- Article by Tili Bensley-Nettheim
The story of Lapalma is the story of a family. It begins in 1978 in the Northern Italian city of Padua.
Brothers, Mercato and Dario Romano, decided to go out on their own with the dream of designing modern furniture that would endure. It was endurance in two senses: both of timeless aesthetics and of each piece’s durability. From the outset, with sustainability still a foreign concept, Lapalma had a preference for natural, recyclable materials.
The brand’s focus was quality in all things — the best of raw materials, cultivation of woods, highest quality leather, sturdy metal. Aesthetically, Lapalma is defined by this harmonious coalesce of metal, wood, leather and textiles.
They’re combined in configurations of technical refinement and rational proportionality. It is an attitude articulated by their classic Miunn chair and stool. Designed by Finnish interior design Karri Monni, Miunn is collection of high, slender and informal shell chairs or stools with a high degree of customisation across materiality and height.
Zenith became a protagonist in Lapalma’s story in 2017, launching the brand across its 12 Asia-Pacific locations. The Light Office’ collection, launched in 2019, deepened the relationship between Lapalma and Zenith.
In response to dramatic shifts in the spatial needs of workspaces, the collection allows organisations to personalise the distribution of their work environments to support the health and well-being of its employees.
Akin to Zenith’s own curation of design talent, Lapalma works in close dialog with artists and designers from all over the world, introducing their expertise and aesthetics into commercial spaces. Yet, the Italian nature of Lapalma is the foundation of each piece, it’s intertwined with the experiences of each collaborator.
For example, the Fork family of tables by Japanese designer Tomoya Tabuchi finds an equilibrium between Italian craftsmanship and Japanese balance. The tables pay homage to theJapanese symbolism of the tree, representing a man who lives aligned with nature. Each piece in the family is a study in harmony. The table tops are oblong or circle but the legs appear as if a tree trunk, with the exposed roots as the stabiliser.
Lapalma’s taste-making designers are matched with the brand’s indelible enthusiasm and its capacity to pivot as new technology arises. Zenith believes this need for changeability is no truer than in the workspace, with the office environment increasingly becoming an open-space, break-out and lounge areas are needed for definition and a degree of privacy.
Lapalma introduced Screen, a modular system of free-standing geometric screens easily linked by magnets to create reconfigurable partitions for privacy in open areas.
Over its history, Lapalma has taken advantage of the availability of new materials to develop a range of products that can cater to different atmospheres and environments. The Jey collection of occasional tables designed by Italian Francecso Rota speaks to this layered materiality. The table’s industrial cylindrical base is offered in marble or concrete, with the top available in square, round, triangular or hexagonal shapes.
There’s an optional handle for easy mobility throughout the workspace. It’s a definitively contemporary piece that adds a degree of industrialism to its environment, whether indoor or outdoor.
Despite the many design talents Lapalma collaborates with the goal has remained the same: functionality combined with novel shapes. It’s an ethos that’s been embraced and elevated by Zenith, creating a diverse and passionate Lapalma x Zenith portfolio.
The YO side table designed by Lapalma co-founder Romano Mercato is emblematic of this. The top is available in a range of geometries and the off-centre base and Y-shaped legs slot nearly under workstations or lounges.
Lapalma’s success over the last 40 years weaves a great narrative, but it’s no mystery. As recognised and advocated for by the value-aligned Zenith, it’s a success that’s been achieved step by step throughout the years, the result of hard work and passion in equal measure.
Photography courtesy of Zenith. Find out more about LaPalma and the collection at zenithinteriors.com.