Alberto Perazza sits at the dining table, sips from the bottle âšof â naturally â Italian mineral water, and muses about the international design laboratory founded by his father, Eugenio, 40 years ago. Magis is a residential, commercial, industrial and homewares design company with a difference. Make that several differences.
Based in northern Italy, the company doesnât employ designers; it works with more than 40 international names. Nor does it have a factory; Magis collaborates with a number of leading-edge technology firms to produce its tables, chairs, shelves, lighting â even stepladders. âMy father has a strong passion for design,â Perazza recalls. âBut we never give designers a free hand. The designer is only part of the process that involves them, the engineers, the technicians âŠ We believe that any good product must be the result of teamwork.â
And Magis knows about good products: Philippe Starck, Jasper Morrison, the Bouroullec brothers, Konstantin Grcic and Thomas Heatherwick have styled for them. Think Morrisonâs plastic Air Chair (5), the Paris siblingsâ wrought-iron Officina tables and chairs; Grcicâs Chair One (6), Heatherwickâs iconic Spun chair (4). Spun epitomises the Magis ethos: looking more like a sculpture than a seat, the spinning chair appeared in a London gallery. The Perazzas saw it and knew it could be produced in a more cost-effective way. Six months later their lightweight, high-tech plastic version was in stores. And selling out.
Alberto takes another sip of his water. Thereâs a nice synergy, he points out, in Magisâ relationship with its New Zealand representative, ECC. âWe are celebrating our 40th birthday and are in our second generation,â he says. âThey are a bit older than us, 107 years, and the fourth generation of the family is in the business.â
Magis is available at ECC.