Monica Mazzei: Edra turns 30
Celebrating its pearl anniversary, Edra’s secrets to success are family, passion, technology and handcraft, vice-president Monica Mazzei tells TLmag.
Celebrating 30 years since Edra unveiled its debut collection in Milan in July 1987, vice-president of the iconic Italian furniture label, Monica Mazzei reflects on its secrets to success: family and passion expressed through understated state-of-the-art technology and expert handcraft.
TLmag: How did Edra and its vision for revolutionary furniture come about?
Monica Mazzei: Ours is a family company, which began in 1949 when our father started producing furniture. Edra was born in 1987, and after 30 years it has become, I think, an important global reference for furniture made in Italy.
In the mid-1980s we met Massimo Morozzi, who had made a collection, Autoritratti, for the Mazzei. Edra debuted with the collection I Nuovissimi at Marconi Gallery, Milan, in July 1987. From there we met designers like Zaha Hadid, Masanori Umeda, Francesco Binfarè, the Campana Brothers and Jacopo Foggini. With each one of them, we have built a special, very interesting, relationship.
Since the beginning we based our production on the combination of artistic tradition and great Italian craftsmanship. We have brought together the most advanced technologies, manual skill, innovation, research, and above all, a great passion. This is the “one of a kind story” that Edra tells through all of its projects.
Often we start with a story, dream or trip, which then turns into a project and finally into a product. This gives it character and uniqueness, which combined with the strong artisanal component, allows each piece to function as a work of art and a high quality product.
I believe that this approach is very important: starting from an idea that we like and try to achieve in the best way, with almost maniacal dedication.
Thirty years is a long time, with numerous highs and lows no doubt. What is the one thing you wish you knew before you started?
Today is like the beginning – the same enthusiasm, passion, and curiosity. For me it is not an adventure, but my life. Actually I do not really enjoy adventures, I am passionate but at the same time rational.
Edra means ‘a place for philosophical conversation’, which is so apt for the gorgeous chairs. How have your philosophies changed over the years?
Since the beginning Edra has had an original and unique approach. After 30 years we have kept the same philosophy and the same values. Now that the merger between tradition and innovation, and high technology and the handmade, takes the spotlight as big news in our changing world, Edra can claim this scenario as its natural habitat by genetic code.
Edra embraces incredibly advanced technology without needing to display this, rather relying on the renowned Italian quality craftsmanship for essential, refined manual expertise. This truly inventive global approach expresses the changes in human behaviour over the years in a timeless fashion, uninfluenced by trends.
Still today, Edra wants to create really new products that are resistant to time, which are not influenced by fashion and passenger trends; products that express the changes in human behaviour over the years while remaining significant too.
What do you have in mind and heart for the next 30 years?
We like to think that the boundaries of research are infinite and we want to continue with a collection that assures quality and research. I would like to see Edra as it is now in terms of quality and products, trying to preserve those values with which the collection was born and the company has grown.