Michael Amini, founder of AICO/Amini Innovation Corp. has a long illustrious career as a designer of fine furniture and interior design, traveling the world extensively to develop an exclusive brand known for its creativity, value, and perfection.
Originally having obtained an electrical engineering degree, Mr. Amini desired to branch out of his formal training and background to focus on his interest in design. In 1988, Mr. Amini established AICO/Amini Innovation Corporation, a major furniture manufacturer and designer, with headquarters in Pico Rivera operating with over 200 employees.
AICO Corporation has become recognizable for its innovation and wide variety of choices for the consumer. AICO sells furniture products to 3,000 plus retailers in over 80 countries throughout the world.
What drives Michael Amini to create unique designs and develop a brand that is known for its quality and uniqueness?
Often, to succeed as a furniture designer, the designer must create furniture as mass produced products and furniture designed as custom pieces. Great furniture design is a balance of innovation, functionality as well as the appreciation of the beauty of the item. The process of building a successful design business takes a combination of creativity, skill, marketing, business and manufacturing knowledge, foresight, and personal drive. Mr. Amini has succeeded at this by tapping into multiple inspirations through his travels, finding inspiration from life, and through creative collaborations. Through these influences, he has been able to develop a diversified, wide-ranging furniture line including fifty plus collections made up of furniture, sculpture, bedroom, upholstery, dining room, and entertainment products.
Mr. Amini understands the relationship between design and functionality by developing furniture with the understanding that it brings an emotional response to the consumer. He tells a story with his furniture designs.
Collaborations with other artists and designers, influence by art forms such as fashion, and partnerships with celebrities such as actress Jane Seymour help to create original furniture lines. The Michael Amini® & Jane Seymour™, A Design Collaboration line, which originally started with four collections, has expanded to seven collections and has been especially successful. The line focuses on glamour and modern pieces.
For this inaugural issue, we speak to Mr. Amini to discuss what drives his success in design.
PR: Can you recall how or why you became a furniture designer?
Since I was a young boy, my passion was the world of fashion. At the age of 6, I was a child clothing model and believe the fashion seed was born at that time. I now feel I have always had an appreciation for clothing, jewelry, and shoes.
After graduating from the school of Electrical Engineering and working a year in that field, I realized it was not for me. As I was looking for a job, I accepted a position for the time being in a furniture manufacturer as a sales representative. I then had an opportunity to travel overseas and experience how products were made and I realized I would love to design home furnishing in a very fashionable way. I developed Old World styling that was unique, and found that my fashion instincts translated easily to furniture.
PR: What or who influences your style?
I believe everything around us can inspire us; cars, buildings, window shopping and much more. At a young age, I traveled through Europe and developed a passion for history. I loved the architecture and styles from the centuries past. Castles fascinated me as did the magnificent mansions throughout the countryside of England, France, Germany, Austria, and more. While my personal style speaks to the more Old World looks represented in the initial offering of our furniture, I also love clean lines and modern looks. We are a company with a broad range of products. Even our more modern products have been influenced through my travels to more contemporary cities worldwide.
PR: What is a typical work day for you?
Work is a relative term. As I have always said, if you are enjoying your job, you never work a day in your life. I love what I do and especially because I travel, I feel am learning all the time. My work, or should I call it “happy hours” are anywhere from 16-20 hours a day.
PR: How many employees currently work in the Pico Rivera facility?
Just under 200.
PR: AICO Corp. has had a long standing history in the City - what makes Pico Rivera an important aspect to AICO’s location?
When we were looking to expand our office and warehouse space, I wanted a facility that was in a convenient location between LA and Orange County with new construction that I designed myself; a structure that I could be proud of and a space that was fashion forward. Our location on Rex Rd. offered just that. We now have a great location that meets our needs; it reflects my vision with incredible interior while we are enjoying a friendly city that cares about their community. We are grateful for the City of Pico Rivera, and for their help and support.
PR: What makes AICO Corp. different and unique from other furniture designers or corporations?
Innovation. When I named the company, Amini Innovation Corp. it was with an emphasis on being innovative, unique, and different. I feel it is my responsibility to provide products that are practical, and meet the needs of our consumers but are also unique in styling. Home is our final destination at the end of each day. It is our sanctuary. So I feel we are in business of making people's dreams come true.