Not a month after their successful showing during Salone del Mobile, leather specialist Natuzzi Italia is showing a new iteration of its latest collection. And this one reads like a smoldering Valentine to New York – just in time for New York Design Week.
The Agronomist furniture launched in Milan last month. Designed by Marcel Wanders and his studio, the line is directly inspired by Italy, and features a tactile informality. Pasquale Junior Natuzzi, chief marketing & communications officer describes it as “contemporary, inspiring, rather rustic furniture based on the landscapes, architecture and lifestyle of Puglia. The colors resemble the warm brown of the fertile earth, the silvery tints of the olive groves and the light green of the spiny cactus faded by the sun.”
Agronomist represents the first collaboration between Natuzzi and Marcel Wanders—a significant move for the company. Pasquale Natuzzi reveals that the Dutch designer “offers a new outlook on the heritage and style of Natuzzi Italia. When I saw him at work with our creatives and craftsmen, I immediately realized that we would achieve something unique, sensational and sensual. I am proud and satisfied with the results.”
But the rules always change in New York. And this new incarnation runs in the opposite direction of earthy wind-swept easy. Most of us would take time off after creating a hit product debut, but not this team. Gabriele Chiave, Creative Director of Marcel Wanders Studio, had this to say: “In discussing with Pasquale Junior Natuzzi, we both said, ‘how can we bring this collection to New York?’ We decided to take the Agronomist to Manhattan, and created a new outfit, building on the same pieces with a new color palette and materials, and exploring a different side of the personality. You can see that the collection is a New Yorker now.”
Dressed in black, a color never wants for rebels, this Gotham-specific series is a limited-edition run of the four main pieces—the Furrow sofa, Barrow coffee table, Crate cabinet and Peacock rug—with an unapologetically urban look. But that gritty-city look is also easy to get wrong.
“The first starting point was the sofa,” says Chiave. “The stitches are old fashioned, made like a lady’s corset. The tattoos are made with embroidery. The sofa led the way to the others – a cabinet with panels of stitched leather, translating a look from the Puglia Agronomist collection that was inspired by olive tree leaves originally. A beautiful dark wood enhances the Barrow table.”
The Furrow illustrates how complex the business of black leather can be. The piece is made using 20 leather templates and features special glossy leather (from the company’s tannery in Northern Italy). But it’s the “tattoos” on the body of the sofa, that, just like the real thing, require extra patience. Each one has been meticulously created using a special embroidery technique that masterfully perforates the leather without piercing or tearing it. To achieve this level of detail, Natuzzi artisans spend 150 hours of work (the company notes that it takes 9 hours a day for 17 days) to bring these 70 tattoos into being.
Another standout is the Peacock carpet, brought into more mysterious territory with black-and-white mirrored tonality, which makes it an easy fit with the rest of the characters in the room. While the grouping has been conceived as a whole, it’s refreshing to imagine these individual pieces mixed with other, non-Natuzzi furniture. “We wanted to create a limited-edition collection that dresses the Agronomist in a certain way, in a manner that is edgy, underground, darker, and that represents an older era of New York, but that maintains sophistication,” says Chiave. “We landed on Gotham City, a darker, more mysterious version of New York. We took that identity and stylized the Agronomist with black leather and classic tattoos: roses, daggers, skulls, hearts.”
Fashion has already proved the point, but in design, the same truth prevails: black goes with everything.