Upholstereds: trend and quality go hand-in-hand
Despite demanding huge efforts, 2021 proved a positive year. As regards the future, there’s no fixed trend: the pleasure of staying at home never goes out of fashion
The 12 months leading up to last December were tough but positive for the world of upholstereds. “2021 was a profitable year. Our sector, and that of furnishing in general, witnessed positive growth,” said Baxter CEO Paolo Bestetti: “Baxter saw a very substantial rise, around 30%, and the results were better than we could possibly have anticipated.” It is pointless denying however that, as far as upholstereds are concerned, the changes wrought during the pandemic and the various lockdowns have altered perceptions and feelings, demanding further efforts from the sector in terms of vision: “Over the last few years, homes have become different spaces. Spaces in which, given the extended enforced period at home, comfort has become an essential factor. To this end, Baxter has put a lot of work into upgrading, and so one of the projects we’re taking forward involves rejigging the living space so that it can be used in different ways,” she continued. As she says, the space can change over time: “It doesn’t have a static definition, which enables it to be used in a variety of ways, without compromising on the elegance and charm that Baxter brings to homes.” The brand has therefore concentrated greatly on the concept of comfort, which has become the focus of the experience itself: “Equally, our response has been to employ very natural, warm and soft materials that convey a feeling of pleasure in staying at home.”
As regards the year that has just begun, however “one new thing Baxter is bringing out is its new Outdoor collection, which we will present in April as a pre-collection before launching it officially in June. We have decided to split the outdoor leathers into two different categories in order to split the user groups – one collection involves leathers that require maintenance and love, which we call ‘nature’ and another collection that involves more technical leathers,” Bestetti continued. There is no lack of innovations: “For the more technical leathers, which are therefore more resistant to light, damp and water, we have been able to use different colours, unlike more natural leathers that need to be maintained and treated in order to acquire that feel that only time can give to natural materials.”
The concept of durability and quality therefore becomes a trend in its own right when it comes to upholstereds, capable of responding on one hand to the specific demands posed by these complex years and on the other to outstripping fleeting trends: “We have always paid scant attention to trends and endeavour to make excellent products that will last for ever,” stressed Edra president Valerio Mazzei. “We are delighted that the products we’ve come up since we first started are still garnering great interest today.” He is referring to Standard, with its Smart Cushion, the original mix and match comfort of the modular structure of On the Rocks and, of course, the timeless elegance of Grande Soffice, all designed by Francesco Binfaré. It is this timeless dimension, rooted in quality, that brings positivity to the upholstered sector, despite the period that has just drawn to a close. “As for other companies, I think, 2021 proved to be a challenging, difficult year. We put in a huge amount of work to produce some interesting results. There was the Salone del Mobile in September, where we presented a number of products that were positively received,” he continued. This applied particularly to A’mare, an outdoor collection by the contemporary artist Jacopo Foggini, made with hand-crafted pure polycarbonate slats, which marked the Tuscan firm’s debut in the outdoor furnishing sector.
The “emergency situation” that has hopefully drawn to a close has heralded a look to the future, of which the comfortable world of upholstereds is only too aware: “As far as we are concerned, we’ve had to work really hard to maintain and further underpin the high levels of quality that have always set our company apart,” said Mazzei. The company is preferring to keep quiet about the important upcoming June event: “We will be presenting a number of new things at the Salone del Mobile, which we’ve been working on for years, and we all hope they will prove interesting for those who will use them.”