“It all started almost thirty years ago, in 1994. With my mother’s help I began making carpets, the first indoor complements launched under the Paola Lenti brand. Some years later we began experimenting with different yarns and fabrics, giving rise to the first outdoor collections. The decisive moment came in the year 2000, when my sister Anna decided to help me transform my vision into a fully-fledged industrial enterprise, taking over the helm and enabling me to concentrate on the creative side”. (Here all our posts about Paola Lenti)
The first outdoor collections
The speaker is Paola Lenti, creative director and president of the brand that bears her name. Her sister Anna is the company’s CEO and general director. “We experienced the most important moment in the company’s history when we launched Rope, the technical outdoor yarn that enabled us to become what we are today.
That was exactly twenty years ago, so we’ve come a long way. Our materials research has led to further developments – Twiggy and Diade are patented, waterproof, certified recyclable materials. They are easy to wash and sanitise, don’t absorb moisture and retain their performance even under challenging atmospheric conditions”.
Paola Lenti and the yachting world
The brand initially concentrated on the residential market, but it wasn’t long before it made an entry into the yacht design industry. “Our first yacht-building projects date back to the year 2000, when we launched our collaboration with Sanlorenzo”, says Anna Lenti. “Now our collections reach an international, varied audience. We work with the industry’s most important names.
Our approach to production is the same for both sectors – our outdoor collections are conceived, developed and tested to provide the highest levels of performance in all atmospheric conditions. It’s different for the design, though – the nautical world is very challenging, as it imposes many limitations, especially in the design phase.
The spaces are often much less generous than domestic interiors, for example. Our philosophy remains the same, though – the setting we create inside the yacht rather than on the flybridge must be ergonomic and welcoming. Just like in the home”.
Without, of course, forgetting sustainability. “We’ve always followed a clear ethic in all our work, an approach that has strengthened even further over the years, demanding a conceptual and financial commitment on our part. Often, in fact, the choice to be sustainable involves investment and sacrifices, decisions that can also have an impact on the corporate balance sheet, but they’re necessary if we want to remain true to our values.
These days working in this context has become a vital element in corporate operations, a moral duty that everyone should feel”, says Paola Lenti. “The most important challenge for us has been to make sustainable, long-lasting objects, because we think that sustainability is underpinned by a product’s durability. We prefer natural, recycled or recyclable materials and we never lose sight of the entire production cycle. That’s why we test colours as well as materials, to provide enduring structural and aesthetic characteristics”.
An ongoing search
This approach is based on a combination of respect for tradition and technological innovation. “We test all our collections using more stringent criteria than those specified by current standards, and we do it with each individual component. Aluminium, fabrics and paints are thoroughly tested by our technicians because we want to be sure the frames don’t rust and the colours don’t fade. We’re so focussed on research that we’ve invested in special in-house unit where our team of professionals is constantly researching new solutions and personalised yacht projects. We see the nautical world as a stimulus to progress in research and I think the results are there to be seen, and that’s also why we’re in such demand within the industry”.
Paola Lenti: fabrics and furnishing components
There are two complementary aspects to the Paola Lenti offer, fabrics and materials on the one hand, furnishing products on the other. The brand’s materials and fabrics are created to be used exclusively with the products from the various collections, becoming an integral part of the furnishings. The tested and patented yarns are developed in collaboration with respected research institutes. For this reason many of these can be used to upholster the chairs and clad the structural partitions and coverings of internal and external spaces, becoming part of a project that involves not only furniture but also architecture.
“The experience we’ve acquired over these twenty years has led us to realise that to design every space, interior or exterior, we should be thinking along the same lines, making the whole thing cohesive and credible”, says Paola Lenti. “In the design stage I deal with the object, making sure it doesn’t get suffocated by unnecessary elements, by decorative frills and a redundant language. Simplicity and balance are strictly linked and extremely important. Achieving a harmony between utility and beauty means freeing projects from passing fashions and giving it a timeless appeal”.
A coherent, determined approach that has that has enabled the brand to enter the history of contemporary yacht design. And the future? “We’re working on a very demanding project that will see the light in early 2023”, says the CEO. “I can’t give too much away at the moment because we want it to remain a surprise, but I can say our new flagship store in Milan is a wide-ranging project informed by the vision of Paola Lenti, embodying her values and imagination”.