Space Magazine is a biannual publication that amalgamates “extraordinary design and architecture” through contemporary photography. For its fourth issue, the magazine visited the headquarters of Italian furniture brand Gufram, a company famous for its “playful, witty design ethos.” Since its inception in Turin in 1966 the brand’s furniture has brought pop art into homes worldwide, revolutionising Italian design. To celebrate Gufram’s 50th anniversary this year, Space spoke to the global creative orchestrator, Charley Vezza in a feature punningly named, Charley and the Cactus Factory.
The Vezza family bought Gufram in 2011 after Sandra Vezza, Charley’s mother, had been collecting its works for many years. As a result, Charley grew up with Gufram furniture enabling him to understand and embrace its nonconformist personality. “Some of them were real people to me!” Charley reminisces. “One of them I called Jimmy the Cactus. I used to enjoy riding on the Farfalla, a butterfly-shaped piece too. It’s a unique piece that’s actually now on show at our 50th anniversary exhibition at the Carla Sozzani gallery in Milan.”
The images, taken by Alessandro Furchino Capria, capture the funhouse environment of Gufram and display Charley’s own description of the work place. “You know those giant corporations that are very strict and super bureaucratic, with a precise hierarchy and defined roles? We’re the exact opposite.” Alessandro has documented this environment for the feature, focusing on the loud textures and joyful personalities that make the work.
Gufram is a forward-thinking business, and it’s not afraid to add a little humour in the process. One of its greatest achievements is the development of Guflac, a innovative varnish that coats foam but still allows it to be mouldable. “It was impossible to think of such crazy shapes. Guflac has transformed polyurethane foam from a simple stuffing into an aesthetic component.” One of Charley’s personal favourites is a design that was made possible with Guflac: “It’s a giant inflatable cactus with two eggs underneath – which in the end, is a huge phallus.”
Gufram is a friendly face in furniture design, a company who have stood the test of time while still engaging with newer clients such as Tolietpaper and Studio Job.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) joined It’s Nice That as a staff writer in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In January 2019 she was made deputy editor and in November 2021, became a senior editor predominantly working on It’s Nice That's partnerships. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about creative projects for the site or potential partnerships.