In a rising-from-the-ashes revival, prominent Italian furniture brand Driade will debut a new showroom in Milan under the creative direction of British architect David Chipperfield, the company’s newly appointed artistic director.
The opening of the three-story, 5,381-square-foot space marks an existential do-over for the firm, which folded in 2012 with debts of over €1.7 million (nearly US$2 million). At the time, the Italian design industry was notorious for chewing up and spitting out small, family-owned companies like Driade that invested disproportionately in product innovation and lacked the capital to expand or compete in the global market.
Having cut a €7 million (nearly US$8 million) investment deal with Italian Creation Group in exchange for 80 percent equity, Driade is set to reboot with a showroom that declares its brand identity—from its iconic pieces to the latest designs. Recalling the brand’s infant years between 1968 and 1982, the first exhibition hallmarks the early vision of founders Enrico Astori, Antonia Astori, and Adelaide Acerbi.
Celebrated designs from that period include Tokuyin Yoshioka’s monobloc Tokyo-Pop collection and Philippe Starck’s three-legged Costes cafe chair, which inspired an onslaught of clones and the movement of ordinarily mass-produced necessities like kitchenware, pasta and mineral water becoming designer duds. Partnering with top Italian and eventually world-renowned designers such as Patricia Urquiola and Oscar Tusquets, Driade was conceived with a vision to reconcile experimentation with mass production.
Located in Via Borgogna 8, Milan, the showroom moonlights as a shop and a gallery showcasing objects and furnishings curated by Marco Romanelli.