Covet Group launches city dedicated to design
With the launch of Boca do Lobo marking the beginning of the Covet Group in 2005, this year the group launches its most ambitious project to date: a city dedicated to design and craftsmanship, which involves an initial investment of €25 million and 500 direct jobs
Since its founding in 2005, Boca do Lobo has never gone unnoticed with its exuberant furniture collection and its daring marketing. Whether it is the presence of the brand’s pieces in the film Fifty Shades of Grey or the international celebrities who purchase Boca do Lobo pieces, the company has always managed to be the most talked-about national furniture brand outside of Portugal.
All that exposure catapulted the brand to various residential, hotel and retail projects on a global scale, which allowed the mother group of Boca do Lobo to expand with new brands and new areas of operation. In an interview with Essential, Amândio Pereira, CEO of the Covet Group and co-founder of the brand, says that much has changed in the past few years. “The brand became more mature and accepted challenges that ensured it stayed at the forefront of a fierce market. We uphold design and the trends of the future, but we always keep our focus on craftsmanship and the respect for that craft, a stance also championed by the Cover Group, of which we are part. Because that craft is something that requires patience and experience, it helped us mature in a more conscientious way and made us want to continue being challenged.”
Although Boca do Lobo led to the creation of the group, Covet now boasts a series of furniture, lighting and accessories brands, including Delightfull, Brabbu, Luxxu, Koket, Maison Valentina and Rug Society, among others. Maintaining a maximalist aesthetic approach, with retro inspiration and high attention to detail, the collections of the various brands have always been based on the unique interaction between its creatives and artisans. “Our mission is to elevate design and craftsmanship, and it is vital for us to invest in this educational, cultural and artistic side. We created two foundations that aim to help us achieve our goal: the Design Foundation and the Brhands Foundation.” The first aims to establish itself internationally as an active engine in promoting design, generating knowledge and providing tools for widespread creative work.
Hoping to combine the worlds of creativity and production in a single space, the group is planning to build Covet Town, which will occupy an area of around 85,000sqm in Gondomar. Easily the group’s most ambitious project since its founding, this city dedicated to design aims to be an international reference for the furniture and decorative arts industry.
“The project has existed for a long time but it only became viable now; a need, in fact. Employing 500 people and providing indirect work to more than 700, the group has grown in such a way that a place where everyone could cooperate in harmony became essential. Covet Town brings together the ‘thinkers’ and the ‘makers’ in the same space, thus creating synergies between the creative areas and the craft side of the group.”
The project, launched in 2018 with completion scheduled for 2020, is far from being just a place that houses the production units and offices of the group’s various brands. Included in the plans are “a residential area, similar to the old industrial neighbourhoods, to welcome the ‘thinkers’ and the ‘makers’, foreign employees or even those from further afield in Portugal. Other spaces such as the Covet Museum, which will house the group’s most distinctive collections, a library, community vegetable gardens, a public garden, sports courts and even a supermarket to meet the needs of the employees are some of the services planned”, reveals the CEO.
When asked about the investment plan for this project, Amândio Pereira was emphatic, noting that “€25 million will be invested by the end of the year, covered by all the profits from our projects and businesses and not by the banks; this has always been the culture of the group.”
With a growth sustained by exports, which represent 90% of production, the group continues to invest heavily in international expansion, through its presence at fairs and opening showrooms in key markets for the Covet Group.
“We are in more than 80 countries, however, Italy, the UK, Germany, France, the USA, Russia, China and the Middle East are the markets we most invest in. We decided to invest strongly in fairs, as well as showrooms and local partnerships. We can be found in the Lladró showroom in Milan and in New York with Boca do Lobo. We recently opened a showroom in the French capital, Covet Paris, and we are about to open one in New York, but the first one was in London. All these spaces are concepts of the group, whether it is an apartment where we can display the pieces while also providing the Covet experience, or a showroom with a more ‘retail’ vision. This has been a way of bringing us closer to people, because for many years, most of our communication, excluding the fairs, was online. For us, this step to open showrooms was the most appropriate; a way of showing that design is everywhere.”
And because the group’s activities don’t stop here, at the end of June, it will be holding the Design & Craftsmanship Summit. “We want to have two days of discussion on relevant subjects, be it design, crafts, luxury or trends, and in this way achieve our mission: elevating design and craftsmanship,” concludes Amândio Pereira, with the certainty that the Covet Group’s ideas haven’t dried up yet, and will continue to spread the Portugal name across the globe.