Sulfaro ‘Why Italian Craftsmanship is Superior to Everything Else’

Sulfaro is a business steeped in the traditional craftsmanship of Italian furniture making where excellence and innovation in design meets the supreme quality, dedication and finish of true artisanship. Italian design is recognised world-wide for its creativity, functionality and understated elegance. Here in Australia Sulfaro continues the tradition.

This week we offer an interview from Architectural with one of Italy’s foremost furniture designers, Roberto Minotti. For us, at Suflaro, the foundations remain the same – craftsmanship, quality – hand-built, innovative, elegant design with one very important difference. All Sulfaro furniture is 100% Australian made. 

Why Italian Craftsmanship Is Superior to Everything Else

Legendary furniture mogul Roberto Minotti explains the history and quality of his country’s design tradition

By Hadley Keller

There’s no doubt that Italians know good design. From Ettore Sottsass’s whimsical Memphis furniture to Gio Ponti’s sleek wares, Italy has been a leader in innovative, beautiful, and high-quality design for decades. Since 1948, Minotti has been a part of that legacy. The family-owned company has made a name for itself producing high-quality furniture that both references Italy’s design history and maintains a fresh aesthetic. AD chatted with Minotti CEO Roberto Minotti (who runs the company alongside his brother and co-CEO, Renato) to hear more about the history of Italian manufacturing, and just what makes the country’s products so superior.

Architectural Digest: Can you tell us more about the history of Minotti and how the brand started?

Roberto Minotti: Alberto Minotti, our father, founded the company in 1948. In that postwar time, the Italian economy quickly started to boom again, and the small workshop soon grew into a modern factory employing dozens of craftsmen. The next big step was when my brother, Renato, and I decided to bring the brand onto the international scene in the early ’80s. Nowadays the company is distributed in over 70 countries, and the network of flagship stores includes 31 showrooms, located in the main cities all over the world.

AD: Why do you think so many reputable design brands come out of Italy?

 RM: Italy has always been the cradle of high-quality craftsmanship. Minotti is located in Brianza, the so-called design district, which is halfway between Milan and Lake Como. It is a well-to-do area, in which over the past two centuries noble and affluent families built many villas, for which highly qualified craftsmen were required in order to furnish these beautiful homes. This explains why there is such a fine know-how in this area that cannot be found elsewhere in Italy. In more recent times, since the 1950s, the entrepreneurs of this area collaborated with famous Italian and foreign architects, creating very special relationships that made possible the creation of a great number of iconic furnishings and lamps.

AD: What makes Italian craftsmanship unique?

RM: All the best Italian-made products meld tradition and technology in an indissoluble way: Artisan expertise puts the finishing touches to products that are manufactured employing cutting-edge production methods, while intelligent hands lend sensitivity and emotion to industrial precision.

AD: What makes handcrafted products special?

RM: Because anybody can perceive their uniqueness, their not being mass-produced products. Every detail conveys the idea of the craftsmanship that’s behind any handmade product. Minotti sticks to this attitude while manufacturing ever-increasing quantities.

Sulfaro first commenced manufacturing in Australia in the early 1960’s in Melbourne. Nunzio Sulfaro, the family patriarch, was a classically trained furniture maker from Italy who chose to continue in his trade in Melbourne upon emigrating. 

Today Sulfaro continues the tradition from its modern studios and workshop based in Mitcham, Melbourne. All Sulfaro furniture is handcrafted and hand-built. Our designs are exclusive but we offer a unique opportunity to all customers and clients to customise their selections with a choice of the very best of fine fabrics, leathers and accessories. Sourced from both Australia’s and the world’s leading suppliers, a superb selection is available. Our in-house Design Team led by Amelia Sulfaro will guide you through the process. Upon completing your selections our expert team of Artisans, Tradespeople and Craftsmen will bring your selection to life. 

Making Your Selection

The starting point for your Sulfaro experience is to visit our Website and view our extensive Sulfaro Collection. Here you have the opportunity to choose the design and style of lounge suite, sofa and chairs you desire. 

The Signature Selection offers some of our more popular sofas, armchairs, occasional chairs and superb accessories in a range of clever interior design settings. The full catalogue is then revealed in each of the following selections:

  • Decor and Design Accessories
    A complete range of accessories including coffee tables, credenzas, buffets, side cabinets, lamps and much more.

A full complement of dining settings is also available from large extendable, polished timber tables designed to seat up to 16 people through to more intimate settings, suitable for the kitchen, breakfast nook or the sunroom, with more compact units to suit 4-6 people also available. Table tops and finishing in beautifully polished timbers, glass, ceramics, marbles and metallics are all available. With all settings complemented by exquisitely designed and sturdy timber chairs finished in the finest of fabrics and leathers. 

The heartbeat, the pulse of the Sulfaro brand is design coupled with comfort and handcrafted quality. As part of our overall offering the Sulfaro package includes a free interior design service for all Sulfaro clients and customers. Simply call us on 03 9872 4608 and arrange a consultation, either now virtually online, or post-lockdown in person to discuss your needs and plan the new interior design for your home. You’re most welcome to provide photographs, internal floor plan layouts, colour preferences and current colour schemes and flooring to assist in the progress. 

Right now many of the sofas, armchairs, occasional chairs and gorgeous accessories – credenzas, lamps, objects des’art, buffets, coffee tables and side tables – are available immediately as floor stock, with discounts of up to 40% on many ticketed items. 

Simply select from our website and call us on 03 9872 4608 to order. Alternatively, leave your enquiry here.

The manufacturing process at Sulfaro is overseen and delivered by our Artisans and Tradespeople under the watchful eye of Master Craftsman Santo Sulfaro.

All Sulfaro furniture is 100% Australian Made, utilising Australian materials wherever and whenever possible. It is a unique process and is very much exclusive to Sulfaro, being based on traditional methodologies and techniques handed down from generation to generation, offering the supreme quality of Italian design and craftsmanship right here in Melbourne. 

All Sulfaro furniture carries a lifetime guarantee on workmanship. Delivery is available Australia wide. Traditional, classic or contemporary design offering a lifetime of comfort, quality and genuine luxury. It’s the ultimate in handcrafted furniture – superb.

Sulfaro – It’s Simply The Very Best. 

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