Magis is the brand that has given a novel twist to domestic design, building its identity on incorporating leading edge technology into mass production. Founded in 1976 in the bustling north eastern corner of Italy by a newcomer to the furniture business, Eugenio Perazza, Magis is today a giant international design laboratory that constantly puts itself to the test, seeking technological sophistication and employing a highly diversified workforce.
Magis seizes the day. It embraces the creativity of leading global designers (Richard Sapper, Jasper Morrison, Stefano Giovannoni, Marc Newson, James Irvine, Konstantin Grcic, Ron Arad, the Bouroullecs and many others)and channels it towards objects perched on the cutting edge.
The company even earned kudos from the trendsetter's bible, Wallpaper, which placed Perazza on top of its list of "Ten who will change the way we live".
Magis is a Factory-free organization: in order to enhance the flexibility of its R&D activities, the company opted to outsource its manufacturing and relies on a local area teeming with skilled contractors.
For example, the "Air-Chair" (2000) by Jasper Morrison combines deceivingly simple design with a sophisticated gas-assisted injection moulding process. "Chair_One" (2003) is a die-cast aluminium chair_cum_frame_cum_skeleton born of the talent of Konstantin Grcic, a design that propels the brand towards new manufacturing goals, and decrees “the end of the dictatorship of plastic”. One of the latest additions to the company’s classic collections is a new line called "Fuoritema", which forms a creative bridge into new worlds, such as products for pets; Michael Young "Magis Dog House" (2002) is an example. The challenge lying ahead of Magis is perhaps that of returning to simplicity, through the complexity of advanced technology.
In 2004 Magis also launched a new collection of objects and furniture for children between two and six years old, called Me Too Collection. Nine designers for twenty-some objects. It’s not a scale reduction of the adult world. It's more of an intermediate station, emotive equipment that stimulates the little ones' perceptions and helps them to take stock of what the adult dimension will be like. It's a token of love and an intelligent welcome to the smiles of tomorrow.
Magis is 30 years old. Until a short while ago Magis was one of the few companies that manufactured objects in plastic. Today the number has increased considerably. Still, Magis uses the most advanced moulding technologies and techniques; it was the first company in the world to apply air moulding to aesthetical goods. Plastic will remain Magis’ reference material, although it is now experimenting with others such as die-cast aluminium, aluminium metal sheet and wood.
Magis is a company in perfect health because it has good projects to develop as well as good intellectual capital, which is the distinguishing feature of the company. Excellent designers, a good design team and an extraordinary supply chain. Magis is characterised by the multiplicity of its expressive languages, its search for a deep meaning of the project, and its ethics instead of aesthetics.
Magis takes three/four years to turn the idea of a project into a finished product. Magis faces projects, both difficult and complex, taking high risks. Projects are completed as long as they are supported by a high spirit of experimentation and elevated technical cleverness.
Magis works with very well-known designers, but it has always been open to work with young designers, even at the outset of their careers. Jean-Marie Massaud and Jerszy Seymour made their debut on the design scene thanks to the opportunities Magis gave them. Now Magis discovers new passions and punctually chases former design glories, adding them to the mix. There was the interlude with Charlotte Perriand, and new design chapters are being written with Robin Day, a genius of English design, Eero Aarnio, a genius of Finnish design and Pierre Paulin, a genius of French design.
It is the price to pay for success. To reduce the possibility to be copied the entrance barrier needs to be elevated greatly. One will have to do complex projects with inventive loftiness and considerable engineering investments, and make moulds and equipment with high technical performance (technique is the ability of a company to make technology work). A qualitative distribution should too play an important role against copies selecting design-oriented companies and keeping me-too-oriented ones out.