The history of SALDA and the Besana family goes back to the early 19th century when wood-working was becoming an important occupation in the countryside around Brianza.
To eke out their meagre farming incomes, some families – the Besana among them – began to devote themselves to craft production of furniture and furnishings to adorn the residences of noble French families.
The French occupation of that period had stimulated commercial and cultural exchanges between Paris – then the international capital of furniture-making – and Brianza; and the more highly skilled and enterprising of the latter’s craftsmen began to leave off farming entirely and devote themselves to the artistic production of luxury furniture.
One of those was Arcangelo Besana, founder of the family which still runs SALDA today.
In 1870 Arcangelo Besana began a furniture business that soon became A.Besana e Figli, one of the first furniture-making firms in Italian history and one of the biggest artisan manufacturers of its day.
Along the route that had for centuries carried Brianza’s harvests, Arcangelo Besana and his sons crossed regional and national borders, and exhibited at the first international expositions of the new age, winning very widespread recognition and acclaim from the firm’s earliest years.
The medals which the Besana family won at these World Expos are much more than just a piece of company history: they tell the story of how Italian furniture-making established itself on the world stage with outstanding products whose quality would in time compete with the very French furniture from which it traced its origins.
The coming of the twentieth century brought growth, and transformation.
As Arcangelo Besana handed over to his sons, the firm changed its name to R. e P. Fratelli Besana, and in 1913 bought a stake in the Asnaghi brothers’ company, forming Asnaghi-Besana.
On the outbreak of the First World war all Brianza’s businesses suspended furniture production, and the whole industry sector suffered a crisis; but the bolder families such as the Besana managed to reinvent themselves and find greater impetus in the new political situation into which history had thrust them.
In 1915 R.. e P. Fratelli Besana merged with Asnaghi-Besana producing SALDA, a company that was to grow bigger still.
SALDA stands for Società Anonima Lavori Di Aviazione, revealing how the firm had been transformed during the war: it began to make propellers and wings for the famous Caproni aircraft, wining big military contracts.
As soon as the war ended, the business went back to manufacturing chairs and other furniture. It still went by the name of “SALDA”, but now the full company name was Società Anonima Lavori di Ammobiliamento. It continued to grow under the care of the Besana family, now in the fifth generation as Marco and Elisa Besana run it with their father Umberto’s hand still on the tiller.