5 Minutes With... Pietro and Giuliano Galimberti of Flexform

Art & Design

January 15, 2018 | BY Hong Xinying

In the first of four stories for our design dynasties series, we speak to Pietro and Giuliano Galimberti to discuss their hopes for the Italian furniture brand Flexform and the secret to working in harmony as a family.

By the time we meet Pietro and Giuliano Galimberti in the Flexform Singapore showroom, the two are already in a convivial mood. During the interview, it seems obvious that they truly enjoy what they do—banter about their work comes easy, with the duo often caught jesting about the family’s democratic ways of working together.

“Being a family, it’s not so essential to have each of our job titles listed on our business cards, because we feel part of a whole entity, rather than as a singular element working for the company,” shares Giuliano, while his uncle Pietro begins laughing as he chimes in: “I don’t even have business cards!”

(Related: 5 Minutes With... Patrick Frey)

Founded in 1959 as Flexform di Galimberti, the Italian furniture brand continues to be run by the Galimberti family, with the fourth generation poised to continue the legacy.

Pietro, who is from the second generation, has been working closely on the company’s creative direction with long-time collaborator Antonio Citterio—he met the now-famous architect as a young student and describes him as an “excitable, volcanic character with a lot of ideas.” Giuliano, who is from the third generation, is the company’s export sales director and oversees the company’s international distribution.

Here, the Galimbertis share more about their harmonious family dynamics and their future plans for furniture brand.

(Related: 9 Cosy Ideas For A Family-Friendly Living Room)

How does the family dynamic work in Flexform?
Giuliano Galimberti (GG) A company is like a watch—there are a lot of mechanisms that must work perfectly together. As an entrepreneurial family, the most important thing is to respect each other as well as our unique skill sets.

We try to identify the skills of each person and we’ve been mature enough to understand which roles are best for each of us. When there is this mutually respectful relationship, the daily work is easy. We’ve been doing this for a long time and we hope to have many more years of working together.

Which Flexform pieces are currently in your home?
GG There are many items that we like, as they are such a big part of our life. But I do like the Magister sofa very much, which is displayed on the second floor of this showroom. It’s a design that never gets old. Pietro loves the new prototypes—he always looks to the future.

What inspired the creation of Flexform Mood?
Pietro Galimberti (PG) Mood is a little bit more romantic than the Flexform main collections, while having the same know-how, technology and quality.

If you want to compare Flexform Mood to Flexform, Flexform is more about the essential pieces, while Mood is a little bit more about the decorative pieces.

It’s about a tactile experience; when you sit on and touch the different fabrics, you’ll feel the difference.

(Related: Home Tour: A Nordic-inspired Bungalow With Opulent Decor Details)

What were some of the most pivotal moments in the company’s history to date?
PG
For one, it’s been the transition from classical to contemporary furniture, and the company’s early expansion into the overseas market. During this transitional period, we met a lot of architects including Antonio Citterio, and we discussed our plans for the future of the company at length. It was really exciting to work with them and to continue these collaborations.

GG Today, Flexform is in a very healthy situation: we have beautiful collections, a wide range of products of top quality and excellent design, and a strong team. What we think we should be more focused on in the coming years is extending our distribution in Asia, Europe and the US. We want to expand our brand in more countries and introduce it to more consumers.

What’s next for Flexform?
GG What we think we should be more focused on in the coming years is extending our distribution in Asia, Europe and the US. We want to expand our brand in more countries and introduce it to more customers—with Singapore as a point of reference in Southeast Asia.

If you had to sum up Flexform in a phrase, what would it be?
GG Quiet elegance. The furniture pieces from Flexform have a quiet elegance that becomes a natural extension of the interior that you create, while pairing well with items that show your personality.

This story was adapted from Singapore Tatler Homes December 2017-January 2018.

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