Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mondetta broadens horizons with interiors

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Mondetta Clothing is branching out with a new division focused on interior design.

While the move might seem incongruous for a clothing company best known for its flag-themed apparel, Ash Modha, president of the Winnipeg-based firm, said he's looking to follow the trail blazed by international brands such as Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Prada.

"We don't just sell apparel, we sell design. The whole company, from our management to our team, is driven around the idea of making great products and designs. We think interior design is a further extension of what we do in this company so well," he said.

"Look at some of the great brands, like Giorgio Armani. He extended from apparel and now he's in floral shops, chocolates, bookstores, furniture and a hotel. The idea is to extend his brand statement and vision to all facets and he's done that," Modha said.

Mondetta has brought in Roman Rozumnyj to head up Mondetta Interior Solutions in Winnipeg as well as satellite offices in Vancouver and New York. The division will cater to the retail, commercial, residential, corporate and hospitality industries.

With more than two decades of experience with interior architecture in Asia, the U.S. and U.K., Rozumnyj also knows Mondetta well -- he built the company's first trade show booth showcasing its flag T-shirts in 1987.

There is an art to designing various spaces, Rozumnyj said. For example, the ideal set up for a retail store, including circulation paths and colours, can lead to more activity at the cash register and more satisfied customers.

"You can subconsciously lead your customer through a space so that they experience the entire store without even realizing it," he said.

"Fundamentally, design is simply a solution to a problem."

Mondetta is practising what it preaches as Rozumnyj redesigned the company's headquarters on Winnipeg Avenue. Major changes include the implementation of cutting-edge security, which has eliminated the need for a receptionist, lots of glass to give the illusion of space and a courtyard overlooking its showroom that features an outdoor fireplace.

It even took an old safe -- used by a sheet metal company that occupied its space more than a half-century ago -- and turned it into a picturesque wine cellar.

Since its soft launch a few weeks ago, MIS has already landed work with several residential projects in Vancouver, a retailer in South Korea, a chain of dental offices on the West Coast and commercial projects in Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Rozumnyj said MIS has already started hiring and his long-term goal is to have between 12 and 15 senior and intermediate designers. Mondetta currently employs about 85 people throughout offices in Winnipeg, New York, California, Florida, Salt Lake City and Hong Kong.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 8, 2014 ??65532


Updated on Wednesday, January 8, 2014 at 12:03 PM CST: Corrects spelling of Roman Rozumnyj's name.

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