Fanuli and Flexform come to Melbourne

May 27, 2015

After nearly 40 years in Sydney, Fanuli launched their first Melbourne showroom last week. We speak to Giuliano Galimberti of Flexform and Fabio Fanuli about Italian style, and the family trade.

Images courtesy Fanuli. Article by Sandra Tan.

Adding a second Australian store after nearly 40 years in Sydney, Fanuli launched their first Melbourne showroom last week. A feast of Italian antipasti and canapés, overseen by Masterchef’s George Calombaris, fuelled the festivities, while the design community congregated around a covetable selection of designer furniture. Immaculately stocked with ranges Flexform, Kristalia and Riva 1920, central to the festivities was the quality Italian design on show.


In Melbourne for the launch was Giuliano Galimberti, whose family founded Flexform in 1959. Flexform and Fanuli have a natural sympatico, with both Italian family businesses now in their third generation in the furniture trade.

Fanuli was established in 1976 by Fabio’s father, the enterprising Giuseppe Fanuli. “We’re very fortunate with what our father created”, Fabio says, adding “it’s given us a very good basis to build upon.” Speaking to Giuliano and Fabio, there is a recurring theme of heritage and partnership. “Since we are acting as two families, we are very focused on our business – our business is our passion,” Giuliano says.


While continuing to produce timeless yet contemporary furniture, Flexform has a formidable legacy as a leading Italian design house, having exhibited at the inaugural Salone Del Mobile in 1961. Flexform has a 40-year relationship with iconic architect and industrial designer Antonio Citterio, who approached Flexform in his youth. “We grew up together,” says Giuliano. “When he started with us in his early twenties, he went to talk to my family at Flexform and they immediately understood that he was a very talented architect”. After many years, Citterio’s work for Flexform has proved the value of that intuition.

“What I see, not only in this wonderful country but all over the world, is that people really appreciate Italian products and the Italian lifestyle,” Giuliano says. Giuliano sees that the Italian lifestyle is expressed internationally through its indulgent food and luxury fashion, which brings an added desirability to Italian-made goods. “And of course we cannot disappoint – our philosophy is that we have to provide design, quality and comfort,” he explains.


Flexform’s understated, plush sofas have a natural appeal to the Australian household, for their easy elegance. Though each design has a distinct appeal, Giuliano speaks of a coherent common thread throughout their line. “We don’t treat items as individuals, but we consider them always part of a general concept. If you look at our collection, you will see that there is a steady development of a design, or a trend.”

Fabio says that the Flexform range is “beautifully designed and made, but very comfortable. I have learnt from Giuliano that the sofa is definitely the focal point of the house, it’s where you come home.” The furniture is approachable, with a plush comfort that sits easily within a contemporary interior. The relaxed aesthetic is a deliberate concession to the current zeitgeist, as Fabio explains, “In Flexorm’s latest photography, the model is more casually dressed than how they have been styled in the past. This reflects the modern fashion houses of the world, and this new idea of ‘smart casual’”. Drawing a parallel, Fabio observes that Flexform’s new lines are similarly “relaxed but very high quality”.

Lario by Antonio Citterio

Lario by Antonio Citterio


With a prime corner site in South Yarra to mirror their Sydney flagship, Fanuli and Flexform welcome a new chapter for the business, and look forward to introducing their wares to a new audience. As Giuliano says, “we have already had a very good experience in Sydney and I’m sure it will be the same in Melbourne – people here have a high appreciation for design, culture and history”.

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