The origins of F.I.L.A. Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini date back to 1920. In almost a century of history, a combination of real innovation coupled with a passion for creativity and commitment have given birth to one of the leading world groups dedicated to creative expression, with a broad range of brands and thousands of products on the markets of every continent.
In 1920 F.I.L.A. came into existence in Florence. It was the radicle initiative of two noblemen, descendants of the Antinori and the Gherardesca families, who wanted to create an Italian industrial alternative in the writing and drawing sector, against a market was monopolized at that time by the Germans manufacturing. The choice of the lily that Severo Pozzati – known professionally as Sebo – was commissioned to stylize was justified on two counts: it was, and had always been, the symbol of Florence, but it was also the emblem and the link between art and history. In all its decisions, the proprietors always showed their preferences for symbols and typical references to the Renaissance and Italian art history. From the historic term Lapis, so beloved of Leonardo da Vinci, in the company acronym, to the birth of the first brand dedicated to colour and creative expression – the Giotto range, synonymous with immortal art, which would, in just a few years, contribute to liberating the creative expression of Italians in schools and in daily life.
In 1956, a group of employees headed by Renato Candela took over the company and began to transform it into a production firm with a solid base in Italy. This enterprising and pioneering growth strategy based on innovation in technologies, products and tools, led F.I.L.A. progressively to conquer leading positions on the market. In 1959, the company chose Milan as the headquarters for its business. The new management focused on marketing and promoted the products through techniques and materials that were innovative for the times. In 1964 Alberto Candela succeeded his father Renato. Under his leadership the company started up a production path that concentrated on new products, images and styles: this saw the birth of Giotto Fibra, a forerunner of coloured felt-tip pens and the Tiziano range, devoted to professional and amateur artists.
The innovation policy continued and F.I.L.A. introduced onto the market roller-balls, highlighters, correctors, propelling pencils and the new Giotto Turbo felt tips, to open up new markets and acquire the leading position in the sector of creative expression. In 1992 Massimo Candela, Alberto’s son, succeeded his father and became Managing Director. His ideas were clear: the future required them to go beyond the borders of Italy and Europe and so the Group focused on internationalizing, starting from strong development and a new policy of strategic acquisitions. In 1994, F.I.L.A. acquired Adica Pongo, the historic leading company in the sector of modelling pastes with the brand-names Didò, Pongo and Das. The growth and diversification process continued into 2000 with the acquisition of the French firm Omyacolor, one of the main companies producing chalks and a major French company in the area of products for drawing, colouring and modelling.
In 2008, the German firm Lyra, one of the main manufacturers of pencils, instruments and accessories for drawing founded in Nuremberg in 1806, becomes part of F.I.L.A. The acquisition of Lyra, a company founded in Nuremberg in 1806, along with its subsidiaries, enables the F.I.L.A. Group’s geographical penetration to increase with entry into the markets of Germany, Scandinavia and South-east Asia. F.I.L.A. Group continued its international growth strategy by acquiring in 2016 the historic British group Daler-Rowney Lukas, one of the leading world brands in the art & craft industry. In September 2016, F.I.L.A. acquires 100% of St Cuthberts Holding Limited and the operating company St Cuthberts Mill Limited. Moreover, in October 2016, F.I.L.A. continues in its growth strategy by acquiring French Canson, the world’s most prestigious company in the production and distribution of high-value cards for the fine arts, school and leisure time founded in 1557.