Region: INTERNATIONAL

In Review: Frezza’s Alplus

In the design world, the words ‘Made in Italy’ hold immense value. They symbolise a high level of craftsmanship, prestige, and tradition, and a sense of pride for the makers. In our review of Frezza’s Alplus collection with designers Kristina Zanic of Kristina Zanic Consultants, and Adriana Graur of DWP, we truly understood what that meant…

 


 

 

Frezza is a global brand with a history rooted in true Italian tradition as they continue to design and create with a passion for beauty and innovation. What started in 1954 with a small, family-run furniture factory near Treviso, has now grown into one of the biggest Italian manufacturing brands with a strong presence in key markets around the world. 

Frezza’s Alplus collection, true to form, represents its Italian heritage while balancing components of contemporary design that is now trending in modern workspaces. Designed by Marco Zito (who continues to teach Industrial Design at the IUAV Venice), Alplus is a flexible furnishing system that aims to offer solutions for both the office and hospitality sector. 

According to Nicola Sacilotto, Regional Director Middle East and India, the Alplus philosophy is to not limit the customer to a single product, but offer flexibility within a comprehensive family of products to offer a complete solution.

The Review Crew

Above from left: Simone Fornasier, Head of Business Development; Nicola Sacilotto, Regional Director Middle East and India, Frezza Spa; Adriana Graur, Associate Design Director, dwp; Kristina Zanic, CEO, Kristina Zanic Consultants

Informally Formal

“Workspace design is not the same it was 10 years ago,” says Nicola. “It’s agile, multifunctional, collaborative, and social. At Frezza, we’ve been pushing ourselves to design solutions that meet these needs, while maintaining the italian design we’re known for. The office is more than desks, chairs, and storage. There’s soft-seating, collaboration areas, benches, and social zones. With Alplus, we aim to offer a comprehensive solution for all workspace through a mix of quality, comfort, and elegance”. 

What we immediately notice about the Alplus collection is an interesting combination of minimal and sleek design profiles, topped with bold colours that really pop  – an interesting and almost unconventional approach to modern design. In Frezza’s own words, Alplus is a contemporary synthesis of flexible and informal furnishings that integrate perfectly with smart office environments. The entire collection is characterised by the essential and soft design obtained from high technology and quality workmanship.

Kristina: I love the simplicity of the product. Less is truly more! But then again, there’s so much variety in regards to the colours that it makes for a really nice collection. All of the products somehow maintain a consistent form and shape, and it has a streamlined look. I love how it’s just comfortable enough to work in, yet not too much that it makes you get lazy. The way they’ve incorporated plug points so they work with other devices is really neat too.

Adriana: They’ve kept it simple and neat, which works in their favour because they’ve executed the entire collection so well. Everything complements each other – from the minimal design to the colours. It’s simple yet comfortable, and the form is so clean. True to the current trends, they’ve neatly incorporated plug points in the right locations.

At the heart of the design is the die cast painted aluminium structure that forms the base for the majority of its benching products. The Alplus design allows for the possibility of a variety of multiple configurations. Designers can create different typologies depending on the theme of choice. Products can be mixed and matched across the board with different fabrics and finishes. The sheer number of potential combinations alone is enough to excite. To top it off, the finish colour across different product types can be matched to create a unified palette. “We’re very competent when it comes to matching finishes and helping designers realise their creative vision, without having to pay for more than expected,” says Nicola. 

One interesting design we like was the Alplus sofa. While it’s perfect for adding a sleek and comfortable seating component to the space, it comes with optional divider panels that can be attached to the back, easily creating an acoustically sound and comfortable private space. 

But if you want to see a true blend of style, comfort, and versatility – an ideal representation of Frezza – we suggest taking a look at the Seat-Coffee table hybrid. The reviewers absolutely loved the design and the execution, and this is definitely a unique product that you won’t find so easily in other collections.

Kristina: The colours are bold and daring. I find the palette really uplifting. Plus, I love the glass table top! In fact, I almost didn’t realise that it was glass. It’s not always easy to make real estate work for you, but it can be fun when you have a large selection of finishes and products from the same collection. Even better that you can customise it to your liking and in accordance with the space.

Adriana: You can see that they’ve paid attention to the details, like the edges, for example. They’re nicely rounded to the point giving the design a classy look, but keeping it safe as well. The whole collection offers the kind of flexibility that designers and clients need. Makes things so much easier for us. Once we know what’s possible, all we have to do is plug it into the setting and reconfigure to create the typologies we want. I can’t help but admire the glass finish, it’s really something that stands out!

Comfort Without Compromise

Frezza’s product lines have a well established reputation for their flexibility and versatility. While the aesthetic leans towards the modern luxury vibe, there are plenty of options to work with most design themes. “When it comes to flexibility, we’re one of the best,” says Nicola. “We do it without having to compromise on quality or aesthetic.” A clear example of this can be seen in the quality of wood and glass panels. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that despite using high quality Saint Gobain glass, the price point is still quite reasonable. While the tops are melamine, it’s from a high quality source that the untrained eye would mistake for solid wood. The top finishes are available in eight different laminate finishes, five glass finishes, and five veneers. Custom finishes are also available, subject to quantity of course, although Nicola informs us that custom glass finishes are easier to execute.

In the true spirit of innovating and adapting to new markets, Alplus designs have incorporated finishes and new design elements that enable them to manage nearly any combination of elements in their collection, from frames to fabric and accents. The new finishes do a great job of preserving Frezza’s Italian design style while giving a fresh look to the collection. This serves as a reminder of how modern design has changed. “Even traditionally design conservative markets are beginning to experiment with new styles, colours that pop, and minimalist design,” says Nicola. “But, they still want a true Italian brand. In projects like those, we’ve done pretty well thanks to the versatility of our collection.”

So what sets Frezza apart from its competitors? “When our competitors say they can do reconfigurations, they usually mean mixing and matching within closely aligned lines, such as benches and maybe a few soft seating elements,” explains Nicola. “We truly provide flexibility by being able to integrate and mix everything, from the executive range to the meeting rooms. We’re not the cheapest, but we’re certainly not the most expensive. And we’re constantly working to make sure our customers immediately experience the positive returns from buying our products.”

In the spirit of collaboration, Frezza is even working to build a digital library of Revit files, making the job even easier for designers. 

Kristina: We choose brands based on a variety of factors, but how easily they achieve a look is perhaps one of the most important ones. The contemporary look of the Alplus holds a lot of value. The finish is subtle and elegant, perfect for most office environments. For a 100% made in Italy product, the price point is excellent, more so given the manufacturing timelines and quality.

Adriana: The collection checks a lot of boxes, which certainly makes it easier for us when deciding on a brand for a project. It’s got a great fresh look that’s important in today’s designs. It’s simple, clean, and neat, but not to the point where it doesn’t have character. It’s refined, and there’s so much attention to detail. So much of the craftsmanship is, in fact, understated!

Our Thoughts

The Alpus collection is certainly an impressive one. With nearly everything from benching systems and meeting tables to executive desks and soft seating, it’s one collection you can rely on to realise your creative ambitions. Plus, with a large variety of finishes to choose from, you’re spoilt for choice. The best part? The price point is as flexible as the collection itself. So, if you’re ok with sticking to a minimalist Italian design while getting some great value for your investment, Alplus is certainly the way to go.

Kristina: My favorite feature would have to be the bench. I like to mix it up, and the idea that you can casually take a break on the bench close by if you don’t feel like working on the desk all day. If I were to add something, I’d definitely design more shapes. It would add some funk and would certainly go a long way. The simple lines are great, but it reduces versatility when it comes to using it in the other design themes.

Adriana: I can definitely see it being used in lounges, especially in areas like airports or private lounges. The price point is excellent for what it offers. And I like the linear look and the consistency of the design. People think simple lines are too sterile, but I believe you can challenge it by being creative with colours and finishes.


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