It’s six in the morning in Cascina, Italy, and Franco Ceccotti is already out and about in his factory before his staff arrive.
He spends the early morning responding to requests that pour in from around the world. Then his real work begins – in his woodworking factory, where he and a team of craftsmen create extraordinary furniture made entirely by hand.
At 50-men strong, Ceccotti Collezioni might seem “small” despite its international success, but there’s no one working quite like it today in the contemporary furniture world.
Founded in 1956 by Franco Ceccotti’s father, the company was famed for supplying furniture to international hotel chains. After taking over in 1986, the younger Ceccotti, who loves design, discerned the potential to make contemporary furniture with the traditional skills of his craftsmen. At that time, the major furniture companies were industrialising and moving to Milan. Ceccotti Collezioni, however, held on to its traditional ways and remained in Cascina, a historical base for Italy’s most highly skilled woodworking artisans.
The company has long been a magnet for lovers of craftsmanship. Many of its long-time collaborators, from international designers like Roberto Lazzeroni to Ross Lovegrove, started designing for it after witnessing the quality of the company’s workmanship. Ceccotti recounts that the minimum training for a craftsman is 10 years, and they are increasingly difficult to find.
“Each craftsman leaves his passion and gives a part of himself to the furniture,” says Ceccotti. “All our furniture is made-to-order and customised for the final customer.”
Today, Ceccotti is intimately involved in controlling every single detail of production, from design and joints, to even the selection of the wood. “To create these pieces, we have to start with the material. Today, it’s very difficult to find correct material,” says Ceccotti.
He personally selects the trees from countries such as the US and Slovenia, and buys them two years before they are used in production. It’s a rarefied selection: from briarwood, ebony, rose wood and oak to American walnut.
“For our cupboards, we are using poplar plywood. It is very precious, very white, and very light,” says Ceccotti.
But how does its furniture feel? Gorgeous. One appreciates the sublime beauty and lightness of the wood, as you run your fingers over its sinuous curves. The clean lines of the furniture belie an arresting complexity and sophisticated attention to detail, a defining feature of Ceccotti Collezioni.
The Bean Desk, a writing desk designed by Roberto Lazzeroni, is composed of 346 pieces and finished without nails or screws, while the Gentleman Wardrobe will satisfy even the most fastidious gentleman, with its intricate compartments and the dapper smoothness of its operation.
Ceccotti Collezioni recently launched its first international showroom in Singapore at contemporary furniture and lifestyle boutique Asiatique Collections, where the largest selection of its pieces outside of Italy are available.
Like all of Ceccotti’s collaborations, it’s passion and the meeting of similar minds that sparked the partnership with the owners of Asiatique.
But Asia also seems to be on the cards for the company’s expansion. “It is important for us to have a big interest, not just in Singapore but the whole of Asia,” says Ceccotti. “In future, it might also be possible for us to have a designer from Singapore.”