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Molteni&C Celebrates 90 Years in Milan

Members of the Molteni family were joined by international designers like Vincent Van Duysen and Ron Gilad at a black carpet event where a new Rizzoli book, “Mondo Molteni,” was unveiled.

Molteni&C Celebrates 90 Years in Milan

Molteni&C’s 90th anniversary party.

MILAN — Angelo Molteni was already a visionary at age 18 and was traveling to far-off places like Burma to seek out the best wood in the world for his handcrafted furniture. In 1934, he established his artisan furniture business with his wife Giuseppina, who attended professional school and had a steady job in a textile factory. Today, their descendants are leading their company into the future, with a presence in more than 100 countries, 700 points of sale and 100 flagships.

On Tuesday, the Moltenis celebrated 90 years of their family’s successful company with a special dinner and book, “Molteni Mondo: An Italian Design Story,” an editorial project published by Rizzoli and curated by writer Spencer Bailey, who is also the director of the media company The Slowdown. The book’s art direction was spearheaded by Beda Achermann, while its photos were shot by Californian photographer Jeff Burton.

The book illustrates the projects of architects and designers such as Flemish designer Vincent Van Duysen, Spanish designer Patricia Urquiola and Italy’s Michele De Lucchi, depicting collaborators, at times; working with raw materials, and employing sustainable practices.

Molteni&C Celebrates 90 Years in Milan

“Molteni Mondo: An Italian Design Story” cover shot by Jeff Burton.

The family-controlled company remains one of the biggest Italian design firms by revenue. Molteni Group, which owns Molteni&C, UniFor and Citterio, had a consolidated turnover of 475 million euros in 2023, 70 percent of which was international. 

“In this important year, we want to share our goal for the future: spreading the culture of quality living throughout the world,” said Angelo and Giuseppina’s son Carlo Molteni, president of the Molteni Group. His father Angelo was also a key figure in the inception of Salone del Mobile in 1961.

Molteni&C Celebrates 90 Years in Milan

Molteni&C’s Giulia Molteni, Andrea Molteni and Giovanni Molteni and architect and Tobia Scarpa.

Tuesday night’s event unfolded at the Pirelli Hangar Biccoca, a site for contemporary art exhibitions, where video cubes projecting photos of top designers featured in the book were scattered throughout the venue’s famous abstract towers by German painter and sculptor Anselm Kiefer. 

In an interview with WWD, Canadian designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg — who have long collaborated with the brand and contributed the Sway modular sofa system to Molteni&C’s most recent outdoor collection — reflected on the Molteni family’s legacy.

“Molteni built Italy back up from Second World War, in their own industrial corridor,” said Yabu. Pushelberg on Carlo Molteni’s work ethic, especially during the pandemic, working every day. “He’s got a rational approach to business and this incredible energy. He’s worked with the greatest designers on Earth,” Pushelberg said.

Molteni&C Celebrates 90 Years in Milan

Canadian designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg of Yabu Pushelberg.

Carlo’s daughter Giulia, Molteni Group’s chief marketing officer, also recalled the dedicated work ethic of her grandparents, who worked side by side, and said that the dialogue between generations is so important while giving the younger generations the freedom to make their own choices. Holding her family’s history dear, she, along with her brother and cousins who also work within the company, are custodians of their family’s legacy for the long term, she told WWD.

“Compared to other kinds of business, when you’re a family owner, you have a real vision that is never tomorrow. It’s always long term because we already think one day of all our kids in the company. So we have already this mentality to pass the knowledge and keep it very strong,” she said.