At Zola Predosa (Bologna), the historic Italian company IPE was found by the brothers Carlo, Pompeo and Vittorio Cavalli. Their entrepreneurial adventure in the world of furnishings, specializing in the creation of upholstered pieces made with expanded polyurethane, takes on the character of a revolution of engineering and style, standing apart from the production processes of the time.
IPE takes part in the first edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan with the Mercury armchair, designed by the sculptor Rito Valla: art and design find a new, completely original formula of interaction in this unique proposal.
60's, 70's e 80's
Late 1960s The second generation of the family enters the firm. Vittorio’s son, Luigi Cavalli, theorizes and guides the expansion of the brand on an international level, contributing to the creation of many collections of products, and acting as artistic co-director from the launch of Visionnaire to the arrival of the daughter Eleonore in the company. Halfway through the 1990s Luigi’s children – Leopold and Eleonore – are active in the company’s management, working together with their father on a series of important new initiatives.
IPE introduces the Streamlined collection, a new proposal designed by Roberto Lazzeroni, which beyond individual projects involves the definition of original and unprecedented decor compositions for various areas of the home: in keeping with this principle, the bedroom zone, the dining room and the living area are radically reinterpreted and reorganized in the design. This new project paradigm is accompanied by remarkable changes in production praxis. The logic of in-house workmanship is put aside, leading to a substantial, visionary innovation: the production line is structured on the model of the distributed factory – split into segments that in any case remain interconnected – creating a system of highly qualified centers of expertise and excellence across the production districts of the Italian peninsula.
At Verona Fiera, during “Abitare il tempo,” the Visionnaire collection is presented on the market for the first time. The new brand presents absolutely original offerings: it is a unique case in the galaxy of companies operating in the sector of Made in Italy – and beyond – thanks to a truly extroverted approach. Some of the pieces – like the Siegfried bench, the Ginevra and Avalon sofas – are still bestsellers today, fifteen years later. Visionnaire immediately makes its mark as a unique brand thanks to its sartorial approach, making exclusive ideas and impeccable workmanship its main features, and thus interpreting the concept of “luxury” in a totally original way.
Opening of the Visionnaire flagship store in Bologna, with marvelous spaces created in the former church of San Damiano, an integral part of the famous estate of Palazzo Zambeccari on the very central Via Farini. The rooms are carefully restored, bringing original decorations and materials to light, and organized in a structure with a central layout, featuring a large volume topped by a dome, an apse and lateral aisles. The architectural complex, with its tone of nobility, is perfectly suited to the stylistic flair of the company.
The Visionnaire flagship store in Milan opens its doors, welcoming visitors into an elegant building on Piazza Cavour. The striking space with its vivid identity has an area of 2000 square meters, organized on two levels inside what was previously the historic “Cinema Cavour.” The location fully conveys the potential of the brand’s project, including a restaurant area and a space for cultural programming – the Wunderkammer gallery – set aside for art exhibitions.
The company ownership, previously limited to the Cavalli family, expands to include the Altopartners fund. This important step brings new energy to the entrepreneurial logic of international growth already in progress, and leads to the opening of the first Russian Visionnaire store, in Moscow.
A second investment fund enters the array of stakeholders, Ergon Capital II: the ownership thus includes two funds, as well as the Cavalli family and a number of private partners. During the same year, the first Visionnaire monobrand store in the Middle East is opened in Dubai, along with the first in the United States, in Miami. To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the founding of the brand, the Nature Jewel Box capsule collection is introduced, featuring exclusive products that stand out for the use of precious materials and light forms: this very successful collection marks the beginning of a new phase in the Visionnaire story.
Visionnaire continues its path of stylistic evolution, with the aim of extending its offerings to more sophisticated and complex markets, such as those of Europe and North America, as well as a new generation of clients. For the company, this is the moment to present a collection composed of furnishings that reflect the linguistic canons of “Art Design,” and to introduce – as one of the first companies in the sector – a complete “Greenery” range of materials with low environmental impact.
This is the year of international prizes. As many as six awards of the international design community are assigned to Visionnaire: the Kobol bathroom console designed by Alessandro La Spada wins the Archiproducts Design Award; the Opera dining table, also by the designer Alessandro La Spada, takes the AD USA Great Design Award 2018; the Tanya chairs by Roberto Lazzeroni receives the Architizer A+ Design Award; the Tea Party table is a winner in the Wallpaper Design Awards, both in UK and in China; and the Balin, Elmo, Galdor and Tareg mirrors by Armando Bruno receive the NYCxDesign Award.
The sequence of honors and awards continues: the Marty console designed by Marco Piva is honored in the “Best Dream Factory” category of the Wallpaper Design Awards. Thanks to an extraordinary policy of international growth, in 2019 the company has 31 exclusive stores around the world, and operates in 55 countries. 2019 is a year of anniversaries for IPE-Visionnaire: the mother company IPE celebrates the 60th anniversary of its founding, while Visionnaire, its exclusive brand, reaches its 15th year of success. For the 58th edition of the Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan and the associated FuoriSalone 2019, these milestones will be commemorated with a sequence of extraordinary initiatives.They include the launch of a signature volume, which takes on particular strategic and programmatic value: Decalogue – this is the title of the project – is a precious book published in a limited edition, presenting the ten fundamental and indispensable values of the company, defined through an overall vision that has the force of a credo. The texts offer a narrative of the historical roots of the brand, taking stock of its present identity and outlining ambitious trajectories for its future.