Baxter's passion for leather. In conversation with Paolo Bestetti

baxter, salone milano, stand

Baxter, Salone del Mobile.Milano stand, 2022

Baxter’s history has its roots in the centuries-old entrepreneurial tradition that grew up around Lake Como, a historic district for the production of furniture of excellence. Founded in 1990 by Luigi and Paolo Bestetti, the first grew out of the passion for a material and is the result of a manufacturing culture. Conversation with CEO Paolo Bestetti

Individual leadership role or teamwork: in which of these aspects do you recognize yourself? Who else in the family works in the company?

I recognize myself in a piloted democracy. There is certainly great teamwork but then there is always someone who takes the responsibility. The other family member who works in the company is my uncle Luigi Bestetti, the President of Baxter.

baxter, paolo bestetti, salone milano

Paolo Bestetti, CEO Baxter with his dog Moka

Was there a breakthrough point for you and so for the company?

Since Baxter was founded thirty-two years ago, there have been multiple significant advances. One of the most important for us was definitely the transition from being a strongly classical company to a design company, a changeover that took three years. Thirty-two years ago, at the start of its adventure, Baxter presented itself with classic upholstery with a typically English mood, but with details of carefully studied elegance that helped to distinguish the brand’s quality and reliability. Today, the Baxter that presents itself to its public is the outcome of a set of technical, design and artistic skills and abilities that have made it possible to transform the product into a complete design and personal consultancy service.


A product you are particularly attached to?

One of the products I’m particularly attached to is the Housse armchair designed by Paola Navone. This project suggests a true metamorphosis of leather, which is worked and interpreted like a fabric and finished like a fashion accessory, presenting itself as a new and versatile material.


Any anticipations about the Salone del Mobile.Milano 2023?

We’re working on the second part of the new Outdoor collection. The products will be by the designer Paola Navone.

Baxter, Housse, Paola Navone, salone milano

Baxter, Housse, design Paola Navone, 2007

Imprint, transformation, change of fortunes in the family business.

As far as family businesses are concerned, I personally believe that the concept of the family is more closely linked to participation by the people who work within the company. It's more about making people feel part of what they're doing and the results achieved in terms of goals. This is what the concept of family actually means to me. In particular, I don’t consider Baxter a family business since there is no family running the whole company. As far as the concept of a family linked to a company as a generational transition is concerned, it’s something that I don’t see as a logical consequence or a fact. It is certainly an opportunity, but then everyone with their own skills has to demonstrate this and sometimes it’s harder than for an outsider. Finally, what I think is that if the rest of the family at the work level is involved in the same field, though not directly in the company itself, connections are created and a ramification of information leading to a dialogue and an exchange of information itself.

baxter, salone milano

Baxter, Salone del Mobile.Milano stand, 2022

How are you coping with this economic and social situation?

On the one hand I see this period as a time of opportunity, while on the other I think that we don’t yet have any real perception of how far all the changes will impact us on the social level. What I see is that there is no real knowledge but a sort of passive acceptance of a state of affairs, which ought not to be tolerated, since the situation has been created by financial speculation.


What will the company do in this respect?

I can say that we are preparing plans within the year just to compensate for this negative impact on the social level, but also within what we call the Baxter family.

Baxter, stand, Salone milano

Baxter, Salone del Mobile.Milano stand, 2022

baxter, miami soft, salone milano

Baxter, Miami Soft, design Paola Navone, drawings by Marianne Hendriks

baxter, clara, salone milano

Baxter, Clara, design Christophe Delcourt

Salone del mobile Salone del mobile
2 February 2023