PaperCity Magazine

September 2019- Houston

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Page 125 of 183

120 W e find ourselves in conversation w i t h t h e 6 3 - y e a r - o l d Renato Minotti d u e t o h i s longstanding relationship with Carla Munoz, a backbone of Houston's modern furniture community and owner of CAM Studio. They have known each other for 20 years, and when she opened CAM Studio, in a prominent location in the Arrive River Oaks center, it was her relationship with the Minotti family that led to her exclusively representing the line in Houston. The new showroom is precise and refined, and showcases Minotti's collections with a curatorial eye. This is Renato's second visit to Houston, and he brims with excitement when discussing the opportunities for Minotti here, in both residential and hospitality. "What is in Houston?" he ponders, then elaborates, "The town is nice, but there are no historical buildings. There is a lot of land and residential areas of beautiful homes and a lot of companies." Triggered by this thought and the persistent film in the background, he reasserts the topic of hospitality and speaks to the presence of Minotti at the new ExxonMobil campus, aware that he is here to pursue new financial opportunities specifically with Carla. "I met Carla in 1999. She has a solid foundation in the industry and very strong energy." The film, "Waves Resort," a culmination of the Minotti vision, arrived at an opportune moment. It's an integration of advanced technology and rendering to realistically project the brand's shift to exterior p ro d u c t s . A s R e n a l t o explains, with the pride that attends any holistic feat of materializing a dream, "This is the first time we realized a film in 3-D." But to understand the contextualization of p ro d u c t w i t h i n t h e film, it's necessary to disembark from this virtual reality tour and tread into the past, to the soul of the company. Post World War II, Italy was devastated and in need of resources, which created economic opportunity. Renato's father, Alberto, hailed from Meda, Brianza, a region with a long- standing tradition of manufacturing that proved fertile ground for creating a furniture company, a creative vision, and an homage to classical craftsmanship. The necessity was born because "everyone needed furniture after the destruction of the war." His father's collaboration with local architect Gigi Radice was the first iteration of alignment with artistic directors. Together they shifted away from the traditional style, with Radice not only introducing more contemporary furniture models, but eventually designing the Minotti family residence. I asked him how it had been to grow up ensconced in his father's and Radice's creations. He says the impact was transcendent. Renato returned to the family business upon completion of his business degree, bringing with him a focus on accounting, marketing, and management. After Alberto's untimely death in 1991, Renato and his younger brother, Roberto, assumed the responsibility of the company and its expansion beyond the local industry their father had cultivated. Renato describes this day as a tragic reconciliation of Minotti's past, present, and future, as the brothers had to quickly adapt to preserve the company. "We knew what our father had given us," he says. "The evening after the funeral, my brother and I agreed that we would improve upon what he left us. It was in our blood, and that gave us the energy to work 15 hours, every day, to develop the company. It was not for the money. It was our responsibility as sons." A major shift occurs in 1997 with the integration of Rodolfo Dordoni as artistic director, and the creation of BY MARY LAMBRAKOS THE FAMILY MINOTTI Sitting on the West sectional from his collection, Renato Minotti is showing me the newest evolution in his company's development — the future of the Minotti brand as it extends into the hotel and commercial market — via a film on loop, "Waves Resort," that cycles the approach of a yacht to a virtual-reality resort and crescendos in a panoramic sweep of indoor and outdoor areas populated by Minotti's newest collection, Waves. Showcased at Salone del Mobile Milano this past April, Waves is a nod to the introduction of curved structures, from sofas to tables and armchair backs Minotti celebrates 15 years of the Cesar collection, designed by Rodolfo Dordoni (continued on page 122)

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