Navigating Design Innovation: In Conversation With Andrea Molteni Of Molteni&C

  • 1 Mar '24
  • 6:15 pm by Tanvee Abhyankar

Andrea Molteni is a prominent figure in the world of contemporary furniture design, serving as the Vice President of Molteni&C, a renowned Italian furniture company. With a rich family heritage deeply rooted in the tradition of craftsmanship and innovation, Andrea embodies the essence of the Molteni&C brand, which has been synonymous with timeless elegance and superior quality for over eight decades. Under his leadership, Molteni&C continues to push the boundaries of design, collaborating with leading architects and designers to create iconic pieces that marry functionality with aesthetic appeal. Their latest collaboration with Aux Homes marks a significant milestone in the brand’s expansion in the Indian market. Andrea’s passion for design excellence and commitment to preserving the brand’s legacy make him a driving force in shaping the future of modern furniture design. In this exclusive interview, DP sat down at Aux Homes in New Delhi with Molteni where he shared insights into the company’s ethos and its commitment to innovation. This conversation offered us a glimpse into the dynamic intersection of heritage and cutting-edge design that defines Molteni&C’s journey in India.

Design Pataki: How would you describe the concept and vision for Molteni&C?

Andrea Molteni: I would say that Molteni&C is increasingly focused on delivering a comprehensive lifestyle concept to end users. We are evolving into more than just a product company, we’re becoming a lifestyle brand. Over the years, we have expanded our product lines and worked closely with (the architect) Vincent Van Duysen since he was appointed as our creative director. As a family company deeply involved in product design, we felt the need to broaden our vision to encompass a wider aspect of design and lifestyle. Currently, we’re expanding our global presence through partnerships with dealerships and clients worldwide. This allows us to incorporate diverse influences and inspirations from different markets, making our products stand out even more.


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Molteni&C harmoniously integrates diverse designer perspectives across disciplines and eras, crafting a selection rooted in the ethos of holistic living. (Image credit: Ashish Sahi)

DP: Can you tell me a bit about a typical day in your life at Molteni&C? 

AM: A typical day at Molteni&C is quite hectic, as we are a family company deeply involved in various aspects of the business. My daily tasks mainly revolve around overseeing product development and project phases across our business. This typically involves meetings with technical teams focused on product development or special contract aspects. We make it a point to be actively present on the manufacturing floor, as attention to detail is crucial for maintaining our luxury brand status. 

Given our longstanding history, we prioritise every step of the manufacturing process. Additionally, there’s a strong family dynamic within the company. Despite the challenges that may arise, discussions are open and natural. We often gather for lunch, providing an opportunity to unwind and discuss both business and personal matters. These moments with cousins and uncles who are still involved in the company are unique and cherished. While we do take breaks on weekends, especially Saturdays, certain times of the year demand our full attention. With Salone del Mobile approaching, it has become our primary focus now as we prepare to launch new product lines and concepts. 

DP: How does your family’s legacy influence your design approach?

AM: I’ve always found our product line fascinating, more so than any other aspect of our business activities. Being deeply involved in relationships with architects and designers feels like a natural extension of our family environment. Growing up, I was constantly surrounded by discussions about products, details, manufacturing processes, and how we do things. This constant exposure acted as an invisible thread that drew me into the business. Being part of a 90-year-old company–we’re celebrating this milestone at Salone del Mobile this year! 

It’s a significant legacy and a profound commitment to maintaining the same level of quality and direction for our products time after time. What’s particularly engaging is the diversity of our product lines, ranging from kitchens to offices to Molteni Homes and systems. Observing how these elements increasingly intersect and influence modern design is incredibly stimulating. 

We strive to engage with the most stimulating talents in the industry. Of course, there’s also a personal involvement in certain aspects of the business and specific stages of product development. This blend of personal engagement, collaboration, and attention to detail defines our approach to design.


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DP: Tell us about a collection or piece that is closest to your heart.

AM: That’s a tough question! It’s akin to choosing a favourite child, as each piece holds its own story and development. I want to begin with the collaboration with Vincent Van Duysen which has been particularly rewarding, especially regarding the systems that form the core of our manufacturing. Additionally, Vincent revitalised many of our old collections, introducing new materials, typologies, and concepts, particularly within our kitchen line (which has become increasingly important for our business). I’d also like to highlight our recent decision to embrace the concept of a full lifestyle company. We have invested significantly in launching our outdoor furniture division which almost feels like a startup within the company and presented new challenges and opportunities for innovation. We initially launched the outdoor furniture division last October but we will be presenting updates at Salone del Mobile this year.

DP: How do you approach the challenge of incorporating cutting-edge technology into your work without sacrificing the appeal of your designs?

AM: It’s undoubtedly one of the most challenging aspects of our work. As one of the leading companies in the industry, we continually strive to integrate high-end, cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, and technologies into our products. This often involves innovating machining processes and adopting new technologies that may not have previously been associated with furniture design. However, we also recognize the importance of maintaining artisanal touches and hand-finishing in certain pieces. We understand that these unique details and human touches contribute significantly to the appeal and longevity of our products. Therefore, striking the right balance between technological advancement and traditional craftsmanship is a constant and demanding endeavour for us.

Molteni&C’s Dada Engineered kitchens showcase our dedication to innovation and meticulous planning, with continuous research and development at their core. (Image credit: Ashish Sahi)

DP: Tell us about your decision to bring Molteni&C to India. What has been the response so far? 

AM: Being a global company for over four years now, we recognized India as one of the leading emerging markets, marked by incredible economic growth and a burgeoning tech scene. Our decision to enter the Indian market was driven by a desire to embrace innovation and growth in this dynamic environment. Our recent opening in Delhi marks an important step in this direction. It provided us with the opportunity to introduce the concept of Molteni&C to Indian consumers. 

Collaborating with a partner who shared our vision and gave us the freedom to design the space in a way that truly reflects what Molteni&C represents today was crucial. Looking ahead, we have plans to expand further within India. Establishing a presence in Delhi is just the beginning; we aim to develop relationships and build our brand across other cities such as Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and potentially Kerala. 

“Having traveled in India in the past, albeit not extensively, I’ve experienced firsthand the vastness and diversity of the country, and I’m eager to explore more as we continue to expand our presence here.”


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DP: What are some things the Indian market can look forward to from Molteni&C in the coming year?

AM: Our upcoming collection (which we will unveil at Salone this year) will introduce a range of architectural tools that go beyond traditional product design. Expect to see innovative solutions such as panelling systems and doors, designed not only for aesthetic appeal but also with a focus on functionality and space optimization. By providing tools that enhance architectural interpretation, we aim to offer more than just products; we’re offering solutions that enrich and transform living spaces. Get ready for something entirely new on the horizon!

Molteni&C’s Kitchen Collection presents a myriad of highly adaptable solutions crafted by Dada Engineered. (Image credit: Ashish Sahi)

DP: According to you, what are some of the top trends in home interiors in 2024?

AM: Our focus on research and development continues to explore materials and tactile sensations, ranging from panelling and wood surfaces to marbles. We are looking to include a richer array of colours and textures, characterised by intensity and vibrancy. We aim to evoke a sense of quiet yet profound luxury, elevating the overall aesthetic experience of interiors.