The "Premiata Società Friulana per l'Industria del Vimini"
The Company Gervasoni, originally known as “Premiata Società Friulana per l'Industria del Vimini", was born in 1882 in the city of Udine.
The shadow of the 1915-1918 War, during which Udine briefly became the "capital," left deep human, moral, and economic scars on the surrounding territory.
The extraordinary story of Gervasoni began in this very context.
Alongside his partner Danilo Della Martina, in 1925 Giovanni Gervasoni took the reins of this modest company specialized in the production of baskets and small objects for the local market.
Giovanni immediately distinguished himself as a modern and innovative entrepreneur with a determined and proactive approach, initiating a series of renovations and adaptations to the ever-changing market demands, which would characterize the company's over 140-year history.
Being aware that production could not be limited exclusively to wickerwork, Giovanni decided to expand sales beyond the Friuli area.
He invested in new steam bending machines and modern drying ovens, he hired new workers and started using not only wicker but also bamboo, reed, and rattan, abandoning traditional "basketry". This production enhancement led to the creation of "complete furnishings for winter gardens, reading rooms, smoking rooms, billiard rooms, anterooms, terraces, and verandas," as well as "specialties for hotels, clubs, beach resorts, and sanatoriums."
The market gradually expanded, initially in Northern Italy and then nationwide.
In 1930, Giovanni embarked on a valuable collaboration with architects and master craftsmen to perfect the aesthetic and technical qualities of the products. Despite the worldwide economic crisis, the company continued to grow steadily. Orders arrived for furnishing important Italian, Polish, and Swedish passenger ships
By 1939, "Gervasoni & Co." was already a well-established and renowned company with a solid and extensive market.
The war failed to halt Gervasoni's expansion. The business continued without pause, and in the post-war period, with the reconstruction of the factory and the return of workers, the company fully resumed its activities. The main objective was to further streamline the production process, in order to truly compete in the sector.
"Gervasoni snc": a Son and a Partner
Piero repaid his father's trust by committing himself to the company's growth, participating in numerous trade fairs in Italy and Europe - including the Salone del Mobile in Milan, in which Gervasoni still participates uninterruptedly since the first edition in 1961 - and collaborating with artistic and technical consultants, including Luciano Tonini, whose creations led Gervasoni to establish itself on the markets in the years of the economic boom.
In 1965 decided to set alongside "Giovanni and Pietro Gervasoni Snc" a new Company. He understood the need to prepare the company for the future by focusing on the production of design furniture. Germa (Gervasoni Mobili Arredamenti) was thus born, a revolutionary company in the Friulian furniture scene.
It was during those years that designers such as Werther Toffoloni and Piero Palange, Adalberto Dal Lago, Getulio Alviani, and photographers of the caliber of Aldo Ballo began to work with the company.
The two productions served different markets: traditional and established Gervasoni's, and innovative and trend-setting Germa's.
Following the death of his father Giovanni in 1977, the company moved to the Udine Industrial Area and opened its share capital to a minority shareholding of the regional finance company Friulia Spa. This succeeded in giving further development to the company and notoriety to its brand. It was during these years that Gervasoni acquired the store on Via Durini in Milan, which, until today, is the Udine-based company's flagship store in Italy's economic capital.
The company and its notoriety were further strengthened in the same years by the many important collaborations with other big names in Italian and international design, from Gianni Veneziani to George Coslin, from Enrico Franzolini and Mario Ciampifino to Prospero Razulo, Vico Magistretti and Roberto Lazzeroni-who designed products of great quality and beauty for Germa and Gervasoni.
Germa had its establishment the moment it was merged into the Gervasoni brand in 1998: by then, designer furniture had definitely established itself on the world market and the Germa "spirit" had so infected Gervasoni production that it no longer made sense to keep the two brands separate.
Piero Gervasoni guiding the company with entrepreneurial ability and foresight, severity and, at the same time, profound humanity and generosity, had made it a thriving and appreciated enterprise and was ready to bring his own sons into the company, as his father Giovanni had done thirty years earlier.
On January 2, 1989, Giovanni, the eldest son, joined the company as export manager. A year later it was Michele's turn, who joined his father and brother and began working in sales.
Finally Piero could transmit to his sons the experience accumulated over many years of commitment and passion.
The future is now, Gervasoni goes forward
From their earliest days Giovanni and Michele Gervasoni have been part of the life of the Company and breathed in the very essence of the factory. In February 1999, Piero Gervasoni left the role of CEO of the company to his two sons, remaining as chairman. Even more than in his sons’ talents, Piero Gervasoni showed faith in young people, in keeping with his conviction that the future always belongs to the young.
They decided to maximise their collaboration with the internationally renowned architect and designer, Paola Navone, which had initiated in 1996. Paola became the firm’s art director until 2020. They embark upon their new project, based on innovation, research and experimentation, three key concepts which underscore the brothers’ new way of envisaging the company.
The new strategies also had a significant return in the contract and naval markets.
This kind of business model implies making highly exclusive products of superlative quality, with the “dangerous” consequence that you must be able to guess the market’s direction. Their motto is “don’t be a follower, be a trend-setter!”.
In that period, Gervasoni faced the further problem of a sudden turnabout in market demand, now no longer interested in woven, rattan, and wicker.
So it was that the Gervasoni Family chose to radically change the production type. The attention to design and new trends desired by Piero, had now influenced the company's. The Brothers understood that the time had come to take Gervasoni toward a major change of direction, changing product, market, communication, and in many cases, customers.
In early-2009, the Gervasoni Family took over Ifa srl (renamed as Very Wood) of Premariacco, a small, contract chair manufacture which is considered a model for its product quality and customer service.
This is the start of the Gervasoni Group.
In May 2015, Gervasoni joined IDB, Italian Design Brands S.p.A., listed on the Stock Exchange in May 2023. By combining substantial financial, strategic and relational forces with solid industrial and commercial experience, the project aims to create an Italian high-quality design furniture hub, capable of becoming a highly competitive reality at an international level. Giovanni and Michele Gervasoni, in addition to managing the Friulian company, are currently shareholders in the IDB Group.
Piero Gervasoni died in Udine on June 7, 2015. In 141 years, the little workshop has turned into an international operation, thanks to the far-sightedness and the hard work of a close and united family.
Over its thirteen years of collaboration with Paola Navone, Gervasoni has steadfastly pursued its study of excellence in the market segment. Through the work of the Milanese designer the firm has developed a number of distinctive indoor and outdoor collections that are icons of the brand’s strength and identity.
Today architects and designers from different backgrounds collaborate with Gervasoni to create collections that stretch broadly into the world of indoor and outdoor furnishings. An incessant research aimed at proposing the most suitable solutions for a contemporary comfort, leads the company to experiment newer ways to give shape to its domestic universe, defined by the care for details and by the innovative workmanship that become an expressive tool.