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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Elite Furniture Draws Rich Clientele

When flamboyant pharmaceutical mogul Vladimir Bryntsalov wanted some furniture to suit his reputation as a Russian playboy he looked no further than the exclusive sets built to order by Italian company MP2 Roma.

The gold-lined beds, wardrobes and flower boxes with 4-millimeter-thick slabs of mirror glued onto wood in a classical-imperial design tickled the fancy of the millionaire, MP2 Roma commercial director Mario Poccioni said Friday.

In addition to heading a business empire with drug giant Ferance, Bryntsalov looked Monday to have won re-election to the State Duma in Sunday's elections, as a candidate for the single mandate district of Orekhovo-Zuevsky district in the Moscow region.

Based on the interest expressed by Bryntsalov and other wealthy Russians when the company tested the Russian waters last year, family-run MP2 Roma on Monday opened a showcase at the giant Grand furniture store in the northern Moscow suburb of Khimki and is already looking to go as far as to open a plant in Russia, Poccioni said.

"Russians are architecturally inclined," he said. "People in Moscow pass classical architecture every day, and surely, they will want this beauty in their homes."

Along with high-quality furniture, of course, comes a high price. The simplest bedroom set - which includes a king-sized bed, two night tables, four pillars and a chest of drawers but no gold - starts at about $20,000. The mirrors are designed in a pattern following that of the safety glass in cars - if broken, no shards of glass will fly to the floor.

The company only takes custom orders and fulfills them within 40 days, Poccioni said. Initially, MP2 Roma sets will only be offered through Grand, Poccioni said. If sales prove healthy and a deal can be struck with talented Russian designers, the company will open a factory here, he said.

The furniture itself is handsomely built and of the highest quality, said Antonina Enyutina, editor of high-fashion furniture magazine Mebel ot A do Ya. But it will more probably be snapped by luxurious hotels and restaurants eager to impress their well-heeled clientele rather than by wealthy Russians, she said.

"There are very few rich people like Bryntsalov in Russia," she said. "He is flamboyant, not particularly cultured, but very rich."

"I think that that kind of furniture better suits our hotels, restaurants and theaters," she said.

Grand's director of advertising and public relations, Dmitry Berman, conceded that the number of Russians who could afford such furniture is limited. However, when the wealthy go shopping the first thing they look to are Italian offerings, he said.

Well-off Russians have a fondness for Italian furniture because it offered the first non-Soviet styles they could buy in after the fall of Communism, Enyuina said.

"They had never seen very beautiful furniture, ... and it was a shock to see the Italian styles," she said.