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Ethimo: “Gardens are extensions of the home”

Specialized in outdoor furniture, Ethimo offers timeless collections, marked by numerous international collaborations including Luca Nichetto, Paola Navone, Patrick Norguet, Emmanuel Gallina, Studiopepe… Gian Paolo Migliaccio, CEO of the Italian company, gives us his vision of the evolution of the outdoor sector

Read the special outdoor feature in issue 215 of Intramuros.

What is your vision of the outdoor industry over the last ten years?


Looking back over the past ten years, the focus on outdoor spaces has taken on a whole new meaning. This need to furnish open spaces has intensified and the pandemic has been a kind of gas pedal to reinforce this concept of a cocoon of well-being, finding satisfaction through this connection with nature. The residential market is probably the most representative of this new configuration of the home. Today, residential spaces are designed with the same attention to the exterior and interior spaces, considering gardens and urban terraces as true extensions of the home, which can be used at any time of the year. The market for collective spaces has also reacted to this new need and outdoor spaces, which were generally the prerogative of large resorts and hotels, have become a place symbolizing living, even for less important structures, such as those initially dedicated to catering. At the same time, there is a growing desire on the part of designers and builders to transport the atmosphere outdoor in our interiors, creating real zones of well-being with outdoor furniture and lush vegetation. There is a desire to find corners of the garden at home, to never lose contact with the outside world.

Daybed Baia © Ethimo

Have you seen new segments emerge?


I wouldn’t say that we are seeing the birth of new market segments per se. I would say that there is a much different focus on the concept of outdoor living. Our relationship with nature is increasingly strong, and the well-being that comes with it creates this need to design an outdoor space as an open-air room that would blend beautifully into the landscape. Materials, shapes, colors and performance are becoming more and more ecological. The most telling example would certainly be that related to the nautical world, a world in which the design of external areas requires the insertion of design elements borrowed from nature, which must be aesthetic, of course, but also deliver absolute technical and functional performance. In this field, Ethimo has partnered with Christophe Pillet to create Baia e Costiera, a collection specially designed for the world of yachts, large ships or fascinating sailing ships. The news yacht collection is a clever blend of aesthetics, design borrowed from haute couture, technicality and innovation, suggesting a philosophy of outdoor living between land and sea, without any boundaries. A boat can therefore also be infinitely configured as a living space. It can be furnished with refined and comfortable elements, to give interior atmospheres constantly in phase with nature.

Baia Yacht collection, design : Christophe Pillet © Ethimo
Sofa Costiera © Ethimo

This contemporary interpretation of the outdoor is detectable in all markets. In my opinion, it is the general concept of outdoor life that has really evolved, as well as the idea of the environment as something to be protected and preserved because it is good to live in. In reality, in this new context, our production processes have not undergone major changes, except for those that evolve naturally with innovation. Ethimo has always been committed to preserving the environment. As a company specialized in the production and sale of high-end outdoor furniture, certain processes are part of our know-how and mission. On the other hand, I would say that we have good timing and sensitivity, because we are able to anticipate the changes and needs of the market to create new collections, able to meet the requirements of our target, whether professional or private customers. Take for example the Ace collection designed by Patrick Norguet. The company was born from the desire to create design furniture for sports environments, in particular tennis courts, but also golf clubs or sports clubs in general.

Vos collections sont marquées par des collaborations avec des designers de renom tels Luca Nichetto, Christophe Pillet, etc. Avez-vous une équipe interne ?


Notre équipe de conception interne est en contact quotidiennement avec les studios de design internationaux avec lesquels nous collaborons dans le cadre du développement de nos collections. Cette collaboration avec des interlocuteurs externes donne une valeur ajoutée en terme de développement professionnel et de savoir-faire. En général, notre équipe interne développe également des projets en autonomie totale. Citons par exemple la table Bold, caractérisée par des formes organiques, véritable expression de notre capacité à associer différents matériaux, tout en restant ancrés aux inspirations du monde de la nature et au rapport avec ce dernier.

Au fil des années, nous avons collaboré avec de nombreux studios internationaux pour développer des collections racontant une histoire, comme cela a été le cas avec la collection Allaperto signée Matteo Thun et Antonio Rodriguez. Avec Allaperto, nous avons été en mesure d’insérer pour la première fois le design contemporain dans des environnements extérieurs situés en altitude. Outre nos précieuses collaborations, nous avons également mis en place des concours consacrés aux jeunes designers dans l’objectif de développer de nouvelles idées, permettant par exemple de réinterpréter des objets d’ameublement extérieur classiques. Cela a ses avantages, car ce sont toujours de bonnes occasions pour échanger des idées.

Costiera sofa © Ethimo

How do you manage CSR issues?


As we have said, we are paying ever greater attention to the preservation of the environment and environmental sustainability. In terms of design, all this translates into material choices that are ever closer to nature. By creating specific collections for theoutdoorThe challenge for us, in my opinion, is the ability to guarantee superior functional performance while maintaining a look and feel as close to nature as possible. From the creative phase to the production phase, each process is punctuated by this particular attention to the environment. In our production site, we use the latest generation of equipment to reduce the environmental impact with toxic emissions and waste as much as possible. We also select FSC certified teak. This way, we can be sure that the entire wood production chain complies with strict and internationally standardized controls.

Baia armchair © Ethimo
Detail of the Baia daybed © Ethimo

Ethimo is currently present in over 70 countries. It is of course essential for us to create products that can be sold all over the world, without the constraints of use set by local sustainability standards. This attention to the environment is a solid attitude for us, which has always been part of our identity and values. In recent years, and also during this difficult period of the pandemic, we have always maintained our high quality standards, despite all the problems encountered at the international level, especially in the supply of raw materials. We are currently working to increase the inventory in our warehouses so that we can be ready to meet demand quickly, as we have always done. L’outdoor is for all intents and purposes a space that is now part of the design of homes, hotels and public spaces. Thus, architects, interior designers and landscapers are our main contacts. We strive to be a benchmark in outdoor design by creating furnishings that are beautiful and timeless.

Quelles sont les évolutions que vous percevez pour les années à venir ?


Compte tenu de la valeur que revêt actuellement le concept de vie en plein air, nous imaginons qu’au cours des dix prochaines années, cette nécessité de vivre en contact avec la nature se fera toujours plus présente, et cela donnera lieu à de nouvelles exigences liées au bien-être de la personne. Nous avons un objectif, celui d’être empathiques avec notre consommateur, mais aussi avec le marché. Il nous faut satisfaire les besoins et exigences dans les temps et en exprimant toute notre créativité. Pour moi, les collections lounge et dining continueront de faire partie de nos best-sellers, car elles symbolisent des besoins ancestraux comme la sociabilité et l’alimentation. Pour l’heure, je ne vois aucun problème.