Look very closely and you will see that Minotti’s new collection demonstrates some new directions for the luxury Italian furniture brand. Introducing the new collection in Hong Kong alongside new products from Bang & Olufsen, Tony Luk of monobrand Minotti store Andante talks us through Minotti’s evolving design approach.
Pictured above is Minotti’s Freeman Tailor
Minotti launched its 2016 collection at Milan Design Week, and it recently arrived in Hong Kong, at Andante, the Minotti monobrand store. Tony Luk, the Owner of Andante – along with Louvre Gallery – introduced the new range to the design industry with an event in partnership with Bang & Olufsen on 8 September 2016.
Bang & Olufsen presented their new TVs, BeoVision 14 and BeoVision Horizon, along with their sleek, portable speaker, BeoSound 1, which is compact, yet boasts impressive sound.
Attendants at the event saw new Bang & Olufsen products paired with the new Minotti collection, for which Luk is particularly full of praise. “I would say this is one of the better vintages,” says Tony Luk, Owner of Andante. “Every year they have two sets of sofas, a bed, cabinets, coffee table set. So it’s always a full collection. The sofas are usually quite different from each other, but this year, they belong to the same family. The name is Freeman. It’s about tailoring.”
Freeman, like so many Minotti products, is about attention to detail. “Freeman features this double stitching that’s done with a handbag-stitching machine, although probably on a different scale to your typical handbag machine,” says Luk. “Freeman is made up of neat, strict lines, with very clean construction – like a beautiful suit. The response so far has been very good.”
There is Freeman Tailor and Freeman Duvet, both of which are modular. “You can’t follow that formula of two- or three-seater sofas anymore, because the way people live is always changing,” says Luk.
Another direction change for Minotti comes in the form of different materials. Instead of the high-gloss, smooth-finish zebrano wood veneers we’ve seen from the brand in the past, cabinets, tables and more are adorned with veneers in African sucupira wood. “The wood has very open pores, which gives it a beautiful texture,” says Luk. “Everything was so refined in the past with Minotti. It’s quite 1960s to use materials you can really feel, it’s great.”
This wood comes through in the new Bellagio dining table, designed by Gordon Guillaumier, where it features as a super-slim table surface, sitting atop a single plinth in wood or metal. “With Minotti tables, the edge is usually not just 1cm. it’s usually thicker,” says Luk. “It’s quite impressive from a support and stability point of view. That metal frame goes all the way down into the base plate. They do a lot of prototypes to make sure it’s a firm table, and yet it’s very slender.”
Testing and prototyping – and indeed, taking various measures to perfect each product – are a core part of the Minotti process, and this approach is evident in so many products from the 2016 collection.
Freeman, for example, is comfortable while being beautiful – something that Luk points out is not an easy balance to achieve. “It’s not easy to make really comfortable furniture without it looking bulky. Many companies would say, ‘The form looks good, so that’s fine.’ Or they would say, ‘It’s comfortable, that’s fine.’ But how Minotti combines the two is, in my opinion, about persistence.”
The Creed collection is the same. Featuring chairs, sofas and a bed, the range’s curved backrests are made using special injection moulding techniques. “They use the moulds to make sure the backrest is identical every time. It’s not a new technology, but people only invest in it if they want something to be exactly right. They put the metal frame inside, they close the lid and they will then inject the foam, choosing the density via a chemical mixture,” says Luk.
“Imagine if a company wasn’t sure about selling quantity, they’ll normally just buy a big piece of foam and cut it up. It won’t matter to them if each piece isn’t exactly the same. Minotti’s attitude is that they’re going to do the injection moulding, whether they sell 10 or 10,000 chairs. We have to respect Minotti for being so particular.”