With high ceilings and massive windows, the 44,000-square-foot Artefacto showroom feels more like an art museum than a furniture design store.
Framed by modern art and natural light, the Artefacto pieces — tables, sofas, chairs, beds and more — seem too perfect to touch.
And then you take a seat and are enveloped in the comfort of the Savana sofa or Womb chair. Not only are the pieces beautiful to the eye — they’re meant to be lived in.
This was Artefacto CEO Paulo Bacchi’s design goal.
“Everything is made to embrace you,” Bacchi said.
Artefacto designs mix organic products, including wood, linen, leather and metal, with clean, simple lines to create a warm, contemporary collection. The use of neutral colors like white, beiges and grays makes Artefacto pieces timeless and versatile. About 80 percent of the furniture it sells is designed and manufactured by Artefacto, exclusively for Artefacto; the remaining 20 percent are pieces Bacchi finds during international travels and secures U.S. exclusivity. The company seeks to fit a wide range of budgets, with sofas ranging from $2,000 to $25,000.
Deborah Rosenburg, founder of DiMare Design, a Miami interior design team, has been using Artefacto pieces in her designs for years. She says interior design is trending toward sustainable, comfortable decor that also feels peaceful.
“I think Artefacto fits that design,” Rosenburg said. “You walk into their showroom, and you feel that way. So why wouldn’t you want that look in your house?”
Jeff Lichtenstein, president and publisher of Florida Design magazine, also lauds Bacchi’s savvy and expertise. "I think Paulo is one of the most knowledgeable [people] about what people want. He creates designs that people actually want in their homes. He really goes out of his way to find things that people want in their home and that they're comfortable living with."
Bacchi’s newest collection, Arte 5, the first he has designed entirely himself, is just arriving in stores.
“Why five? Because we have five senses,” Bacchi said.
The five themes of Arte 5 — Canyon, Hollywood 20/40, Metropolitan, Midnight Luxe and Sartoria — are each inspired by a different lifestyle, from farmhouse to old Hollywood glamour. “The new collection is a very eclectic collection, that depending on the fabric and the finish and the environment that you use… you can have five moods with the same product,” Bacchi said.
That range of styles is part of Artefacto’s appeal, said Brazil-based architect and designer Debora Aguiar. “You can buy everything for a house or a commercial space there...This is very important because the more you have a line of work and a predominant style, the more the clients know they can always demand something new....[Artefacto is] always looking for innovation, new fabrics, new leather and suede, new fibers, new finishes."
Artefacto began in 1976 in Brazil by Bacchi’s father. Bacchi got his marketing degree from Sao Paulo University and studied furniture design with private tutors in Milan and Florence in his early 20s. In 2000, his father retired, and Bacchi, then 30, took over the company.
Bacchi set out to expand domestically, taking Artefacto from four to 25 stores in Brazil. When it came to the U.S., Bacchi considered New York and Los Angeles before deciding on Miami as its first location.
“We picked out Miami for several reasons,” Bacchi said. “It was the most growing city in the options I had. Also, there’s a very large and important South American component to Miami.”
Bacchi researched the local furniture design market and quickly realized that most luxury furniture design companies warehouse stock elsewhere. That meant long delivery times — longer than many out-of-town second-and-third homeowner clients like to wait. Bacchi saw an opportunity to set himself apart.
“Instead of just being another nice showroom with good products and good prices, we came up with a vast inventory program,” Bacchi said.
When the first Artefacto showroom opened in 2002 in Coral Gables, Bacchi could deliver his luxury furniture in a day or two, instead of a typical eight to 12 weeks.
The quick turnaround from showroom to home is due to the massive inventory Bacchi constantly updates in Miami. There are more than 3,000 pieces of Artefacto furniture in stock at any given time.
Rosenburg, of DiMare Design, says having so many options available quickly “completes everything as a designer.”
“Many times, when [clients] get a unit they want to get in immediately,” Rosenburg said. “So having a turnkey available in something as high end as Artefacto ... It’s a terrific part of the puzzle for me. I can get the clients beautiful furnishings, and they can get them quickly. They don’t have to wait a month.”
Despite Artefacto’s massive size, it is still a boutique factory, meaning Bacchi can create customized pieces. Someone who seeks more color or a different texture for their sofa or bed can work with Bacchi and have the piece in their home in about eight weeks. That suits many in-town residents who also have become part of his clientele.
“Not everyone likes that pristine, all white look,” Rosenburg said. “Artefacto has many different themes and textures so they can change an austere white piece and make a modern chair with specific textures.”
In addition to the design aesthetic and impressive stock and turnaround time, Artefacto also focuses on customer service. Shoppers are greeted by staffers who offer espresso and champagne.
“Not only is it their designs, they really understand what the client needs,” Rosenburg said. “[The employees] work beautifully with you there. They make the customer feel very special.”
CEO: Paulo Bacchi.
Opened: First U.S. showroom opened in Coral Gables in 2002.
Showrooms: 25 in Brazil, three in Miami-Dade (Doral, Aventura and Merrick Park).
Employees: 1200 in Brazil, 150 in Miami.
Inventory: More than 3,000 pieces in stock in Miami at any time.
Factory: 700,000-square-foot facility in Brazil.
Sales: 35,000 products sold a month worldwide; Miami sales have grown 20 to 25 percent each year since opening.