Founded in 1970 by the Meroni family in the heart of Brianza, Lema developed a strong tradition dating back to the 1930s. Angelo Meroni, grandfather of the current Lema President, started the family business from an artisan shop in Arosio city centre that specialised in the production of classic furniture.
The 1950s saw the opening of the first store in Milan city centre. Here, during the years of the economic boom, Lema was able to collaborate with the first nationally recognised architects and designers to embrace a production characterised by a more modern aesthetic. The collaboration with Angelo Mangiarotti was one of the first and most important relationships. During the 1970s, Angelo Meroni’s sons, Luigi and Enrico, began producing furniture on an industrial scale. In doing so, they entrusted the design of a new plant in Alzate to Mangiarotti. In 1978, Tito Agnoli - one of the most renowned designers and protagonists of Italian design between late 1950s and 1960s - designed Lo Scaffale for Lema, the first wall system programme produced in Italy on an industrial scale and available in different finishes. This was then followed in 1981 by the first Armadio al Centimetro; a modular system of closets based on disassembled panels, custom-made for the first time with the quality and costs of an industrial product. This milestone in Lema’s history still informs its core business and products.
This early success led Lema to open a second plant in Giussano in 1992 (again designed by Mangiarotti), that today hosts the Lema Contract division which was founded in 2004. In 1994, Piero Lissoni became art director.
By utilising the skills and professional abilities typical of the Brianza district, Lema’s excellence has always been defined by its innovative production processes, combined with an expert craftsmanship approach.
It was decided early on that the production was to be internally managed, from receiving the raw materials to designing the packaging. This also includes the entire production cycle for the panels, core component of Lema’s iconic wardrobe and shelving systems. This value underlies the options for customisation that have always distinguished Lema from its competitors.
Lema was the first Italian manufacturer to design a custom-built wall system programme in an endless range of finishes and the Armadio al centimetro, made to measure for the client. To this day, this balance between cutting-edge technology and deep-rooted tradition gives life to the whole collection of Lema furniture. A close collaboration with the designers ensures that the upmost attention is paid to each phase of production, from the initial design up to the final product.
The Group, which consists of Lema Casa, Lema Contract divisions and the International Office Concept, is nowadays an international enterprise with 48,000 square metres indoor divided between the two plants in Alzate Brianza and Giussano, and 230 employees; it is one of the Made in Italy key players. With consistently high growth rates, Lema presents a unique and successful way to do business, based mainly on product customisation. Thanks to the synergy between the Casa and Contract divisions, the company is able to cater to both consumers and trade professionals. In particular, due to its customisable products, Lema provides architects and contractors with a reliable source for products suited to the property development and hotel sectors, also thanks to the possibility to match the custom-made solutions with Lema Casa products, thus exploiting the peculiarities of mass production.
Present in 50 countries with a global network of over 1,000 retailers, Lema is registering significant growth rates in recent years in Asia, as well as in countries where the presence of the brand has been strengthened thanks to the recent opening of flagship stores in New York, Miami, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Beijing, Taiwan, Melbourne. As Europe remains a key market for Lema it has chosen London to open its first company owned flagship store.