Design Parties

Natuzzi Italia Brings Design Into the Future With a Rousing Discussion at NYCxDesign

Colin King, PJ Natuzzi, and Karim Rashid at Natuzzi's Madison Avenue Showroom. Photography by Regina Fleming Photography. Images courtesy of Natuzzi Italia.

What is “positive contamination”? According to PJ Natuzzi, Chief Brand Officer of furniture company Natuzzi Italia, it’s a meshing of DNA that leads to a fruitful result. This idea set the tone yesterday evening as the design-minded set descended upon the brand’s Madison Avenue showroom to see the Italian institution’s latest innovations. 

CULTURED’s Design Editor-at-Large and “Quick Study'' columnist Colin King (quite literally) sat down with Natuzzi and industrial designer Karim Rashid to chat about their latest brainchild, the Memoria sofa, which also served as the site of their discussion. Natuzzi Italia's “Circle of Harmony” project invites designers from diverse disciplines to take their spin on the brand's DNA.

As such, the Memoria sofa balances functional features with elegant, elliptical design. It recalls Rashid’s penchant for structurally inventive work—a calling card that is splashed across his projects in interior design, fashion, jewelry, and even packaging. Pulling in Karim’s distinct eye for evocative work is part of that “positive contamination” that Natuzzi wants to create: It’s a cross-pollination between a legacy brand and a fresh perspective. 

A who’s who of the design world came out to hear the thoughtful discussion. Louis Rambert, Armando Aguirre, and Elisa Baran Trean showed their support. Robert Passal of Robert Passal Interior Design, Merve Kahraman of her namesake studio, Erik Staley of JARVIS STUDIO, and Hans Galutera and Yianni Mavode of HG DesignWorks made a stylish showing. The Zachary A. team made their presence known, with Zac Bitner, Nick Puglisi, and Harrison Parkes all in attendance.

Architects, too, came out to the talk, including Alexander Gorlin of Gorlin Architects and Daphne Bertol-Foell of Robert Young Architects. Creatives surrounding the design space also made up a sizable contingent: Pink Essay’s David Eardley and Matt Pecina, kinder MODERN founder Lora Appleton, and photographers Kacey Jeffers and Drew Escriva. Guests sipped drinks by Amante 1530 and sampled small bites while gathered around the talk before being treated to DJ Kristine Barilli spinning records for the rest of the night. 

It was a stimulating, exciting evening, with Natuzzi Italia celebrating 65 years in the furniture business. The Memoria sofa was just the latest example of the company’s willingness to adapt with the times. As Natuzzi told the audience, “Mixing water with water just gets more of the same.”