In the history of the modern bed, the year 1978 was a milestone. It was the year that Flou was founded, a company with the precise objective of innovating the bedroom and create a new ‘sleep culture’.
It was a period of great social change: more women were going out to work, the homes required multi-functional spaces, there was the growing desire to live life with greater freedom and higher quality. The bedroom became somewhere more dynamic and the bed abandoned the traditional static all-white appearance and delighted dressing in colors.
Flou was ahead of its time and launched Nathalie, a bed designed by Maestro Vico Magistretti. In addition to the innovative design and the possibility of purchasing it ‘ready for sleep’, Nathalie was also extremely practical: a flick of the wrist and it was made.
The success of Nathalie is history and this creation is now considered to be the mother of all ‘modern textile beds’ which then became a furnishing division in its own right – soft, upholstered, removable covers, washable, a place where the sheets and bedcovers were replaced with brightly-colored duvets.
Flou had arrived and its continual development saw esthetics and function going hand-in-hand with innovation in the field of materials, technology, rationalization of the production processes. However, the company philosophy remained unchanged: to produce excellent beds, designed with the precise objective of improving comfort, wellness and quality of life.
At the time of writing, Flou is producing more than 50 different beds, from single to king-size, from sofa-beds to studio couches, produced with fabrics, wood, leather, hide and other materials. The company also produces the technical accessories – mattresses, pillows, mattress supports, cover fabrics – duvet covers available in a wide range of colors and patterns, collections that are reviewed every year; furnishing accessories – chests-of-drawers, night-stands, occasional furniture, desks, armchairs, mirrors, lamps, poufs and bookcases.
The collection is completed and enriched with the extraordinary wardrobes of the Guardaroba range; some of the doors connect and match with the textile soul of the company.
Thanks to this innovative concept, Flou has been able to interpret the ‘sleep culture’. It is now a market leader in the sector and has been promoted from being the ‘bed specialist’ to the ‘bedroom specialist’.
The complete collection is available in the leading furniture stores in Italy and across the world, and in the Flou showrooms in Milan and New York.
Sadly, the founder of Flou, Rosario Messina, left us prematurely on March 9th 2011.
He used these words to describe the body and soul of Flou:
“The bed is a special place where the future is born, where couples connect, where families are created, where people think about their tomorrows. That is my opinion today as it was when I founded Flou all those years ago”.
His extraordinary professional career and human experience was recognized with the maximum tribute by the President of the Italian Republic who nominated him as Cavaliere del Lavoro in June 2008.
He was born in 1942 in Aci Castello, Sicily. His father, a farmer, died young and his son Rosario assumed the responsibility of his family. At that time, he was employed in the ‘La Rinascente’ department store in Catania; however, his work did not prevent him continuing his evening classes and he successfully graduated from High School. He changed jobs and worked for the Catania branch of Zanussi-Rex, the leading Italian company for electrical appliances at that time.
He moved to the north of Italy where he was appointed as sales manager for a prestigious design company. He was then employed in the commercial department of another leading furniture company, which like the previous one, was located in the industrious Brianza area.
These professional experiences were invaluable for his career and he changed positions again, working in the Italian textile company Bassetti where he was involved in the development of new concepts for the application of textiles in furniture production.
The year 1978 saw a major development: with some partners, he founded the company Flou which he later acquired in full.
Intuition, drive, foresight, an innovative spirit are the characteristics that allowed the Sicily-born Rosario Messina to make his mark in Lombardy, historically recognized as being the stronghold of famous design companies. The City of Meda, where the Flou headquarters are located, paid tribute to his commitment by welcoming him as an Honorary Citizen.
His successful career has been marked by numerous prizes and awards, including “Compasso d’Oro ADI for his career”; the “Entrepreneur of the Year” awarded by Ernst & Young; the “Made in Italy Awards, New York”; the Medaglia d’Oro Confindustria Monza (the Gold Medal awarded by the Industrial Confederation of Monza); the “Piazza Mercanti” prize awarded by the Milan Chamber of Commerce; he was appointed as a Board member for the Industrial Association of Monza and Brianza; the Rotary prize “Paul Harris per l’Imprenditoria” and he took part in numerous conferences, forums and congresses where Flou was presented as an emblematic example of innovation in furniture design and production. In the Nineties, he reached the height of his career in the trade associations, with appointments as President of the Furniture Group Assarredo, President of Assarredo, President of Cosmit, the organizing committee for the Milan Furniture Salon. During his two terms of office, the International Furniture Salon consecrated Milan as the world’s design center. In 2008, he was elected President of Federlegno-Arredo, the Federation that represents 2300 entrepreneurs of the trade associations in the furniture-furnishings industrial division.
Rosario Messina also had roles of institutional importance such as Consigliere del Consiglio di Indirizzo della Fondazione Centro Sviluppo Rapporti Italia-Russia (Board member on the Foundation for the development of Italy-Russia trade relations); he was a member of the National Steering Committee and the Board of Confindustia; Confindustria nominated him Vice-President of CFI – The Industrial Exhibitions Committee; he was a member of the Board of Directors of the Angelo De Gasperis Foundation.
In 2008, he was nominated ‘Grande Ufficiale dell’Ordine al Merito’ by the Italian Republic; the following year, Italy’s President nominated him as ‘Cavaliere del Lavoro’ – the country’s highest honor. Three children were born during his marriage to Cettina Selva – Massimiliano, Cristiana and Manuela. After graduation, they joined the company in the following roles – Managing Director, Head of the Trade Marketing department, Head of the Research and Development department respectively.