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Roberto Gavazzi on Communicating Boffi

Boffi’s CEO Roberto Gavazzi sat down with us in the new Boffi Studio Singapore to chat about communicating complex products and expanding the business in Asia.

Roberto Gavazzi on Communicating Boffi


December 13th, 2012

Tell me about the philosophy that shaped Boffi Studio Singapore.

We sell a very sophisticated product. Kitchens, bathrooms and wardrobes are the most complex products you can find in a retail setting. Selling them requires a very sophisticated shop, and a fantastic team in terms of capacity to interpret the needs of customers and service them in a perfect way. The reasons why a customer should purchase Boffi products need to be well communicated.

Boffi Studio Singapore

Who designed this space?

Boffi designs all the spaces. Our office in Milan has a great team of architects. The spaces are all similar in terms of colour, lighting, division of products, and the use of sliding and folding doors. We aim to create a pleasant place where people will take pleasure in looking around and sitting down. There is a general scheme that Piero Lissoni, our Art Director, has constructed for these shops. Sometimes he looks over the final displays to make sure we are really complying in the best possible way.

Boffi Studio Singapore

Did he come here to see this space?

Yes he came here two weeks ago, and he was very happy.

Boffi Studio Singapore

Boffi has opened many mono-brand stores in recent years. What has led to this?

We were one of the first furniture companies to open mono-brand shops. Our first one was in the mid-1990s, and we expanded quickly to today’s situation where we have 24 directly owned mono-brand shops and 35 that belong to independent dealers. The idea is that the Boffi concept is much better transferred to the public by creating a special space like this one, where you are completely immersed. Our concept is very precisely stated and easily recognised. We like the fact that in a mono-brand shop, people are focused on the difficult task of selling this difficult product. It’s total attention, concentration and effort, which is really necessary.

Boffi Studio Singapore

From 1950 to 1965, Boffi worked with graphic designer Giulio Confalonieri, who created some iconic imagery for the brand.

Yes, in the 1960s we thought it was interesting to have a nice graphic alongside our nice products. Confalonieri was one of the very best graphic designers in those years.

Boffi Studio Singapore

Boffi Studio Singapore

Images from Boffi’s 2011 wardrobes catalogue

Tell me about Boffi’s communication direction today.

We pay a lot of attention to graphics. You’d have seen some recall on the Confalonieri graphics in the invitation to tonight’s showroom opening, which we like very much. It’s a historical sign that we repeat over the years. Furthermore, the way we photograph the products and assemble our catalogues is quite particular. We use a fantastic stylist and one of the best fashion photographers. So our communication is research driven, and through it we try to be different, sophisticated, emotional, innovative. It’s very difficult of course!

And if you look at the styling here in this showroom, you’ll see that it’s very sophisticated. Simple objects have been placed in the space, but the combination of things is interesting.

Boffi Studio Singapore

How has demand for Boffi products changed recently in Singapore and in Asia?

In Asia there’s really a growing taste for design. We also see that our dealers are willing to invest much more than before because they feel the same. It’s the right moment here – and also in Kuala Lumpur (where we are opening), in Bangkok and Auckland (where we are moving from smaller spaces to a bigger spaces), in Jakarta (where we opened a year ago), in Sydney (where we are opening in March), and in New Delhi (which will be our first opening in India).

When are you opening in Malaysia?

Actually, the shop is already open, but the official opening will be in February. It’s a very nice shop in a beautiful residential area.

Boffi Studio Singapore

In a showroom like this, do you feel the need to balance Eastern and Western considerations?

There is an international taste at the very high end of the market that makes objects and living concepts more and more similar around the world. So someone that wants a very contemporary house in Singapore is often not so different from somebody that wants the same house in London or New York, let’s say. So here we really provide the same products as in any Boffi showroom around the world. But there are ways to adapt to the market.

Boffi Studio Singapore

What are your best selling lines in Asia?

We sell the kitchens a little better than the bathrooms. Many people want something more conservative in the bathroom. We sell more wood and stone in Asia than stainless steel. Also, we sell our brilliant lacquer finish well in Asia. It has an excellent depth of reflection – very close to a mirror. The durability is incredible. You find these doors in the kitchens of people who’ve had them for 30 years and have moved many times.

It’s important for us to create products that are durable – in terms of how long they last because of the quality, and durable because of the fact that you still like them and they’re always nice, always quite contemporary. It’s a principle of sustainability as well. A long life is important. Sometimes you see advertisements for the sale of apartments in New York, London or Paris that say “Boffi kitchen inside.” The kitchen gives value to the apartment. Maybe the new owner will keep the Boffi kitchen. This is a nice concept.

See photos of the grand opening of Boffi Studio Singapore hereXTRA is now the exclusive distributor of Boffi in Singapore. The 3,300-sqft Boffi Studio Singapore is situated between XTRA Park Mall and XTRA Winsland House I on Penang Road. Photos of Boffi Studio Singapore courtesy of XTRA.


Boffi Studio Singapore 

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