Built by men who have lived the post‒war period and the great industrialization of the 1960s thanks to their hard work, today the company operates at global level while still maintaining the values it was built on. Like a tree blossoming and stretching its branches while still keeping its roots firmly planted in the earth from which it grew, so IFI has always been intensely aware of the beauty and significance of belonging to these places made up of people, crafts, culture, passions and landscapes between the sea and the hills. A heritage that IFI have always felt it their responsibility to safeguard and valorize with gratitude and affection.
The volume “IFI. Fifty years with our territory”, born from the collaboration between ISIA Institute (Istituto Superiore Industrie Artistiche) of Urbino, collects principles and values which inspired the company since 1962. Shown below, some extracts.
On the morning of Sunday 22 May 2011, in the presence of the mayor of Pesaro, Luca Ceriscioli, the president of the province, Matteo Ricci and councillors Andrea Biancani and Rito Briglia, the cycling and pedestrian track donated by IFI to Pesaro and dedicated to Umberto Cardinali, was opened. It had been announced during the celebrations for the centenary of Cardinali’s birth on 4 December 2008.
"Cardinali has been living in a symbiotic way with the bicycle for almost a century. He took part in two editions of the Giro d'Italia (the Tour of Italy), founded the Clicli Adriatica, a firm that "educated" our area in the idea of using the bicycle, and went on riding his bike almost until he was 100. His great dream was to create a track linking Pesaro and Gabicce along the coastline. Cardinali represents a positive message, an example of how business can be close to a community. This new path, in particular, has been greeted very favourably, so much so that it was being used long before it was inaugurated, when the tarmac was still to be laid on."
Luca Ceriscioli - Pesaro Urbino Mayor from 2004 to 2014
“We are living in the age of Global Market and Finance, and the relationships between business, work, territory and society seem to have become an outdated topic. A history of the past and, therefore, “past”, outstripped by events. Out of time and, dare I say it?, out of place. Because the places of economy have become in most cases non‒places. On the other hand, where are the Markets, the IMF, the ECB based and what do they look like? And S&P, Moody’s, Fitch? […] Persons without a face, places without a place. Thus is explained the increasing power of Expertise in our age. The technocrats: they know the Markets, as they are consultants and representatives of them. They have the Confidence of Great Finance and of the International Monetary Authorities (being also “entities without identities”). […] In Pesaro in particular, businesses have sprung up out of families. They have continued to be mostly “family firms”. And they have developed into chiefly manufacturing industries producing goods for the export and domestic markets. Often connected through networks of informal relationships. Connections based on personal relationships and trust, involving workers, artisans and entrepreneurs in small to medium sized companies. […] Work: it is a common denominator. It is a warranty of income, a life resource, for the people and the Family. But it is also a source of identity and legitimation. A value. The relationship between enterprise and local society, often, has been cemented through personal relations. It surpasses the traditional distinctions of class and status. Entrepreneurs and workers, in effect, know each other and see each other outside the work place. Dependent workers, however, aim to - and something manage to - become in their turn in-dependent.”
Ilvo Diamanti – political scientist, University of Urbino ‘Carlo Bo’ professor, journalist of the newspaper La Repubblica
“At the end of the Sixties, at Ifi they decide that the time for training is over and they can enroll in the Italian championship. But they wanted to fight immediately for the title, certainly not scrape out a living in the lower part of the League table, making fans suffer until the last match to finally shirk relegation in the last minutes. This ambition is well placed, because, in the long run, it tuned up internally the winning tactics based on the idea of custom‒made industrial furnishings, in order to adapt to the different needs of their clients. Actually, this was a Columbus’s egg, the obvious solution for winning the championship. Simply, that no one before Columbus had thought about how to solve the age old question of how to make an egg stand. So, applying the same principle, we would call this recipe the Ifi’s egg. Since it is known that eating stimulates the appetite, once Ifi have won a title they try to fly higher, to fight for the Champions’ Cup, that is, today’s Champions League without paying for seeing the matches on TV. They start chasing the ball of an idea that takes off and makes their competitors go wild: the fitted bar counter. […] Could it be possible that Ifi were not to tailor a suitable suit for the celebration of the turn of the century? Of course not. «We might manage a small contribution to the celebrations for the occasion», says Tonti humbly. «I’m sure we can», Testaguzzi confirms. The starting point of their way of thinking is the conviction that we are immersed in that “postmodern condition” they had long discussed with the French philosopher Jean François Lyotard, the French philosopher, namely, that old rules matter less, that the immaterial and the imaginary weigh a lot, that imagination has the power as the revolutionaries of 1968 proclaimed. “Let the Tonda be”, they exclaim in unison. […] But it doesn’t stop there of course. Ifi are not resting on their laurels. Sure, they are happy to celebrate their half century. But they already have amazing surprises in store for us that you couldn’t even imagine, for the next half century and more.”
Roberto Bertinetti – writer and English literature professor, University of Trieste
“It happens frequently, and this is why our job is rewarding, that we come across stories of extraordinary companies in the heart of our territory. I say “come across” deliberately for Italy is a country where excellence needs to be sought out. When we came to know of IFI in 2008, via a recommendation from a fellow Symbola partner, we soon felt we were dealing with a beginner. (…) At Symbola, we call beginners those companies strongly oriented towards quality, able to conceptualize and cut out new paths, to change the rules of competition or develop new sectors. IFI have invented out of thin air a sector which did not exist before, that of industrial bar furniture, have developed it and brought it to top quality levels. Just when it seemed that other companies could catch up with them, they launched the Tonda and again set new rules for the game in the artisan gelato sector. Ambition, decision, passion, sharing, competence, company cohesion, and a tight bond with their local area are the ingredients of IFI’s success and those that make of this fine company an example of the new made in Italy.”
Domenico Sturabotti – Symbola Director
“IFI: an italian history. Italian design is renowned around the world for its flair for challenges that unites the worlds of planning and business in the pursuit of quality, beauty and innovation. […] The making of industrial products is then a technical and liberal answer at the same time, a sort of learned revelation on the world that surrounds us and a way of expressing our joy in working with our hands, minds and hearts. This is much more than just meeting commercial needs, it is almost an urge to provide our identity with a tool for expressing itself. This is the reason why to narrate the life of a company or of a particular product means always to tell the stories of the men who have first imagined and carried on the real challenges to conventions. Fine doing and manufacturing turned into a trade but remained a pleasure and this to the credit of workers, designers and entrepreneurs. There is a love of making things accurately and a care about details that go beyond the necessity of manufacturing and faithfully represent our best features.
Luisa Bocchietto – President of ADI from 2008 to 2014
“The Collezione Farnesina Design was created for promoting the excellence of design made in Italy, a cultural study on the expertise of the companies of the “peninsula” and on the communication of their peculiarities abroad, following the natural bent of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and its large international network of Italian Cultural Institutes, Embassies and Consulates. Of course, IFI and its research into product’s design, functionality and aesthetics could not be absent, having always been a prominent landmark for the discussion around the design practice. […]As curators, the Scientific Committee and I were definitely struck by the elegance and poetry that this avant-garde item instantly communicated through its sleek design, and I was convinced from the outset that it should become, along with the other companies selected for Collezione Farnesina Design, the flagship of the profound creative peculiarity that is characteristic of Italian history and culture.”
Renza Fornaroli - curator of Farnesina Design Collection
“[…] The ISIA of Urbino is growing and becoming an articulated reality, a unique community, ideally ever closer to social needs. All this can go on and develop only through a more intense interaction with territory, public institutions and companies in the area. Nonetheless, it is very difficult sometimes to match the different education and production needs. Companies, while respecting their urgent demands, must pay a great attention and act taking into account all the aspects related to formal education. Analysis, research, methodology, attentions: they are all part of the plan and, if set free, can produce something new, a real vision not biased by the sight of the everyday. I believe, then, that there has been such an attention on the part of Ifi, and they have allowed students who worked there to express at best their planning path and at the same time to respond effectively to their corporate needs.”
Roberto Pieracini – graphic designer, ISIA Director