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Intelligent furniture: Office projects for the 21st century


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Founded in 1953 as a manufacturer of office furniture incorporating the latest technology, the complexity of the modern working world has led Tecno to switch its focus over recent years.

“Our mission is no longer to produce simple furniture, but to design interior architecture which supports working methods today and into the future,” says CEO Giuliano Mosconi, who acquired Tecno in 2010 after several years as CEO for important design companies. “In particular, our aim is to understand how things are developing in relation to technology and the international working world. We don’t think in terms of products anymore, we focus on complete projects. Alongside the project culture, a global business has evolved which we serve with a strong local presence; this enables us to fully understand the respective regional markets.”

The financial crisis of 2010 was a complicated period which also saw digitalization take a real hold. Tecno decided to refocus on the company’s original goal of effectively integrating office furniture with the latest technology. As a result, the company developed a series of innovative patented products.

“We were the first company in the world in this sector to create ‘intelligent’ products which communicate with the environment,” Mr. Mosconi underlines. “This innovation brought us to the attention of the world market.”

Tecno engaged specialists for the project, and also established joint ventures with Microsoft and Telecom Italia. Initially, the technology was simply integrated into the company’s traditional furniture portfolio – an intelligent desk featured alongside a standard desk, for example.

Since then, the demand for permanent connectivity has escalated, and Tecno has established a separate company, IO.T Solutions – IO.T is the acronym for Intelligence of Tecno – which combines old world with the new through digitally connected furniture, which provides end users with the working facilities and comfort they need. IO.T Solutions’ products are managed and monitored via the company’s newest software, DINA, a booking platform and customized profiling system, which allows, for example, access control, modification of layout and maintenance planning.

DINA enables managers to control the smart furnishings remotely and provides data and information relating to usage so that resources can be optimized. Today, Tecno works predominantly on a project basis, often with renowned designers and architects, such as Norman Foster, Riccardo Bofill, Jean-Michel Wilmotte, and Renzo Piano, to produce custom-designed office spaces.

Giuliano Mosconi
We don’t think in terms of products anymore, we focus on complete projects. Giuliano MosconiCEO

The company is currently working on around 50 large and prestigious projects around the world, including the National Bank of Kuwait tower designed by Norman Foster, the justice buildings in Paris, and the European Parliament building in Brussels, projected by Renzo Piano, as well as new headquarters for Columbia University in New York, airports in Morocco and the Cape Verde Islands, and the new underground in Saudi Arabia. It goes almost without saying, that Tecno has won numerous awards for its work, such as the Red Dot and the Compasso d’Oro.

The firm is one of the leading players in its sector, and is respected around the world for the quality of its work, its innovation and the originality of its products. “One of the most important factors which differentiates us from the competition is the fact that we always conform to the logic of the culture of a project, whereas the competition generally focuses on the logic of the products,” stresses Mr. Mosconi.

Headquartered in Milan, Tecno has offices in London, Paris, Madrid, Warsaw, Frankfurt, Dubai, Seoul, New York and Tunis. 75% of the company’s turnover is generated through projects abroad; the US currently accounts for 35% of its overseas work, while Western Europe is also an important region.

The Middle East, Southeast Asia, Australia and Central and Eastern Europe are also interesting and upcoming markets. With the commercial and public sector market booming, Tecno has recently acquired a new company to focus on similar developments for the residential market.

Zanotta is a well-known Italian brand, and under the Tecno umbrella will bring digital connectivity to furniture designed for private homes. Mr. Mosconi is preparing to hand over his company to a new generation. “I am of the age where I want to move to the role of President,” he confirms. “I am therefore looking both internally and externally to form a group of people to manage the business going forward. Tecno will continue to grow and, above all, remain a credible partner for international projects. I believe our history is a strong factor and I want Tecno to remain an important reference point for Italian design.”

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