CRE­ATIVE SPARK

It started as a fam­ily-run com­pany four decades ago, but un­der the stew­ard­ship of CEO An­drea Cit­te­rio, light­ing brand Penta looks set to reach new heights

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“Italy is well known for four Fs: fur­ni­ture, fash­ion, food and Fer­rari,” quips An­drea Cit­te­rio, CEO of Ital­ian light­ing brand Penta. The head hon­cho ex­plains his foray into light­ing and shares that he wanted “to in­vest in one of the dis­tinc­tive sec­tors of Ital­ian pro­duc­tion—light­ing made in Italy, in par­tic­u­lar, is ap­pre­ci­ated all over the world”. Cit­te­rio ac­quired the light­ing la­bel in 2015 and named it un­der the Penta Group, along with the newly ac­quired firm Penta Ar­chi­tec­tural (which spe­cialises in tech­ni­cal and ar­chi­tec­tural so­lu­tions for projects that use LED tech­nol­ogy), and Pcus­tom Light, a be­spoke light­ing firm. We sat down with the CEO at the Stu­dio 216 show­room in Sin­ga­pore, to dis­cuss the trends to watch and his grand plans for the com­pany.

What shaped your de­ci­sion to ac­quire Penta?

I ac­quired Penta be­cause it’s a brand al­ready well-known for its el­e­gance and qual­ity—the com­pany was a fam­ily busi­ness es­tab­lished in 1972. All of our prod­ucts are de­signed by world fa­mous de­sign­ers such as Carlo Colombo, Um­berto As­nago and Ni­cola Gal­lizia. Our lamps are beau­ti­ful, whether they are switched on or off; they are truly qual­ity pieces of good de­sign.

How do you choose the de­sign­ers to col­lab­o­rate with?

It’s im­por­tant to choose de­sign­ers who are in line with the DNA of Penta. We have worked with fa­mous ar­chi­tects around the world; it is a sig­nal to the mar­ket that the brand is do­ing well and is well-recog­nised. I also like to work with young de­sign­ers be­cause I think that they have un­con­ven­tional ideas. An ex­am­ple is the An­golo col­lec­tion de­signed by a young Ar­gen­tinian Cris­tian Mo­haded, one of the ris­ing stars in ar­chi­tec­ture.

Could you share more about your up­com­ing col­lec­tions?

This year, we are fo­cus­ing on two big top­ics. First, out­door light­ing: we have the colour­ful Etoile col­lec­tion and the self-charg­ing Lab col­lec­tion by Um­berto As­nago. An­other is acoustics—we pre­sented the Feel col­lec­tion de­signed by Sara Moroni. This lamp is suit­able for pub­lic ar­eas and res­tau­rants as its pan­els ab­sorb sound to man­age the noise level and to re­duce echo. I re­ally like how this col­lec­tion puts to­gether good de­sign with func­tion­al­ity.

How do you an­tic­i­pate light­ing de­sign to evolve in the next decade?

I’m re­ally ex­cited to work in a mar­ket which will ex­pect rad­i­cal de­vel­op­ments in tech­nol­ogy, with OLED tech­nol­ogy and the In­ter­net of Things ap­plied to light­ing. It will soon be­come very im­por­tant to have in­tel­li­gent light­ing that can ad­just to dif­fer­ent con­di­tions of the en­vi­ron­ment. For ex­am­ple, if you wake up at 2am, the light is able to de­tect the time of the day and tran­si­tion to dimmable light­ing.

Which are among your most iconic col­lec­tions?

The Glo col­lec­tion, which is now con­sid­ered a de­sign icon, was de­signed by Carlo Colombo. It’s a pen­dant lamp avail­able in three di­men­sions, so you can cre­ate your own clus­ter, with dif­fer­ent me­tal fin­ishes in a beau­ti­ful glossy ef­fect. An­other col­lec­tion that is do­ing very well is the Mamì, a blown-glass lamp with a me­tal struc­ture, de­signed by Um­berto As­nago.

Where do you see your­self tak­ing the brand in the next few years?

The goal is to grow it as a group. My dream is to have Penta listed on the Mi­lan Stock Ex­change. The com­pany, after the ac­qui­si­tion, has grown enor­mously. We have new col­lec­tions, and we have ac­quired an ar­chi­tec­ture firm, now known as Penta Ar­chi­tec­tural. Penta is do­ing very well in the Philip­pines, Thai­land, Sin­ga­pore, Hong Kong and Malaysia. I think we have op­por­tu­ni­ties to grow fur­ther in China and Ja­pan, where the brand pres­ence is not as strong yet.

“EX­PECT RAD­I­CAL DE­VEL­OP­MENTS IN TECH­NOL­OGY, WITH OLED TECH­NOL­OGY AND THE IN­TER­NET OF THINGS AP­PLIED TO LIGHT­ING”

LEFT TO RIGHTAn­drea Cit­te­rio, CEO of Ital­ian light­ing brand Penta; the Mom pen­dant lights; the Glo col­lec­tion, now avail­able in three new colours; the Mamì col­lec­tion of floor lamps

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