News: Italian furniture brand Kartell has announced that it will launch 50 flagship stores across China in the next five years.
Kartell has partnered with Chinese luxury goods company Gold Bond Enterprises, which is helping to manage Kartell's rapid expansion in the country.
The first store opened in Beijing on 30 May and was designed by Kartell's artistic director, Ferruccio Laviani, to "emphasize the quality, high design content, richness of materials and glamour associated with the brand." New stores are scheduled to open in Shanghai and Chengdu over the summer.
"China, because of its size, importance and the complexity as a market required a targeted and wide-ranging plan," said president and managing director of Kartell Claudio Luti, adding that the partnership with the Chinese company would help to "achieve concrete results in both the residential and the contract areas."
"I feel that we need to promote Italian creativity around the world," Luti told Dezeen in an interview last month, when he criticised Italian design companies for failing to invest in overseas expansion in the past, claiming the furniture industry made a "big, big mistake" by staying small and family-oriented while Italian fashion companies "decided to go and sell everywhere in the world."
Luti has also taken on the presidency of Milan's Salone Internazionale del Mobile, and told Dezeen about his plans to improve the visitor experience to the world's most important furniture fair by clarifying its brand and tackling overpriced hotels and transport chaos in the city.
Founded on the production of laboratory equipment and best known now for innovative use of plastics in furniture, Kartell presented several new products in Milan this year, including furniture by Philippe Starck created using the world's largest single-piece injection moulding and a plastic stool by Tokujin Yoshioka that resembles cut crystal – see all stories about Kartell.
While Kartell looks to expand, design brands around the world are looking for ways to tackle the industry shifts that production in emerging countries including China has generated. Watch our Dezeen and MINI World Tour movie report from Milan in which designers including Tom Dixon and Marcel Wanders talk about the race to keep ahead of skilled copyists.
Here's some more information from Kartell:
Kartell in China - 50 single brand stores in 5 years
Kartell announces an intense schedule of single-brand store openings: 50 flagship stores over 5 years in the biggest centres of the Chinese market. The announcement marks the beginning of a partnership with Gold Bond Enterprises, a leader in the Chinese luxury sector. The first city to see the partnership take form is Beijing, where the Kartell flagship store and showroom opened on Thursday, 30 May 2013, in the Sanlitun Village. Summer openings are planned for Shanghai and Chengdu.
Milan, 14 June 2013 - Kartell is pleased to announce that it recently inaugurated its first single-brand store on Thursday, 30 May 2013 in Sanlitun Village as part of the agreement with the Chinese company, Gold Bond Enterprises.
The Beijing flagship store is the first to have a new luxury look designed by Ferruccio Laviani exclusively for Kartell. The design was created specifically to emphasize the quality, high design content, richness of materials, and glamour associated with the brand. Architects, clients and contractors will also be able to see the entire collection in the nearby 400 square-metre showroom.
The Beijing flagship store is only the first of a long series, and by summer 2013 there will be two more openings in Shanghai (at the APM department store, opening soon, and at the Kerry Center) and one in Chengdu at the ICF Mall.
According to Claudio Luti, President and Managing Director of Kartell, "China, because of its size, importance and the complexity as a market required a targeted and wide-ranging plan. That is why we decided to join forces with a Chinese company, a leader in the luxury sector, such as Gold Bond Enterprises, with a 10-year agreement which will allow us to enter this market with the best approach. The GB Kart Ltd. is the result of the joint venture and will represent our brand and distribute Kartell products (rigorously Made in Italy). We are confident that through these synergies we will achieve concrete results in both the residential and the contract areas."
Linda Lin, President of Gold Bond Enterprises, adds "Gold Bond Enterprises Ltd. and Kartell have combined their experience and created GB Kart Ltd. which will develop a single brand retail plan together with Kartell and will distribute its products exclusively in China." Thanks to Linda Hong Lin's extensive experience in distribution and Claudio Luti's continuous design research, this joint venture is an important step in introducing Kartell's iconic and glamour design to the Chinese market. And it will offer a unique experience to Chinese consumers who are always on the lookout for the latest in Italian excellence.
A leading design company, founded by Giulio Castelli in Milan in 1949, and today under the leadership of Claudio Luti, Kartell is one of the companies that has symbolised Made in Italy design for over 60 years. A success story told through an incredible series of products: lamps, furniture, accessories, and interior design items made of plastic which have become part of the domestic landscape if not veritable icons of contemporary design. Today Kartell has a sales network with 120 single brand stores, 200 shops-in-shop and more than 2500 retailers throughout the world.
About Gold Bond Enterprises
Gold Bond Enterprises Ltd was born out of the passion for style and design. The Chinese company established and headed by Linda Hong Lin since 1993 is a leader in the luxury goods sector with a long line of successes in positioning and development of various prestigious Made in Italy brands in a highly competitive market such as the Chinese one. The mission of Gold Bond Enterprises Ltd. has always been to select the companies representing Italian excellence and to make them an integral part of the life of Chinese consumers who are keen for the latest, for elegance and for style. Gold Bond Enterprises Ltd. now has 10 of the most prestigious Italian brands and a sales network of about 130 direct single brand stores in China and Hong Kong.