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How This Italian Furniture Brand Is Expanding in Asia Amid the Covid-19 Pandemic

by Maria Chiara Antonini, 19 Sep 2020. This article appeared on sg.asiatatler.com. Photo courtesy of Cornelio Cappellini.

Italian family-run firm Cornelio Cappellini expands its growth in Asia with handmade collections and a new vision

The history of furniture making in Italy is part of a storied tradition of craftsmanship—one that’s often backed by strong family ties and a deep passion for woodwork. An example of one such company that embodies this rich heritage is Cornelio Cappellini, a brand available exclusively at Royal Interiors in Singapore.

With a dedicated team of craftsmen and an astute understanding of furniture production, the brand has remained faithful to its made-in-Italy philosophy. Franco Cappellini, president of Cornelio Cappellini, tells us more about its family-centric roots and its ambitious plans.

The Nova bed features an upholstered headboard and bedside table with metal trimmings

Tell us more about the firm’s history.
Franco Cappellini (FC) 
The company was founded by my father Cornelio Cappellini in the 1950s in Brianza, an area near Milan, Italy. From the beginning, the family-run company has specialised in producing traditional and classic furniture by using construction and finishing techniques handed down by past generations.

The first change was in 2004, when the company became aware of the growth potential of emerging markets overseas. The collections take cues from fashion and luxury lifestyle trends, with glamorous accents emphasised by the increased usage of crystals, metals, fabrics and leathers.The year 2018 was the beginning of an important evolution of the company, with a more modern and contemporary style in our furniture collections, but always with a luxurious variety of materials and the same level of craftsmanship.

What is it like working as a family?
 I’m the president of the company, and my twin siblings, Claudio and Lucia Cappellini, both serve as the CEOs. I love working in our family business and our strength is certainly in having familial harmony. However, times are changing, and we wanted to improve not only our technical and artisan skills, but also the company’s creative energy by expanding our team with new and young designers.

Luca Erba is a young and very talented designer whom we had already worked with in the past. When we decided we wanted to make our company even more competitive, we chose him as our art director. His approach celebrates the connections between heritage, materials, industrial design and refined craftsmanship.

The Miller coffee table is among the pieces that incorporate Murano glass

What are the defining characteristics of collections from Cornelio Cappellini?
Our collections are unique and handmade by the best craftsmen. They feature precious finishes and decorative elements made with Murano glass, hand-forged metals, ceramics and leather. Every piece is customisable in every aspect, from the shape and colour to the material. Following this philosophy, we introduced the Hessentia collection, which has achieved increasing success in the market.

How has the Covid-19 crisis affected the firm?
Working with the Asian markets, we were among the first to feel the effects of the pandemic, after the Chinese New Year. But we reacted well, although it is still difficult to make predictions at this time.

We are currently working on a new e-commerce project. The idea is to create limited-edition variations of pieces already in the collection to sell them via online platforms that specialise in furniture and art.

We would also like to sell some prototypes of our classic pieces. This way, we can propose a new type of product, as an alternative to the pieces on sale in our showrooms all over the world. For us, Asia has always been a very interesting market and we would like to meet our customers at the next DesignShanghai fair in China.