In December Dodds & Shute had the pleasure of visiting the Kristalia head offices in Prata, near Treviso. We gained a fascinating insight into the mentality of the company with a passionate set of three core beliefs that influence the entire design process. This Tri-factor of beliefs is Region, Sustainability and Engineering.
Region, the district where Kristalia is based is called Prata di Pordenone and has a wealth of manufacturing experience and quality. The abundance of world class fabricators in their immediate vicinity means not only are Kristalia supporting their local community but the benefits to them are huge, communication is quick and painless, quality control of bespoke products or new prototypes is easy to manage and transport costs are kept to a minimum.
Sustainability, the result of using their local region as a place of production ensures over 90% of its raw materials are sourced in Italy, this means Kristalia are able to minimise the environmental impact of all its production activities. They also prefer to use renewable materials such as wood or recyclable materials such as glass, steel, polypropylene and aluminium.
Engineering, Kristalia invest a great deal of money in their tooling costs and moulds to ensure products meet the highest standard of quality and durability. All products are tested and comply with stringent CATAS standards. This quality of material and design is just as crucial from a sustainability view as it ensures that products are long lasting and resistant to physical and environmental stress. It means lower consumption of raw materials and energy resources to produce new furniture, less pollution during transport, less waste and much more satisfaction for those who purchase a Kristalia product.
What we liked so much is how all three factors are intertwined and crucial to each other, if one element was to be sacrificed it would be to the detriment of the others. In 2014 Kristalia moved into a new headquarters that was a tribute to this tri-factor of core beliefs. Their stunning offices is a perfectly executed and considered modern office with beautiful cast concrete floors and floor to ceiling glass windows (engineering). They have updated and improved the area by recovering land and buildings in disused industrial areas and given back to the local people by providing recreational facilities for sport, entertainment and music (region). Workers are encouraged to travel around the vast warehouse by bike and photovoltaic panels on the roof provide the energy needed for the work areas (sustainability). It is a work environment that is fit to live in and must have an empowering effect on employee mood, creativity and productivity,
The building is also a reflection on the company’s products as designers are encouraged to be creative yet adhere to Kristalia’s aesthetic of formal minimalism. It is this distinctive feature across the collection that makes their products so desirable to architects and designers. It is only once we had visited that we understood how passionate Kristalia are to these core beliefs. Philosophy is essential for any company but it is rare to see it so impressively ingrained into company mentality and how it influences every decision and design. It is the foundation of their business and it is incredibly inspiring to work so closely with a company with real design integrity that truly practices what it preaches.
Fun fact – Kristalia was established in 1994 and for several years specialised in the production of glass accessories hence their name which is a fusion of “cristallo” (crystal glass) and “Italia” (Italy). It wasn’t until 2001 that the company made revolutionary changes and started designing the furniture we know today.