Contract - Poltrona Frau Museum

design - features - institutional design



Poltrona Frau Museum

02 December, 2013

-By Jean Nayar. Photography courtesy of Poltrona Frau


When Franco Moschini, chairman of Poltrona Frau, contemplated how the Italian furniture company would commemorate its 100th anniversary last year, he realized that the best way to celebrate its illustrious history would be to create a museum that would not only highlight its iconic pieces, but also crystallize its legacy. Working with architect Michele De Lucchi, the company developed a 15,000-square-foot museum on the premises of its manufacturing facility in Tolentino, Italy, that artfully expresses the company’s history and values in a understated yet animated setting, quietly illuminating an emphasis on craftsmanship and quality.

Over the course of his tenure with the company, Moschini has collected dozens of Poltrona Frau products from auctions and artists’ studios, as well as documents that illustrate the company’s history and collaborations with notable architects and designers. In the museum, he wanted to showcase them to “present a cultural message,” says De Lucchi. To respond to this mandate, De Lucchi and his team transformed an existing warehouse structure on the Poltrona Frau factory and office campus into the museum. The design team divided the museum interiors into three parts—one section highlights the company’s dedication to craftsmanship, another showcases a selection of Poltrona Frau’s most iconic pieces, and a third presents notable interiors around the world.

A material palette that allows the products to be the focus

Using simple, natural materials, including construction lumber and vellum-like ecru fabric, the designers created a series of theatrical, set-like exhibition spaces that allow the products and stories of Poltrona Frau to come to life. “We wanted to create a special atmosphere that would be different from a commercial showroom, and more like the spiritual condition you feel in a museum,” says
De Lucchi. “With the museum, we created a contemplative space to transmit a cultural approach to the products.”

Just past the entrance, a sleek cafeteria with Poltrona Frau tables and chairs offers an opportunity for visitors to begin to immerse themselves in the company’s culture by perusing books on wall-mounted shelves or exploring nine video totems that present words and images from the technical glossary of the company. Nearby, a wall of overlapping pieces of leather offers a condensed sensorial presentation of surfaces and colors.

From bourgeois to avante garde to populist

Deeper into the museum, the Vanity Fair chair, an icon of both the company and Italian design, takes center stage on a bed of white stones in the middle of a large central patio surrounded by glass
and bathed in natural light. The designers present the history of the company in a series of lantern-like towers—approximately 13-, 20-, and 26-feet tall—made of wood and fabric and lit from within. Each tower houses a vignette “that separates the products by decade to illustrate the taste of each time,” says De Lucchi, “so that you can really feel how tastes developed from the company’s bourgeois beginnings to the avant garde influences of later eras to the populistic styles of the last decade.”

Amid this magical atmosphere, light fixtures from each era illuminate eleven icons of Poltrona Frau one by one—from Chester to Juliet chairs, arranged in fluid chronological sequence—from 1912 to today. On the opposite side of the museum, a showcase of original documents, postcards, advertisements, catalogues, sketches, and designs illustrate the story of the company.

In the final section of the museum, rooms highlight ten notable interiors that showcase the company’s products, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles by Frank Gehry, the Auditorium  Parco della Musica in Rome by Renzo Piano, and the Forum Building in Barcelona by Herzog & de Meuron. Other exhibitions in this section focus on the company’s leather upholstery in cars, yachts, airplanes, and helicopters, as well as its projects for top international businesses, such as Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia, Pershing, and Etihad Airways.

The museum is testament to “our history and our brand values of tradition, craftsmanship, and handwork—or what we call ‘the intelligence in our hands,’” says Roberto Archetti, Poltrona Frau’s brand manager. “Michele De Lucchi has created a very elegant and intimate atmosphere, which is perfectly coherent with the brand.” It also lays a substantial foundation of inspiration for the company’s future.

Key Design Highlights

  • Three galleries highlight the company’s history and products, as well as great interiors around the world.
  • Neutral colors and a refined material palette allow the products and displays to be the main focus within the space.
  • Illuminated displays made from wood and fabric organize products by decade.

Poltrona Frau Museum

  • Architect: Michele De Lucchi
  • Client: Poltrona Frau
  • Where: Tolentino, Italy
  • What: 15,000 square feet on one floor
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request



Poltrona Frau Museum

02 December, 2013


When Franco Moschini, chairman of Poltrona Frau, contemplated how the Italian furniture company would commemorate its 100th anniversary last year, he realized that the best way to celebrate its illustrious history would be to create a museum that would not only highlight its iconic pieces, but also crystallize its legacy. Working with architect Michele De Lucchi, the company developed a 15,000-square-foot museum on the premises of its manufacturing facility in Tolentino, Italy, that artfully expresses the company’s history and values in a understated yet animated setting, quietly illuminating an emphasis on craftsmanship and quality.

Over the course of his tenure with the company, Moschini has collected dozens of Poltrona Frau products from auctions and artists’ studios, as well as documents that illustrate the company’s history and collaborations with notable architects and designers. In the museum, he wanted to showcase them to “present a cultural message,” says De Lucchi. To respond to this mandate, De Lucchi and his team transformed an existing warehouse structure on the Poltrona Frau factory and office campus into the museum. The design team divided the museum interiors into three parts—one section highlights the company’s dedication to craftsmanship, another showcases a selection of Poltrona Frau’s most iconic pieces, and a third presents notable interiors around the world.

A material palette that allows the products to be the focus

Using simple, natural materials, including construction lumber and vellum-like ecru fabric, the designers created a series of theatrical, set-like exhibition spaces that allow the products and stories of Poltrona Frau to come to life. “We wanted to create a special atmosphere that would be different from a commercial showroom, and more like the spiritual condition you feel in a museum,” says
De Lucchi. “With the museum, we created a contemplative space to transmit a cultural approach to the products.”

Just past the entrance, a sleek cafeteria with Poltrona Frau tables and chairs offers an opportunity for visitors to begin to immerse themselves in the company’s culture by perusing books on wall-mounted shelves or exploring nine video totems that present words and images from the technical glossary of the company. Nearby, a wall of overlapping pieces of leather offers a condensed sensorial presentation of surfaces and colors.

From bourgeois to avante garde to populist

Deeper into the museum, the Vanity Fair chair, an icon of both the company and Italian design, takes center stage on a bed of white stones in the middle of a large central patio surrounded by glass
and bathed in natural light. The designers present the history of the company in a series of lantern-like towers—approximately 13-, 20-, and 26-feet tall—made of wood and fabric and lit from within. Each tower houses a vignette “that separates the products by decade to illustrate the taste of each time,” says De Lucchi, “so that you can really feel how tastes developed from the company’s bourgeois beginnings to the avant garde influences of later eras to the populistic styles of the last decade.”

Amid this magical atmosphere, light fixtures from each era illuminate eleven icons of Poltrona Frau one by one—from Chester to Juliet chairs, arranged in fluid chronological sequence—from 1912 to today. On the opposite side of the museum, a showcase of original documents, postcards, advertisements, catalogues, sketches, and designs illustrate the story of the company.

In the final section of the museum, rooms highlight ten notable interiors that showcase the company’s products, including the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles by Frank Gehry, the Auditorium  Parco della Musica in Rome by Renzo Piano, and the Forum Building in Barcelona by Herzog & de Meuron. Other exhibitions in this section focus on the company’s leather upholstery in cars, yachts, airplanes, and helicopters, as well as its projects for top international businesses, such as Ferrari, Maserati, Lancia, Pershing, and Etihad Airways.

The museum is testament to “our history and our brand values of tradition, craftsmanship, and handwork—or what we call ‘the intelligence in our hands,’” says Roberto Archetti, Poltrona Frau’s brand manager. “Michele De Lucchi has created a very elegant and intimate atmosphere, which is perfectly coherent with the brand.” It also lays a substantial foundation of inspiration for the company’s future.

Key Design Highlights

  • Three galleries highlight the company’s history and products, as well as great interiors around the world.
  • Neutral colors and a refined material palette allow the products and displays to be the main focus within the space.
  • Illuminated displays made from wood and fabric organize products by decade.

Poltrona Frau Museum

  • Architect: Michele De Lucchi
  • Client: Poltrona Frau
  • Where: Tolentino, Italy
  • What: 15,000 square feet on one floor
  • Cost/sf: Withheld at client’s request
 


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