June 25, 2018

Q&A with the Terzani Family

Every so often, a star is born - one that transforms the design world with a bold new vision. Sergio Terzani is one such star, a true maverick paving the way for modern Italian luxury with his ultra-chic lighting brand Terzani. But his influence doesn’t end there. Sergio’s family carries the torch into a new generation, partnering with world-class designers and creating offshoot luxury brands exploring new territory in the niche high-end market. If lightning strikes once for a designer, it’s a miracle. For the Terzani family, they’re a veritable lightning rod.

We caught up with CEO Nicolas Terzani to chat luxury, sinking ships and their exciting - and exclusive - new fixture, Kika.

Your family is incredibly creative across multiple generations - where did this all start for the Terzani family?

It all started from my grandfather Orlando Terzani. He was a master craftsman, working with wrought iron, creating gift items for US distributors back in the 60’s and 70’s.

That creativity sparked an idea for my father, Sergio Terzani, and in the early ‘70s he founded the Terzani lighting brand you see today. The first record I could find was 1972. Sergio was very creative and had a good instinct for business. He combined wrought iron craftsmanship with hand-carved wood and Murano glass, and the rest is history.

How big is the Terzani family? What are everyone’s roles in the business?

Today, myself (Nicolas Terzani) and my father (Sergio Terzani) are involved in the business. My brother Cosimo Terzani worked a few years in the business, but decided to start his own brand - Il Pezzo Mancante - with his partner Barbara Bertocci.

My mother (Michele Menjou Terzani) worked many years in marketing and helped in the workshop for quality control.

There’s a story floating around that Sergio met Michele on a sinking ship - is this true? What’s the story behind that?

Yep that is all true, dramatic event for many, but ended up romantically for them. The boat never sank but caught fire and they met in the lifeboat.

Every family is full of distinct personalities - how do each of your designs or roles in the business play into your individuality? Where is there overlap - what are the common themes across every Terzani design?

Although it’s a small business, we worked really hard to build a great team of professionals. Communication and teamwork is key for success.

In the end though, it all boils down to personal taste. We bring to the market what we really like, more as if we were doing art rather than product. I personally wear many hats, but concentrate more and more on product development, which is the fun part of my job.

You partner with many designers, from Barlas Baylar and Christian Lava to Franziska Hinze - how do you determine who to partner with?

We truly partner with anyone who brings us what we feel is a good design. It’s all about looking at the drawings/sketches/renderings - you immediately know if it’s a go or not. One of our best partners is Dodo Arslan, he continually surprises us with something new and exquisite.

Franziska Hinze’s new Kika pendant is incredibly glamorous - like jewelry for the home - what inspired this design? What materials did you use?

Franziska: The Mid-Century era is a wonderful time in design and I wanted to combine a retro feel with modern craftsmanship. The Kika pendant is made from hundreds of medallions, suspended by a very delicate circular frame. They are installed by hand, one at a time, coming together to resemble a piece of jewelry. The way they are suspended, they move freely and create reflections, bringing the fixture to life.

Terzani Lab is known as an incubator for new ideas and new technology - how did that get started?

Back in 2009, we created a product development team that constantly works with designers and customers to create bespoke product and new designs. As of today, we have a total number of 6 talented people working on this team.

What are some of the cutting edge ideas you’re working on today?

If I tell you I’d have to kill you, lol. We have what I believe is one of our best new designs, coming up next year. That’s all I can say at this time.

What does the luxury market of today and tomorrow look like? How is it evolving?

Relationship between a brand and a customer is much closer in the luxury market. You really develop a personal connection, rather than a transactional one. Distribution and marketing are changing too, thanks to modern technology and small-batch manufacturing. It all goes so fast now, it’s important to keep up.

Is the next generation ready to carry the Terzani torch?

My wife and I are blessed with two great boys. They will do what they feel is right for themselves. If they fall in love with the Terzani legacy, then they will have the chance to carry the torch!