Exclusive Interview: Antonio De Bonis of Tulip Juvenile and Leander
Trends & Events
We’ve got another fabulous company (actually two!) manufacturing gorgeous and modern baby and kid furniture that we’re bringing to you in an interview this week. So why focus on furniture for people who can’t even afford to buy their own? Read on to find out…
Well for one thing, there’s a lot of notoriously terrible-looking kid’s furniture out there. And for another, having kids means adding a lot of new stuff to your home. Make sure that stuff looks good and is healthy. We’ll be showing you the products of Tulip Juvenile and Leander today; you get two company profiles in one with this interview! We don’t have audio for this interview–just words. But they’re great words, and we’ve added a ton of photos in the slide show to make up for it. Speaking with one of the designers, Antonio De Bonis, we’ve gotten a snapshot of why these companies do what they do, how they do it and even what furniture their kids use!
2M: So the amazing modern furniture companies of Tulip and Leander are under the parent company of Natart Juvenile, correct? How and when did Natart, Tulip and Leander start, and what other companies do you guys run?
AD: Yes, Natart is the parent company of Tulip Juvenile, but Leander does not belong to Natart. Leander belongs to Stig Leander in Denmark, who is my friend. Natart start in 2002. Tulip in 2009 and Leander in 2003. Natart/Tulip is the North America distributor for Leander.
2M: And what role do you play in each business?
AD: I am in charge of the design department for Natart/Tulip and in charge of the sales for Natart/Tulip and Leander in North America only. My brother Michael is the artistic director.
2M: What is your background? Did you attend design school or have been in the design business for years?
AD: I studied Roman & Greek architecture in Rome, Italy. I have been in furniture design since 1993 working for a designer studio.
2M: How many designers create the furniture for Tulip and Leander?
AD: Leander has one designer: Stig Leander. Natart/Tulip has three designers: myself, Michael and Vivian Lindemann.
2M: Why modern children’s furniture? Why did Tulip and Leander decide to produce modern kid’s furnishings?
AD: Tulip and Leander decide to produce modern kids furniture because on the market generally the others companies offer severe and square modern design, often without graceful lines.
2M: How would you describe your companies’ style?
AD: The Tulip and Leander style is a modern-urban [style] with Scandinavian influences.
2M: Do you have kids? And if so, do they use any of these furniture pieces?
AD: Yes, I have 2 little girls or 8 and 5. They use the Leander high-chair, the Leander junior bed and the Piccolo dressers.
2M: Both Tulip and Leander are obviously doing a great job. Can you share some of the ways in which you run a successful business?
AD: We run our business with a lot of:
- Passion for design
- Passion for high quality and functionality
- Care for the safety of our products
2M: Do you run your business by any specific design philosophy?
AD: Tasteful design, practical sense.
2M: What is your current obsession? What other modern furniture companies or designers that you pay attention to and really like?
AD: My current obsession: Safe products for babies, safe varnishes and low VOC (air quality). My preferred designers: Antonio Citterio, Gaetano Pesce.
2M: What is your ideal working environment?
AD: My ideal working environment: no stationary office, no computer, natural light.
2M: So what’s up next for Natart Juvenile, Tulip and Leander? Anything exciting on the horizon?
AD: At Tulip we are launching the new “Domino Collection” modular system. With Leander we are launching the new changing station, the regular 4 drawers dresser and the high-chair.