A Company of Interna Group

Robb Report

Robb Report Interview 08-2012

English Version

1. In your own view, what are the main features that make Interna become world- renowned for the design and production of prestigious interiors for key international clients?
Basically, Interna makes its name known all over the world thanks to the quality and special projects. We have 23 years of experience in hospitality field and related areas. Therefore, we know exactly the use and misuse of all necessary items. Our focus has not been changed during the last two decades. What we are doing now is manufacturing what exactly the clients and designers want. When we pay attention to every single detail of the products, we can keep the emotion of the whole project. Besides, we also work closely with the clients and designers in order to find and to test new finishes for unique items. After more than two decades in the market, we are getting more and more knowledge about projects, what clients and designers really want and where to focus. Additionally, comprehensive after-sale service is what we always bear in mind. Last but not least, as a luxury brand, we select our projects very carefully, with a focus on high-end segment like five-star hotels, boutique hotels, yachts, etc. We work closely worldwide with world-famous hotel chains as Shangri-La, Mandarine Oriental, Armani Hotel, Four Seasons, Hyatt and high-end fashion forms as Louis Vuitton, Prada, Cartier and Chanel. I myself define Interna as a boutique-contractor.

2. Between craftsmanship and machinery, which factor is playing the main role in creating an Interna product?
We always try to combine both mentioned elements. When we want to manufacture in large quantity, machines help us to keep the standard quality for the products. At the same time, we also need skillful artisans in order to make every item unique and guarantee the perfection of every detail. We believe the success on all projects we carry out is a result of the perfect working of all actors, from the top leader management to the fitter who install the items on site. As everywhere, people make up companies. A project is a sequence of phases, if you just fail just one of these it will affect the complete project.

3. What is your own definition of the term "Luxury" when it comes to a furniture product? How can you balance between two elements – traditional and contemporary – in your designs?
Luxury is a matter of personal view: Some pay more attention to the design while others highly value technical features. Interna is open to any kind of style. In my opinion, luxury means perfection of every single detail. You can not see "Luxury" but just figure it out by your feeling. Actually, the balance between traditional and contemporary is decided by designers, not by us. They decide the style and emotion for each project. We just provide them with shop drawings and give them suggestion about technical details. Sure we can do is to secure the top quality.

4. People think that Italian luxurious products are very expensive. What are the company's strategies to promote the brand's image in developing markets like Vietnam? What are the advantages and disadvantages when operating in this country?
This is true, Italian luxury products are expensive but their value the most of the time is a reflection of perfect quality and unique design. Since the day that Interna was founded, our promises are based in Italy. We are not and don't want to be the cheapest in the market but sure we have to be competitive. For this reason we have established 4 years ago also a company in Asia called Interna China and based in Shanghai. The aim of expanding our company to Asia is not only to make our products more competitive in terms of price but also to cover the far east market what at the moment is the most important. This does not change our strategy and neither key points of success as full flexibility, top quality and impeccable service. Moreover, thanks to the sophisticated local craftsmanship, some products can be better if they are made in China. Our key point is to bring our knowledge, taste, profession and experience to the region and make us more successful in the market.Nevertheless, the product quality will be maintained at the same standard wherever they are manufactured. Vietnam is a young country with many opportunities for us to develop. Beside competition, people's aesthetic taste and opinion are also causing some initial difficulties for us. The market is not fully mature and there are few clients who really know the value of luxury furniture and want to have them for their projects. Unlike European clients, many people here do not pay attention to every detail of the product when they want to buy them. Some even don't care about furniture. As a result, when entering the market, we are not selling products only, but also doing education.

5. Having the right partner is a key to be successful in a specific market. In this capacity, why do you choose IDBEN as your official partner in Vietnam?
When I met Mr. Vy Trinh – General Manager of IDBEN Co., Ltd. - we both agreed that Vietnamese market was growing very optimistically with impressive and luxury residential projects, which will allow us to offer exactly what we are doing. In addition, I know that Mr. Vy Trinh really concentrates on projects so our partnership focuses on projects only. Last but not least, Mr. Vy Trinh is very well known and well-connected in the country, which is really useful for our business. Our ideas are alike in terms of where and how we want to work and our shared project for Diamond Island in District 2, Ho Chi Minh City is among the most prominent ones.

6. What is your observation over the development of furniture industry over the last few years, especially in the luxury segment?
China has become the main furniture manufacturer of the world , but without a high quality in most of the time. Undeniably, they reach a lot of people, and China keeps growing year after year. The fact is, Chinese manufacturers need quite more time and experience to be on the same level with Italian producers. Italy is still one of the main players in luxury segment.

7. What has been done so far to overcome the economic crisis? How was Interna's performance last year?
Last year, we grew around 15% worldwide. If you look at luxury segment, you will see that developers may delay, but not cancel important projects. Many companies closed not only because of the worldwide financial crisis but also because they were weak already having inefficient management strategies. I myself consider this trend as a natural clean-up.