Gaudio, a name that can’t be more Italian. However, your brand is present in the whole world.
(Gianni) It’s the name of our family, it’s quite easy to understand abroad that’s why we also chose it as a brand for our products. The company name is SpazioDesign Srl. (Onofrio) At the moment we have a preponderant vocation abroad: about 70% of the turnover is achieved across the border, the rest remains in Italy. We can count on an office in Milan in via Napoleone, while at the end of 2018 we opened a showroom in Dubai. We intend to open offices in other key countries for our markets: together with some Russian partners we are studying an opening in Moscow, while at the same time we are working on to be in L.A. We have pushed a lot on the road to internationalizing more and more and it is a choice that is proving to be successful.
What is Gaudio today?
(G.) We are involved in the design and production of high-end furniture: from the kitchen to integrated furnishingsolutions, up to contract projects…
“Contract” means that you take care of all the interior design of a house with complete solutions, right?
(G.) We carry out complete projects, with attention to every aspect and detail. We take care of everything except masonry and technical installations. Wood is the main material we work with, but we are able to provide furnishing solutions and complements that also include other materials. We do all of this in a “custom” way, personalized, starting from an in-depth study of what are the needs of our customer. We never start from elements that are found in the catalog, on the contrary, every time we
make completely new products and therefore unique.
Do you make the design?
(G.) We work on architectural projects carried out by international architectural firms. When they send us the project we proceed with the engineering and executive design; the final project is then sent back to the architecture studio together with a hotorealistic 3D rendering to be validated, after which it is sent to production. We also take care of quality control and assembly anywhere in the world. When we work directly with private customers, the architectural design is carried out in our technical offices.
How many people work with you?
(G.) At the moment we are 35 people in the company. Of course, in order to be able to make integrated solutions, and therefore to be able to work with other materials, we have to make use of other collaborations and other external suppliers. Overall, we have a large workforce of more than 100 people. In this way, we are able to manage demanding and important projects.
How many projects do you manage on average each year?
(G.) We open approximately 120- 150 projects worldwide each year.
What kind of professionals make the difference in a company like yours?
(O.) Our strength is to have an internal technical office that in addition to product engineering also follows projects of research of new materials, elements of style and innovative design and implementation of mechanical systems electronic management in the furniture. The ability to offer solutions with a more advanced technological profile for us has become an element of ifferentiation
from our competitors.
What is the secret to competing in international markets starting from a small shop?
(G.) It takes willingness, and you have to believe it. Of course you also need to have some skills because otherwise you don’t go anywhere. (O.) Persevere and be ambitious, have a little bit of intuition and the desire to risk. In reality it was a path of gradual growth, since we were in the workshop in Piazza Effrem there was a desire to transform what was a craft workshop in a company that could place abroad advanced craft solutions. When we entered the company we decided to give a different impulse. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to being the village shop and we tried to understand what was beyond the borders first of the city,
then of the region and of Italy. We have always believed that our product had an international vocation and gradually we
made the first missions abroad, the first trips, study the characteristics of other countries, the wishes of foreign customers
and if there was actually room for a company like ours. Russia was one of the very first countries.
Who buys your furniture?
(O.) Our customer is considerable not only from an economical point of view, but also from a cultural one. We have the ability to always offer a custom product, a furnishing solution never made before. It’s like every time we give our customers a prototype, something unique.
(G.) Over the years we have distinguished ourselves through a strong specialisation in the residential sector and our customers are mostly private. However, we also work with companies ranging from hospitality to retail and for the past four years we have also been implementing the nautical sector by creating a network of companies based in Marina di Pietrasanta: we produce yacht
At what age did you enter the shop?
(O.) We’ve always been in the shop. We have always breathed the scent of sawdust as it often happened in the past to the children of craftsmen. Even before Piazza Effrem we had another workshop in Via De Luca on the corner of Via Ricasoli and after school and then during the summer we dedicated our free time to work. Staying with our parents in the carpentry workshop was also a way of distracting ourselves and not staying in the street.
Was there a time when you felt you had grown up as a company?
(O.) I never feel great, it’s the others who point out to me how much we’ve grown up. I never got to a point where I said ok I made it. When you reach a goal the thought is already turned to the next goal. Being in the company means working and always moving forward, growing without ever feeling arrived.
How much does Made in Italy help abroad?
(G.) The creative ability of Italians is certainly recognized, as is our ability to create particularly beautiful objects. On the other hand, there are also Italians who have gone around the world to give frauds. Made in Italy is an added value, but it’s not enough anymore, it’s not all so obvious. Customers often come to the company to see for themselves the structure, to understand if the company actually has certain standards and if there is that care for detail that we Italians are promoting. We like this attention,
but it says a lot about the approach at certain levels.
From the workshop to an international company. Success, well-being… How has your life changed?
(G.) I have very little social life. Today’s friends are the friends of all time, everything has stayed more or less the same. Of course we’re fine, we don’t lack anything, and yet we continue to live between house and work without overdoing. In fact, the eight hours are only half a day’s work for us, Saturday and Sunday do not exist, you are never free with the mind, the thought goes always
to the things you have to do, the people who call you at any time of the day because on the other side of the world, there may be someone who needs a consultancy.
(O.) Life hasn’t changed for me either. I always have the same friends, on Saturdays I go to eat pizza or meat. The maximum I allow myself is the gym.
You are an example to the new generations
(G.) The advice to young people is to dare. First of all, however, we need an important cultural background and therefore we need to study a lot. The other advice is to travel because when you push yourself out, your mind discovers new horizons, you discover a different approach in dealing with problems and unfortunately you also realize how far behind we are compared to many other
(G.) In Italy wealth is demonized. A vicious circle has now started, so if you are well-off you are also “bad” and so you almost have to hide yourself. In other countries, those who are willing to spend more, trigger a virtuous circle that is good for the whole community.
Who knows how many things you’ve seen… tell us an anecdote that made you exclaim “wow”?
(G.) Ghana is an economically backward country but with a fairly stable government, many people from Nigeria and Togo move to this country made of many contradictions. The roads are made of huge holes, the sewer is open. When I first arrived at Accra airport I found myself in a rather decaying structure, the waiting room is outside, you certainly don’t expect to find passengers sitting in plastic chairs outside. I was there to visit the villa we were going to furnish: the owner showed us his car fleet, there
were several luxury sports cars, Lamborghini, Bentley, Ferrari, Porsche. Anything and more. I asked him what he was doing with it because there were no roads out there. He told me that his greatest satisfaction was to turn on those cars to make the guests hear the roar of the engines and from time to time take a tour inside the villa.
What does this gentleman do by trade?
(G.) These are questions you never have to ask. In fact, I didn’t ask him.
Is there any strange request they made to you?
(G.) Often it is our customers who ask us to propose strange, original solutions. In Montecarlo a client with an apartment
that was developed on two surfaces connected by a staircase had asked us to build a wine cellar in correspondence of
the scale. We have proposed a futuristic solution: a large cellar that, at its internal contains a staircase. A pretty daring
solution that no one ever had proposed earlier. But they liked it and we made it: a cellar with a crystal staircase capable
of maintaining humidity at a controlled temperature.
Any VIP clients?
(G.) In Russia we have created a very important table for Putin’s residence inSt. Petersburg. We also completed a job for a minister from the Russian Federation and, again in Russia, we are quantifying a project for the head of security.
The most expensive solution that you have been commissioned to provide?
(G.) The most expensive kitchen we sold costs around 280 thousand euros. The largest table 170 thousand euros. Obviously we are also able to meet different needs here, we do not ignore that market that initially gave us the boost to get to these levels.
A few months ago you won a contract to furnish the airport of Bari.
(G.) Yes, we will take care of the design and subsequent preparation of the lounges of Bari airport. We will do this under sponsorship, an innovative formula that does not involve a monetary compensation. This means that we will bear the cost of design and installation: of course the benefits are many, for us it means being able to boast, in Italy and abroad, such an important intervention. It is no coincidence that important Italian industrial groups took part in the tender. Our project was evaluated by a committee of experts chaired by a luminary of architecture, Professor Peter Miller, one of the most famous firms in the United States, Canada and Rome.
What was the card that made you win?
(G.) We presented an international project. The materials are reminiscent of our territory, we have hypothesized areas-
showcases to promote the products of our land: there will even be a cellar inside the lounge. We have created a network
of different companies in the area to offer the best of Puglia’s excellence.