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Design Do-It-All

Heading up the largest Poltrona Frau showroom in the country is but one task in Giampiero Di Persia’s vast oeuvre of endeavors, but he still makes time for la dolce vita.

Poltrona Frau Group Miami CEO Giampiero Di Persia

The Peacock chair by Cappellini

Pucci prints in the Cappellini area of the massive showroom

Giampiero Di Persia has mastered il bel far niente. That’s what Italians call “the art of doing nothing.” But the CEO of Poltrona Frau Group Miami is only able to enjoy it in between doing everything. The Rome native, who has lived in Miami for nearly 15 years, has such deep passion for his adopted city that he finds himself drawn to all pursuits that perpetuate the growth of the community here: sponsoring projects for museums, sitting on the board of the Charter International High School, and running the Italian Film Festival of Miami (which he co-founded), to name a few. Another pursuit of his that has recently made a major impact on the Magic City: building a 27,000-square-foot showroom in the Miami Design District that expands on the original Poltrona Frau Miami store and showcases (in the best light) all the Poltrona Frau Group brands under one roof, including Cassina, Cappellini and Alias.

Di Persia, who was approached by the Italian design company 15 years ago to help develop its business in America, did his homework before deciding they should purchase land in the Design District.

“I became aware of further developments around the Design District, such as the joint venture between LVMH and Dacra, so we thought it was better to build our own showroom and avoid the skyrocketing rents and the scarcity of spaces that eventually would be created with all the new businesses coming in,” he says. “The main goal was to create something that would represent what was inside it; something that was specifically related to design and architecture and the Poltrona Frau brand; something that looked deconstructed and changed the face of the District a little.”

That prescient vision has made all the difference. Today, the location (off the corner of North Miami Avenue and NE 38th Street) is the largest Poltrona Frau showroom in the United States and since opening has experienced a 36 percent increase in business, serving interior designers and customers from all over Florida, the U.S. and the rest of the world, particularly Latin America.

Between his civic responsibilities and his duties as CEO of Poltrona Frau, Di Persia remains president of OKEANIS, a company he founded in 1991; is managing partner of Tirrenia Developments; and acts as senior advisor for Armani/Casa Miami. But back to il bel far niente. Di Persia makes it a point to carve out time in his packed schedule to unwind by engaging in activities such as skiing, sport fishing and sailing the Mediterranean with friends and family. “I turn off my cell phone and forget the computer,” he says. “It’s a never-ending journey, and every time we go, there’s a new place to discover.”