Interviewed in Milano, September 8th 2005
Martino Zanotta is CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the Italian furniture manufacturer Zanotta established in 1954. The company was managed by Aurelio Zanotta and then his successors Martino, Eleonora and Francesca and has always cherished a specific and close relationship with the designers and the designer’s culture which put them in the position to produce progressive and today’s cult products such as Mezzadro, Sacco, Blow-Up or Fly. Zanotta has always treated its production line as a careful selection and not a minor collection which was equally influenced by the pragmatic business decisions and a desire to complete it and to expand it as a sort of an art collection. This continuous and controlled growth, readiness to experiment, high quality of technology and long-term collaboration with the masters of modern design such as Castiglioni brothers and Marco Zanussi resulted with a fact that the Zanotta company was involved in the turmoil and trends in the history of modern and contemporary furniture from the second half of the 20th century until the present time.
ORIS: The history of Zanotta begins in 1954 with the establishment of the factory and the production of rather traditional furniture. During the fifties, the firm incorporates the principles of Modern design and afterwards employs the architect Mario Scheichenbauer. Can you say something about these formative years of the firm? Did the firm develop on the basis of a planned strategy or did it happen more spontaneously?
Zanotta: During the Fifties, and this trend continued in the Sixties as well, there were great creativity and ferment in the field of design and furniture, which led to experimentation and the introduction of brand-new technologies and formal languages. Born in this context, Zanotta started producing modern furniture at the end of Fifties and therefore developed a strategy that focused on design and research as the core of its production philosophy; then it started cooperating with those architects, like Mario Scheichenbauer, who were fascinated by the opportunities that the new technologies offered.