MAPEI Corporation: Building an Italian empire
Over the last 80 years, MAPEI Corporation has evolved from a small wall paint producer into a worldwide producer of adhesives, thinsets and sealants for buildings
In 1937, Rodolfo Squinzi founded MAPEI as a small family business in Milan, Italy. Looking to fill a void in the local construction industry by manufacturing interior and exterior paints and masonry repair products for commercial buildings, airports and hospitals, Squinzi established the company with only three employees. He named it “Materiali ausiliari per l’edilizia e l’industria,” for which MAPEI is now the acronym.
Production originally began in Squinzi’s family home on Via Cafiero in the late 1930s. As the company grew, it became difficult to navigate around the center of Milan, so the company decided to purchase land in Mediglia, about 10 miles southeast. In 1975, the facility was moved and production began shortly after
In the late 1990s, MAPEI opened its main offices and headquarters on Viale Jenner in downtown Milan. The 65,000-square-foot building, which stands seven stories tall, is strategically placed around the corner from its research and development laboratories.
Under Squinzi’s guidance, MAPEI expanded its manufacturing to adhesives for laying floors and wall coverings, with the company’s first adhesives developed for linoleum. As the years progressed, adhesives were also created for ceramic tile, stone, carpet, PVC, artificial turf and wood. As the Italian ceramic tile market grew, MAPEI also recognized a need for setting materials that would make tile installations faster and more secure, which is when they began developing those types of products.
With around 10,000 employees today, MAPEI has evolved into a leading manufacturer of mortars, adhesives, grouts, sealants, waterproofing agents, admixtures for concrete, grinding aids and other specialty products for the building industry. Headed by Rodolfo’s son, Giorgio Squinzi, the company now operates 81 manufacturing plants in five different continents. There are 16 product lines offered in Italy and 10 in the U.S.
Squinzi’s family home on Via Cafiero, which served as the original headquarters, is now home to the company's corporate Research & Development (R&D) Center that coordinates 28 MAPEI R&D laboratories in different countries all over the world. Each section of the Center is equipped with state-of-the-art machinery and run by qualified chemists and scientists. The site also features an interactive showroom, where company meetings and educational sessions are held, as well as a small facility where booth set-ups and demonstrations are created for tradeshows and other events.
In Mediglia, on the outskirts of Milan, about 570,000 square feet of factories now operate on a 1.7 million-square-foot plot of land, which was just expanded for additional office space for employees. With 620 employees, the facility is the largest in the region. It includes five production departments, which run three shifts, 24 hours a day.