Interview to Francesco Sani
“THE BESPOKE LUXURY IN THE CHINESE MARKET”
Francesco Sani is the founder and CEO of the SANI + partners architecture and design studio with its headquarter in the pro-vince of Florence and operational offices in Hong Kong, Shan-ghai and Kampala.
Francesco Sani, born in 1978, is graduated in Architecture at the University of Florence and specialized in Interior Design at the Milan Polytechnic. As a designer of both interiors and furniture and lighting products he has won numerous international awards and in 2020 the English magazine Build awarded the SANI + partners studio as the “Most Innovative Multi-National Interior Design Specialist”.
WHAT IS SANI + PARTNERS’ EXPERIENCE IN THE CHINESE MARKET?
I arrived in China for the first time in 2013, as I always say “entering through the back door”, that is, passing through the heart of the China that produces. In fact, I began my adventure as a designer of lighting and furniture products for companies in the province of Guandong, winning, among other things, international awards such as an IF Home Style Award in 2016. I then moved on to teaching and today, together with my staff in Shanghai and Hong Kong, we deal with interior design in both commercial and residential sectors.
As you can imagine, my path led me to get to know different faces of the Chinese market and to deal with different types of customers, from small entrepreneurs to large multinationals.
When I came into contact with OnlyOne I immediately thought that there could be many opportunities in this market and I immediately joined the team dealing with the distribution of the magazine in Hong Kong and Shanghai.
HOW CAN BESPOKE DESIGN CREATE ADDED VALUE FOR THE SPECIFIC CHINESE MARKET?
The furniture and design market in China is a very mature and receptive market. You can find flagship stores of the most important international brands, concept stores that sell products and accessories of the highest level, not to mention the infinite number of operators in the parallel market which, as for fashion products, is perhaps the sales channel in China. mainly for high-end products. In this context, being able to “offer” personalized services and products is certainly the best way to give that added value that allows the individual to become unique.
DO THE INTERLOCUTORS HAVE THE NECESSARY SENSITIVITY TO APPRECIATE THE EXCLUSIVE VALUE OF THE BESPOKE NICHE?
Every time we approach a new project we always propose something different and “never seen before” and therefore we can say that our way of working is somehow bespoke too.
I can say that, although the Chinese market is huge, the niche that can access the bespoke product is very small, almost like the tip of a pyramid.
The big difficulty is not only to intercept those who have the economic possibility of access these exclusive pro-ductions and brands, but those who have the cultural ability to understand the value behind a tailormade product and to understand how this value is today. the only way to be truly exclusive.
The path to affirm bespoke in China must therefore start from educating the market, something that OnlyOne is already doing with the magazine and that in the future we will also do together with other interesting initiatives, designed specifically for this market.
AS YOUR STUDIO IS PRESENT IN DIFFERENT MARKETS, WHERE DO YOU SEE THE MOST INTERESTING DEVELOPMENTS FOR BESPOKE DESIGN IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
As a studio we are now investing a lot in the African continent as a future outlet for our work and I can already say with small, but comforting results. As for the world of bespoke, I think that all of Asia, not just China, is definitely the market of the present and the near future.