Paulo Bacchi Trains the Next Generation of Furniture Makers
by jon warech
It’s a family affair at Artefacto, as the Miami furniture store sets up the third generation to create luxury living spaces.
Three generations of the Bacchi family: Paulo (SECOND FROM LEFT) with his father, Albino (FAR RIGHT), and sons Bruno and Pietro, who are now learning the family trade.
At Artefacto—the Brazilian furniture company with storefronts in Doral, Coral Gables, and Aventura—a customer can look around at the sleek but earthy furnishings and decorate the perfect home. But for CEO Paulo Bacchi, finding the right home had to come first.
The journey began in the countryside of São Paolo, where Paulo’s father, Albino Bacchi, left his family—a school teacher mother and bank manager father—for the bright lights of big-city life at age 13. With a sharp business mind and a robust sense of determination, he launched his first enterprise, selling fresh cheese to local markets. After five successful years, Bacchi’s main customer went broke and settled his debt by giving him carpentry machinery.
“He took the machinery, partnered with a very experienced carpenter, and started his first furniture company when he was 18 years old,” says Paulo, his proud son. “He started manufacturing furniture for local restaurants and then big companies, and eventually he decided to open a retail store. That’s how Artefacto came to be.”
The company as it is known today was officially founded in 1976, when Paulo was just 8 years old. After school and on the weekends, he would go with his father to the factory to learn the family business. When he was old enough, he started working—doing logistics at the factory by day while taking college courses at night. By 2002, they had 14 stores in Brazil, and like his father, Paulo had dreams of broadening his horizons.
ON HIS OWN
The company’s Spider chair.
“I decided it was time to expand, and I wanted to move to a country safer than Brazil,” says Paulo. “The desire to expand into a more stable market and the need to find a better place to raise my children made Miami my first option. It was a growing city. I saw a future.”
Just as Albino’s parents had been forced to let their son follow his ambitions and leave home, when it came time for expansion, there was no keeping the next generation from exploring new pastures. “Our initial plan was to establish our company in the US with professional local leaders. However, Paulo decided to move to Miami and start the business himself,” says Albino. “He was able to prove his capacity and talent to himself, to me, and to the other directors of our company. Paulo put into action everything he learned in school and in practice while working in Brazil.”
They opened the first Stateside store in Merrick Park in 2002, and for two straight years, Paulo worked day and night, because as he says, “all the bad things happen to new businesses when you’re not looking.” He got to know the customers, became part of the community, and introduced the country to Artefacto’s vast inventory of stylish, eco-friendly furniture. As the company expanded with new stores in both Brazil and in Miami, Paulo moved at a responsible pace. “We can only grow with stability,” he says. “That’s how I was taught. We have to grow with our own capital. That’s the Brazilian way.” In addition to its stores in Coral Gables, Aventura, and Doral, there are Artefacto-designed model residences in buildings such as Ocean House South Beach, Marquis Residences, Icon Brickell, Trump Towers, Capri South Beach, Paramount Bay, Bellini Williams Island, and Brickell Heights.
THE NEXT GENERATION
Artefacto’s founder, Albino Bacchi.
Also growing over the course of the past dozen years were Paulo’s twin sons—Pietro and Bruno—who turn 18 this year and are preparing to take the reins of the family business after completing their education. “Bruno and Pietro are identical boys, but they’re completely different in a professional way,” says Paulo. “Pietro is my salesman. Bruno is more focused on the process and the financial part. So basically I have a perfect team to run the company in a few years. I have one running marketing and product and the other taking care of logistics, administration, and financials, so all the experience has come from grandfather to father to sons in a nice way.”
The knowledge they’ve received from their father and grandfather, who retired from the business in 2013, is priceless. “The most valuable lesson my dad has taught me about the business is that the only thing a person has is his word,” says Pietro. “Always keep an open mind and good energy when speaking with anyone,” Bruno responds.
You can hear both their grandfather and father in their voices, and as they plan for the future, you can expect them, like the generations before, to chase the bright lights. “My goals consist of graduating with a degree in business along with helping Artefacto expand to areas that are currently not in our range,” Bruno says. His brother adds, “I want to expand the business to the West Coast, where I believe there are a great amount of opportunities.”
No matter where the brothers settle, the Bacchi charm lives on. “The good part is the boys really love the product, they love style, they love design, they love the people,” says Paulo. “Our clientele has a rich culture and success in whatever they are doing, and it’s a pleasure for all of us to work in this environment. I hope there will be a fourth generation.” 4440 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Ste. 1600, Coral Gables, 305-774-0004
photography by maria lankina