The future of glassmaking, an exclusive interview with Lucio de Majo

Lucio de Majo, CEO and owner of De Majo Murano, a prestigious luxury glassmaker based in Murano, outside Venice, has spoken, exclusively to CPP-LUXURY.COM about the future of glassmaking and the importance of crafts awareness.

How has glass-making changed in the past decade, in terms of product development? What are the most important changes in terms of trends and consumer taste?

The Murano glassmaking, has always been characterized by a strong impetus for change, which is proved over 1000 years of recorded history, during which the production activities of the island have always interpreted the style of various eras with character and originality, often ahead of the times. Today, after the “big blowout” of minimalism we’re witnessing an awareness on the part of consumers about the importance of an artifact that contains craftsmanship, culture and link with the territory. This rediscovery of the values typical of our work, not preclude, however, the syntax and the research that can be expressed in works of obvious relevance, drawing on the wealth of knowledge sedimented in centuries of experience.

Which are your company’ most iconic products? Why? How important is creativity for your brand?

Our production is divided into two main areas. The “Contemporary” collections are representative of the place where design, design research and sobriety are drivers that animate our designers.

The glass although not always as artistic extraction, is the protagonist of this line, as if to emphasize that we belong to the universe of this matter. The division we like to call “Tradition” is our excellence wing. In fact, the formal research and the aesthetic balance are supported by the presence of impressive Murano glass which is composed, in a nutshell productive skill, tradition and strong ties to the territory which in turn generates passion and culture. Creativity is an essential component of our products, also the tradition, because, as already described, the connection with the past is a sedimentation of experiences that propel us always looking for new creative ideas.

Your company’s identity is inherently linked toItaly. What is your view on production abroad in countries with cheaper costs? (labour, operational etc)

On the products of “Contemporary” the Made in Italy is a major plus with regard to the stylistic research and the quality of the product. In the line “Tradition” the same Made in Italy is a container where our position is Made in  Murano, (almost like a “cru”) where this restricted origin is not just a link to a sterile area, but represents the fruitful guarantee of production quality, high value-crafted, unique and unrepeatable in any part of the world. That’s why the idea of an asset not only abroad but outside the boundaries of Murano is unthinkable for us as it would represent the failure and betrayal over 65 years of loyalty to the values that we believe are strategic for our company.

Craftsmanship and heritage are an integral part of your brand. How do you ensure this awareness especially in the emerging markets where consumers might be drawn more by aesthetics?

Aesthetics and crafts are not two antithetical values, even in this case create a combination of excellence which is evidenced by our creations. Raise awareness of the value of craft as an integral factor of our production, is the challenge that we are carrying out by an  increasingly modern and targeted communication strategy.

What are your top three markets, worldwide, in terms of sales? Have you noticed an  increasing demand from particular region / country?

The main markets in terms of sales are Russia, the Middle East and Italy. While in the first two the market demand is growing, we need to record a steady slowdown in the domestic market. Also for other markets is expected a favorable trend: China, Turkey, India, the U.S. only to indicate the principal.

Besides wholesale, do you consider expanding your presence with showrooms in other countries?

Rather than single-brand showrooms at this juncture we create the winning parterships with other major brands in the furniture industry to share the Itlian lifestyle experiences in different countries.

Do you sell your products to corporate entities such as hotels or restaurants?

The so-called hospitality industry is one of the main points of interest of our company.  We normally collaborate with  the high level structures which seem particularly appreciate our vocation to the maximum customization of products especially in the line “Tradition”.

What has been the evolution of your company’s turnover in the past two years and what are your expectations for 2013?

Over the past two years the revenue has remained stable. Rather creating a “drugged” growth by the race to the bottom price or missed payments, we preferred a consolidation of the brand even giving up of supplies that could challenge its position in the top segment. We believe  that this sales policy will bring benefits in terms of sales already starting from this year.

How has social media and the internet influenced, if in any way, your company’s marketing strategy?

We are aware that the communication passes through multimedia –therefore Internet and social networks are a fundamental part. Therefore, our presence is more and more intense and targeted is these information vehicles.

To what extent is the younger generation a potential consumer for you? How do you ensure, in the long term, their understanding and appreciation of craftsmanship?

Young people of course represent our potential consumer, particularly the segment that contains the contemporary articles. The immediacy of the product’s very careful design, the adoption of the latest technologies (LED) and the price – much more affordable – are the three factors that make these items popular and accessible to a younger clientele. Our challenge and the resulting commitment is to attract more and more consumers less “mature” to the realization that the purchase of a product such as that of the “Tradition” is not a remake but a testimony of the past, now rare, a production knows that evolves continuously learning from the experiences gained, to give them back with the typical feel of the era in which we live.

De Majo Murano, presented at Salone del Mobile 2013