The Italian furniture company’s pared-down style stems from a passion for Nordic design and Scandinavian Modernism
How De Padova brought Scandinavian style to mid-century Italy; the rising success of British brand Bert & May
Post-war Italy had so many home-grown design heroes that it could be forgiven for not looking beyond its borders for more inspiration.
But that’s exactly what Maddalena and Fernando De Padova ( below) did when they decided to visit Copenhagen. They discovered not just a new city but a different kind of design: Scandinavian Modernism, which was more paredback than what they were used to at home in Milan. A passion was sparked. They set up their company De Padova in 1956 and became the first people to import Scandinavian furniture to Italy. By the mid 1960s, De Padova had also acquired the licence to produce designs by Charles Eames and George Nelson in Italy, and opened a showroom ( below) that Nelson dubbed ‘the most beautiful store in the world’.
The company collaborated with big names, including Dieter Rams and Achille Castiglioni, and had a long relationship with Vico Magistretti, who was responsible for many of the classic pieces in its current collection. It has commissioned designers from all over the world, including Brit Jasper Morrison, Japanese studio Nendo and Spain’s Patricia Urquiola. Last year, the company was acquired by kitchen and bathroom specialist Boffi and moved its showroom to a new location in Milan (above): a former laboratory that for 30 years was the headquarters of Dolce & Gabbana. The huge loft-like space was designed by Piero Lissoni, art director at both Boffi and De Padova. It boasts extensive displays of the brand’s furniture and materials, and an on-site team of architects to help with home projects. You can also see De Padova’s main collection at the Boffi showroom in London’s Chelsea (depadova.com; boffiuk.com).
De Padova was the first company to import Scandinavian furniture to Italy