INTERVIEW WITH MARCO POZZO, CEO of Driade of Italian Creation Group – Study, emotion, provocation, eclecticism, playfulness, pollution are part of Driade’s DNA, which will soon suggest a desk, inspired by old school desks, for our home, which we now live in. different
The sector ofhigh-end designer furniture experienced a good recovery in 2021 and there will be a further acceleration in the coming years. The changed use of the spaces leads to the search for furniture that expresses personality. But how do you distinguish a design object from a simply strange one? Dryad has a 50-year-long narrative that talks about culture, research, materials, visions that remain eternal symbols. Marco PozzoThe CEO of the design house, which is part of the Italian Creation Group, is in no doubt: We do not know if an object will become an icon, but we certainly know when an object will never become one.
Interview with Driade CEO Marco Pozzo
Design is a delicate subject, difficult for some to understand, mysterious for others. How can a simply “strange” object be distinguished from a design object?
“Today, it seems that the concept of design is applied to every particular object. Instead, the design object comes first and foremost from a researched project that is elaborated in every detail: the materials, the functionality, the image. The definition of Dryad it has always given itself, is the publisher’s: that is, from the creative idea of these wonderful artists, talents, architects, designers, one passes through a wide range of craftsmen and laboratories that translate that idea into something concrete. In these passages, emphasis is placed on not losing the meaning and message of the original idea ».
When you arrive at the finished object, how do you understand that the language that the object is communicating is correct?
“The key is just that Language: it is true when it is able to stimulate an emotion.
We do not produce necessary goods. The design world at a certain level does not solve the theme of just sitting down. It solves in a broader way the satisfaction from an emotional point of view also of other senses in relation to the beauty, the quality of the material, the icing on the cake. Or it should stimulate something personal, intimate and of course in this area it can have different effects in different people. And then there is the most socially representative aspect, the object, which becomes a status symbol.
How does Driade relate to the current reality: got out of the pandemic, entered a war climate in a world that is changing very fast? What is the figure you want to distinguish from the others?
“There is a very wide and varied range and very different positioning according to a trend. In Driade’s DNA, there is rather the provocation. We offer another object: always to respect quality, beauty and innovation, but certainly with the aesthetic aspect that can be recognized as belonging to a brand with the codes that are able to stimulate emotions ».
So we can say that an object that is only “strange” disappears along the way, while if an object brings a deeper elaboration with it, it becomes an icon. In Driade’s story there are many examples. Let us mention one, as a symbol.
“It’s really impressive that in our catalog there are still bestsellers born in the 80s. The Costes chair is designed by Philippe Stark for the homonymous Caffè a Les Halle in Paris: a project born out of a necessity – to decorate that bar – then became an icon for Driade. Of course you do not know before. You can not say to the art director: Make me an icon. I do not know if an object becomes an icon, but I can recognize an object that an icon never becomes. Because it lacks codes that express the brand’s personality ».
According to many observers, the very way of living and thinking about the home is changing, also in light of the development of smart work that is accentuated by the pandemic: what is your opinion?
“The public has changed the way of thinking about houses: We have gone from dormitories to houses to live in both as a personal refuge and as a workplace, with an average of 3.5 days a week, compared to 2.6 -Covid. And so now he wants to surround himself with functional and comfortable things’.
Doctor Pozzo, how long have you been driving Driade, how did you find it when you arrived, and what is the imprint you want to give the mark? What will the addresses at Maison be?
«I have been with Driade for a little over a year, after being with Alessi and Ermenegildo Zegna. In Driade, I will definitely return to the strong personality that was impressed by the founder Enrico Astori with his wife and sister in the late 60s, to their very eclectic and playful approach. A brand that values its past by reinterpreting it for the present era allows us to go further towards its future. So much the more so if you, like Driade, have such an important historical heritage. In our premises at Corsico, we exhibited our products from the 60s-70s-80s, which had been in the catalog for these years, or which for some reason had never been released. My goal is to be able to reinterpret – also thanks to technologies and innovations – the substance in a modern language to communicate to an audience that probably does not even know it. The second trend will definitely be new products. Fabio novemberour creative director, helps us interpret interesting projects for our brand and has the technical skills to evaluate them and lead them further in the design.
One of the first projects we will propose will be a work table to be adopted at home – precisely because of its new function as a workplace – inspired by the old school desks, with the possibility of making everything disappear inside. Finally, in the future of Driade, there is openness to external stimuli. On the one hand for young people, just as the architect Astori did with Philip Stark, on the other hand for collaborations and pollution with different worlds.
On the occasion of the design week at the Triennale in Milan, you gave an example of this pollution with the participation of four talents from different backgrounds. Do you want to continue with this trend?
“Yes, of course. In the temple of design represented by Triennale in Milan, Driade, true to the design of the beauty lab, has named four excellence in their respective reference sectors and integrated them into his world. The fashion designer Marcelo Burlon he designed Edaird, a tribal-style mirror between Argentine earth and sky. The catcher Sphere Ebbasta adapted Cocky, a chaise longue with wings, feathers and claws. The PiùDiUno rug, a synthesis between street art and weaving, is designed by Omar Hassan. And finally, for inspiration for the game world, the content creator Pow3r designed Arcad3 puff. Experimentation, exploration of different worlds, awareness of other languages and cultures from which one can draw ideas and new energies are part of Driade DNA and that’s what enables the brand, which is over 50 years old, to innovate continuously, while always remaining true to itself “.
What is the structure of Driade? Who do you work with?
«Dryad, together with Fontana Arte And Valcucinebelongs to Italian creation group led by Giovanni Perissinotto, [ex numero uno di Generali, ndr]. For the realization of our projects, we depend on a network of about 50 companies, ranging from the more structured with 30-40 employees, to artisan workshops with even 4-5 employees ».
A recent study by the Mediobanca Research Area estimated an increase in the turnover of Italian medium-sized enterprises of the furniture system of 25% for 2021 and at least 8.5% in 2022, also thanks to the benefits that will come from PNRR, while a study by Altagamma Bain Monitor argued that Italian luxury design was one of the fastest recovering sectors after the pandemic and that it faces good growth prospects for the next five years: can you recognize yourself in this assessment?
“Before the pandemic, the sector’s average annual growth (+ 4%) was more moderate than in other advanced sectors. In 2020, the decline (-6%) was smaller than in other luxury sectors, and in 2021 the recovery was more decisive: + 7% to a market value of around 40 billion: among the best-performing luxury segments. Driade is a small company and we have done better than the sector. Over the next few years, the entire sector is expected to accelerate relative to its historic growth trajectory: a growth of 5-7% per year, to an expected value of around 50-60 billion in 2026 “.
How important is the rarity of the Chinese market for a historic brand like Driade?
“The Chinese market is growing strongly, despite the fact that it is currently in lockdown again. With the growing middle class, many have studied and live differently at home. We have opened stores in Shanghai, Foshan and Shenzhen and have identified a local reference partner.”