, I still don’t think there will be many Asians and Americans. I think it will be a mostly European event, but it will represent an important sign — a new beginning, to reaffirm the leadership of Italian design companies on the international stage.”
As for our post-Covid 19 future, Anzani claims there could be “a sort of new Renaissance, an explosion of energy and creativity. Today, the pandemic has mentally and emotionally blocked us, but when it’s all over — and we hope soon — we’ll all want to leave the house, to renovate spaces and environments, to invite friends, to go out to restaurants, and also to buy. For me, the post-pandemic represents an important occasion for growth”.