HomeShoppingBoutique Montrose furniture store celebrates exclusive partnership with premium Italian brand

Boutique Montrose furniture store celebrates exclusive partnership with premium Italian brand


Related stories


While the “quiet luxury” aesthetic has reigned supreme in Houston for the last two summer seasons, the inevitable transatlantic migration of European influence has officially come to the Bayou City. An unmistakable continuity exists among the city’s newest and most posh patios — color! If the cherry red, lemon yellow, and acidic greens on full display around town make people thirsty for an Aperol spritz, it’s not only by design, it’s BeDesign.

Eponymous Italian furniture brand Paola Lenti, known for its colorful, elegantly low-slung collections, can be spotted upon the decks of the most well-appointed yachts and vistas throughout Europe. Globe-trotting Houstonians, who always like a little European flair, have embraced the brand with equal fervor.

Celebrating a partnership

It’s no small wonder why the fashion-forward proprietors of BeDesign, Adrian Dueñas and Marcelo Saenz, have dedicated the entire third floor of their luxurious Montrose furniture boutique to showcase the store’s exclusive partnership with the prestigious indoor/outdoor brand. Moreover, they threw a party at BeDesign on Wednesday, March 6 to showcase the brand and the comprehensive renovations to their building.

Celebrating 25 years of collaboration with Paola Lenti, designer Francesco Rota and CEO Anna Lenti traveled from Italy to join BeDesign for the unveiling of the new Linea for Outdoor line as well as the store’s display of their wares Moderated by the always stylish Patty Dominguez, vice president of design and architecture for Cosentino, the intimate, invite-only crowd gathered for a charismatic conversation on all things Paola Lenti.

“Through the unveiling of our extraordinary third floor, BeDesign brings to life its passion project – a rooftop paradise that envelops guests in the unmatched mastery of color and design by Paola Lenti,” Dueñas said in a statement. “From a shared vision years ago, we have forged an interior design nirvana that sets a new standard. The Paola Lenti experience here is our realized dream: vibrant, sculptural, and simply unrivaled in sophistication. This rooftop oasis stands as the crowning achievement of our endeavors.”

Anna Lenti and Francesco Rota.Photo by Johnny Than

The secrets of Paola Lenti’s success

Before the festivities began, Rota and Lenti sat down with CultureMap to discuss the brand’s design concept, manufacturing processes, and the question: Why has Paola Lenti found so much success in Houston?

When Francesco Rota met Paola Lenti 27 years ago, they took a look at industrial-grade felts, refining those to compressed felt textiles, and created what Francesco refers to as “flying carpets,” colorful floor coverings that became an immediate success. From selling carpets, they moved to three-dimensional furniture. Durable, yet soft, these pared-down new textiles have taken them on quite an adventure. Francesco’s creative process for designing new pieces is beautiful in its simplicity, as he explained.

“I go to the shows and the trades. I look at what everyone else is doing, and then I don’t do that,” he said.

Clearly a winning approach. The Linea chaise lounge is still as iconic twenty-five years later as it ever was, making way for Wave, which is the company’s companion outdoor piece.

As any creative will concede, to get a concept to become — well, anything — one needs an eye for business. Enter Anna Lenti. Sister to Paola, Anna makes sure the i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed back at Paola Lenti’s headquarters near Milan.

Realizing in 2003 that the outdoor furniture market remained limited to traditional materials, the brand saw an opportunity to innovate. Anna and Francesco wax poetic on those early days, recalling how the only options for outdoor furniture were teak wood or stark, hard plastics. As it did by using industrial felts for indoor furniture, the brand took a look at existing, durable materials that could be retuned for outdoors with the retail market in mind; the answer: polypropylene.

The material takes well to dyes, is colorfast, and completely recyclable, meaning the brand was into sustainability long before it became a buzzword. Durability being key, we asked if Paola Lenti’s outdoor line can withstand a climate as diverse and extreme as Houston’s. Francesco’s answer did not disappoint:

“We were pioneers. We investigated materials because we wanted a product to perform. So metal had to be a certain kind of steel, 316, which is nautical steel,” he said. “The textile needs to be of a material that resists UV rays, to salt, to traction. The fabric comes, in reality, from the boat world. In the sense that, if you think about a yarn that makes textile, a sailing rope makes our fabrics.”

Curious how the outdoor market has evolved in 25 years, Anna explained that what clients are looking for now is different than what they wanted in the ’90s. Turns out, it took awhile to convince customers to spend as much as $15,000-$18,000 for an outdoor sofa and between $5,000-$8,000 for each outdoor armchair, which is what the pieces retail for at BeDesign.

“In the beginning, people were not ready to spend and invest this amount of money for the outdoors, because they weren’t used to having beautiful furniture outdoors,” she says. “Year-by-year the market completely changed because people spend so much more time outdoors. Now people want to have more continuity between their indoor and outdoor furniture.”

Paola Lenti in Houston

Two of Houston’s favorite design darlings, Nina Magon and Lucinda Loya, chose Paola Lenti for two of the city’s most talked about new projects — Cocody Restaurant in River Oaks and The Thompson Hotel, respectively. Both designers attended the BeDesign fête, saying, essentially, Paola Lenti is the best choice for ultra-premium outdoor furniture that holds up to Houston’s heat and humidity.

“Paola Lenti started from a thread, as passionate artisans, paying attention to the quality of materials: always looking for a point of contact, a special harmony between colors, signs, and shapes,” Magon said. “I fell in love with the colors and vibrancy of the brand ten years ago when I was introduced.”

Cocody PatioFind Paola Lenti at Cocody’s patio.Photo by Mickael Zibi

This author’s aunt, who has been known to spend a season or two taking up residence in The Raffles Hotel in Singapore, once stated that she “cannot afford to buy cheap.” Alternatively, the adage goes “If you buy it right, you buy it once.” Can’t argue with that.

- Never miss a story with notifications

- Gain full access to our premium content

- Browse free from up to 5 devices at once

Latest stories