Founded in Italy 50 years ago by the Guzzini brothers, iGuzzini began as a simple lamp manufacturer. Today iGuzzini is a global lighting design firm; it opened a subsidiary in Shanghai in 2007. Massimiliano Guzzini, vice chairman of iGuzzini Lighting China, talked with CHINA ECONOMIC REVIEW about the firm’s unique approach.
Q: Why does iGuzzini consult physicists and psychologists when making a lamp?
A: Designing light is not only about illuminating space, it also requires awareness of all the aspects of light quality. Light is crucial for human life, just like air and water. It affects our psychological and physical well-being. This is why we cooperate with so many different researchers.
Q: China seems to have a distinct light culture. Chinese cafés are dim, restaurants are bright and neon is everywhere. Why is this?
A: We are aware that there is a difference and we are trying to learn about it. Chinese culture of light is full of colors and rich, bright light. At the same time, we are trying to promote our "culture of light" in China. Lights are part of the personality of cities, just like buildings. Good lighting (that is, placing light in the correct place) is crucial in modern architecture. It means energy saving, safer streets and a better relationship between technology and environment.
Q: Why did you come to China, and why are you still here?
A: We were facing moderate growth in the European market so we looked for opportunities outside of Europe. China is a booming market and its position in Asia is strategic, logistically and in terms of production. Today our China subsidiary supplies the Southeast Asian market. We don’t just make lights, we help integrate them into different spaces, paying attention to architecture and energy efficiency.
Q: Do you rely on Chinese contractors? How do you handle quality control?
A: We held a big screening process of all the Chinese contractors. To keep the value of our production high is really important for our brand. We sent people from Italy to China to train local staff to think, project and produce in the iGuzzini style and quality. Since all the primary technologies are internal and strict control of all productive processes is always necessary, this was a lot of work.