Our history

Foundation

1900


Pietro Olivotto, who had worked in a printing shop in Vicenza, saw an opportunity to open his own craft bindery and together with his wife Vittoria founded the company.

1920 - 1930

Piero’s son, Giovanni and his wife Maria took over the business and began to develop it into a larger operation. He brought mechanisation to the process of book binding and transformed the business into a full scale plant employing some 150 people.

1940

In 1940 Giovanni’s son, Piero, combined his University studies with working for the company. He was drafted in 1942 during the second World War and returned to the business in September 1943. He helped in rebuilding the war damaged factory while also developing sales, therefore laying the foundations for future expansion.

1950

By the 1950’s it became apparent that a new site was needed, and on December 15, 1956 construction began for a brand new plant in Vicenza. It was completed in 1958 and remains the headquarters to this day. The 50’s also marked the transition between a large cottage industry and a growing industrial enterprise (pictures: the first stone is set for the new plant).

1960

This decade saw a substantial increase in the scale of the operation with the factory area doubled twice during this era. The production areas and warehouses built in 1956/58 first doubled during 1963/64 and were doubled again between 1967/68. This period of expansion directly reflected the improving economic conditions in Italy. With an expanding real estate market, products like encyclopaedias boomed to adorn houses and reflected improved family wealth.

1970

Piero’s son, Giulio Olivotto, now Chairman, joined the company in 1970 to learn the family trade.
Piero increased sales and invested in most advanced binding technology available on the market.
In 1973 the company broke the threshold of 1000 employees and became one of the most important binders in Europe.
During the mid 70’s and early 80’, like most Italian businesses, the company suffered from a sustained period of industrial unrest and came close to shutting its gates. After ten years of strong union activism the workforce numbered less than 300, but the company was still trading and it never stopped investing or technological innovation.
Heraclitus said: ‘War is the mother of everything’: for LEGO this period was one of innovation and it began to develop the ‘L.E.G.O. 300’ binding line. American Engineer Peter de Florez developed a design for the side grippers that Giulio Olivotto and the team of engineers at L.E.G.O. adapted into a specialist thin line casing in machine that was able to bind books at much faster speeds. In December 1975 L.E.G.O. opened up a small office in Chester to develop the UK market. After several years of hard work the volumes began to grow with the UK contributing significantly to the companies turnover.
Over a short period of time the company opened sales offices across Europe and began both market, and product, diversification. In a few years the turnover started to increase and the export market became the most important part of the company budget. In addition L.E.G.O. now started to offer not just a binding service, but also a printing service through outsourcing this element.

1980

During the 80’s L.E.G.O. was able to offer the complete product, thanks to some very trusted relationships with print suppliers. The turnover in the United Stated and in Europe was increasing year on year.
Towards the end of the 80’s the UK business was one of the most important for L.E.G.O. , second only to the domestic Italian market with exports accounting for some 80% of the total turnover.

1990

This decade saw a period of acquisitions with the first being the purchase of the colour printer Eurografica to service the expanding colour printing market.
The entrepreneurial flair continued with the acquisition of two ailing print companies ((Litovelox e Lit) which were combined to form LegoPrint. Litovelox invested in the first ever Timson web press to be installed in Italy with this machine replacing most of the work produced by the mono sheet fed presses over the following year.
Hard work, along with an extensive investment program and moving into a state of the art new plant (in Lavis, north of Trento) allowed the web division to grow into a flagship operation.
During this period the pre-press began to move into the digital world with LegoPrint being the first company in Italy to install a CTP (computer to Plate) supplied by the Swedish company Misomex. Expansion continued during these years with the construction of a 14,000 tons (8,300 pallets), fully automated paper warehouse.
The family tradition continued with Rosa, now Managing Director, joining the company in 1997 (Picture left) with Giovanni following in 2001.
In 1999 Stampa Digitale was born and was based at the LegoPrint site. This division was set up to produce low run mono paperback books using ink-jet technology. A unique feature is that they are able to sew books in the traditional manner.

2000

In 2003 the business acquired a new division in the form of Kina Italia – a long established company (founded in 1984 as Marzari and re-named Kina Italia SPA in 1994) which operated in the tourist sector producing postcards, calendars and guide books. As a result of this acquisition L.E.G.O. increased turnover by taking a share of a new market.
In 2006 Eurografica bought Mondadori’s Printing plant in Martellago which specialized in printing Art books. In the same period, and to continue to diversify, Olivotto Holding’s acquired the Calderini printing plant, and renamed it “Officine Grafiche Calderini”.
This decade saw the European book market go through a period of rapid change as books began to compete with the new media formats as well as an increased amount of book printing being sourced in the Far East and Eastern Europe taking advantage of lower labour rates.
In 2008 the group companies merged to form L.E.G.O. S.p.A – operating as a group brought financial efficiencies and production benefits.

Today...

The 2009 financial crisis, forced the company to close the Martellago and Calderini plants and to focus all the production in Vicenza, Trento and Marano. Despite the difficulties L.E.G.O. continued to invest with the installation in 2010 of the first Timson 4 colours web press, followed in 2013 by a second one.
In 2012 the Digital division became an independent company as a start- up called LegoDigit. LegoDigit focuses on small quantity productions especially for the Italian market, producing sewn books using one colour Xerox web digital press machines.
In 2016 a new KOMORI H-UV 840P, 8 colour perfector press (700 x 1000) was installed at our headquarters in Vicenza. The use of UV inks and UV drying lamps helps to prevent absorption of ink, particularly on un-coated sheets. The result is that the ink dries on the surface of the paper giving a brighter rendition and greater intensity of the colour with less dry back In January 2017 another important investment was done. Loyal to the company mission to investing and innovation, a new Heidelberg Speedmaster XL 162 for big format (120x160), 4/4 press arrived in Lego. In an ever changing market, the company is still flexible and can adapt to change. Books are still very much alive with recent studies showing that the printed word is better understood and memorized than from a screen.
Furthermore you cannot compare the wonderful emotion of giving or receiving a beautiful book.