Our history.
Evolving Entrepreneurship

The First Generation
Giorgio Giardini started the company in Milan, Italy, in 1872. It was originally a wholesale business selling bookbinding products to the trade, but later opened a shop to the public where artisans could select materials for their books. The shop quickly gained popularity and became the place to go in Milan and the surrounding area for cloth and leather for covering books.

The Second Generation
When Giorgio’s son Pietro took over the business it was well-established and had grown considerably. Giardini’s reputation as a purveyor of quality cloth and speciality fabrics had spread across the country with a team of salespeople working nationwide. The business became Italy’s leading seller of cloth and textiles for book coverings, and there wasn’t a bookbinder in the land that didn’t know about Giardini. Pietro was dubbed the “King of Cloth” by the industry.

The Third Generation
Giorgio and Edoardo Giardini were the third generation to run the business. The book industry was changing drastically by the 1950s. Until then books had been rather exclusive and only accessible to a few, but now they were mass produced and attention to detail and quality gave way to making books cheaper and more readily available. Textile covers began to be replaced by paper dust jackets. Paper manufacturers dominated the industry and craftsmanship started to play a less important role in how books were made. As there were fewer opportunities in this market for Giorgio and Edoardo, they concentrated on the burgeoning stationery sector and converted the business into a wholesale supplier of stationery goods. Key products included the rings and mechanisms for binders, which were widely used in schools and offices. Their move to a more commercial market was impeccably timed and the company rapidly succeeded in becoming a leading name in the stationery industry.

The Fourth Generation
“My family was the latest generation in a line of successful business owners and entrepreneurs, so I grew up in a privileged environment.”

Although we weren’t particularly rich, we never wanted for anything and had everything we needed. My family experienced Italy’s industrial transformation as an affluent wealthy middle-class family, which meant they had the chance to be part of Milan’s high society. My parents’ parties were often attended by big names and celebrities from the worlds of fashion and industry and other inspiring and successful businesses. This gave me the opportunity to be exposed to luxury and the finer things in life from a young age.

After my studies, I wasn’t very keen to join the family business as I didn’t find it as glamorous as the luxuries I’d seen growing up. I was too ambitious to do the same job as my father, and felt that his industry had reached saturation.

Nevertheless, I did work in the family business for a brief time and visited clients all over Italy. What really fascinated me was the story of the “King of Cloth”. He was practically a legend and I loved hearing about the incredible artisans with whom he had worked.

So, I delved deeper into his world to see whether I could carve out a future for myself there. That was when I unexpectedly encountered a small niche textile sector that enabled me to remain connected to my grandfather’s roots, while also focusing on fashion and design. That niche was textile wallcoverings. Better still the clientele was international, so I would have the opportunity to travel the world. That was more than enough to catch my attention! I resolved to transform the family business and leave the less exciting world of stationery behind.

I decided to explore the world of textile wallcoverings to find people who could help me get a better understanding of how it worked and how to take my first steps. We initially found a small network of four or five companies; each one specialised in different stages of production thereby enabling us to make a finished product.

Next, we created the first collections, which were mostly traditional textile jacquard wallcoverings.

As a young company with a fresh vision that created designs with meticulous attention to detail, it was only a few years before our business really took off in Eastern Europe and cornered this very specific niche market in Russia and Asia.

We began building our own Giardini Wallcoverings brand in 2010. Our goal was to build a range with an extensive choice and more contemporary look, so we had to broaden our supply chain. We planned to harness our textile knowhow to create something very special and unique that would appeal to a wider audience of international clients. We had to find a way to expand our range of textile wallcoverings. Fortunately, we eventually discovered a network of companies with the expertise to take our basic ideas to the next level and create more spectacular, exclusive products. Since then, we have significantly expanded our network of suppliers and factories predominantly in our local area. Milan and the surrounding area has a vast array of factories that work in the fashion industry with the capacity to deliver everything from very small production runs (which are typically required for large samples and prêt-à-porter) to large production lots. They offer an incredible variety of techniques and possibilities as well as an endless source of inspiration.

Giardini Wallcoverings currently works with a group of more than thirty small and medium-sized family-run factories, most of which are based in Lombardy. They mainly produce for the fashion industry, but have become more involved in our production processes in recent years and understand exactly what is required to meet the high standards of quality for our wallcoverings. Not only do they guarantee the utmost attention to quality and design, but are also extremely mindful of our impact on the environment.

We use environmentally-friendly production processes and renewable sources of energy plus we favour renewable or natural raw materials. Together we innovate and create and share the same values and mission.

“When you choose Giardini Wallcoverings, you also choose to be part of all that. Amazing, isn’t it?”