Highsnobiety

When Angelo Molteni started his eponymous brand back in 1934, I doubt he could’ve anticipated just how successful it would become. 

His journey began in Giussano, Northern Italy, where his small artisan workshop soon became synonymous with top-quality design. A decade on, Molteni was growing, feeling like more of a factory with over 60 people joining its workforce. The groundbreaking moment for the Italian brand was in 1955 when it took part in “Mostra Selettiva – Concorso Internazionale del Mobile” in Cantù. Thanks to this moment that put its name on the map, Molteni joined the group of entrepreneurs who promoted Milan’s very first Salone del Mobile in 1961.   

Molteni Mondo Rodolfo Dordoni
Molteni

Fast forward to 2024, and here we are celebrating Molteni&C’s 90th anniversary (now referred to in this way due to Angelo’s son Carlo taking over the company). One of Molteni&C’s most beautiful qualities is that it is one of the very few brands in the world that dedicates the same, if not more, investment to research and development as it does to collaborating with new designers and upcoming architects. “Our willingness to work with the designers to find every possible solution is not only one of our strong points but also the most exciting part of our work,” says Carlo Molteni. With an ever-evolving identity that adapts to the growth and changes of its social and cultural surroundings, Molteni&C manages to remain at the forefront of its field while sticking to its roots as a family-owned, humble company. 

Molteni, Molteni

Those intense 90 years of innovation, design, craftsmanship, and forward-thinking furniture have now culminated in a book, ‘Molteni Mondo. An Italian Design Story’; the first monograph dedicated to the identity, history, and values of the generational tastemakers. “Studying our brand history, we realized that it coincides with the history of Italian design. It began in Brianza with the first Selettiva di Cantù, promoted by my father Angelo - an exhibition that had architects of the caliber of Gio Ponti, Alvar Aalto, and Carlo De Carli on the jury. [Now in 2024], we want to share our goal for the future: spreading the culture of quality living throughout the world,” says Carlo Molteni. 

The book, structured almost like a film, opens with the set of the compound in Brianza and closes with design master Gio Ponti and his archive. Words, images, architecture projects, strategy, technological innovation, and social responsibility comprise the multi-faceted book that focuses on one key Molteni principle: quality. 

It’s been a long ride, with a few obstacles and many challenges, from 1934 to the present — and the feeling that it is never enough. “Knowledge” is not enough anymore, but we have a magnificent obsession for quality every day and in every detail.

Angelo Molteni

Published by Rizzoli New York, the book traces the identity, history, symbols, and relationships with architects and designers that Molteni&C has built since its inception. From the artisan workshop it once was in its little Italian town, to the global group and leader in high-end furniture that it is today, Molteni&C is getting us to look at its past, present, and future in a whole new light - one full of cinematic narrative and elegant artistry. “The Molteni headquarters feels not unlike being on the Hollywood lot of Paramount Pictures: there’s something cinematic and lights-camera-action about it. In constant motion...” says Spencer Bailey, one of the main editorial contributors to the book. 

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Images commissioned from Californian photographer Jeff Burton, art direction by Beda Achermann, once creative director of L'Uomo Vogue Germany, and texts from Harriet Thorpe, Janelle Zara, and others make this piece of work a cacophony of voices, emotions, and design dreams. Conversations with renowned Belgian architect Vincent Van Duysen feature alongside other names like Ron Gilad and Jean Nouvel who have collaborated with the brand over the years, ending with a postscript by the Swiss master Jacques Herzog. If you’re not a big design nerd, then maybe these names go amiss, but if you are, you’ll know just how incredible it is to have these geniuses all under one (book) roof. 

I’ve always been impressed—by [Molteni&C’s] precision, by their professionalism, by the way they strive to make things that are absolutely perfect.

Jean Nouvel

Working with great design protagonists like Herzog & de Meuron and Naoto Fukasawa and releasing new collections like ‘Outdoors since 2023’ and Dada Engineered Kitchens is Molteni&C’s way of celebrating design excellence - with an Italian twist. Always in dialogue with new worlds, Molteni&C has traveled stories and geographies since 1934 - which is exactly what this book is all about. Looking to the future, the brand is constantly intercepting the needs and desires of contemporary living, finding ways to seamlessly upgrade the way we interact with spaces and homes — and at this year’s Salone del Mobile, we will see all of this come to life. 

Find out more about Molteni&C here.

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