"A long ride, with a few obstacles and many challenges, from 1934 to the present. And the feeling that it is never enough... No, "knowledge" is not enough anymore, but we have a magnificent obsession for quality every day and in every detail."
The Thirties and Forties
Angelo Molteni, born 1912, set up his own business in Giussano, today in the province of Monza e Brianza, a furniture district. His artisan workshop soon became a byword for top-quality products.
The workforce of the Giussano business already numbered over 60 people. “Arredamenti di Angelo Molteni” was developing fast, less of an artisan workshop and more of a factory.
Molteni took part in the first “Mostra Selettiva – Concorso Internazionale del Mobile” in Cantù, with a design by Swiss architect Werner Blaser, which won the first prize. The chest of drawers, with a 3-fork geometric joint, was the first prototype of a modern piece of furniture.
Double podium at the Cantù Mostra Selettiva, with designs by Yasuhiko Itoh and Donato D’Urbino and Carlo Volonterio, two avant-garde bookcases.
The first German machines arrive. The flat presses and the drier, to produce increasingly quality furniture on an industrial scale.
Angelo Molteni joined a group of entrepreneurs to promote Milan’s first Salone del Mobile, the highly successful furniture fair that made its debut on 24 September 1961.
A year of upheavals: in just a few months, manufacturing switched from classic to modern, well-designed furniture suitable for mass production. Luca Meda, an Ulm School graduate, was the man of the revolution, his Iride storage units were presented at the 1968 Salone del Mobile.
Afra and Tobia Scarpa made their debut in Giussano and Turate. For thirty years they designed successful buildings and furniture, distinguished by highly refined details.
Molteni&C enters the Contract world, with a furniture supply to Saudi Arabia, which will make it the undisputed leader of "turnkey" solutions
"We outfitted two embassies in Saudi Arabia and a large hotel in Egypt. With those two experiences, the Molteni Contract began. [...] On one hand we customise, on the other we standardize, a double attitude and vision."
Enter Aldo Rossi, a partnership that was to last almost 20 years, with highly acclaimed designs, such as the Teatro series with Luca Meda , the Carteggio desk, the Milano chair, the Cartesio furniture and the Parigi armchair.
Molteni&C communication evolved with the arrival of the Swiss graphic designer Felix Humm, who redrew the Molteni&C logo and created a new look for our institutional and commercial communication.
In the nineties Molteni&C proposed an idea of the home and based its communication around it.
Pierluigi Cerri began working with Molteni&C and Unifor for visual communication and exhibitions stands.
Molteni&C was awarded the Compasso d’Oro for its career. “Among the key players of Italian furniture culture” according to the jury, “it has excelled in presenting a range of products designed with constant dignity, guaranteed quality and a broad vision of the cultural context”.
Jean Nouvel designed the Fondation Cartier in Paris. Unifor made the furniture. This gave rise to the Less series, a world design icon.
The New Millennium
The Gran Teatro La Fenice is inaugurated in Venice, rebuilt according to Aldo Rossi’s design, with the wooden parts made by Molteni&C.
To support its international expansion, Molteni&C created the Divisione Imbottiti [Padded Furniture] and, within the space of just a few years, it has become one of the world’s leading manufacturers with designs by Patricia Urquiola, Ferruccio Laviani, Rodolfo Dordoni, Hannes Wettstein and Ron Gilad, just to mention a few.
Distribution has extended beyond the Italian borders and became international. New stores dedicated to the Molteni&C | Dada brand have opened: about 600 stores worldwide including 40 Flagship Stores, also present in the most important international design metropolis such as London and New York.
Molteni&C presented the Ponti Collection at the Salone del Mobile, furniture never mass produced, designed by the great Milanese architect.
In the Giussano industrial complex, Molteni inaugurated Glass Cube, the installation by Ron Gilad that reinterprets the distinctive themes of the Group’s corporate identity. Technology, art and design come together to create a pathway between present and future, further embellished with multimedia features.
Gruppo Molteni celebrates 80 years in the business with an exhibition at Milan’s Galleria d’Arte Moderna, 80!Molteni. Curated by Jasper Morrison and with graphic design by Studio Cerri & Associati, for the first time prototypes and furniture made by all the Group’s companies narrate 80 years’ experience, quality and innovation. The exhibition has become the nucleus of the Molteni Museum in Giussano.
MolteniGroup.com is the Molteni Group’s new website address. Key words are storytelling, inspiration and the contemporaneity of the Molteni&C and Dada brands.
Starting from April 2016 the Belgian architect and designer Vincent Van Duysen is appointed Creative Director of the Molteni&C and Dada brands. After the success of the Gliss Master wardrobe system the new partnership will focus on coordinating the brands’ image and retail concept.