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WEB EXCLUSIVE: Zientte Caters to Clients With Tailor-Made Furnishings

MIAMI—Zientte, a Colombian manufacturer of contemporary furniture and accessories, is expanding with the debut of its new office here and readying to make a big splash in the hospitality space in the U.S. and Canada.

Customization is its calling card and personalized customer service is its passion, working on notable projects for W Hotel, Esplendor Hotel, Google, Lavazza Café and Miami, to name a few. Headquartered in Bogota, the family-run company boasts 30 years of experience, retail stores in Vancouver, Houston, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela, and two divisions—contract and residential. The company’s sales offices are in Bogota and Miami.

“We do a lot of custom work, and we do it well. One of our important projects was the W Hotel in Bogota, and this particular hotel has 170 rooms, with most done onsite. There’s an upholstered bench that is 131-linear-ft. long and borders the bar that was created by New York design firm Studio Gaia. When the designer went to Bogota to see the result, he said that the design looked better in real life than how he imagined it,” said Juliana Fonnegra, manager for North America, Zientte. “Manufacturing is done in our own 8,700-sq.-ft. factory in Bogota, where products are meticulously manufactured and tested for quality and durability. Our core is upholstery and woodwork. We are experts and benches or banquettes like the one at the W Hotel bar are what we do best.” 

As a value add-on, clients in need of a full range of services and support, from the design process to creating renderings, can enlist Zientte’s Design Innovations Studio, where the team executes custom projects from start to finish.

It’s that level of detail and the ability to deliver a project that separates Zientte from its competitors. According to Fonnegra, Zientte has seized an opportunity to open a sales office in the U.S. for its contract business because of the needs the company saw in the marketplace and a strong belief it could offer a better service at competitive prices.

“Hotels can go to Asia for manufacturing, but communication is always hard and lead times are longer. Zientte has manufacturing close by—only a three-hour flight from Miami—but what we really want to focus on is excellent service and quality. We want to offer personalized service, and that’s why we offer custom work, too. The client can use one of our designs and ask us to modify it or do absolutely custom work,” said Fonnegra. “We offer a process that allows us to produce a wide range of products that can be adapted to the client’s tastes in short periods of time and with competitive prices, while providing functional luxury to create gratifying environments.”

When working on a project, whether it is national or international, Zientte strives to flex and bend with the design and custom needs of the client.

“It really depends on the region and the project, but we are flexible. In Colombia, work is done with the hotel itself and, in the U.S., there is a designer, architectural firm, purchasing agent and we act as the supplier. The way we are looking to work here in the U.S., we usually contact the designer or the architectural firm so they will put in their specs. It depends on the contract. We have relationships with purchasing agents and they may ask for quotes. We have contracts both ways,” she said.

In addition to ease of communication, Zientte touts its boutique-style services that cater to the specific desires of their clients, as well as its affordability and proximity to the U.S.

“We are a company that has a local service. We take clients personally and focus on what they need. We have enough capacity to do 200 rooms or more; at the same time, we have production locally where people are being treated like family. We are close to the U.S. and, since manufacturing is done in Colombian pesos, it is cheaper and we have competitive prices,” she said. “We are a truly international brand with local product management. I’ve noticed some brands work with a rep, which is different; a rep is representing a lot of brands. We are more personalized.” 

Zientte is continually bringing forth new designs to its furniture line and forging partnerships in the design industry.

“In terms of design, we are strong in that sense, and we continue to have new collections every year. Zientte has partnered with Mathias Klotz, a designer from Chile, and we work with Tom Dixon as well. Some of Dixon’s products are sold in our stores, and we’re building up the partnership to offer his products to our contract division in the U.S.,” she said. “In addition, we have partnerships with artisans in Colombia. Our head designer is always creating new products for a new collection, and that’s going to continue.”

—Corris Little