Architectural Italian furniture flexes to suit any given space

By Sujata Burman

“It’s not just designing a beautiful table or chair… it’s influencing the way the house, apartment or restaurant is designed.”

“We wanted a space that was unconventional,” says Maria Porro, head of marketing and communications at Porro, of the family brand’s new showroom at London Design Festival 2022. They landed on Tom Dixon’s HQ, The Coal Office. They loved the architecture, Porro shares, and the idea of being at a design meeting point that’s away from London’s regular, central shopping hubs. 

The Italian brand, which is fast approaching its 100th anniversary, specialises in architectural furniture. “It’s not just designing a beautiful table or chair,” Porro explains; the impact of each piece is much more considered, “influencing the way the house, apartment or restaurant is designed.” The selection on display in the new space includes the Load-It book shelving system (pictured below); a signature piece designed by Wolfgang Tolk in 1995; and the Neve chair by Piero Lissoni. The furniture finds synergy with Tom Dixon's multi-use hub in King’s Cross, showcasing the flexibility of Porro’s products.

Load it table by Porro

This flexibility is part of the brand’s DNA. Four years ago, Porro changed its production process, deciding to eschew having a warehouse or stock. Now, the made-to-order ethos extends to how Porro designs spaces in which to display its pieces. The latest set of adaptable sliding doors, for example, functions in all rooms, changing the shape and size of the space to suit.

When discussing the anniversary, Porro says this moment will be a time “to strongly consider the value of our work,” in terms of respecting the environment and the people the brand creates for. “The pandemic has made people realise the importance of short supply chains,” Porro muses, on the Italian design scene within this context. “Where do I see the future? Going back to investing in schools. Nurturing young people who want to work in this world.”