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
“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