Artefacto: Highend Furniture
By Bobby Killgore
One of Brazil’s leading retailers of highend furniture, Artefacto started in 1976 as a single store on Teodoro Sampaio, a street known for its concentration of furniture shops in the city of São Paulo. Today the company employs over 2,000 people and has numerous stores throughout Brazil, the Caribbean and Mexico, as well as two in South Florida—the flagship store at Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables, which opened in 2002, and a second location in Fort Lauderdale. “The clientele of Artefacto knows what’s going on in the world. They understand how to mix styles by taking a base of contemporary décor, adding in the pieces of their own lives, then blending it all together to make something that is uniquely theirs,” says Paulo Bacchi, the Brazil-born president of Artefacto. “It’s that self-confidence—that not being timid about expressing one’s style—that gives someone the Artefacto attitude.”
A resident of Coral Gables, Bacchi was already familiar with Miami when the company decided to expand into the US market, having visited the city on family vacations since the age of five. During a recent visit to the Coral Gables store he offered a variety of factors for their success here: “Our clientele is very diverse in Florida. We have the European and Latin American tourists—they are buying second homes here or are exporting their purchases back home. We also have a strong connection with the designer community—that’s helped a lot,” he says. “Above all our clients understand value and the benefit of a superior, stylish product. Racecar drivers, singers, actors, people in the financial business— our clients are upwardly mobile or already at the top.”
With an in-house design team of 25 people, the Artefacto aesthetic can best be described as “warm contemporary.” “Basically it’s an international look—a mix of contemporary Italian flair, the chic of southern France and minimalist Asian style combined with the spicy and casual Brazilian lifestyle,” he says, adding that good design, the use of exotic wood and high-quality craftsmanship are hallmarks of furniture production in Brazil.
Another point of pride for Bacchi is Artefacto’s focus on the environment. From maintaining a comprehensive reforestation project to using only woods certified and approved by IBAMA (the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), Artefacto has established itself as a market leader in green design. “Our factory is in full compliance with IBAMA regulations and all of our products are 100-percent eco-friendly,” Bacchi declares. “We’re going in the right direction, we’re doing our part to protect the environment and that’s something we’re very proud of. It’s important to lead by example.”
Beyond their luxurious furnishings, enviable client base and commitment to the environment, Artefacto is far more than just a place to shop for furniture, according to Willman Ramos, the manager of the Coral Gables store. “We’re more of a boutique furniture store and gallery than just a regular furniture store. Our intention is to be at the forefront in terms of a contemporary lifestyle experience,” Ramos says. “Artefacto is a designer destination—it’s just a dream for both designers and their clients when they visit us. The VIP service we provide is always here—mimosas, coffee, the music. All five senses are addressed.”
Adds Bacchi: “We constantly go for the wow factor. It’s our passion and we’ve been doing it for 34 years now.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY ELLIOT AND ERICK JIMENEZ
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.