Demand for high-quality, design-forward, western-style furniture is increasing in China, where the growth of the urban middle class continues to explode. Because of the country’s massive manufacturing capabilities and consumer base, its fledgling brands are able to operate—and grow—at an unprecedented pace.
ZaoZuo, which translates to "design and production," is a Chinese furniture startup well-poised to take advantage of this trend. Founded by graphic designer and entrepreneur Shu Wei, the company launched just last year at Beijing Design Week, where Italian designer Luca Nichetto was announced as its creative director.
Speaking to Dezeen, Nichetto shared his excitement about the new wave of sophisticated and affordable furniture coming out of China: "I could see the quality was very good and when I asked the price, I was completely shocked. I started thinking maybe it could be interesting to have European designers working for Chinese companies that only want to sell in China ... [Chinese customers] can have local design pieces."
As part of his new position as creative director, Nichetto invited fellow Europeans including Claesson Koivisto Rune, Richard Hutten, Palomba Serafini, Note Design Studio, From Us With Love, Constance Guisset, Noé Duchaufour Lawrance, Phillipe Malouin, Sebastian Herkner, Max Gerthel, and Sarah Böttger to join the roster of ZaoZuo’s designers.
As local brands continue to perfect their design and manufacturing processes, Nichetto believes that they are more than ready to crossover into the western market, citing studios Stellar Works and Neri & Hu as examples of Chinese companies that already export to the United States and Europe. "With ZaoZuo for example, one of their plans is to first go into the U.S. market and later on move to the European market," he said.
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