Good night guaranteed
by Martina Metzner | 2/15/2016
S.S. Briantea 2
22040 Alzate Brianza (Como)
T: +39 031 630990
F: +39 031 632492
Lema: Italian excellence between innovation and tradition, today even more cosmopolitan.
For over 40 years, Lema has championed the ‘Made in Italy’ aesthetic, by expertly mixing innovation and tradition and turning quality and personalisation into its unique selling point. Lema’s strength lies in its extraordinary manufacturing ability and typically Italian excellence, that have allowed the company to combine the values and technological efficiencies of a large enterprise with fine and unrivalled craftsmanship.
Founded in 1970 by the Meroni family in the heart of Brianza, Lema developed a strong tradition dating back to the 1930s. Angelo Meroni, grandfather of the current Lema President, started the family business from an artisan shop in Arosio that specialised in the production of classic furniture. The 1950s saw the opening of the first store in Milan city centre. Here, during the years of the economic boom, Lema was able to collaborate with the first nationally recognised architects and designers to embrace a production characterised by a more modern aesthetic. The collaboration with Angelo Mangiarotti was one of the first and most important relationships. During the 1970s, Angelo Meroni’s sons, Luigi and Enrico, began producing furniture on an industrial scale. In doing so, they entrusted the design of a new plant in Alzate to Mangiarotti. In 1978, Tito Agnoli - one of the most renowned designers and protagonists of Italian design between late 1950s and 1960s - designed Lo Scaffale for Lema, the first wall system programme produced in Italy on an industrial scale and available in different finishes. This was then followed in 1981 by the first Armadio al Centimetro; a modular system of closets based on disassembled panels, custom-made for the first time with the quality and costs of an industrial product. This milestone in Lema’s history still informs its core business and products. This early success led Lema to open a second plant in Giussano in 1992 (again designed by Mangiarotti), that today hosts the Lema Contract division which was founded in 2004. In 1994, Piero Lissoni became art director.
By utilising the skills and professional abilities typical of the Brianza district, Lema’s excellence has always been defined by its innovative production processes, combined with an expert craftsmanship approach. It was decided early on that the production was to be internally managed, from receiving the raw materials to designing the packaging. This also includes the entire production cycle for the panels, core component of Lema’s iconic wardrobe and shelving systems. This value underlies the options for customisation that have always distinguished Lema from its competitors. Lema was the first Italian manufacturer to design a custom-built wall system programme in an endless range of finishes and the Armadio al centimetro, made to measure for the client. To this day, this balance between cutting-edge technology and deep-rooted tradition gives life to the whole collection of Lema furniture. A close collaboration with the designers ensures that the upmost attention is paid to each phase of production, from the initial design up to the final product.
The Group, which consists of Lema Casa, Lema Contract divisions and the International Office Concept, is nowadays an international enterprise with 48,000 square metres indoor divided between the two plants in Alzate Brianza and Giussano, and 230 employees; it is one of the Made in Italy key players. With consistently high growth rates, Lema presents a unique and successful way to do business, based mainly on product customisation. Thanks to the synergy between the Casa and Contract divisions, the company is able to cater to both consumers and trade professionals. In particular, due to its customisable products, Lema provides architects and contractors with a reliable source for products suited to the property development and hotel sectors, also thanks to the possibility to match the custom-made solutions with Lema Casa products, thus exploiting the peculiarities of mass production. Present in 50 countries with a global network of over 1,000 retailers, Lema is registering significant growth rates in recent years in Asia, as well as in countries where the presence of the brand has been strengthened thanks to the recent opening of flagship stores in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Taichung, Taiwan, Melbourne. The latest opening is Shenzhen, China that with 1200 square meters is the largest Lema flagship store in the world. As Europe remains a key market for Lema it has chosen London to open in 2015 its first company owned flagship store.
Lema Casa: from the modular systems, to the Home concept
While specialising in modular systems for the living/bedroom area throughout its 40 year history, Lema has built a complete range for the home consisting of large furniture systems to chairs, sofas, tables, storage, beds and furnishing accessories. In recent years, Lema’s products have transpired to a lifestyle; a sophisticated and contemporary approach to living that relies on the understated and lived-in aesthetics of Lema products. With Lema products, the home is filled with a light and Mediterranean aesthetic, thanks to the considered balance between line, colour and materials. The common thread that unites all Lema products is comfort and the value of slow living. Colours are carefully considered for different environments; soft tones create relaxing spaces while bright colours are tailored towards social areas. Expertly treated materials, such as wood, glass and metal are worked in various ways to build products that convey refinement and the essence of Made in Italy in their design and production. Particular care is given to the different finishes, which again reinforce the close link between the industrial and the craftsmanship knowledge that Lema offers throughout.
The ability to unify the visions of the various designers that collaborate with Lema to consistently offer a coherent aesthetic renders Lema unique in the sector. Thanks to constant innovation and research, Lema has collaborated with internationally recognised designers such as Christophe Pillet, Raw Edges, Neri & Hu, Nendo, Francesco Rota, Gordon Guillaumier while Piero Lissoni, as Artistic Director of Lema, applies his extensive experience to the collections, providing guidelines for the designers that collaborate with the company in order to maintain a unified aesthetic. Officinadesign Lema was conceived from this extensive experience of working with designers, and serves as the internal office that develops new products by integrating aesthetics with technical research, designing both single pieces for the day and night areas and developing the existing systems in close collaboration with Piero Lisson and external designers.
Wardrobes and walk-in closets
Modularity and highly bespoke customisations are Lema’s stylistic features since its inception. The ability to combine an industrial manufacturing process with the attention to detail characteristic of manual craftsmanship, led Lema to develop the production of wardrobe systems, creating a specific program that allows great versatility. . Armadio al Centimetro by Officinadesign Lema is the modular system that offers an almost total freedom of combinations, thanks to the wide range of modules available, and the ability to adapt them to different sizes as required. The basic structure of the wardrobe can be transformed in a multitude of versions, according to the chosen finishes and panel types, thus transforming the Lema wardrobe into endless different alternatives, each answering to an individual taste and specification. A high level of customisation can also be applied to the Walk-in Wardrobes. Novenove and Hangar – designed by Piero Lissoni – focus on the creation of a personal area, a safe refuge not only intended to be used as a container, but a room to be inhabited, also with the addition of sofas and furnishing accessories that transform it into a lounge area. For Lema, the walk-in wardrobe is not a representation of pure luxury. It is instead the visualisation of a state of mind and a way to interpret life and personal spaces.
The company’s DNA is closely linked to the manufacturing of bespoke systems; Lema was in fact the first Italian company to develop a bespoke load-bearing side-panel system – the original system has evolved during the years and has now become Selecta, an ideal choice to achieve a bespoke home since its inception. Library par excellence, that celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2015, Selecta was the first product to combine hand-crafted details on wood, with a series of technical innovations that still make it today one of the most versatile shelving systems. With its flexibility of composition, finishes, and arrangements, Selecta is comparable to a hand-built product, benefitting at the same time by the superior quality of modern industrialisation. T030 is another crowning achievement of the brand in terms of compositions, finishes and colours; it is a highly versatile box-type shelving system signed by Piero Lissoni.
Soft - Lema’s upholstered collections
The debut in the sector of the upholstered collections during the 2013 Design Furniture Fair, marked the completion of the Lema house. Disparate collections that interpret a concept of relaxation in line with Lema's typical sensitivity: functional, modular, innovative, mixing the latest technologies and industrial processes with hand-crafted finishes. The sofas are characterised by large and comfortable shapes, with an inner lightness and luxurious details yet understated, and thus exquisitely elegant. These pieces perfectly balance Lema’s modular system production, with a sharper, more industrial edge. The casual and light qualities that characterise Lema's living concept is embodied by the seating solutions: the brand’s philosophy stands out through the nonchalant presence of its sofas, enriched by the selected choice of fabrics, dedicated to achieve comfort, and flexibility.
The extensive company’s experience and successful collaborations with some of the most renowned international designers led to the development of a large range of tables, desks, chairs, containers, and beds. Single pieces, all different from each other but with a refined elegance in common, offer a lifestyle portfolio that chooses valuable but not ostentatious materials, curated in minute details. For instance, the metal bronzing finishes are designed to confer a more pleasant touch to this generally cold material, and greater depth in terms of texture and colour.
Lema Contract: You Think We Make
Lema's close bond with the design world finds its highest expression in the Contract sector, an innovative industrial division with a constant growth rate. The portfolio boasts prestigious London residential complexes such as Cheyne Terrace, Fulham Reach, Neo Bankside and Park House, as well as exclusive hotel chains like Bulgari, Hilton and Kempiski. Lema’s ability to create custom-solutions in various hotels, multi-apartment, private residences, public retail spaces contributes to the continued success of the Lema Contract division. The custom service is an integral part of the Lema Contract division. The client trusts Lema in developing their design, able to interpret and translate any aesthetic and above all, any functional need. Each design is unique and unrepeatable: the idea takes shape on paper, before the concept is translated to furniture, furnishing details, accessories and special objects. This service is made possible by the technologies available to the brand, which allow large scale industrial output, with quality and production costs only achievable by a sector leader. Lema caters to, and often anticipates, international tastes and trends with its expansive portfolio of custom-made solutions that share a distinctive synergy with Lema Casa, which offers its extensive catalogue, thus guaranteeing the advantages of mass production, always with the possibility to modify the products in terms of aesthetics, sizes and materials, to satisfy any customer need. Lema’s extensive experience in designing custom modular systems ensures its ability to offer a flexible and modular furnishing system. Lema’s technical office is able to design solutions for any type of space, epitomising the You Think We Make motto that has always defined the brand. Lema’s expertise built over the years makes the brand a reliable partner in the realisation of projects, on their interiors, and also on their structural realisation. Lema’s post-sale assistance ensures continued quality of service and the timely availability of materials, in addition to an on-hand service should any design updates be required.