When the property world is suffering serious cutbacks, you expect the contract furniture industry to follow suit. Fewer architectural projects mean fewer commissions by architects, and with most businesses tightening their belts in recession, refitting existing offices isn’t high on the agenda.

Some furniture firms are bucking the trend though, setting out their stall, literally, for when the upturn comes. Among the most prominent of these are Italian lighting and furniture companies Flos and Moroso, which opened a combined showroom in London’s Rosebery Avenue last year, to great acclaim.

Both companies appeal to consumers as well as contract buyers. Designed by Milanbased Spanish design star Patricia Urquiola, who works on products with both groups, with input from Moroso art director Patrizia Moroso and Piero Gandini, the venture follows the success of a joint store in Amsterdam, which opened in 2008.

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