Where we started, Where we're going.
With his eyes on the stars but feet firmly on the ground, Leo Vassallo Cesareo founded the company in 1969 then known as Abbott and Dominic Malta with his estate agent brother-in-law and fellow Maltese carpenters.
The company of carpenters united their talents to establish a joinery that could produce customised furniture projects for people from all walks of life in Malta, and went on to transform and furnish a diverse range of spaces, from homes and apartments to retail outlets, restaurants and hotels.
The decision to name the company Abbott and Dominic Malta highlighted the group’s ingenuity: Leo believed that the so-called six-penny settlers who came to Malta in droves in the 1960s would consult trade directories for suppliers. By choosing Abbott and Dominic Malta as a name, the company
guaranteed top placement on the alphabetical list. Moreover, incorporating “Malta”, the name made the company seem international and would catch people’s attention.
Soon, the company’s innovations and attention to detail gained recognition and regard both in Malta and abroad, eventually catching the eye of prestigious British chair and suite maker Parker Knoll as well as Italian furniture giant Berloni. The joinery signed an agreement with Parker Knoll to introduce their orthopaedic chair to the Maltese market; and soon after, the company was officially given license by Berloni to produce work under their brand.
In the 1970’s, this was a first-of-its-kind standard-raising milestone, and both collaborations were a runaway success, but tough times for Maltese domestic manufacturers loomed ahead.
Following the removal of the levies which protected the local furniture industry, and a Maltese population with less and less time on their hands, ready-made imported furniture started to become the easier option for many households. To save time and money, many people began buying ready-made imported units instead of going to local artisans who designed made-to-measure personalised furniture. For many local manufacturers and carpenters, this was the nail in the coffin.
Leo and his team recognised that in order to survive, the company must adapt. Thus, the joinery began importing furniture, and this is where the group’s previous partnerships with Berloni proved invaluable. Many other local brands tried to jump on the bandwagon and import furniture, but while they struggled to secure renowned international brands in time for the removal of levies, Leo’s team already enjoyed a close working relationship with Berloni for over 30 years.
But while Domestica enjoyed a great competitive advantage, the team never lost their love for making authentic, local furniture, and they refused to abandon their role as manufacturers. And it paid off. Nowadays, people young and old are rediscovering a profound appreciation for custom furniture made in Malta.
Domestica is home to around 20 carpenters
Today, Domestica is home to around 20 carpenters, many of whom have been working together for over 15 years. The team of local master carpenters custom-builds everything from main and internal doors, to vanities, walk-in wardrobes, full kitchens, and entire residential and commercial projects, some of which total more than 8,000 individual custom pieces.
Domestica’s portfolio of custom-made work is ever growing, but the team is also conscious that many young and first-time homeowners do not necessarily want to have everything in their space custom-made.
This is why we are committed to marrying the best of both worlds. Domestica makes available both exceptional custom-made furniture by its fine carpenters, as well as a diverse catalogue of furniture from its partners, including both old friends like Berloni as well as newer brands such as Fatboy, Natisa, Pedini and Tutto Mobili.
By striking the perfect balance between manufacturing and curation, Domestica’s mission is to provide the best available furnishing experience for every type of customer, from the cost-conscious first-time buyer to the discerning homeowner seeking a transformation, to the investor with an ambitious project in mind.
To this end, Domestica has curated a showroom designed for people in Malta and Gozo seeking the undivided attention of welcoming master carpenters, whether they’re looking to create a custom-made piece that stands the test of time, find products from Europe’s best manufacturers, or a bit of both.
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