Haworth Goes Global With New Castelli Line

June 6, 2008
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CHICAGO — Haworth will showcase its new portfolio, Castelli for Haworth, during NeoCon.

“It is a portfolio of a number of global products. Castelli for Haworth is really all about bringing together a portfolio of classic design pieces from all of our global partners, as well as some new pieces,” said David Pimental.

As an example, Pimental, who serves in the role of systems product merchandising, compared the company’s Plia chair, a product originally launched in the 1950s and a “permanent resident” of the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, to the new Mumbai desk, a sleek design and one of the first products introduced for the Castelli portfolio.

“It’s like going up in your grandmother’s attic and finding all these wonderful classic pieces and making them available to the family, to our clients and customers,” said Pimental. “And then opening up a closet of, say, your brother and finding some current products that you hope would become the classics of tomorrow.”

The NC-B Resonate, a storage unit with multiple configurations is also being unveiled under the Castelli portfolio.

“What’s unique about NC-B Resonate is it really speaks to one of our key messages of the Castelli for Haworth, and that is really identifying and giving emerging design visionaries a platform for their creations,” said Pimental.

The Castelli portfolio was also the impetus for Haworth to “streamline” relationships with its global partners to make resources from all over the world available to all designers so “they can easily obtain samples, sample materials and finishes, and quotes much easier than typically is done with products that are manufactured in Europe or Asia Pacific.”

During the late 1980s into the early 2000s, Haworth completed many acquisitions of companies overseas, with an emphasis on Europe, said Julie Smith, senior public relations administrator.

“It kind of was the launching platform for the growth we’ve had lately,” she said. “It pulled together all those companies that made products that moved us more from an office furniture company to a workspace company.”

Smith noted that through those acquisitions, the company was able to establish wholly owned companies in both Europe and Asia that help bring Haworth together as a global enterprise, but also add resources and the design heritage of the companies to Haworth’s history.

“Part of the philosophy here is we also wanted to protect and nurture that heritage so that it’s available — some of the pieces are available — for future generations,” said Pimental.

Having a global influence is an element of what makes Castelli for Haworth a “portfolio” instead of a line. Pimental said there is no overarching design theme, but more of an emphasis has been put on uniqueness.

Pimental said Haworth is trying to attract and retain young design talent by giving designers opportunities and platforms and leveraging their skills.

Even with such a diverse portfolio of products, there are still certain models Haworth sells globally.

“There might be some changes in terms of materials they use, just because there might be some different materials available, or by regulation they may have to have different materials. Most of what we develop by our sectors is tied to the region they’re manufactured in. We’re taking into account regional design perspectives and regional preferences.”

The Castelli portfolio includes seating, lighting and “what we will call some desking,” said Pimental, who added, “It’s not typically what we would have seen in our father’s office 30 years ago.”

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