Federico Muzio, the Asia-Pacific commercial director of leading leather furniture brand Poltrona Frau, is full of insight into this exclusive brand. And he conveys them passionately, through the lens of someone who grew up in Italy and has intimately shared in the heritage of the brand.
The name of the company is, he explains, a seamless blend of what it started out doing and the last name of its founder, Renzo Frau. “Poltrona means chair and Frau is the name of the founder,” says Muzio. “Our founder started working with leather and created the fantastic craftsmanship which was actually chosen by the royal house of Savoy to supply furniture.” Unlike many companies, Poltrona has allowed itself to move with the times without compromising its roots. “The company has changed over the years but the quality has always stayed the same,” Muzio says proudly.
When approached last year for the job, he already knew the brand well. The success and popularity of the leather was well recognised, and he didn’t just know what the brand was all about but also how to take it further on the international level. “It takes more than 30 hours of work to make one piece,” he explains. This is achieved through a painstaking 21-step process that entails “using a combination of classic and modern thus satisfying both tastes.” When asked if the 21 steps is necessary compared to the 15-17 steps other companies tend to employ, Muzio remarks: “If you want the best top quality leather you need to do it all.”
The results speak for themselves. Poltrona is the exclusive supplier of leather to Ferrari, Rolls Royce and Maserati. “We do seats for first suites and business class on Singapore Airlines and Etihad. Also all the seats in the European parliament are done by us as well as the Walt Disney concert hall,” he adds. According to Muzio, the company is far ahead of the competition with regards to how it treats the leather. “Almost everything is handmade. We hold events where a craftsman displays and works with the natural materials and fibres for each piece, and you can also see him doing the stitching with the tools.” He adds that at the Milan furniture fair Poltrona has the biggest booth.
The brand has also been a huge success in much of Asia, especially in China. “Asia tends to be more about leather, whilst in Europe there needs to be fabrics too,” Muzio says, demonstrating his in-depth knowledge of its clients. “The Asian market is very strong and developing in a good way; our biggest customer is China. We’ve been accepted very nicely there and the team is very good; we even have our own showroom in Shanghai.” Japan and Thailand are strong developing markets too. Muzio, who handles the company’s interests across the whole region, from India to Australia, adds, “We also have an office line too for senior executives and CEOs.” Asked about his interest in Asia, he replies, “I developed an interest in Asia over time and enjoy how dynamic and fast-growing the market is here compared to how inflexible it is in Europe.”
You can find Poltrona Frau furniture in Thailand at Less Is More furniture store, located at soi Sukhumvit 51.