The Gucci of Furniture Design and How it Never Happened

The year was 1984. The month was June, and Chicago‚Äôs Merchandise Mart was the site for NeoCon 16. Then and there was when my employer, Kimball International, introduced an executive furniture collection called Firenze, designed for the Artec division by Paolo Gucci. In Firenze‚Äôs 1984 press kit, I wrote that Artec and Paolo Gucci gave ‚Äúsubstance and direction to a brave new concept‚ÄĚ in executive furniture. We accomplished that objective. What happened to end it was outside our influence. Delving into Firenze‚Äôs story meant recruiting help from administration, development, marketing, and sales perspectives. Thankfully, I found colleagues willing to share their insights. I served on the Firenze PR team as the publicity and media liaison, often working in New York City. In the 1980s, Kimball International wanted their Office Furniture Division (OFD) to compete across all wood casegoods segments. With the mid-market and value-market covered, the OFD acquired Group Artec …