The son of a cabinetmaker, Pasquale Natuzzi (b.1940) opened his first workshop at age 19 in Taranto, Italy, producing sofas and armchairs. Today, Mr. Natuzzi is founder, chairman and chief designer of the Natuzzi Group, the world's leading producer of leather sofas and Italy's largest furniture manufacturer. Mr. Natuzzi founded the company in 1972 in Italy.
In the early 1980s, during a trip to the United States, Mr. Natuzzi transformed the industry by democratizing the leather sofa. A product once reserved for the elite, Natuzzi made it available to the masses by offering a quality leather sofa for just $999 at Macy's. In 1985, Mr. Natuzzi established Natuzzi Upholstery Inc. in New York to meet the growing demand for leather furniture by North American clients. The company's success in the U.S., inspired Natuzzi to conquer other markets in both Europe and the Far East. In 1998, the company solidified its American commitment by commissioning architect Mario Bellini to create a state-of-the-art showroom and office building in High Point, N.C., for Natuzzi Americas. The Natuzzi Group also launched a franchising chain, Divani & Divani by Natuzzi, which currently includes 278 Natuzzi stores and 605 Natuzzi galleries worldwide.
With revenues of 634.4 million Euros and more than 8,000 employees, the Natuzzi Group today operates 12 factories worldwide, including seven in Italy. Mr. Natuzzi's commitment to investing in product research and innovation, marketing, communication and professional staff training have driven the company's success. His dedication to the growth of the company, its collaborators and the region was recognized when he received an honorary degree in Education Science from Italy's University of Bari in 2001.
Mr. Natuzzi also is active in the community as a sponsor of Race for the Cure, a short marathon organized by Komen Italia Onlus to raise funds to fight breast cancer. To make waiting rooms more comfortable for families, Mr. Natuzzi has furnished the hall of Centro Clinico Nemo, a hospital in Milan dedicated to the care of those with muscular dystrophy. He also is active in a city planning project to revitalize Santeramo and make it a better place for children to grow.