Angelo Brambilla retraces the history of Fantini Cosmi – Part II

Fantini Cosmi's most recent history sees the acquisition of the Aspira brand as one of the most important steps in the company's growth. Again, it was innovation that was the spark that triggered the birth of a new success.

16/05/2023  |  Fantini Cosmi Reading time

Fantini Cosmi’s most recent history sees the acquisition of the Aspira brand as one of the most important steps in the company’s growth.

“The acquisition of Aspira was mainly dictated by the desire to increase our importance in the wholesale market,” explains Angelo Brambilla, President of Fantini Cosmi. “Since we had already achieved a good presence in programmable thermostats – we were number one – to increase turnover we needed to enter another side sector. That is why we acquired the Turin-based company that dealt almost exclusively with bathroom exhaust fans, a rather modest sector. However, the idea of increasing the presence of wholesalers with ventilation had little luck.”

Again, it was innovation that was the spark that triggered the birth of a new success.

“Internally, Fantini came up with the idea of using the Aspira brand to build appliances that were much more advanced than bathroom fans, covering other market needs: air exchange, not only in bathrooms but in all rooms of the house, but with a focus on energy saving. As I often say – everyone is capable of refreshing air – but to heat the cold air coming in in winter or cool the hot air in summer, energy must be consumed. From this simple principle we developed the punctual unit, i.e. one that served only one room but at the same time combined room control (temperature and humidity, environmental well-being) with the highest possible savings.”

This is how the first Aspirant was born: simple but with technical features that are still unsurpassed today, and then the new Ecocomfort 2.0 Smart. The idea of developing the CMV on the Aspira brand is therefore an intuition of Fantini Cosmi.


The importance of design

Stylistic research of product appearance has always been very important to Fantini Cosmi from the very beginning.

“The first C25,” Angelo explains, “was designed by Fantini itself but we soon realised that something more was needed. I then asked a friend, Flora Sala, for a different design, a different look that would make it easy to use. The general public at that time was not used to using electronic products, especially somewhat complex ones. Traditional thermostats had a simple wheel that marked the temperature and you only had to turn it to set the temperature. Users were not used to setting different temperatures, for day and night and for weekends. All these requirements made this product more difficult to use.”

“As a company we also needed a presentation, documentation to help us use the product, we needed to communicate all its potential to the best of our ability and Flora was a great help here too. Over the years we have also hired several well-known designers, such as GiugiaroWe are proud to be able to claim that we were among the first to give special importance to design: when entering homes with our products, we must also pay attention to people’s aesthetic sensibilities.”


University and Academy for growth

How does a company that is almost a hundred years old and very committed to production manage to keep the spirit of innovation intact? The first answer lies in the ability to observe what is happening in the market and find the way to follow these changes.

Innovation is a continuous path,” Brambilla emphasises. “Today, many companies follow this philosophy, but in 1931, the year Fantini Cosmi was founded, it was not so obvious. Over the years I have noticed an evolution. Designs in the past were based on experience: I did this thing, it doesn’t work, I changed it, now it works, from now on I’ll do it like thisToday’s design is based on mathematical models, calculations, computer investigations and field experiments. Today, for example, especially in the field of air, energy saving calculations are the result of mathematical operations.”

Acquiring new good practices and talent is possible for companies by collaborating with the most active institutions in the field of research: universities.

“Thanks to our R&D Director, we have boosted our collaboration with the University. We are developing collaboration with thesis writers and young engineers. Our proximity to the Polytechnic University of Milan, where I also come from, is paying off. Theories and calculations are then translated into models with 3D printing. Our collaboration with students today is appreciated by the whole company: it is nice to have people who rejuvenate the environment and offer different points of view.”

“But we have many more projects on the way, an openness to the outside world that will also be realised in day-to-day projects. This year an Academy dedicated to sales agents, installers and designers will be developed. Each of these figures needs specific training”. This is a project that presents quite a few challenges, however, as Brambilla points out: “The difficulty is in finding qualified trainers out there in our sector.”

However, as the history of Fantini Cosmi teaches us, with skill, determination and the right spirit, no obstacles are insurmountable.


He who sows well..

“Francesco Fantini had two passions: that of design – he used to stay at the drafting table up to 9pm at night to change designers’ drawings – and that of communication. His hobby was painting and therefore he spent hours on advertising sketches. I believe I inherited from him the conviction that communication is among the “fundamentals’ to be taken care of in every company,” Angelo Brambilla concludes.

The company, owned by the Fantini family, was run by Francesco Fantini until his death in 1981. Angelo Brambilla, husband of Francesco’s daughter (Lieta Fantini), led it together with Alberto Fantini (Francesco’s brother) from 1981 for about 17 years. He then took the helm alone at the end of the 1990s, when the share of Alberto’s two heirs, cousins of Lieta Fantini, was purchased. Over time, Angelo – now the company’s President – was joined by his son, Franco Brambilla, the company’s current Managing Director

Fantini Cosmi today operates through a worldwide sales network in over 70 countries and boasts partnerships with leading industries worldwide. It is present in more than 7,500 points of sale in Italy.


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