The History of a Brand: FLEXFORM

Soft Dream Sofa

Warm woods, creamy white marbles, woven leather in shades of toffee, chocolate and taupe. Flexform’s materials palette signals its refined, understated style,. despite professing to prioritise “desirability over neccesity ” it refuses to identify with luxury – at least not in the sent of ostentatious excess. Before the brothers Agositino, Pietro and Romeo Galimberti co founded Flexform, ironically enough, they specialised in gold plated wood furniture in an ornate Louis XV style. By 1959, however, when Flexform was launched in Meda, near Milan, they were producing armchairs and sofas with a streamlined mid-century Modern look. To this day sofas are still Flexform’s hero pieces.

In the boom years of the 1960s, Flexform’s main clients were affluent industrialists and academics living in Milan or in villas fringing Lake Come. In 1969, Flexform gained and avant-guarde edge when designer Joe Colombo dreamt up the space-age chic “Tube Chair” fashioned from foam covered PVC cylinders.

In the 1970s, Flexform hired a young Antonio Citterio, as an architecture student who showed promise as a sofa designer. This potentially risky move paid off. Today he is a titan of Italian design and Flexform’s style coordinator.  When Flexform refers to its furniture in terms of “nesting” an idea, Citterio’s Big Bob sofa comes to mind, a piece that has been cocooned through the design process. The seats of the Big Bob automatically extend when the sitter leans back. It is in this constant quest for comfort, where Flexform do not compromise on elegance.

SIX THINGS YOU DID NOT KNOW ABOUT FLEXFORM

  1. 1. During the 1960s, the Galimberti brothers handed over the reins of the company to their seven sons. Today Flexform is headed up by ten family members.
  2. 2. Flexform describes its preference for neutrals as its “Morandi Palette” inspired by the still lifes fo Italian artist Giorgio Morandi.

3. The brand’s signature pieces include Citterio’s best selling multifunctional Groundpiece sofa which incorporates a bookcase that also serves as an armrest or coffee table, and Infinity shelving unit incorporating leather storage.

4. In 2001, Flexform launched its Flexform Mood range, described as ‘classic contemporary’ , the most recent collections have been created by Roberto Lazzeroni, and include modern chaise longues, storage units, beds and sofas.

5. All Flexform products are manufactured at the headquarters in Meda, in the Brianza district, Italy’s furniture making centre. Flexform employs 120 craftspeople in the factory and 30 in the design team, marketing, sales and finance departments.

6. Flexform furniture graces upmarket venues all over the world, including Milan’s Mandarin Orientaland the uber-hip Antwerp eatery The Jane.

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