Interview with Andrea Turri: towards a modern design

Courage and ability to transform. Two qualities of a true entrepreneur that are certainly not lacking Andrea Turri, able to start a path to total stylistic change of the family business, from classic to contemporary. A ‘double pike’ calibrated by the abilities of a leader who, by focusing on the brand’s high craft value, has repositioned it in Olympus by the big design names. The upcoming Salone del Mobile will be the litmus test. He tells us about it himself.

In a short time, Turri will celebrate its 100th anniversary. How did your personal adventure start in the company?

I did not grow up with shavings. After studying economics, I was projected in the direction of a professional perspective related to consulting, I went on to a master’s degree at Harvard in America, and I thought about staying there. Then the events of 11 September 2001 disrupted everything, canceled all job opportunities and forced me to return to Italy. The road back from Boston to Carugo was quite traumatic. The family business, which was in excellent health, though smaller than it is now, was at that time run by 21 cousins, all skilled, but the administration was inevitably scattered and in need of a unique guide. At first, my intervention was supposed to be pro tempore, but in the years when I started reorganizing the company, I could see that there was great potential, and then after a year of negotiations, at the age of 33, I found myself. takes over 100% of the company’s shares. Since then, my real adventure has begun.

turri blues

Blues sofa

Courtesy photo

Turri has always been at the forefront of part of the market, the classic, and then began to take the first steps towards a more design-oriented style. How did the change of course towards the present occur?

I to trin. In 2008, there was the first upheaval, with a change of direction towards the luxury world and the abandonment of the classic, the carved, inlaid, baroque with gold leaf. We have therefore moved towards more modern but always rich forms, in a market loved by Russians, Chinese and Arabs, where for ten years we have been world leaders along with two other Italian companies. This phase lasted until around 2017, when my frequent trips abroad helped me capture the taste development and purchasing capacity of the new generations. It was at that moment that we started a process of change, that is, the transition from an important luxury to a modern one, rich in high-quality details, but with a cleaner result and with the cooperation of architects who resemble the new desires. .

A true revolution and a great commitment!

Of course yes. It was a total change with a huge workload. We make 50-60 new products every year, which means demanding interventions from a business, organizational and communication point of view. The renewal also happened through reinterpretation of pay-off and logo, now more in line with current and future trends. Even the catalogs have completely changed their image. The process, which is underway, has been slowed down due to the pandemic, but in the end, it only resulted in an extension of time.

dining room turri milan

Milan dining room

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What are the collections that first showed signs of change?

The Milan collection by Daniel Libeskind. And then they from the architect Viganò, Soul and Blues. However, the sofa in this series introduced us to the world of modular elements. Characterized by a modern taste is clearly visible in all parts of these collections. Each designer has with his own sign managed to dry the superfluous without affecting the research in detail, the result of the highest craftsmanship and the quality of materials and craftsmanship. We do not mass produce anything with the molds. Each piece is carefully crafted, one at a time.

Is this the Turri soul? The artisan savoir-faire preserved despite the change?

It is true that the handmade continues to be strongly present, as well as the excellence of the materials. The combination of these factors allows us to make a very precise adjustment. Each piece can be made to measure down to centimeters and can be customized down to the smallest detail. For us, 50% of the turnover is contract, which means very large interior design projects (from boiserie to doors, to wardrobes …). A type of request that the company is able to fulfill in full. Of course, it’s complicated: every time it’s like we made a semi-prototype, but for us, this is the winning key.

turri soul and harp living room

Soul and Harp living room

Courtesy photo

From a production point of view, were there any difficulties in implementing the change process?

Absolutely yes, based on the staff’s competencies, which should have the right flexibility to absorb the change of direction. Let me give you an example: We are currently moving from glossy varnish to essence (such as Canaletto walnut) and we need people who are ready to change their skills. Of course, there were also entries of figures with a sensitivity closer to the new type of product. That was not the only news. We have also greatly increased the quality and competence of the product managers of the various processes. If in the past it was enough to have someone who had grown up in the store, today there is a need to recruit highly qualified key people who are able to combine manual skills and modernity, seen in the light of already matured experiences.

How did you choose the designers for this new phase of the brand?

Based on affinities. We have been looking for designers who are willing to fully embrace our vision: We do not sell individual furniture, but environments. With us, the customer buys entire areas of the house, so the designer must be ready to interpret an infinite number of elements with a common thread. These are complete and demanding projects. It is also necessary to go into the company philosophy and create a distinctive product. Right now, in light of next year, I ‘woo’ new designers, but I can not reveal their names yet.

turri blues stue

Blues living room

Courtesy photo

Let’s talk about the Salone del Mobile, which is being held in June. What will we see from Turri?

What we will see at the fair this year is, in my opinion, an open statement about the change that has taken place. We will present 70 products, all brand new, on almost 1000 square meters of exhibition space. An inhuman corporate effort. The collections created by the collaboration with designers who are able to boost the brand will be exhibited. I’m talking about

Studio Gensler, Monica Armani, Matteo Nunziati, Paola Navone – who have designed a capsule collection – and again Viganò to provide continuity to what has already been done in recent years. Everyone has interpreted the new Turri world with their own personality and therefore there will be a lot of differentiation. In the light of Milan Design Week, we are also completing a new company showroom. For us, this will be an important show, and although the Chinese and Russian audiences are sadly missing, it will be a fundamental moment to test reactions and get feedback on the work done so far.

What was it like communicating the new Turri image to the market?

Partly easy and partly difficult. The markets that immediately welcomed the change were the Chinese, Indian and Arab markets. In these countries, it is normal to exhibit its collections in stores that also sell other contemporary top quality brands; it is also assisted by the interior designers who take care of the projects on site. It was a little more complex to pass the message on to Europe and Italy, where the brand’s strength comes from the past. On the one hand, as history is synonymous with reliability and quality, it is a good thing, on the other hand, it is also true that now it is necessary to connect with design and modernity. However, it is just as true that those who discover our collections today are amazed and say: Turri is beautiful!

A Chinese designer is always present in your collections. How important is China to your export market?

For us, it is a very important market, it represents almost 30% of our exports, and exports coincide with our turnover (99% are outside Italy). We also work in Italy, let’s be clear. We were among the first companies to enter China because it was the first market to incorporate that luxury more than 10 years ago. We have structured ourselves with a brandship, Turri China Office, we have 3 Chinese employees, 14 monobrand stores, and we are moving forward in development. For all the big names in our sector, the big increases in revenue are coming from this country (even though the pandemic has slowed everything down).

turri tinde

You have also started a collaboration with Frank Jiang, important figure in the design world in the East.

Yes, he is the founder of J&A, a listed company worth 800 million euros, which deals with landscape, building and interiors. It’s a gigantic reality. He designed some pieces for us and we are collaborating on some projects.

What is the piece or collection that gives you the most satisfaction in terms of satisfaction and success?

Pinnacle, a 2021 collection designed for the dining area – table, chairs, sideboard and display cabinet – by Huang Quan, a very popular 30-year-old young man who has found his way to the Chinese interior design scene. Pinnacle has great success both in Europe and in Italy. It is inspired by the shapes of the mountains with sculptural references that Quan’s young gaze has been able to interpret in a fresh and seductive way.

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