Historic Italian leather atelier Poltrona Frau marks a milestone
through landmark collaborations and executing a vision for a more sustainable future.
Written by Elliott Greene / Photos Courtesy of Poltrona Frau
Sardinian-born furniture maker Renzo Frau founded Poltrona Frau in Turin, Italy, in 1912. Noted for its extensive catalog of designs that have ascended to icon status today, the company is headquartered in Tolentino, a small town in the Marche region of central Italy. In 2021, the Italian government recognized the company as a Historic Brand of National Interest. The anniversary slogan "100+10 Years of True Evolution" was coined to highlight what the company says is a consistent and honest evolution rooted in heritage, design, and sustainability as strategic development levers. Poltrona Frau is using the occasion to lay the foundations for a future that holds experimentation with new aesthetic languages and sustainable production. Diversification and versatility have been company cornerstones from the beginning, with the brand furnishing cruise ships, institutional venues, and cars for VIP customers of Vincenzo Lancia. This fluidity translates into the ability to create pieces and spaces that interpret the needs and nuances of contemporary living in various settings, including home, office, naval, automotive, and hospitality. Collaboration between Poltrona Frau and some of the world's most renowned international architecture firms—Zaha Hadid Studio, Foster & Partners, David Chipperfield Architects, and Studio Odile Decq—have allowed it to leave an indelible mark on globally significant buildings. For example, at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the audience sits on Poltrona Frau seating. In the last decade alone, Poltrona Frau has launched more than 200 products within 40 different lines for the home, both inside and out. These include accessories and furnishings, textile collections, fashion leather accessories, and contract furnishings.
These innovations have moved the brand from being a furniture company into a lifestyle brand. Strategic collaborations with Acqua Di Parma, Ferrari, Loro Piana, Moto Guzzi, Ducati, Costa Cruises, Ferrari, and Cantina Luce della Vite, among others, have resulted in the creation of unique and sophisticated objects that confer style and elegance and further emphasize Poltrona Frau's grasp of what it means to be a lifestyle brand. In celebration of the 100+10 anniversary, more than 20 products were presented at the Milan Furniture Fair this past June. United under the moniker of "True Evolution," the collection reinterprets some iconic products from the brand's catalog with a focus on comfort and softness. The company's fruitful and established collaborations with designers GamFratesi and Roberto + Ludovica Palomba were integral in creating new furnishings. At the same time, they embarked on a new partnership with Bulgarian designer Assia Karaguiozova, known for her creative experiments with artisanal techniques. A testament to Poltrona Frau's strategic journey towards sustainability, a series of limited edition pieces are upholstered with the new Pelle Frau® Impact Less Leather, tanned with natural ingredients and without the use of chromium for a reduced environmental impact. The brand is committed to replacing the Pelle Frau® ColorSphere® (CS) collection with this innovative leather by the end of 2022 and aims to reduce its Co2 emissions by 50% by 2030.