Poltrona Frau showcases its upscale furniture and expertise in quality leather in Hong Kong
Piero Valentini, managing director of Italian heritage brand Poltrona Frau, discusses the brand’s presence at the inaugural International Design Furniture Fair Hong Kong
Hailing from Turin, Italy, Poltrona Frau is an authority on furniture and automotive interior design, with a history that dates back to 1912. The brand is also synonymous with the ultra-high-quality leather known as Pelle Frau, made from hand-selected cowhides that go through some 20 steps of treatment to achieve the optimal feel, softness and flexibility.
Pelle Frau is used for the upholstery in the interiors of luxury yachts and cars, as seen in renowned brands such as Ferrari and Infiniti. Poltrona Frau also made all seats for the European Parliament, as well as those in the auditorium of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in France, the Oslo Opera House and, closer to home, in Cathay Pacific’s first-class lounges.
From August 21-23, Poltrona Frau and its contemporary sister brand, Cassina, will showcase their “leathership” ethos—the company’s own term, which combines its leadership with its excellence in leather— at the International Design Furniture Fair Hong Kong (IDFFHK). Piero Valentini, managing director of Poltrona Frau, gives us a sneak preview of the show.
What do you plan to showcase at IDFFHK?
We will show some products that represent the craftsmanship of Poltrona Frau well, such as [the desk and chair combination] Fred and Ginger; Assaya, a new armchair by Satyendra Pakhalé; and some of our bestsellers such as the Kennedee sofa and the Archibald chair.
What can visitors expect when coming to the Poltrona Frau booth?
The booth is around 1,100 square feet and will have a residential feel. A very warm and bright decor will enhance the design and the quality of our collection. Visitors can experience our leather collections by touching the products. We will also show a corporate video with fantastic images that briefly recount the identity of the company and its three divisions: residential, interiors in motion and contract, the last of which is related to big projects developed with prestigious architects such as theatres, public spaces, hotels and boutiques. There will also be a video to present our concept of “leathership”.
What are your expectations of the show?
We are very excited about IDFFHK for two main reasons: The first is that we believe the fair is absolutely consistent with the positioning and the philosophy of the brand. The second is because it will be the first time we show at a fair in the region and we are very curious about the general feedback of the target audiences involved.
What new surprises can we expect from Poltrona Frau this year?
In 2015, Poltrona Frau has launched a number of new products that reflect the evolution of the brand towards more international and contemporary tastes. For example, we launched Volare, a magnificent four-poster bed designed by Roberto Lazzeroni; Scarlett, a round elegant sofa by Jean-Marie Massaud; Montera chairs with arms, also by Lazzeroni; and a few re-editions such as the Bird [side table], designed in the ’50s by Finnish designer Tapio Wirkkala, and the Brera bench by Guglielmo Ulrich.
What are some of the new and noteworthy trends in home decor?
I see two main streams. On the one hand, there are companies that tend to be more down to earth in their new product design. This means the highest quality and sober design with a strong focus on refined details, on interpretation of materials in innovative ways. On the other hand, there is a great attention to re-editions of products from the past that are considered evergreen.
What designs do you find work well in Hong Kong and the rest of Asia?
Our bestsellers in Hong Kong and Asia are the Kennedee sofa, Naidei [sofa bed], Mantò [haute couture sofa], Archibald [leatherupholstered chair], GranTorino [modular sofa] and Montera [a chair design reinvented as armchairs and stools]. In general, our clients in Hong Kong prefer more contemporary products and sofas available in compact dimensions to fit flats that are smaller than those in Mainland China. In the rest of Asia, our historical icons such as Chester, 1919, Dezza and Vanity Fair are very popular, too.
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: THE GINGER CHAIR; THE NEWLY LAUNCHED HUDSON COFFEE TABLES; PIERO VALENTINI, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF POLTRONA FRAU; CHAIRS FROM THE MONTERA RANGE
FROM TOP: THE ASSAYA ARMCHAIR; THE ARCHIBALD CHAIR IS A BESTSELLER FOR POLTRONA FRAU