29 May 2024, 03:33
By Furniture News Jan 13, 2015

Going supernova – Novamobili hits the UK

If an item of furniture is designed and made in Italy, there’s a good chance it will command a premium price. A long history of craftsmanship and fine design makes much Italian product something to aspire to – and the introduction of Novamobili to the UK market makes promises to make the consumer’s dream a reality. Paul Farley was invited to see the showrooms and advanced manufacturing processes first-hand, at Novamobili’s birthplace in Treviso …

In 1952, a young Alfredo Battistella opened a small furniture-manufactuting unit to the north of Venice. Skip forward 62 years, and Alfredo’s son Mario oversees the Batistella Group, a gargantuan operation spanning two manufacturing plants, employing 460 and distributing a number of brands worldwide.

Chief among these is Novamobili, a high-quality, design-oriented collection comprising bedroom, living, dining and occasional furniture – roughly divided into two camps, Day and Night – that comes at a far more accessible price than most style-led, Italian-made products.

Whilst MDF panels are at the core of the Novamobili cabinet models, much of the manufacturer’s unique appeal is down to the surface details.  When the Batistella Group launched the Novamobili brand in 1967, it was the the first company in Italy to experiment with PVC in furniture production – today, it is a master of working with melamine foils, which it applies in a wide range of colours and textures to sturdy frames.

“It’s much easier for a consumer to live like an Italian when they’re not paying Italian prices”

A mark of the manufacturer’s expertise is its mastery of folding technology, cutting and shaping its pieces in such a way that the pattern of the foil, already applied, flows continuously across their surfaces, resulting in a firmer connection as well as a more elegant finish.

The final products – also including models finished in water-based matt lacquers – are presented comprehensively across a swathe of tasteful brochures, featuring lifestyle shots that exemplify the flexibility of the often-modular ranges. Clean and contemporary, yet warm and characterful if desired, the members of the Day and Night product families are unmistakably Italian, yet vary enough in form and finish to suit the majority of today’s modern markets.

“The range is a culmination of 360° of Italian design research,” says export sales director Mauro Trevisan. “The final customer has complete freedom to design and create the product they require. Upon order confirmation, the furniture is produced and delivered to the retailer – well packaged, via our own fleet – within four weeks.”

UK distribution is managed by James Rhoades, who has a great deal of experience with the Batistella Group, having already established Novamobili in the UK kitchen market. Under James, a growing team of regional agents has helped specify those elements of the Novamobili offering best suited to the tastes of the UK consumer.

Mauro knows that having a team on the ground is the only way to represent the brand effectively, and to support its stockists when required. Even as I tour the Italian factories – perhaps the most technically-impressive and automated manufacturing facilities I’ve ever seen – I witness James and Mauro providing personal support to stockists in the UK, whether it’s providing fresh marketing material or talking a retailer through the finer points of wardrobe door installation.

“The Italian factories are perhaps the most technically-impressive and automated manufacturing facilities I’ve ever seen”

“We will always find a professional answer to our stockists’ problems,” comments Mauro, “whether delivery, marketing, or installation.” The UK office plays a useful supporting role, while product training is readily available at the group’s Italian headquarters.

Anyone wishing to see the product for themselves will be able to do so at imm cologne this month. Around 75% of the Novamobili product on the 200 sqm stand – R-002 in hall 11.3 – will be new.

Backed by the seriously impressive manufacturing credentials of the Batistella Group, the Novamobili brand is poised to succeed in the UK as its retail distribution network expands this year – after all, it’s much easier for a consumer to live like an Italian when they’re not paying Italian prices.

This article was published in the January issue of Furniture News magazine.

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