Design Stories meets Daniel Gava

Daniel Gava has more than twenty years of professional experience in the design industry. He has been employed in primary positions within the departments of marketing, PR, sales and board of directors in well-known international high-end furniture manufacturers.

Daniel is also a Design Patron at the Design Museum in London and is an Affiliate Member of the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). He is currently involved in several exciting international projects. Today he will talk with us about the showroom as a place where a dialogue can happen with people.

Daniel, as you know our group is growing on an international scale so we decided to increase our presence in the marketplace by investing in flagship stores not only in London but also in Madrid, Munich, Santiago de Chile, Paris and more: how important is the presence of a showroom and what difference does it generate in the perception of the products?

Market dynamics are changing and architects increasingly seek direct contact with businesses. Architects have to increase their research into new products for their clients. Companies’ sales networks also benefit from this because their showroom capacities are better structured than those of a dealer. The brand benefits because a showroom can be a meeting place, which facilitates communication of the corporate culture.

Our main partners are architects & designers who greatly appreciate our expertise to customize products to their needs: what really matters to architects & designers when they visit a showroom?

Understanding the company’s potential in terms of ideas for projects receiving an immediate technical response and interacting with competent personnel. creating a relationship and exchanging ideas with showroom management.

A space in the heart of Clerkenwell has been for us a strategic choice to help more people discover our products but also to build our brand awareness: how much can a showroom in London affect the growth of a brand and the brand recognition on an international scale?

London in particular is a market place that boosts local activities on an international scale. This is the birthplace of many design trends that then go out into the rest of the world. Being on the spot helps companies to intercept these trends and adopt them, perhaps translating them into activities for communications, marketing or products.

Spreading our corporate culture of sustainability is one of our main objectives: based on your experience is this an important subject for those who will have to specify our products? Can the showroom help us with this?

A showroom is not just a space dedicated to products, but also to spreading corporate culture, starting with how the showroom staff approach visitors. Knowing that the products I am specifying are made by a company that observes environmental canon and is environmentally friendly allows me to protect the choices/specifications I make for clients.
Certain projects, particularly government ones, require high standards of sustainability: providing information about the products can have a positive influence on the architect’s decisions.

How can we get our potential audience more involved in our events and increase visits to the showroom?

By making the effort to exploit the company’s culture and creating local partnerships with well known counterparts in the territory who can spread the culture and aim it at the right target.
By changing the layout often to convey the concept of a dynamic company.

Does Italian design still add value to a product in today’s markets? How important is the “Made in Italy” label in a project of an office space and how can a showroom help the promotion of Italy made products generally identified with design, quality and attention to detail?

It is still important, but we must be careful, this alone is no longer enough to ensure success. For some time we have been shifting more towards a concept of service and reliability, which is threatening the influence of style and manufacturing origin. Quite rightly, in my opinion.

How advisable is it nowadays to introduce a product that is just a little different from the mainstream trend? Is following the current mainstream always a winning strategy? How can a showroom help to promote differentiation against standardization and is differentiation still a value?

It is surely a competitive advantage because, as I said, the need to seek something new and alternative is an important factor, but we must not fall into the trap of being so alternative that we forget the practical, functional aspects of a product, which in the end are what count.

Do you think that a showroom in London may influence the development process of new products taking place in the Italian headquarters?

Absolutely, in the same way that any territory can provide important indications of preferences for certain fabrics, accessories or functions.
Knowing local designers is certainly a positive thing with regard to a company’s cultural advancement and its propositions in terms of products.

We see a rising trend in the number of showrooms in Clerkenwell as well as in other important places, we too wanted to be here, do you think this trend will continue and how can it affect the sales structures/teams of the manufacturers?

You have made a good choice, the trend is evolving and also here sales dynamics have changed radically compared to a few years ago. Nowadays direct contact with company personnel is popular and companies prefer to show their manufacturing abilities by displaying a wider range of its collections in stylish areas created directly by them.

Does the increasing number of showrooms allow good coexistence among manufacturers in any case or is competition being taken to the extreme?

As far as I can judge, I would say coexistence is excellent in London. As I said before, here customer satisfaction and service are pursued pragmatically, and if it is necessary to work together with a number of companies to be assigned a project, it’s not a problem.

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