INTERVIEW WITH THE ITALIAN TOPLABEL PAOLA LENTI
Since 1994 the Italian label Paola Lenti considers to be a very important international reference
within the design world. Paola and her sister Anna always strive to design new collections
based on experimenting and investigating with new techniques, materials and shapes.
And here it seems that opposites attract: the past melts together with future,
modern matches contemporary, tradition and craftsmanship goes with science
and last but not least, interior blends with exterior.
I asked Anna Lenti: “Do opposites attract?”
“Well, it just arised actually. Paola Lenti once started designing outdoor furniture and then it is obvious that you have to use the best materials because of weather conditions. Through the years we have grown and besides, interior and exterior nowadays are connected more than ever. So it seemed logical to design and produce indoor furniture as well.
Italy stands for craftsmanship. We educate our employees ourselves, because we think it is of great importance for the next generation. You can see that in our weaving mill, where we still weave traditionally. Of course with high tech threads, in more than four hundred color combinations. Moreover, when customers like to have another color combination, we will be happy to provide that.”
Inspiration from natura
Furniture pieces are given the most striking names: Sand, Shell, Wave, Tide, Float…. Obviously Italy’s gorgeous nature and landscapes are a great source of inspiration?
Anna Lenti: “It is true that our first collection was inspired by the beauty of our beaches and seas. Usually, we don’t have to travel far, and Paola Lenti herself is not a real globetrotter. At one day we were at Murano, a little island, famous because of its handblown glass. Also Etna, the volcano, inspired us. In our latest collection you will find table tops of hand polished lava stones combined with melted glass.”
Presentazione Wolterinck Laren
I still remember this T-shirt of pop icon Madonna, which said: Italians do it better. What is it with you Italian people? Just about every design looks amazing, you can feel passion right through it and it is always of the highest quality!
Anna Lenti: “Well, we certainly grew up in a beautiful environment and fortunately it still surrounds us. Design, art and architecture is part of our culture, our history. So, making beautiful things is kind of in our DNA. We are not focussing on functionality in particular; mostly we like to create elegant and timeless pieces.”
Wolterinck Laren had the privilege to strike a pose with the Paola Lenti collection. In order to make a stunning presentation, the team had to re-decorate the entire showroom and the outdoor spaces as well.
Anna Lenti: “Initially we proposed something different of what is presented eventually. Marcel needed some more matchable items so that the Paola Lenti collection would blend perfectly in his ambiance. So, what you see here was selected by Marcel and we have to say: it looks magical!”
Particulary outdoor collections have to comply with strict requirements because of the weather conditions. And with that, every country has it’s own characteristics. How do you deal with that?
Anna Lenti reveals that this is quite a challenge indeed. Therefor they always test their outdoor collections in Belgium. “Not just because we have a lot of clients in Belgium, but because their weather conditions simply do not always allow to leave the furniture outside. In fact, some showrooms actually close the doors when the weather is just too bad during the winter season. So, when we are not selling there, we come to conclusions.”
Showroom in Meda
Finally, we talked about Salone del Mobile and about the fact that I did not manage to visit Paola Lenti during the Milan Design Week. So, when I let Anna know that I would be traveling to Milan soon, she invited me to come over and visit their headquarters in Meda, nearby Milan. An offer I could not refuse!
Consequently, a few weeks later I was warmly welcomed in Meda with a ‘Grand Tour’ around the amazing showroom. Also, I was allowed to enter the factory to lively see how all these exclusive furniture pieces are made. On-the-spot I witnessed how people were working so passionate and dedicated on stitching, draping and weaving. Of course I could not take pictures there, but the ones I made in the gardens, will slightly give you the same experience.
Monaco Yacht Show
At the end of the tour it was time to say goodbye. But not without a gift from Holland…. To thank Anna and the team for the kind invitation, I brought some typical Dutch toaster waffles. So, together with Paola Lenti herself and topdesigner Francesco Rota we closed this visit in style.
Out of appreciation, they invited me to come to the Monaco Yacht Show where Paola Lenti furnitured a few super yachts. Although I could not promise anything, obviously that was a fantastic opportunity to visit the show. Who knows! To be continued….