Italian moulding pioneer dies at 65 – Franco Arquati – Brief Article – Obituary
Franco Arquati, founder of the Arquati Group, died in May leaving a productive legacy in the moulding industry.
Born in 1938 to a farming family in Parma, Italy, Franco was the eldest of three brothers. He started working in a small furniture factory at the age of 10, and during those early years as a furniture artisan, he mastered the techniques of wood manufacturing and developed a love for wood processing.
By age 20, Arquati had become the manager of the factory and decided to start his own company. In order to raise capital, he sold the apartment he had purchased for his future wife and family and used the proceeds for his first factory.
During this time of economic boom in Italy, his new factory grew and prospered in the production of baseboards, trim and cornices for the building industry. Realizing that he had the expertise to create a “richer” product line utilizing the same equipment and workforce, he started designing and producing unique picture frame moulding, which in two years became me exclusive product manufactured by his plant. Growth over the next 14 years necessitated the construction of a new 350,000-square-foot facility, the establishment of branch locations across Europe and the opening of distribution centers in America in 1978.
In addition to the production of picture frame moulding, he began the production of wood drapery poles and tracks for the window covering industry. Within a few years, the windows division began engineering and producing vertical tracks and fabrics, pleated shades, mini blinds, drapery tracks, retractable awnings, solar screens, drapery fabrics and an extensive furniture line.
Today, Arquati consists of 38 manufacturing/distribution facilities around the world covering six continents, plus more than 400 franchise retail locations in Europe. In 1997, the company went public and is currently traded on the Milan Stock Exchange.
During his lifetime, Arquati received many awards and honors, including the title of “Cavaliere di Gran Croce,” which is the highest civil award bestowed by the Italian government and presented by the President of the Italian Republic. He also founded and was president of the Italian picture framing exposition, SACA. He was the past president of several associations, including Federlegno (an association of Italian wood manufacturers), the Milan Furniture Show and Confimprese (an association of the franchising industry). He was also a member of Confindustria (an group of Italian manufacturers) and many other associations. Although Arquati never formally finished high school, he was bestowed an honorary doctorate degree in economics by the University of Parma for his lifetime achievements.
More than 2,000 associates, government officials and friends from all over the world were present for the funeral at the Parma Cathedral to pay tribute to Arquati, a humble and honorable man who touched and positively influenced the lives of many.
Arquati is survived by his wife of 38 years, Giulietta Arquati; mother Angiola Arquati; daughters Beatrice Tanzi Arquati and Sonia Bocchi Arquati; brothers Elio and Ettore Arquati; sons-in law Alberto Tanzi and Luca Bocchi; grandchildren Francesco and Leonardo Tanzi and Anastasia Bocchi; and many nieces and nephews.
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