At Calligaris, we believe that furniture should be as functional as it is elegant.
We believe that innovative design should be engineered to offer real life solutions and essential comfort. Even after 100 years of experience in the industry, we continue to experiment with materials and finishes.
After all, our ability to embrace change is perhaps the most enduring characteristic of the Calligaris brand.
With the outbreak of World War I many men were enlisted, soon leading economy to paralysis.
By the end of the war, 70% of the industrial infrastructure and factories were destroyed. However, at the beginning of the 1920s the number of companies in the Manzano area quadrupled: they were small and family owned businesses joining to the house. Calligaris was born in 1923 in Manzano as a small craft workshop founded by Antonio Calligaris for the production of the Marocca chair, that was characterized by a wooden frame and straw seat, typical artifact of the area.
In the following years and until the 1950s a network of companies, which complemented each other, was created and the largest ones started subcontracting part of the chair components.
Antonio Calligaris’ workshop organized the production bringing the timber from the surrounding mountains and the straw from the Friuli lagoon. The shop apprentices were entrusted with the staining of the straw, which was done with natural colors.
There were few machineries, most of the work was done by hand and mainly by women who took care of weaving the straw seats and staining the chairs.
Among the chair types in production, on top of the Thonet models, was realized a “Milano” chair type (economical version of the Thonet chair and the first chair especially designed for office use).
The following years record a constant growth of the company’s production capacity. It is transformed in a well structured industrial reality, a leader in a geographical area known worldwide as the “chair district”, and begins to lay the foundations for the conquest of other markets. The first catalogue appears and the export begins. As from this moment Calligaris starts distributing its products to the final consumers through local dealers both on the Italian and European territory.
In 1986, Alessandro Calligaris, third generation of the family, was appointed President of the company. Calligaris expands its range with complete furnishing solutions: chairs, tables and occasional furniture.
Wood is not the only material on which Calligaris measures its vocation for innovation any more. The company, in fact, also works with metal, plastic, leather and glass. In 1998 inaugurates the first branch in the US in High Point (North Carolina).
In 2008 opens the first Flagship Store in Milan, which is then followed by the ones in Paris and London. The Calligaris family’s Holding approves the purchase of 40% of Calligaris S.p.A. sole shareholder, which, in 2007, had been sold to L Capital a private equity fund part of the LVMH goup.
Calligaris becomes even more Italian in a time when foreign investors are shopping our fashion, design and luxury brands.
This marks a restart for Calligaris with a new expansion phase more than ever consistent with the history of a company, which, from its foundation in 1923, believes with confidence in the future and in Italy.
In October 2018, Alpha Private Equity Fund 7 finalized the acquisition of a majority stake of the Calligaris group.