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Head of marketing at Akante Victoire Dauviau Lambert:

‘We want to make good design accessible’

Established in 2012 by Olivier Vanhaecke and Olivier Tocino, the French furniture company Akante was born out of a commitment to creating affordable and innovative design. 'Their mission was to create design that's accessible. Good design for a good price,' says Victoire Dauviau Lambert, head of communications and marketing at Akante. In an exclusive interview we delve into the brand's recent experiences at prominent fairs, their product launches and future plans.

Victoire at Maison&Objet.

Fairs and exhibitions: platforms for success
'It's been a busy couple of weeks,' Victoire says. In January Akante exhibited at imm cologne, as well as Maison&Objet. But that's not all. They recently were at the Workspace Expo in Paris. 'We showcased a special selection of products, tailored for architects and workspaces,' she says. One of the most popular products there was the Orlando Lift Table. With its adjustable height it can fit many spaces. Using a simple lever, you're able to move the table top up and down to the height that you want. 'They liked it very much, especially for restaurants.'

The Orlando Lift was also on show at imm cologne and Maison&Objet. There, Akante also introduced their popular New York and Charleston chairs in a new design, featuring a durable, high-quality material crafted for the UK market's fire resistance regulations. Additionally, the brand unveiled the elegant Madura coffee table, adorned with a black lacquered steel frame and marble ceramic top, exemplifying timeless design with a contemporary twist. 'It's very classic and there's a beautiful design on it. You can combine it with the matching endtable, to create harmony in a space,' Victoire says.

The Orlando Lift Table.

The products were very well received at both fairs. When discussing market responses, Victoire notes the differences between imm cologne and Maison&Objet. While imm cologne primarily attracted professional clients, Maison&Objet saw a significant presence of end customers. 'We have a great brand awareness at Maison&Objet, but imm cologne was more successful for us. There were a lot of German professionals. We will definitely be back in Cologne next year.' Akante is also coming back to Maison&Objet in September.

Affordable design
One of the responses of visitors at the fairs was the fact that Akante offers good design for good prices. 'A lot of people say we have a good price for our designs, and that's our mission,' Victoire says. This mission was ingrained since the brand's inception by founders Olivier Tocino and Olivier Vanhaecke. 'They wanted to make good design accessible. That's why at Akante we don't just want to create good designs, but we also want to make it affordable.'

However, Akante now also started to make some higher range products. 'We want to stay accessible, but we also wanted to create some high-end pieces, like the Goliath and Auguste dining tables with their beautiful marble ceramic plates. Those tables are also available in larger sizes for grander dining spaces. It's a direction we want to take. That's why we're now creating some new tables with the marble ceramics. We want to offer the combination: accessibility on one hand, and the more high end pieces on the other.'

Left: the Helsinki Chair. Right: the Madura Coffee Table.

Future plans
Looking ahead, Akante remains focused on innovation and expansion. In line with their growth strategy, the company is establishing brand corners across France and Germany, with plans for further expansion. 'It's going very well. We have 20 corners in France and one in Germany too, at Wohnwelt von Harten. Germany is a big market for us, it's about 25 percent of our business. The goal is to have more and more corners in the future.'

Victoire also shares other exciting developments, including the launch of the Helsinki Chair, featuring a rotating seat and sleek design. Additionally, the Rio table, boasting customisable options and automatic extension functionality, promises to captivate customers. 'We're always working on new designs. Right now we're preparing the new collection for January next year.'

More information:
45/1 Avenue de Flandre
59290 Wasquehal, France
+33 (0)3 20 90 34 18
[email protected]