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ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN

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CULTURE

Ottoman architecture • Indian manuscript • French lace Chinese embroidery

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www.vacheron-constantin.com - www.thehourlounge.com

The European Days transform talent into a true profession

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LONDON

British saddler Mia Sabel holds her life’s reins in her hands

SHANGHAI

The Arts and Crafts Museum is the custodian of fine timeless treasures

MILAN

The excellence of Italian creativity and furniture for the perfect home

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Vacheron ad - Final 8 Oct 2013_RBS 08/10/2013 09:48 Page 1

the School of The Royal Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet Founder: Dame Ninette de Valois OM CH DBE

BEAUTY AT THE LIMITS OF THE INFINITESIMALLY SMALL

— THE ARTISAN OF MATTER —

www.vacheron-constantin.com - www.thehourlounge.com

Photo: Patrick Baldwin

Since the very beginnings of watchmaking, there have always been engravings on cases, dials and even on the tiny parts of watch movements. Today, Vacheron Constantin perpetuates this tradition by offering engravers exceptional opportunities for artistic expression. The engraver can thus transcribe decorative elements into the material from which watch movements and parts of the case are made, carving them with delicate care. This work of “miniature sculpture” carried out by hand requires a clear artistic and aesthetic approach combined with exceptional dexterity.

Where talent is encouraged to grow... The Royal Ballet School is one of the world’s greatest centres of classical ballet training which for generations has produced dancers and choreographers of international renown - from Margot Fonteyn, Kenneth MacMillan and Darcey Bussell to a new generation currently making its mark on the world stage - Christopher Wheeldon, Edward Watson and Lauren Cuthbertson, to name but a few.

Métiers d'Art - Mécaniques Ajourées Calibre 4400SQ

Admission to the School is based purely on talent and potential regardless of academic ability or personal circumstances and our Outreach Programmes provide training at centres nationwide introducing dance to hundreds of children who may otherwise have little or no access to the arts. The Royal Ballet School · 46 Floral Street · Covent Garden · London WC2E 9DA Tel: +44 (0)20 7836 8899 Fax: +44 (0)20 7845 7080 www.royalballetschool.co.uk

enquiries@royalballetschool.co.uk

Registered Charity no: 214364

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EXCEPTIONAL EXPERTISE TO SHOW COLORS IN THEIR BEST LIGHT

— THE ARTISAN OF COLOUR —

www.vacheron-constantin.com - www.thehourlounge.com

The art of enamelling was invented by oriental craftsmen nearly 4,000 years ago. With the development of watchmaking in the 17th century, Geneva became the center of Grand Feu miniature enamelling for watch decoration. Vacheron Constantin today perpetuates this refined ancestral craft.

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The enameller creates or faithfully reproduces designs or miniature patterns on the dial with the aid of a brush. Other techniques are also used: cloisonné enamelling, which involves using wire to mark the outline of a zone, and champlevé enamelling, in which the material is hollowed out at the locations where the enamel is to be received. This decorative craft requires very highly developed artistic and technical skills. Métiers d'Art - Fabuleux Ornements Indian manuscript, Calibre 1003SQ


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THE ART OF THE METICULOUS TO CREATE WATCHES OF PRESTIGE

THE ARTISAN OF LIGHT

www.vacheron-constantin.com - www.thehourlounge.com

T he first Vacheron Constantin ladies’ pocket watches were both watches and jewels, veritable accessories that for med an integral part of the costume of the times. T he advent in the 20th century of the baguette-shaped wristwatch – the thinnest in the world – contributed enor mously to the reputation of the Manufacture.

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T he gemsetter’s role is to arrange precious stones on a timepiece while respecting the codes of quality concer ning the alignment of the stones in relation to the cut and the refraction of light.

Métiers d'Art - Fabuleux Ornements French lace, Calibre 1003SQ


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ORCHESTRE DE LA SUISSE ROMANDE

JULY 2014

JAPAN & SOUTH KOREA FUKUI, NAGOYA, YOKOHAMA, TOKYO OKAYAMA, KUMAMOTO, SEOUL

The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande warmly thanks Vacheron Constantin for supporting its international tours

NEEME JÄRVI MUSICAL & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR The Orchestre de la Suisse Romande is generously supported by the City of Geneva, The République and canton of Geneva, and the Canton of Vaud

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OSR at the Symphony Hall, Birmingham, 31 May 2013 Photo © OSR/Jas Sansi WWW.OSR.CH

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Perspective

Sig

ned

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los r a -C * n a Ju orres T

BEAUTY, TRUTH, GOODNESS The transmission of an artisanal know-how contributes to making the world a better place. Because only human hands can create something authentically valuable

In Ancient Greek, the word Philokalia means “love of the beautiful”, where beauty merges with truth and goodness. I like to think that in cooperating with Cologni Foundation for the Métier d’Art, we are participating in the Philokalia of artistic crafts. They have much to teach us through their roots in age-old traditions, as well as by their message which is about conveying beauty as a social bond. In 1755, the same year Jean-Marc Vacheron set up his workshop at the heart of Geneva, a fertile breeding ground for Fine Watchmaking, he hired an apprentice – a future Cabinotier, as the watchmaking artisans of the city were called at the time.

passing on. They are perpetuated as much by sight as by words, conveyed through often silent exchanges. The artisan teaches techniques, as well as how to recognise perfect lines, harmonious colours and noble materials. Keenly aware of the human factor instilled in each object, Vacheron Constantin supports exhibitions intended to initiate the general public and to spark future vocations.

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The founder of our House was thereby signifying his determination to pass on an intimate knowledge of his craft, within a district that was home to a number of goldsmiths, enamellers and engravers. A place where creativity pervades every corner, nurturing talent and guiding every skilled gesture – those of Jean-Marc Vacheron, of the first apprentice he trained, and later of all those who would form links in the chain of an epic horological adventure spanning more than 250 years. Artistic crafts cannot exist without the principle of transmitting, of

Within our Manufacture, we have also developed a Métiers d’Art department that was set up in 2006. The liberty enjoyed there enables master artisans and youthful professionals wishing to follow in their footsteps to give free rein to their talent and their imagination. The timepieces thus created perpetuate an ornamental tradition that Vacheron Constantin has always cherished. Their horological virtuosity and their erudite aesthetics contribute to cultivating a universal dream: that of embellishing the world for the greater good of humankind. This extremely rich new issue takes us on an authentic world tour of artistic crafts, in the course of which readers will discover master artisans and master designers, emerging talents, new projects, as well as the 2014 edition of the European artistic crafts days. Happy reading!

*CEO Vacheron Constantin

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Institut National des Métiers d’Art : Building the future of crafts Created in 2010, the Institut National des Métiers d’Art (National Crafts Institute) is a semi-public body working in the service of the crafts industry, a creative sector of the French economy with strong growth potential. Under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture and Communication and of the Ministry of Handicrafts, Trade and Tourism, INMA is a government-recognised public interest body with a general interest mission. INMA’s role is to anticipate the future of the sector and to prepare for it by creating conditions that are favourable to its long term growth. Through its identity and positioning, INMA unites all the public and private actors around the sector and develops expertise in both national and international matters, by means of the following projects. A crafts monitoring, information and exploration centre that is unique in the world : INMA’s resource centre is open to the public. It offers an educational introduction to the subject through its collection of documents and audiovisual materials, as well as informational products like description sheets for each craft, a monthly press review, and a database of initial and ongoing training options. INMA’s mission of sectoral monitoring and expertise allows it to perform daily analyses, both current and forward-looking, on the evolution of crafts : the purpose of Les Rendez-vous de l’INMA (INMA Gatherings) is to bring actors together to study the major issues relating to the economy and to the development of the sector and to identify new, concrete action areas. At the heart of development and innovation, INMA fosters contacts between public and private actors, in the form of initiatives and experiments combining the fields of crafts, design and artistic creation, including international workshops, working committees and the Slow Made movement’s think tank (www.facebook.com/slowmade.net). INMA shares its expertise with the sponsors of national development projects via a network of regional correspondents. The Master Craftsmen-Students programme that it runs encourages a stocktaking of the intangible heritage of the various crafts and its transmission to the next generation. In its role as a talent scout, INMA holds a national competition to award the Prix Avenir Métiers d’Art (Future of Crafts Prize) in recognition of new talent in training in the field of crafts. Internationally, INMA develops its expertise through programmes on training and the transmission of know-how, as well as on the development of innovation in Europe and the Mediterranean region. INMA coordinates the promotion of the crafts sector via a national portal located at www.institut-metiersdart. org, an official crafts directory (www.annuaire-metiersdart.com) and the annual Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art (European Crafts Days, next scheduled for 4-6 April 2014, www.journeesdesmetiersdart.eu).

Institut National des Métiers d’Art - Viaduc des Arts - 23 avenue Daumesnil - 75012 Paris - France Tel. : +33 (0)1 55 78 85 85 info@inma-france.org www.institut-metiersdart.org

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by

E d i t o r ’s l e t t e r

THE GREAT BEAUTY LIES IN THE EQUATION QUALITY = EMOTION

ti n e ca T u l n Gia

What is crafted by man is the product of this formula. Something that we need in our lives: to gratify our eyes and especially to enjoy its intrinsic value Great beauty is made by hand. Modern design and the contemporary artisan are heading together towards the future. Because our universe, however technological, cannot do without the human mind, which analyses, selects, chooses. As Franz Botré likes to say, it depends on the QE equation: quality and emotion. Nothing more, nothing less. A combination that gives pleasure to the senses of a society that is apparently delegating its quest for wellbeing, overwhelmed as it is by the looming turbulence of daily routine. Or so it would seem. But if we take a closer look, that is not quite how things stand. Not for those who know their own minds. Not for those who can savour the essence of life in all its gradations. A principle that finds its material expression in hand-crafted products, which not only gratify our aesthetic perception, but above all possess the intrinsic values of craftsmanship, innovation and uniqueness. All of which is condensed in Italy’s quintessential celebration of this equation, the International Furniture Fair in Milan.

the financial pages of the international press we see figures that certify the existence of neologisms labelled Spread and GDP. It happens all the time. As soon as you get used to an acronym, a new abbreviation immediately kicks in, revealing things you had never even suspected. This is what markets thrive on, leaving us dumbfounded. They are indicators of a prosperity that clashes with the real world. For it is undeniable that we must take into consideration another factor, in order to calculate the degree of satisfaction that our lives give us: the quality of life itself. Welfare. Or rather, well-living. Vacheron Constantin knows how important this factor is, and for this reason it showcases the savoir-faire that is essential to savoir-vivre, promoting the transmission of knowledge with cultural initiatives across Europe.

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For this reason, Arts & Crafts & Design has chosen, amongst a veritable kaleidoscope of wonders, to unveil the homes of those who appreciate craftsmanship in every furnishing element, on which they lavish the same care they would dedicate to expanding an art collection, choosing a tailor-made garment or selecting the bottles of wine that best represent the master of the house. A style of life, a penchant for elegance, cultivated from an early age by educating our sense of beauty, which combines visual and sensorial elements. A sense that is trained in the workshops, savouring atmospheres permeated with experience, stopping to take in the details, admiring the sketches that have been transformed into finished products, in which new knowledge and age-old wisdom coexist. Some speak of the essence of Italy’s history, which seems so natural to us that we hardly notice it. However, elective affinities can be found also in other corners of the world. In the living treasures of Japan. In the creativity of the cuisines. In the contemporary take of Latin American craftsmanship. In the extraordinary archive of history that is ultra-modern China, where an exceptional wealth of craft knowledge is spotlighted in a museum dedicated to the métiers d’art. I am writing this to introduce another concept: the great wealth. Because in the 21st century, humanity is nurtured by this substance, these values. In

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The new edition of our magazine offers us another opportunity to immerse ourselves into this material and spiritual wealth. Because it is with this spirit that we tackle every new edition of the Salone del Mobile event. To explore the beauty, the grace, the harmony, the hyperbole, the very poetry of life. Which is the art of domestic living. It sprouts from one element, but it can branch out into every possible interpretation of happiness. We can embark on a journey into the unique nature of our savoir-faire just by leafing through the exquisite pages of the book La Nobiltà del Fare (The nobility of doing. Stories of Italian excellence, published by Electa). Promoted by Acqua di Parma, this project presents the skills that have continued to define the features of Italian artisans and artists from the Middle Ages. Since we are persuaded that their stories are wonderful adventures, we continue to write about them with enthusiasm, describing the ingenuity, talent, manual skill, the cutting and stitching that go with them. Of these stories we find evidence in the fertile terrain that is represented in the art of making a chrome finish, or weaving bamboo, or in the fine craftsmanship that enhances the perfect mechanisms of a timekeeper. These are the goldmines of our future. They need to be safeguarded by laws that must be inspired by wisdom, and taught in schools. The wealth they represent has to be handed down like secrets of the trade, from one generation to the next, in artisan workshops as well as in training schools. Because it is in beauty, and beauty alone, that a better society can be forged.

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CULTURE

The European Days transform talent into a true profession

LONDON

British saddler Mia Sabel holds her life’s reins in her hands

SHANGHAI

The Arts and Crafts Museum is the custodian of fine timeless treasures

MILAN

The excellence of Italian creativity and furniture for the perfect home

63

Perspective BEAUTY, TRUTH, GOODNESS by Juan-Carlos Torres

11 18 20

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78

Workshops Books Awards Initiatives Fairs Shows ALBUM by Stefania Montani

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Quality networks LEARNING CURVES by Alberto Cavalli

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Philanthropy and wisdom CREATIVE SOURCE by Francesca Sammartino Energy from within THE NATURAL SACREDNESS OF BAMBOO by Akemi Okumura Roy Unexpected collections PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF CULTURE by Caroline Roberts

Schools of excellence THE RULE OF EXAMPLE by Alessandra de Nitto The art of living THE ESSENCE OF DESIGN

Editor’s letter by Gianluca Tenti THE GREAT BEAUTY LIES IN THE EQUATION QUALITY = EMOTION Preparing for excellence by Gérard Desquand THE FUTURE TENSE OF THE VERB “TO THINK” Made in art by Ugo La Pietra WHEN EXCELLENCE DOES NOT MAKE THE DIFFERENCE

94 98 102

Tradition and innovation FIRMLY IN THE SADDLE by Giovanna Marchello

On the cover, hand-dipped enamelling at the Atelier de Sèvres. Photo by Gianni and Tiziana Baldizzone, from the exhibition “Transmettre” sponsored by Vacheron Constantin.

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106 110

Weaving wonders AN EXPLOSION OF SILK by Federica Cavriana Ambrosian handbook MILAN MADE TO MEASURE by Alessandra de Nitto Graceful progress SCULPTURES IN MOVEMENT by Alberto Cavalli Heritage preserved CRAFT LABORATORY by Gunnar Almevik Inviting shapes ON THE TOPIC OF COMFORT by Ugo La Pietra Craftsmanship on stage THEATRE IS A METAPHOR FOR THE WORLD by Susanna Ardigò Maîtres of design COMMUNICATING SAVOIR-FAIRE by Ali Filippini Special projects FAIRYTALE SCENERY by Eugenio Monti Colla Savoury crafts THE TASTE OF VIRTUE by Alessandra Meldolesi

Opinions

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Inventive power by Cesare De Michelis THE FASCINATING QUEST FOR THE CODE OF TALENT

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Historical thought by Flaminio Gualdoni ARTISANS TOO MUST SPEAK WITH THEIR HANDS

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Re-turn by Franco Cologni KNOW-HOW FOSTERS INTEGRITY

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© PATRICK LOPRENO / VILLE DE GENÈVE

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«In opera, every detail is a challenge »

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Contributors

ARTISANS OF THE WORD ALI FILIPPINI

He graduated in design from Venice’s IUAV University with a thesis on the history of exhibiting from the perspective of goods and culture. He cooperates with trade magazines, combining journalism and publishing with his work as lecturer and curator.

After managing communication for major luxury brands, she left Tokyo and her native Japan to follow her husband, an English photographer, to London, where she is a correspondent for many Japanese media.

GIOVANNA MARCHELLO

EUGENIO MONTI COLLA

Grown up in an international environment, spacing from Japan to Finland and Italy, she is a lover of English literature. She lives in Milan, where she has worked in the fashion business for 20 years, specialising in licensing.

He directs one of the oldest marionette troupes, for which he has written 34 works. A graduate in Theatre History, lecturer and scriptwriter, he is the founder and Chairman of the Grupporiani Association. He tours the world with Colla puppet theatre, wich he oversees and orchestrates.

CESARE DE MICHELIS

ALESSANDRA MELDOLESI

Chairman of Marsilio Editori, he has taught modern and contemporary Italian literature at Padova University. Since 1972 he runs the magazine Studi Novecenteschi and is co-director of Lettere italiane. He published numerous works on history and literary critique, and cooperates with many magazines.

After the university, she experienced the coup de feu and the coup de foudre for high cuisine behind Paris forneaux. She is now a passionate food writer mingling knowledge and flavours, a journalist and specialised translator, with a true knack for avantgarde cuisine.

GUNNAR ALMEVIK

GERARD DESQUAND

He runs the Craft Laboratory of Göteborg University, where he supervises restoration projects and research conducted in Sweden’s most culturally important sites. He is responsible for advanced training in the construction and landscape professions in the University’s Conservation Department.

Chairman of the Institut National des Métiers d’Art, Gérard Desquand was nominated Maître d’Art in 2006. He is an engraver who specialises in heraldic art, a rare and refined profession handed down through family tradition, which he teaches at École Estienne. In 1979 he was nominated Meilleur Ouvrier de France.

CAROLINE ROBERTS

FLAMINIO GUALDONI

She lives in Hong Kong and has extensive experience in the world of luxury, having worked in the Asia-Pacific region for brands such as Louis Vuitton, Giorgio Armani and Dolce & Gabbana. She runs a successful marketing and communication consultancy business and coordinates numerous publishing projects.

ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN Half-yearly – Year III – Volume 4 April 2014 Editor in Chief and Publisher: Franz Botré Editor at Large: Franco Cologni Creative Director: Ugo La Pietra Editorial Director: Gianluca Tenti Art Director: Francesca Tedoldi

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AKEMI OKUMURA ROY

Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte Director: Alberto Cavalli Editorial Director: Alessandra de Nitto General Organisation: Susanna Ardigò Contributors to this issue: Texts: Gunnar Almevik, Augusto Bassi, Andrea Bertuzzi, Alessandro Botré, Federica Cavriana, Valentina Ceriani, D&L Servizi editoriali, Cesare De Michelis, Gérard Desquand, Ali Filippini, Flaminio Gualdoni, Giovanna Marchello, Alessandra Meldolesi, Stefania Montani, Eugenio Monti Colla, Akemi Okumura Roy, Caroline Roberts, Francesca Sammartino.

Professor of History of Art and History of Design at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, he has directed the Galleria Civica of Modena, the Musei Civici of Varese, and the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro in Milan. He is editor-in-chief of the magazine La ceramica in Italia e nel mondo and writes a column for Il giornale dell’arte.

Translations: Traduko Revision and text adaptation: Giovanna Marchello Images: Tiziana and Gianni Baldizzone, Colin Coutts, Dario Garofalo, Kimimasa Naito, Laila Pozzo, Susanna Pozzoli, Manuel Scrima, Bono Yan. Arts & Crafts & Design is a project by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte Via Lovanio, 5 – 20121 Milan www.fondazionecologni.it © Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte. All rights reserved. Original manuscripts and photos will not be returned, even if unpublished. Texts and images cannot be reproduced, even partially.

Half-yearly magazine by

Swan Group srl Editing and production: via Francesco Ferrucci 2 20145 Milan Phone: +39 02.3180891 info@monsieur.it

SWAN GROUP PUBBLICITÀ

Via Francesco Ferrucci 2 20145 Milano Phone: +39 02.3180891

www.monsieur.it www.fondazionecologni.it

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140211_FB_REDON_Arts & Craft & Design Magazine_240x320.indd 1 Papillons, um 1910, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, Gift of Mrs. Werner E. Josten in memory of her husband, 1964, Foto: © 2013. Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York / Scala, Florence

FONDATION BEYELER 2. 2. – 18. 5. 2014 RIEHEN / BÂLE

www.fondationbeyeler.ch

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Today, artistic crafts face three challenges visibility, understanding and heritage. Moreover these “savoir-faire” become “rare” or even “orphan” when there is no dedicated educational program and the transmission of know-how is only done between the Master and his / her apprentice. In April 2012, Vacheron Constantin, the oldest watch manufacturer of fine watches, launched Cercle 250, an initiative that strives to support and promotes the expertise of this exceptional know-how in order to protect them from extinction and oblivion. Cercle 250 is an association of corporate patrons with over 250 years of continuous activity to their name. Its mission is to encourage and promote the values of excellence and commitment to manual skill through an Annual Project. The Annual Project will celebrate the excellence of one or more Artistic Masters through the renaissance of a material or immaterial culture heritage. An example of an immaterial heritage can be the skills used by a master craftsman that can be transmitted to an apprentice in a spirit of trust and generosity. It is a mirror image of material heritage and its scope for recreating or restoring a work – a rare object or monument – in its most material form. Cercle 250 will expand its initiatives by inviting people behind the scene to explore the creative process of the Maisons involved, offering them, so to speak, real moments, suspended in time, in the company of fascinating works and skills.

www.vacheron-constantin.com


©SOPHIE ZÉNON

© MOBILIER NATIONAL


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Preparing for excellence

D

me ocu

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nd * a u q s De d r a r Gé

THE FUTURE TENSE OF THE VERB “TO THINK” A new generation of creative entrepreneurs, born into the new technologies and sensitive to sustainability, is responding to a growing global demand for products with identity and soul

*Chairman of the Institut National des Métiers d’Art

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The métiers d’art are the best ambassadors for the know-how and lifestyle that characterise France and indeed the whole of Europe. At the same time, they play a key role in driving a creative economy: the workshops of the métiers d’art, situated at the junction of art, business and technology, constitute hothouses of innovation, which can trigger a positive impact in other sectors linked to the creative industries, including fashion, luxury, architecture, publishing and design. If it goes without saying that “métier d’art” is a byword for “knowhow”, it is also worth stating another truth, which is often overlooked or forgotten: this know-how represents first and foremost the skill of thought. Given that craftsmanship is intrinsically linked to the ability to understand, create and invent, the field of the métiers d’art accordingly fosters the dialogue between tradition and innovation. We are witnessing the coming of a new generation of creative entrepreneurs, artisans and artists of matter, designer-makers born into the new technologies that are sensitive to sustainability and want to break down barriers. To them, as John Ruskin, father of the Arts & Crafts movement once said, “fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.”

soul. In which manufacturing time, creativity, manual skill and durability constitute an added value. Year after year, the success of the European Art and Craft Profession Days, organised by the Institut National des Métiers d’Art, reveals the passion of this increasingly large and well-informed target, always on the lookout for authenticity, meaningfulness and customisation.

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A generation creating unconventional business models and collective and cooperative spaces in which craft knowledge is shared and production is innovated. An adaptation process to conquer not just new markets but also a different target: the métiers d’art respond to a global demand for products that possess an identity and a

The Slow Made movement innovatively embodies this trend. Established in France by the INMA with Mobilier National, the association is a partner of the 2014 European Art and Craft Profession Days. The theme of this edition is “Time and Creation”, echoing the concept of “made with the necessary amount of time”, the time needed for the research, creation and innovation promoted by Slow Made. From 3 to 20 April, the Palais de Tokyo, Paris’s temple of creativity, will host the central exhibition of the Days: a contemporary “Period Room” bringing together artists and international maîtres d’art who specialise in different fields. A new creative ecosystem, experimental and interdisciplinary, to develop new synergies between art and craftsmanship, contemplation and functionality, sense and form. Since 2012, the promotion of the intangible and living heritage of Europe has achieved an international dimension, thanks to the participation of a growing number of states. In 2014, the twelve nations taking part will promote the image of a united Europe, founded on a new economy that is positive and plural. The métiers d’art are our heritage and tomorrow’s professions. Let us conjugate them together, in the future tense.

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VISIT ONE OF SWITZER lAND’S LARGEST MUSEUMS MUSÉE D’ART ET D’HISTOIRE

bysupernova.com

RUE CHARLES-GALLAND 2, 1204 GENÈVE Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., closed on Monday

www.ville-ge.ch/mah www.facebook.com/mahgeneve

@mahgeneve www.mahgeneve.ch 


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Certi

Made in art

fied b y

Ugo L a Pie tra

WHEN EXCELLENCE DOES NOT MAKE THE DIFFERENCE An attribute created to single out distinction, but incapable of certifying itself. To do so, it needs schools and experts to select the very best and showcase it permanently

The term “excellence” has often been employed to differentiate high-grade products, in an attempt to raise the standard of artisan production, all too often the expression of bad taste and of little, if any, design quality. Excellence: an attribute that has been overused in exhibitions and fairs, without ever making a significant difference. In the last thirty years, a handful of designers have endeavoured to elevate the quality of craftsmanship in various manufacturing sectors, which have, in turn, failed to develop and establish “service companies” or “cultural centres” to provide authoritative and permanent reference points for craftsmen.

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In recent years, Art Institutes have been downscaled to the status of high schools without workshops, and quality productions have not been appropriately developed through the manufacturing and commercial model of “limited editions”, which is the one best suited to sustaining this type of proposal. For this reason, “excellence” has not been cultivated in any of the hundreds of Italy’s historical manufacturing districts: from the mosaics of Monreale, in the south, to the ceramics of Nove, in the north. Unfortunately, so far the only step taken by the institutions to safeguard the value of local craftsmanship has been focused exclusively on the traditional field of Italian ceramics and has been limited to guidelines that establish the tenets of production: materials, decorations, colours and techniques.

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Elements that should guarantee this type of production, providing a sort of mark of authenticity. But not, alas, of quality! It is easy to deduce that even when craftsmen respect the guidelines to the letter, it is not guaranteed that the outcome will possess those elements of aesthetic quality that will entitle them to be described with the word excellence! In order to be guaranteed, excellence needs good schools, and a group of experts entrusted with the selection of the best models, to create a collection of works in a permanent exhibition. What we need is indeed the development of real institutions that can provide an authoritative benchmark for artisans. Principally with regards to aesthetic codes, but also in terms of market trends. Something inspired by the “Permanente” experience: a model developed in the ‘50s in the region of Cantù, when architects the likes of Zanuso, De Carli and Ico Parisi organised exhibitions and awards, and set up “La Permanente” project. Through their political and cultural activity, they established the prestige of the “made in Cantù” hallmark, and the production of furniture in this district continues to possess that added value which they managed to create. In order to achieve excellence, then, it is not enough to define regulations and guidelines. It is also necessary to encourage research and the development of a process, as yet under-exploited, whereby the design culture and the maker’s culture interact with one another.

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To bear witness to forgotten peoples Two surveys and two publications per year

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by Stefania Montani

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ALBUM Workshops Books Awards Initiatives Fairs Shows

ANTICA TIPOGRAFIA BIAGINI Lucca, via Santa Giustina 20/22/24 One of Lucca’s time-honoured and reputable workshops has recently been given new life thanks to the dedication of three friends, united by their love of craftsmanship. Matteo Valesi, Ines De Labra and Roberto Paoli took over the business from Gino Biagini, an extraordinary master typographer who also taught them all the secrets of the trade. The typography’s premises have been preserved in their original design, and here the printing machines, now historical pieces, take centre stage: the classic Heidelberg Stella, the Leipzig platen press 1850, the Boston 1900, the Saroglia platen press 1940... The exceptional nature of this workshop lies in the skill of the three owners and in the traditional techniques they continue to use: typesetting is done by hand, like in the old days, and only handmade inks are used. Like the “Biagini” grey, the formula of which is, of course, a secret. An infinite number of drawers conceal thousands of lead alloy types and brass alloy matrixes. In the old typographer’s workshop, relief prints are executed without powders, but using zinc or bronze labels instead. The workshop is well-know also abroad for the production of personalised ex libris, the design of which is inspired by the typography’s collection, one of the most important in Europe.

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ALBUM workshops R RIEDIZIONI D DI LUISA CEVESE Milan, via San Maurilio 7 Luisa Cevese is an eclectic designer who started designing textiles at a very young age. From 1988 to 1995 she directed the research centre at Mantero Seta silk factory in Como. She was one of the first Italian de designers to reclaim the waste materials normally discarded by the textile in industry, which she used in her project entitled Riedizioni, a collection of fashion accessories and home decor that includes bags, pouches, carpets, table runners and underplates. She recycles every type of fibre: from cot cotton to silk, wood, plastic, paper, leath leather and fur. Combining the scraps with pure polyurethane she obtains a hy hybrid and contemporary material that MAX AX L A LAMB AMB London, 31 Crawley road Eclectic and full of ideas, Max Lamb is a young British designer (born in 1980) who likes to experiment with structures and materials, in keeping with the tradition of craftsmanship. Attracted by creative processes and handcrafting ever since he was a child, he completed his studies with a Masters Degree at the Royal College of Art and was awarded the “Designer of the future” prize at Design Miami/Basel 2008. His curiosity leads him to use many different types of materials, such as wood, granite and brass, creating innovative designs and furniture elements using particular production techniques. Like the boulder chairs and tables that he personally cut following the natural contours of the blocks of granite extracted from a quarry in China under his supervision; or the pewter table that he created on a beach in Cornwall, using a primitive sand-casting technique. But Lamb also works with wood, and at his Tottenham studio in London he makes light lounge and dining chairs, daybeds and tables obtained by connecting dowels of different diameters. Each size of dowel is cut from a different type of hardwood and assembled by means of holes, in a process that is highly efficient, modern and creative. www.maxlamb.org

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can be adapted to an infinite number of uses. The Riedizioni collection is distributed and sold worldwide in selected furniture, clothes and design stores as well as in contemporary art museum shops. Whereas the one-off pieces of the Riedizioni Speciali can be bought only in art galleries or in Luisa Cevese’s pop-up shops. This creative designer has also been working for many years with big brands, especially in fashion, which are increasingly interested in the potential of regenerated post-production materials applied to new and different uses, resulting in an unusual and innovative consumer philosophy. www.riedizioni.com

FALEGNAMERIA VITALINI Sankt Moritz, Samedan, Cho d’Punt 7 Drawing tables, planks of various wood types resting against the walls, the intense scent of wood from the adjacent workshop which lingers in the air. In the Samedan carpentry workshop, situated close to the airport of Sankt Moritz, customers will find an incredible assortment of made to order furniture, doors, ceilings, floorings and accessories. Giuseppe Vitalini is a craftsman of outstanding skill. Together with his team of expert carpenters, for thirty years he has been making customised furnishings for the most beautiful houses in the valley, and in every possible style: from the purest minimalism to the traditional style of Engadin, with spirals, engraving and intarsia. Vitalini’s production is particularly appreciated for the accuracy of the finishing and patinas, achieved thanks to special production techniques. The embossed ceilings with cornices and central ceiling roses made by Vitalini are outstanding, as are the bookshelves, the boiserie, the wardrobes with concealed or wrought iron locks and hinges, the furnishings for bathroom and kitchen. His parquet floorings in natural wood are particularly noteworthy. Often combined to stone or different wood types, the parquet is laid without varnishes, and it takes an attractive time-worn patina in a very short period of time. www.vitalini-engadin.ch

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ALBUM books GEORGINE GLAENZER Paris, rue de Lubeck 29 Her models are displayed at the Musée Galliera (Musée de la mode et du costume) in Paris. The inspired creator of the eccentric hats that have crossed the borders of France is Georgine Glaenzer, a designer with a fascinating story. She became interested in hats after working for ten years as industrial designer in the sports world. When she decided to let her creative juices flow, she drew on the Japanese art of origami for inspiration. The use of banana fibre, which is both flexible and resistant, has allowed her to work without machines or moulds, shaping each model with her hands, like sculptures. Her designs verge on architecture, reflecting her graphic experience, and feature lines, curves, arches, swirls, arabesques, drapes and pleats. In her Paris atelier she produces one-off sculpture hats, mixing banana fibre and feathers, tulle, raffia and cotton. All of Georgine Glaenzer’s hats are asymmetrical, as they are intended to be worn in whatever way the client prefers, and each of her creations is a customised piece made by hand in an aerodynamic style. www.georgineg.com

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INTERNO/ESTERNO

(Corraini Edizioni) Published to coincide with the exhibition at Milan’s Galleria Jannone, the book is dedicated to Ugo La Pietra’s Casette. The architect and designer reviews a period of historical importance: the transition from the ‘70s to the ‘80s. He recuperates the ironic and spectacular concepts of the former as a means of anticipating the return to the craft culture and neo-eclecticism of the latter. In doing so he investigates the social stratification of modern housing.

ANTICO SETIFICIO FIORENTINO

(Swan Group Editore) A review of Antico Setificio Fiorentino’s history of excellence: from the looms of the Medici period to the first workshop established when the city’s great families joined forces to weave new textiles for their stately residences, to the ‘50s when Marquis Pucci took over the business. In 2010 the mill was bought by Stefano Ricci fashion company, and this ancient tradition has remained in Florentine hands.

La soie est une poésie, une émotion délicate et noble. Elle l’est depuis ses anciennes racines, lorsqu’elle était tissée pour les vêtements des empereurs de l’Extrême-Orient. Venant de Xi’an, en passant par les rues de Damas, elle a conquis les plus belles cours européennes. Le sien fut un long voyage à travers les âges, immortalisé par les maîtres d’art dans l’opulence de leurs chefs-d’œuvre, arrivant à l’adresse de l’élégance pure, à Florence, où l’Antico Setificio Fiorentino tisse depuis 1786. Ses métiers à tisser à main et semi-mécanique tissent des rêves, enrichi par un ourdissoir vraiment merveilleux dessiné par le grand Léonard De Vinci. Bienvenue à la maison de la magnificence, où le travail de l’homme respecte des codes précieux pour donner élégance et sophistication à tous les passionnés de la beauté.

Via Lorenzo Bartolini 4 - 50124 Florence, Italy www.anticosetificiofiorentino.com

GAETANO PESCE by Gianni Mercurio and Domitilla Dardi (Electa) The Maxxi in Rome is dedicating a major retrospective to Gaetano Pesce, the eclectic Italian designer-architect-artist of international repute. The catalogue illustrates his works and how he turned diversification into the strong point of his production, making unlimited use of colour and revolutionary materials developed thanks to new technologies. LA TARSIA LIGNEA Marquetry and Inlaid Woodwork. The origins and secrets of “tinted woods and mosaics” by Francesca Fedeli (Edizioni Firenze, Italian/English) The book retraces the history of wood inlaying and examines the various techniques. When perspective was discovered in Florence in the early 15th century, inlaying proved to be the best technique to represent the new spatial awareness, and masters of intarsia were regarded masters of perspective. ELIE SAAB by Janie Samet (Editions Assouline) Written by the well-known French journalist Janie Samet, the book celebrates the creativity of the great Lebanese designer also known as “ES”. Born in Beirut in the ’60s, he started making clothes for the women in his family at a very young age. He went on to take part in the haute couture shows in Paris, becoming a reference point for international celebrities and royalty. 100 ILUSTRATORS by Steven Heller and Julius Wiedemann (Taschen) An overview of the 100 most important and successful illustrators worldwide, taken from the series entitled Illustration Now! From a list of 600 candidates, Steven Heller extrapolates 100 names and takes a lively snapshot of the world of contemporary illustration. The artists include Istvan Banyai, Gary Baseman, Seymour Chwast, Paul Davis, Brad Holland, Mirko Ilić, Anita Kunz and Christoph Niemann.

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SALONE DEL MOBILE Milan, 8-13 april The 53rd edition of the Salone will take place in the pavilions of the Rho-Pero fair. Admission is restricted to trade operators, exhibitors and journalists until Saturday 12 April, while the exhibition will be open to the public on the last day, Sunday 13. Organised by Cosmit, the Fair is the most comprehensive trade event of its kind in the world, with 330,000 visitors including architects, designers, interior decorators, distributors and other professionals in the furniture trade. The theme chosen this year is “Where architects live” and explores the private worlds of contemporary architects through a virtual tour. The curator of the installation-event is Francesca Molteni, who has found her way into the homes of world-famous architects, filming both the domestic spaces and exteriors of where they live and recording interviews in which the architects themselves explain the philosophy behind the choices made for their homes and the characteristics of their architectural vision. www.cosmit.it ART - MOSTRA MERCATO DELL’ARTIGIANATO Florence, Fortezza da Basso 24 aprile-1 may “Our future starts in our hands.” This is the slogan of the new edition of the international handicrafts trade fair dedicated to high quality products coming from various production sectors. Whether classic or modern, ethnic or contemporary, often innovative and at times even bizarre, all the products exhibited are crafted by the skilled hands of the exhibitors, master cr af tsmen coming from all

over the world. Including a sizeable presence of traditional Florentine workshops. Iran is the Special guest country of the 2014 edition. www.mostraartigianato.it CLERKENWELL DESIGN WEEK London, 20-22 may With its professional approach and the high level of its events, London’s independent design festival, now in its 5th edition, has achieved international recognition and collected important awards. This trade event boasts over 60 showrooms and includes exhibitions, installations, conferences, street entertainers and workshops in a calendar packed with events in the vibrant neighbourhood of Clerkenwell. The local resident design showrooms include international design companies the likes of Vitra, Cassina, Knoll, Cappellini, Poltrona Frau, Elite, Boss, Porcelanosa and Scandinavian Seating, and many designers, architects and inventors will be the stimulating protagonists of talks and workshops. www.clerkenwelldesignweek.com MAISON ET OBJET Paris 5-9 september As in previous years, the home-fashion fair will be held at the exhibition centre of Paris-Nord Villepinte. The inspiring theme of the new edition is “Elsewhere”, dedicated to wellness and leisure: for five days this cult design fair will present interesting explorations in home decor, design and the art of living. www.maison-objet.com HOMI Milano Fiera, 14-17 september The renewed Homi fair will be strucded tured in 10 satellite areas dedinteri icated to 10 sectors: interior decoration, wellness, textiles, fragrances and personal care, fashion and jewellery, gifts, children’s furnishings, garden and outdoor, hobby and concept labs. www.homiplus.com www.homimilano.com

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100% DESIGN London, Earl’s Court 17-20 september International companies and new brands, eco-friendly materials, design for the home and the workplace: an entire London neighbourhood takes an active part in the four days of events dedicated to furniture and complements for interior design, lighting, kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor created by established and emerging designers. Alongside the exhibits in the stands, seminars will be held by many of the great international icons of architecture and design. www.100percentdesign.co.uk 3

ARTÒ, ART AND CRAFT DESIGN Turin, Lingotto Fiere, 7-9 november The annual trade show dedicated to every category of craft activity is back. The products exhibited are of the highest quality, featuring exclusive objects created with techniques and materials that have close ties to local culture and tradition. Along with clothing and decoration, on which the fair is focused, there will also be a sector entirely dedicated to gastronomy and traditional foods. www.ar-to.it OTHEREVENTS 1) Fuoriserie, Old Cars show Fiera di Roma, 20-21 April 2) Italy Bridal Expo Fiera di Roma, 2-5 May 3) Vicenza Oro, About Jewellery, About J Vicenza Fiera, 6-10 September 4) Abitare il Tempo Verona, Polo Fieristico 24-27 September 5) Moa Casa, Home design Fiera di Roma 25 October -2 November

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ALBUM awards initiatives 1

THE ATÉLIERS D’ART DE FRANCE FOUNDATION With the second edition of the Prix l ’Oevre award, the Foundation will support the creation of an outstanding piece of work, which manages to involve the craft professions in a particularly innovative and modern way. The prize, worth up to 60,000 Euro, will enable the winner to produce his or her work. The finished work will be eventually presented and exhibited in a location chosen by the Foundation. Applications open until 31 March. www.fondationateliersdart.com 1

GEA MINIARTEXTIL 2014 The 24th edition of the contemporary event dedicated to textile art will be held at Villa Olmo (Como) from 5 April to 2 June. The win-

ners of the Ratti, Arte&Arte and Montrouge awards will be chosen among 54 mini-textiles voted by members of the virtual public on the Facebook page of miniartextil Como (until 2 June). The winner who receives the greatest number of “likes” will be officially announced via Facebook on 3 June. Entries can be sent by email to arteartecomo@ gmail.com or by post. The event will take place only a few months before Expo 2015, and for this reason this year’s theme is “Gea”, the Earth. Contestants will have to develop their works on this topic, interpreting it with an original and personal approach. Regulations and entry forms are available on the website. www.miniartextil.it

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THE “ESPORRE IL COMPASSO D’ORO” COMPETITION Three designs have been selected by the jury and will go on to the second stage of the competition. The winning project will be used to create the permanent exhibition of the historical Collection of Italy’s most prestigious design award. The designers have already met with the jury to explain in detail their design solutions, in the run-up to presenting their final projects by 18 April. During the second phase of the competition, due to end on 8 May, the winning design will be voted and the prize awarded. www.adi-design.org

commentary through live blogging, with posts, photos, interviews and video. At the end of the event, they will be asked to write about their experience in Florence and to describe the spirit that animates the Artigianato & Palazzo event. www.artigianatoepalazzo.it/ blogs-crafts 3

Prix Avenir Métiers d’Art2013

BLOGS AND CRAFTS To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the time-honoured Florentine exhibition Artigianato & Palazzo (from 15 to 18 May), the Blogs & Crafts award has been launched to raise awareness of the crafts amongst young people, and give them an opportunity for growth. A jury will make their selection among the ten best under-35 artisans, who will be invited to the exhibition and assigned a dedicated display area in Giardino Corsini. In addition, ten bloggers who normally write on craftsmanship, lifestyle, fashion and tourism will provide

PRIX AVENIR MÉTIERS D’ARTS Each year, the Istitut National des Métiers d’Arts (INMA) organises a competition dedicated to young talents with the support of the Foundation Michelle et Antoine Riboud and Banque Populaire. The aim of the competition is to encourage and enhance the specific know-how of the métiers d’art by presenting the works handcrafted by young apprentices and by students of professional training schools and technical colleges. www.institut-metiersdart.org

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ALBUM shows east transepts and the Trinity Chapel. The glass painting of the Methuselah Master, to whom the figures of Jared and Lamech are attributed, is among the works displayed www.metmuseum.org

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AUTO DA SÉ: Italian design between autarchy, austerity and self-production Milan, Triennale until april 2015 The ‘30s, ‘70s and the noughties: the seventh edition of the Design Museum is centred on the theme of productive self-sufficiency, interpreted and tackled with different approaches in these three crucial periods of history. The basic premise is that the general conditions generated by economic crises actually stimulate design creativity. The exhibition works its way backwards: from the new makers with their experimental self-production, to the industrial districts of the seventies, to the origins of Italian design in the thirties, showcasing the exemplary works of Italy’s most famed designers: Giuseppe Pagano and Gino Levi Montalcini, Luigi Vietti and Gio Ponti, Gabriele Mucchi, Franco Albini and Fortunato Depero to name but a few. www.triennale.org ITALY: The truth of materials Shanghai, Shanghai Italian Centre until 30 april 2015 Beauty and creativity depend on the matter from which objects are made, like wood, stone, plastic. The exhibition, devised and curated by Pierluigi Cerri and Alessandro Colombo, focuses on the raw materials that, in Italy, are traditionally considered living matter, thus developing a privileged relationship with those who work them. From Michelangelo to the popular Pinocchio, who gives his first sign of life when his carpenter father starts to carve the trunk of wood he is fashioning, to the sound stones of sculptor Pinuccio Sciola... The exhibition, presented by the Milan Triennale in as-

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sociation with Shanghai Expo Group, is aimed at affording members of the Chinese public the opportunity to take a closer look at Italian culture and its celebrated savoir-faire. www.triennale.org HATS BETWEEN ART AND EXTRAVAGANZA Florence, Palazzo Pitti until 18 may The Costume Gallery opens its doors to a wonderful monographic exhibition dedicated to headwear. A representative selection of the over one thousand hats that the gallery possesses will be put on display in a retrospective of fancy creations by well-known fashion houses including Christian Dior, Givenchy, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, John Rocha, Prada and Gianfranco Ferré, along with big international designers from past and present such as Philip Treacy, Stephen Jones, Caroline Reboux, Claude Saint-Cyr and Paulette. The Florentine consortium “Il Cappello” contributed to this exhibition also by providing some of the most interesting pieces produced by Tuscany’s leading companies, heirs to the time-honoured tradition of Florence’s straw boaters. www.uffizi.firenze.it

BLOW UP Vienna, Albertina Museum, 10 may-24 august Michelangelo Antonioni’s 1966 cult film Blow up is at the centre of an exhibition that is focused on the importance of this production in the history of cinematography and photography. For the first time, a vast selection of photographs, classified according to thematic emphases, will portray the customs of the times, the fashion, society and art.The images illustrate the cultural and artistic context of the film, featuring famous names such as David Bailey, Terence Donovan, Richard Hamilton, John Hilliard, Don McCullin, Ian Stephenson, John Stezaker and many more. www.albertina.at

RADIANT LIGHT Stained Glass from Canterbury Cathedral New York, Metropolitan Museum until 18 may The exhibition displays the magnificent stained glass windows of Canterbury Cathedral, which leave the famous church for the first time since their creation in 1178. Founded in 597, the cathedral became an important pilgrimage site during the Middle Ages, and is one of the oldest Christian buildings in England. The large windows were recently restored and come from the choir, the

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LES SECRETS DE LA LACQUE FRANÇAISE: Le vernis Martin Paris, Musée des arts décoratifs until 8 june In the late seventeenth century, the soaring cost of Japanese lacquer and the mediocre quality of the Chinese variety prompted European artisans to master this technique. In Paris, the Martin brothers distinguished themselves in this unique art. The coats of lacquer are painted as in the Eastern techniques, although they do not have much in common with the chemical compositions of Chinese lacquers. Each laboratory kept its own formula a secret. Staged in cooperation with the Lakkunst Museum of Munster, in Germany, the exhibition showcases over 300 pieces of furniture, wood panelling, furnishing objects, boxes, cases, carriages and buggies which tell the story of a passion that captured France and Europe from the end of the eighteenth century. www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr LA CAMICIA BIANCA SECONDO ME Gianfranco Ferré Prato, Museo del tessuto until 15 june Produced in conjunction with the Gianfranco Ferré Foundation, this major exhibition spotlights the creativity and stylistic genius of one of the stars of contemporary international fashion through the garment that best represents his sartorial poetics: the white shirt. The exhibition unfolds in the two large halls on the first floor, where the visitor learns more about the technical and design-based approach of Gianfranco Ferré, the architect of fashion, in the construction of his iconic shirts.

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Thanks to highly appealing artistic installations, visitors will learn more about the complexity and ingenuity involved in making some of his most structured creations, providing interesting insights into the crucial stages involved in the process. www.museodeltessuto.it LIBERTY A style for modern Italy Forlì, Musei San Domenico until 15 june The magnificent floral revolution. For many, Art Nouveau is simply a set of decorations which embellished facades of houses, furniture, objects, and of course pictures and sculptures at the start of the 20th century. The fact that it was indeed this, but also much more besides, is highlighted in this major exhibition which the Cassa di Risparmio di Forlì Foundation has organised at the Musei San Domenico. The purpose of the show is to offer the Italian and international public a comprehensive and objective survey of Italian Art Nouveau: it investigates the distant inspirations that came from the Renaissance, first and foremost Botticelli, and it provides a historical perspective of the great European movements of the time, particularly the Viennese Secession. www.mostrefondazioneforli.it THE GLAMOUR OF ITALIAN FASHION, 1945-2014 London, Victoria & Albert Museum until 27 july From the post-War period to the present day, Italian fashion has taken the creativity and expertise of Italian tailoring around the world. Spectacularly embroidered evening gowns and sculpted designs that have been the dream dresses of several generations. A message of elegance and cultural tradition which to this day is still interpreted by designers and fashion creators. This wonderful London exhibition, sponsored by Bulgari, will be showcasing around one hundred outfits by the biggest couture houses and ateliers, including Sorelle Fontana, Pucci, Missoni, Simonetta, Gucci, Maria Grimaldi, Roberto Capucci, Valentino, Armani, Dolce & Gabbana, Ferragamo, Gianfranco Ferré, Prada and Versace. Not to mention Liz Taylor’s famous Bulgari jewels. www.vam.ac.uk

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MAKING POTTERY ART The Robert A. Ellison Jr. Collection of French Ceramics (ca. 1880-1910) New York, Metropolitan Museum until 18 august The Met has recently acquired this collection which includes important works by French pottery and porcelain artists of the early twentieth century, including Ernest Chaplet, Auguste Delaherche and Jean Carriès. The works displayed will be shown with comparative examples from all over the world, taken from the Met’s collections, to illustrate the sources of inspiration. www.metmuseum.org

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MAKERS OPEN New York, Mad Museum of arts and design, 1 july -12 october The museum has been completely renovated and for its reopening it will dedicate a series of exhibitions to craftsmanship and design. The first is an exhibition dedicated to the forms of craftsmanship in the main urban communities that have defined the 21st century, including contaminations with the Web and multimedia productions. Around 100 works will be on display, from the most disparate workshops, featuring very diverse materials and production techniques. www.madmuseum.org

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LEARNING CURVES

by

Alberto Cavalli

photos by Tiziana and Gianni Baldizzone

Milan, Florence, Paris, London and Geneva: the leading centres for the spreading of the culture of savoir-faire are hosting the European art and craft profession days supported by Vacheron Constantin. To teach how to transform talent into a profession

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Quality networks

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Yoshika Sachio belongs to the fifth generation of master dyers and is a historian of colour. In these pages, one of his assistants is applying a natural dye extracted from the benibana.

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T

The Romans used to say that truth is the daughter of time: veritas filia temporis. The “necessary” time, and as such inevitable: the time needed to communicate truth and also to create beauty. Two qualities that are rarely separated. Truth and beauty are also the paradigms around which education should always be centred. And education cannot be effective if it is not given sufficient time to unfold. Hence the young people who want to become the creators of tomorrow’s beauty, who wish to transform their talent into a profession, must have the time, the opportunity, the desire and the courage as well as be willing to take risks, to listen, to discover the truth and the beauty of an age-old knowledge. The 2014 edition of the European Art and Craft Profession Days is dedicated to the critical

yet rarely debated subject of time and the transmission of knowledge. Every year during the first weekend of April, the network of activities guided by the Institut National des Métiers d’Art of Paris transforms some of Europe’s most important cities into strongholds for the promotion, exhibition and protection of craftsmanship. Belgium, Germany and Spain are among the participating countries, and initiatives will range from events aimed at raising institutional awareness to free access to artisan workshops. Some of the most effective projects will be presented in Europe’s time-honoured capitals of outstanding craftsmanship: Milan, Florence, Paris, Geneva and London, where luxury and métiers d’art have cemented their partnership in the course of the centuries, and know-how

and savoir-faire still revolve around the themes of fashion, design, jewellery and beauty in its broadest sense, generating culture and jobs. Vacheron Constantin, traditionally committed to the protection and valorisation of the métiers d’art, will sponsor and support exhibitions, events and initiatives dedicated to the theme of time: the right amount of time necessary to make and to create, as Paris reminds us, but also the time that must be invested to train a new generation of masters, as the Cologni Foundation for the Métiers d’Art sustains in Milan. Thus the events organised by Cologni Foundation in the Lombard capital are centred around the transmission of know-how. A concept spectacularly interpreted by photographers Gianni and Tiziana Baldizzone, who have trav-

In Milan, the Cologni Foundation is organising a convention at the Bocconi University entitled “Made by Hand” and the workshops in the historic Cinque Vie district will open their doors to the public

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Quality networks

elled the world for four years to document, in their truly evocative images, the inspiration, the emotion and the beauty of the moment when skill, wisdom and experience come together. In their iconic narration, exhibited at the Pinacoteca di Brera from 1 to 13 April under the title Transmettre. Percorsi di Sapere (Transmettre. The journey to knowledge), they capture a truth which is as old as the world itself: craft is learned through direct contact with the master, authentic source of knowledge. If direct experience is vital, it is equally important to analyse and investigate the role played by Italy’s high-quality training schools. How they relate with workshops and businesses, how they have evolved, what training experience they provide to tomorrow’s “creators of beauty”. Centred on this theme is the conference entitled Fatto a mano (Made by Hand), which Cologni Foundation is organising at the Bocconi University on 4 April. On this occasion, the book La regola del talento (The Code of Talent), written in conjunction with Fondazione Deutsche Bank Italia and dedicated to 17 of Ita-

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Xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxx Above, INMA is creating a Period Room xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxel modello at the Palais dedei Tokyo. Top, Atelier all’applicazione selezionatissimi Gohard gildingdalla the tip of the Clock tower pellami, progettazione of the Île dein la Bottega Cité. Opposite all’esecuzione: Venetapage, la mano Estelle Guénégot dips a plate in the glaze dell’artigiano (Atelier lo Emaillage, Sèvres, Cité de la è sempre strumento più sensibile per tradurrecéramique, in realtà ilÎle-de-France). progetto del designer.

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ly’s best art crafts training institutions, will be presented, and sociologist Enrico Finzi will introduce a research, commissioned by Cologni Foundation, which analyses how the Italian public perceives the métiers d’art. The first results of another important study will also be illustrated during the convention: Cologni Foundation co-operated with Maurizio Dallocchio, professor of Financial Management at the Bocconi University, on a two-year survey focused on small-sized Italian enterprises, the pioneering workshops in which tradition and innovation experiment new approaches, creating value and employment. Ugo La Pietra, a long-standing champion for the applied arts, will set the bar by analysing the status of professional training in Italy. On top, the Milanese weekend will include visits to the workshops located in the “Cinque vie” district, between Corso Magenta, Via Santa Marta and the Darsena. Tourists and visitors will have the opportunity to discover artisan workshops in Florence accompanied by a special service of multilingual guides, the

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“Quality Handicraft Assistants”, trained by the Osservatorio dei mestieri d’arte. Likewise, twenty of the finest ateliers in the Swiss canton of Vaud will open their doors for the first time, while in Geneva, home of fine watch-making, the European Days will be celebrated by admitting visitors to normally inaccessible places, like the exclusive laboratories of the Grand Théâtre and of the Victoria Hall. An exhibition entitled L’art et la matière, dedicated to contemporary know-how applied to luxury products like watches and jewellery, will be inaugurated at the Tavel Art and History Museum, with the partnership of Vacheron Constantin. The Swiss manufacture is also supporting Walpole British Luxury and its “Crafted” mentorship programme, dedicated to innovative British craftsmanship. To celebrate the European Days, the prestigious Burlington House, home to the Royal Academy of Arts, will host the exhibition entitled “Crafted, makers of the exceptional”, where 40 young artisan-artists selected in the programme will display their artworks and demonstrate their skill. Ideal-

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Above, the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Top, Anne Hoguet, master fan maker in Paris, transmits her art to Eva M’Baye (in the foreground). Opposite, Japanese artist Eriko Horiki oversees the creation of Washi paper that will be used in an architectural space.

ly competing with one of Vacheron Constantin’s master engravers, who will also be there to display his craft. The European Days will take centre stage in Paris too. Thanks to the farsightedness of the Institut National des Métiers d’Art and the support of Vacheron Constantin, from 2 to 20 April an extraordinary Period Room will be set up at the Palais de Tokyo. Here art, craftsmanship, inspiration and poetry will weave a close-knit dialogue. The pioneering spirit of the 19th-century Period Rooms will be brought back to life in this exhibition-event, inspired by the museum practice of showcasing a wide variety of artistic works from a given period. Six artists and six artisans will work together to create one or more artworks, contextualised by other creations made by the same artists and artisans. The collection will be enriched by the contributions of a writer, an architect, a graphic designer and a designer: art, vision and skill converging, to state that now, more than ever, in order to be a creator of beauty one must want and indeed know how to take one’s time.

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An exhibition at the Pinacoteca di Brera will illustrate a truth which is as old as the world itself: craft is learned only through direct contact with the master, authentic source of knowledge

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CREATIVE

FROM THE PROVINCE OF SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO TO MILAN, A CHARITY PROJECT PROMOTING ARGENTINIAN CRAFTSMANSHIP

SOURCE by Francesca Sammartino

ESSENTIAL STYLE IN HARMONY WITH NATURE A vegetable dyed antiguo rug, handcrafted by the Huarmis Sachamanta, “scrubland women”, using local wool. Left, a selection of hand-made objects, including baeton rugs and sculptures in algarrobo wood, presented at Spazio Sumampa in Via Ciovassino 5, Milano.

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Philanthropy and wisdom

A bridge of solidarity unites Argentina and Italy through the work carried out by Sumampa, a charitable association supporting the rural populations of Santiago del Estero, a province in the north-west of the country. The association was established in 2000, with the publishing of Un arte escondido - objetos del monte argentino. The book documents the life of the Santiagueñi, inhabitants of an area known as monte argentino, through the objects of their everyday lives, created in an ongoing and direct relationship with nature. “En esta pureza hemos sabido vivir y crecer. Como hijos de la naturaleza y servidos por ella” (In this purity we have learnt to live and grow. Like the children of nature and its servants): these words, spoken by an artisan of Santiago del Estero, reveal how deeply these populations, which stem from the ancient Inca civilisation, feel their bond with nature. A heritage they preserve and respectfully hand down from generation to generation. The publication of the book played a vital role in preserving and supporting this rich and endangered cultural patrimony, followed soon after by the creation of Sumampa, a non-profit organisation, and the opening of Spazio Sumampa in Milan. In the ancient Quechua language, still spoken among the Santiagueñi, “sumampa” means “pure and springing water”. It was chosen to underline the charity’s style: a return to the origins and to simplicity. Spazio Sumampa is located in the central district of Brera, Milan’s artisan heart (Via Ciovassino, 5, tel. +39.02.6575154). It exhibits the colourful works of Argentina’s tradition, made with passion by local craftsmen and women. The walls and the floors are covered with wonderful carpets in sunny hues, hand-woven by the Huarmis Sachamanta (the “scrubland women”) with locally produced wool coloured in vegetable dyes, such as cochineal. Whilst the women are mostly engaged in textile art, the men manufacture “one-off ” pieces with an essential design: large carrubo wood tables,

benches, beds, wardrobes, algarrobo saddle racks, aged leather baskets and utensils, not to mention the materas, traditional low chairs with woven or stretched-leather seats. The objects are essential and linear, all strictly original and unique, “distant from the concept of repetition in mass production.” With a skill that matches that of contemporary designers and makers, the artisans of Santiago del Estero manage to capture and extrapolate the objects contained in a knotty tree trunk, a twisted root or a bent branch. The success of this modern design concept was confirmed in 2009, when the products were presented in the sophisticated industrial architecture of Milan’s Cargo & HighTech shops. Spazio Sumampa does not only present genuine Argentine objects. Recently the range has grown to include items of Italian craftsmanship, such as the precious textiles from Macerata and delicious sweets made in Sicily. Thus promoting, as its founders intend, “the vital energies of Italy”. With the proceeds from sales and donations from private individuals, Sumampa has succeeded in buying and reclaiming the area of Quimilí Paso, where 300 people now have a home and land to cultivate. The area was first equipped with wells to collect rainwater and an aqueduct, as well as greenhouses and vegetable gardens, and a reforestation programme was launched. Then the Casa de la Comunidad was built, together with a primary school and a weaving school; the library was renovated, a new health and hygiene information programme was developed and a cooperative for women textile weavers was created, the products of which are sold at the Spazio Sumampa in Buenos Aires. To raise awareness towards the current situation of indigenous and multiracial peoples of the Americas, Spazio Sumampa in Milan is also offering the opportunity to take part in a series of events that explain certain aspects of Latin American cultural life, and illustrate new projects (www.sumampa.com).

INCA ROOTS AND MODERN DESIGN Above, from left, animal-shaped sculptures in algarrobo wood; a rueda de vida in alpaca, used as a lucky charm for a new home; a woman from Quimili Paso at the loom. Opposite, palosanto wooden trays, bone and alpaca cutlery and silver bracelets.

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Energy from withino

The natural sacredness of

BAMBOO NOBORU FUJINUMA IS THE MODERN PROPHET OF AN ANCIENT CRAFT

by Akemi Okumura Roy photos by Kimimasa Naito

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41 Master craftsman Noboru Fujinuma learned the ancient techniques of bamboo art in the ‘70s. In this page he splits bamboo into long strips. An operation that requires skill and concentration. Opposite page, bamboo bundles in his studio.

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Bamboo has been used in Japan since the Jo¯mon period (10000 BC to 300 BC). Rantai shikki was developed in that era, an advanced braiding technique which consists in a woven bamboo body coated with layers of lacquer, of which rare finds have been excavated in archaeological sites. From the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the early modern period, during which the Tea Ceremony has become popular, bamboo, with its unique style and natural simplicity, became the material of tea utensils: tea scoop, bamboo whisk, tea caddies and flower vases. Bamboo craft developed into a modern art in the Showa era (1926 to

IN 2012 HE WAS APPOINTED LIVING NATIONAL TREASURE BY THE JAPANESE GOVERNMENT

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1989), corresponding to the reign of Emperor Hirohito. Noboru Fujinuma was designated as a Holder of Important Intangible Property in 2012 by the Japanese government for his bamboo craft (Chiku kogei in Japanese). He is one of the six bamboo artists to be named Living National Treasures since 1967. He was born in Otawara, Tochigi Prefecture, in 1945 and started to study bamboo art in 1975, at the age of 30. Fujinuma presented his work mainly through the Nihon Kogeikai, the Japanese Art Crafts Association, which awarded him first prize at the 27th Japan Traditional Crafts Exhibition in 1980. In 1984 he was certified full member of the Association and in 1986 he won the “prize of the chairman of the Japan Art Crafts Association” at the 33rd edition of the exhibition. In 2004, he was awarded the Medal of Honour with Purple Ribbon by the Government of Japan. The first time I saw his work was in the Japanese Galleries of London’s British Museum. “Spring Tide” is an overwhelming work of art, a large basket measuring 67cm by 36.5 cm, alive with the strength of nature, its beauty and warmth irradiating a large amount of energy in the glass showcase. I then had the opportunity to meet Noboru Fujinuma at the exhibition “Four National Living Treasures” held in London in November 2013. Like his work, Fujinuma was full of bright energy. He told me he changed the direction of his career after he went to Paris in 1972. He was impressed by the massive scale of culture in Europe. He realized that Japan’s was just as extensive and important: “I wanted to convey to the world the wonderful culture of Japan. I was thinking what and how I should do it. When I returned to Japan, I started to study the history of our Japanese heritage.” He studied the writings of the master Sen no Rikyu, who set down the rules and codes of the Tea ceremony, Cha-no-yu in Japanese. Then he learned the ceremony itself, to experience in full its philosophy and spirituality. He explains: “Through the ‘Way of Tea’ you have a better understanding not only of the Japanese culture but also of the ten special art crafts (Sen-ke Jissoku in Japanese) involved in the making of all the special utensils used in the ceremony, of which bamboo is one.” At the same time, he came across the collection of works by Sho¯unsai Sho¯no, a bamboo artist designated Living National Treasure in 1967. Fujinuma was really inspired and says the book is still now his bible for this form of art. There were very few Bamboo artists in the mid 1970s. Therefore Fujinuma chose to learn this art craft to pass it to future generations and to introduce its beauty to the world. By a coincidence, his hometown, Otawara, is where bamboo crafts flourished for

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43 This page, Noboru Fujinuma checks the evenness of the pattern that he is weaving. Opposite page, clockwise: tools; Urushi lacquer is carefully brushed between the stitches of a vase; preparing round bamboo sticks with a special tool.

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Energy from within

DRAWING INSPIRATION FROM “KI”, EACH PIECE REQUIRES MONTHS OF WORK

Above, clockwise: Fujinuma evens out the stitches with an iron stick; his masterpiece basket Spring Tide, on the theme of “Ki”; taking advantage of the natural structure of the bamboo stem, Fujinuma makes cylindrical vases that he paints with colour Urushi.

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a long time. He served as an apprentice with the respected bamboo basket maker Yagisawa Keizo, who was known as the foster parent for bamboo crafts of Otawara. Fujinuma learned a wide range of basic techniques in a year and half: the selection and preparation of bamboo and how to split, braid and lacquer-wipe finish it. Fujinuma added his unique twist to the traditional technique. In his original works, he expresses skilfully the texture of bamboo, such as in the sophisticated and delicate bundle knitting and wickerwork. Each of his works takes 3 to 6 months or more to weave. The central theme of his work is “Ki”, a Japanese term that expresses the energy that comes from within.

“Ki becomes the form of one’s art. Ki should be always flowing. When we loose Ki, we won’t make anything. The whole universe is alive with this energy. Ki is a wave of force that we can feel,” explains Fujinuma. “When I am making my work, concentration is very important. In order to keep the flow of Ki, I play tennis to get rid of the old energy and create new one. I feel that all my works are like my children, I like to be in solitude when I create. My job is to draw the Ki from the bamboo, interpret it and present it to viewers through the finished form.” Fujinuma’s inspiration comes like “seven dwarfs descending from the heavens”: a Japanese idiom that means that the creative process is not born inside him but that he is “motivated by the energy of the universe,” as he explains. “My own hands move freely and naturally until my work is completed. I always make new designs, something no one else has created before. At the same time, it is important to use at least one of the traditional techniques. Craftsmen make without creativity, whereas artists use a combination of technique, creativity, design and presentation.” Fujinuma personally selects the bamboo he uses from his hometown in Tochigi Prefecture. “It is not necessary to go against the natural form of bamboo. On the contrary, it is vital to take in the beauty of nature, which is great as it is. I am always learning from the natural world.” In addition, Fujinuma studies the meaning of the Japanese words that express these concepts. Because the correct interpretation of the words provides an important insight in traditional art crafts as well as in the culture of Japan. “Kogei”, for example, is translated as “craft” but its meaning is more complex: to make a skilled work that has both aesthetic value and utility. “The original meaning of the Chinese character is ‘people connecting the heavens and the earth’,” says Fujinuma. He is also committed to passing his knowledge through training, and he is planning to teach at Oita Prefectural Bamboo Crafts and Training Support Center in the future. “Each country has its own individual heritage, and it is important that it is preserved and expressed. The culture of Japan can be experienced and understood through bamboo art. When I first came to Europe, 40 years ago, I was still a photographer and I did not perceive things in this way. Today, I can see how my works, which represent Japanese traditional art crafts, have been warmly welcomed here and I would like to thank Europe for the appreciation of Japanese culture. In the future, I would like to show more of my work throughout Europe.” In hearing Fujinuma’s reply, I could feel the beat of the earth of Japan, the bright and cheerful “Ki” of a great artist and man.

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Inventive power

D

me ocu

nted

by

elis * h c i De M e r a s Ce

THE FASCINATING QUEST FOR THE CODE OF TALENT In craftsmanship, experience and individuality are winning assets. They are measured in terms of talent, which enhances inventiveness and ingenuity

* President of Marsilio Editori, professor of Italian modern and contemporary literature at Università degli Studi di Padova.

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Talent is both the measure of the weight that, on a balance, makes one pan heavier than the other, and the metaphor of anything (money, especially) endorsing the supremacy of one side over the other. A unit of measure that becomes a value in itself, when one seeks evaluation standards that are not just numerical. Talent and value have thus migrated from the solid units of quantity to the less tangible ones of ethics or aesthetics, involving emotional variables such as desire and ambition. Whether quantitative or qualitative, even meritocratic league tables are based on talent: they attribute a value to invention and highlight the flair of those manual skills that are intrinsic to craftsmanship. Because the artisan produces with his own hands, and uses a machine only on condition that he is the one guiding it, with his talent and emotions.

decide who wins and who loses, and their sentence is unappealable. When modernity took over, craftsmanship declined. Its resurgence is the confirmation that modernisation is over. This is the dawning of a new era, in which we must learn how to give up modernity without retracing our footsteps, which is something mankind is not allowed to do. The return to craftsmanship must not imply the restoration of a world that has ceased to be. It has a rather different and richer meaning: the renewal of tradition in the sign of discontinuity.

T

Craftsmanship embraces all the professions obliterated by industrial machines. Man’s work replaced by a serial production in which the prototype is endlessly cloned: modernity has gained supremacy celebrating the triumph of the copy. If we were to illustrate the progress of modernity on a line chart, with competence on the vertical axis and consensus on the other, we would see the curve plummet to the X-axis, against which it would continue to run in a parallel line. What counts in modernity is not quality, an opinion based on comparison, but quantity, measured on the undisputable scale of numbers. And numbers (of copies, votes or spectators) are the new gods of modern times: they command us, they

To give shape with one’s hands, and not in a mould. To leave one’s mark, restoring the pleasure of surprise and the joy of wonder. In craftsmanship, ability, skill and experience play a fundamental role. As much as the supremacy of the individual, the sense of awe, the mystery of beauty, the thrill of competition, the enthusiasm of confrontation. Leaving behind us modernity and its insensitivity, we embark on a formidable quest, an extraordinary adventure towards an unknown destination. Not knowing how to do anything is no longer the aristocratic hallmark of the modern intellectual. Instead, it is the mark of a long-suffered fealty, an enduring servitude, a liberty we must reconquer. In the wake of modernity, we have to deal with the torment of Sisyphus: the fascinating and inexorable quest for the “code of talent”. Excerpt from “La regola del talento. Mestieri d’arte e Scuole italiane di eccellenza” (“The code of talent. The Métiers d’art and Italian Schools of excellence”). Published by Marsilio Editori, March 2014.

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People’s republic of

CULTURE by Caroline Roberts

p h o t o s b y B o n o Ya n

In Shanghai’s Arts and Crafts Museum, many works are not enclosed in glass cases and master artisans talk with the visitors. A gem that waits to be discovered

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CHAIRMAN MAO “FOUNDING FATHER” The refined and skilful craftsmanship of China never betrayed its traditional roots.

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Unexpected collections

The largest city in the world by surface area and inhabitants, Shanghai doubles as an economic hub and a popular tourist destination that welcomed close to 8 million tourists in 2013. Those who have visited Shanghai are no strangers to the bustling The Bund overlooking Huangpu River and other landmarks such as the magnificent Oriental Pearl Tower and the tranquil Garden of Contentment. And Shanghai Xintiandi is the place to be for foodies, shoppers and anyone else looking for a good time. Little known is the fact that this thriving metropolis is traditionally a centre of the nation’s art scene, famed for its diverse range of sculptural and embroidered art. Just like this fascinating piece of trivia, the Shanghai Arts and Crafts Museum in Xuhui District keeps a low-profile, preferring not to indulge in shameless self-promotion through advertising itself in tourist guidebooks. Only a handful of reviews detailing this lesser known gem can be found online. But the museum, which opened its doors in 2002, has experienced its moments in the limelight. International heavyweights such as former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, former US President Ronald Reagan and American boxer Muhammad Ali-Haj are among its esteemed guests. Resembling the White House in Washington D.C. with starch-white walls and a magnificent round portico, the museum was aptly nicknamed “Shanghai’s White House”. The circular portico bisects the otherwise rectangular façade, which further contrasts with the arching curves of the Norman windows, thus revealing the secret to the building’s beautiful exterior: achieving balance through symmetry and carefully thought-out proportions. Even the vast, grassy plains serenading the facade carries hints of French Renaissance architecture.

Above and top, jade and ivory sculpted by the experienced hands of Chinese artists. The timeless artworks collected in Shanghai’s Arts and Crafts Museum endlessly reinterpret and enhance the natural grace and beauty of the precious stones. Chinese masters passionately and meticulously pursue realism and awe.

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This comes as no surprise, since the building began life as a residence located in the historic Shanghai French Concession, built by the director of the Concession’s chamber of industry in 1905. Vacated after WWII, the building housed the World Health Organization’s first office in the Asia-Pacific. It resumed its former role as a residence shortly after the liberation of Shanghai, this time inhabited by the city’s first mayor Chen Yi. He pushed for the municipal government to dedicate the building to the conservation of traditional Shanghainese arts and crafts. Thanks to Chen, the manifold handicrafts that the museum supports today include the stunning Jiading bamboo carvings, Gu embroidery and folk art from other parts of China such as paper cutting designs, and jade and Huangyang wood carvings. The unique skills required to produce these handicrafts were passed down through the generations. To ensure the continued survival of arts and crafts so deeply rooted in Chinese culture and history, the Shanghai Arts and Crafts Research Institute trains young people to follow in the footsteps of the skilled master artists. After large-scale renovations in 2001, it was decided that the museum would be housed in the main building. Today, it is a multifunctional art space showcasing the works of over 50 veteran artists and craftspeople, with three major exhibition areas centered on embroidery, carvings and folk art. Consistent with the museum’s focus on arts edu-

cation, most items on exhibit are not enclosed in glass cases, allowing visitors to admire them up close. Those eager to learn more about the production process of these enamoring works of art can visit the artists’ studios for a chat. Among the prominent artworks on show is the “Mushroom Inkstone”, the last and only unfinished work of late inkstone carving master Chen Duanyou. Known for creating realist carvings that he meticulously and skilfully brought alive, Chen was a revolutionary artist who, during the time of Kuomintang rule, broke away from the longheld convention of carving monotonous subject matters onto just one side of an inkstone slab. He is the father of the Hai school, an offshoot of traditional inkstone carving. Another awe-inspiring piece is “The Holy Mother of Sistine Chapel” (1956), a striking woolen needlepoint tapestry by famous masters of the craft Liu Peizhen and the rest of the “Five Liu Sisters”. The tapestry, which was exhibited at the 1957 Leipzig Trade Fair in Germany, measures a whopping 1.69 by 1.22 metres. At the museum, your eyes are in for a treat as your gaze falls on “The Real Jade Crown”. Designed to be worn by an actor playing emperor in traditional Shanghainese Huju operas, the crown is made from authentic gold leaf and Common Kingfisher feathers to ensure that its colours, much like the traditional arts and crafts featured at the museum, will last beyond its time.

Above and top, artworks exhibited in the museum. Chen Yi, the city’s first mayor, pushed the municipal government to dedicate the building known as “Shanghai’s White House” to the conservation of traditional arts and crafts. Today, it is a multifunctional space showcasing the works of over 50 veteran artists and craftspeople. A bridge between China’s traditional and contemporary craftsmanship (www.shgmb.com).

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GILT-EDGE DETAILS This page, harness driving bridle detail: hand-stitched brass clincher browband, English rose ornament and patent leather decorative facedrop in English Black bridle leather. Opposite page, the mark of origin used in Mia Sabel’s workshop (www.sabelsaddlery.co.uk).

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FIRMLY

in the saddle by Giovanna Marchello photos by Colin Coutts

MIA SABEL CALLS HERSELF A CRAFTSMAN: A STATEMENT THAT REVEALS THAT PROFESSIONALISM HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH GENDER. THIS IS THE STORY OF A WOMAN WHO STARTED ALL OVER AND BECAME A SADDLER

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“I call myself a craftsman,” Mia Sabel tells me as we reach her workshop, an airy log cabin at the back of her big and overgrown garden in Walthamstow, East London. What strikes me about her statement is that she neither uses the feminine “craftswoman” nor the neutral “craftsperson”. As the conversation unwinds, I understand that the term with which she chooses to define herself reveals the pride and self-confidence of a person who, having built a successful career, turned the tables halfway through her life and dedicated herself to learning a skilled craft. Mia Sabel became a qualified saddler at the age of 44, a process that requires time, commitment and practice as well as a manual dexterity that is normally trained at a younger age. And, as her story demonstrates, professionalism has nothing to do with gender, but with one’s approach, attitude and conscientiousness. Likewise, she believes that the right word is necessary when it comes to setting the crafts to rights. “In the UK, most consumers will probably associate the word ‘craft’ with home-made knitted scarves, doilies and all the rest. But when we talk about high-end craftsmanship, we refer to a craft that takes three to four year’s training or an apprenticeship of four years. Often, ‘amateur craft’ and ‘professional craft’ are merged together, and it’s a shame. There’s nothing wrong with being an amateur, but this difference has to be understood. I think it is important, because it has to do with what the consumer perceives.” The mixture and degree of tradition, creativity, skill, experience, sophistication and innovation that elevates a craft to the heights of métier d’art is not easy to define. This issue and, more in general, the characteristics and role of the crafts industry in the contemporary economy are, as we know, at the centre of great interest and debate

SADDLE BULLDOG PLIERS

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DIVIDERS

throughout the Western world. In the UK, crafts and craftsmanship are supported and endorsed by renowned and influential national non-profit associations and agencies, among which the most important are the Crafts Council, which is focused on contemporary crafts and receives public funding through Arts Council England, and the Heritage Crafts Association, the advocacy body for traditional heritage crafts presided by HRH The Prince of Wales, which supports the application of the 2003 UNESCO Convention for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage. Both associations have taken an active role in the controversy arisen last year when the British Department for Culture, Media and Sport opened a public consultation regarding the classification and measuring of the creative industries, from which the category of crafts was running the risk of being deleted. In fact, in its latest report on creative industries issued in April 2013, the DCMS provided no figures for the contribution of crafts to creative industries. After a public outcry that led to petitions and lobby action, the Government clarified its position and officially confirmed through its web site that “the definition of the creative industries will remain the same and continue to include crafts.” “In my previous job, I would have completely fallen into the creative industries area, because I was a designer and a creative director, and probably this issue would not have touched me as deeply as in fact it did.” Mia Sabel represents that growing proportion of men and women who have chosen a second career in the crafts. In her case, a third career. “At 17 I joined a youth theatre group for seven years, with which I toured the UK. It was a fundamental experience. I learned life skills as well as a profession: costume making, stage design, lighting,

INVENTION AND EXPLORATION Below, traditional saddlery and leather-working tools. Top left, credit card cases in cricket ball leather. Opposite page, from left, Mia Sabel; snaffle bridle detail, in English “London Tan” bridle leather. All hand-stitched.

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Eccellenze dal mondo

and computer. We had no funding, our profits came entirely from the shows we set up.” Although she had become a professional stage manager, at the age of 25 she decided to go back to college to study art and photography. She was accepted on a course at Central St. Martins School of Art, where she worked hard for three years and discovered she had a gift for computers and graphics culminating in a First Class Degree. So her second career started in the booming new technology world, where she worked as an animator, illustrator and web designer. In the course of the years she passed from a multinational digital agency to advertising and finally to creative director of an online bank, where she was managing a team of 22 creatives. She loved her job and the salary was excellent, but she was not satisfied: “I was working 16 hours a day, and I felt that the managerial side

3/8” CREW PUNCH

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was taking over the creative one. On top of that, ethical and moral issues were becoming more and more important to me, and I was starting to ask myself who I was and what I was doing.” So she left, and went to Spain to learn the language and ride horses. “I wanted to clear the decks. After that experience, I understood that I needed to do something creative and physical, to be out in the open air with horses and produce objects that would outlive me. Like the things my grandfather, a master carpenter, made for us in the course of his life.” Mia Sabel wanted to learn a trade and craft that had tradition, history and a cultural heritage, and she chose saddlery. She enrolled at Capel Manor College, which provides the only full-time, two-year course in the country. “Only twelve students are taken every year. Under the tuition of a Master Saddler, we learned the very traditional methods of English saddlery, that includes saddles, bridles and harnesses, as well as the anatomy and physiology of horses. The exams are very skills-based, testing core competencies and accuracy in a given amount of time. Once you have qualified, which counts as an apprenticeship, it takes at least another three years of working in the trade to qualify for an application as Master Saddler. It used to be a very masculine trade, but in the classroom women are definitely outnumbering men.” The making of a saddle involves many different skills, and everything starts from the horse. “The upholstery of the saddle, the wooden body called the tree, depends on the size and type of the horse and on the use for which a particular saddle is intended: dressage, racing, jumping, polo and so on. The saddler works on the saddle to fit it to the horse and to suit the customer’s requirements. A very laborious, physical work. The leather

R RA RAWHIDE AWHIDE MALLET AWHIDE

STITCH MARKER

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Tradition and innovation

for the seat is wet-moulded on the tree and laboriously hand-stitched. The panels, the lateral pads that touch the horse’s sides, are shaped to suit the horse and flocked with wool and adjusted according to the balance of the saddle, which should be checked by a qualified saddle fitter every six months.” Leather was her language, and her creative side was coming back to her. In her third year she approached QEST, the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, which makes awards to craftsmen and women of all ages for study, training and work experience. “It’s an amazing charity. Once you become a QEST scholar, you are a scholar for life, with fantastic opportunities to do many things. I was granted a scholarship to complete my saddlery qualifications and widen my skills to include bag making, restoration and upholstery. The more I learned, the more I offered, combining

ROUND HOLE PUNCHES

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BEECH WOOD MALLET

my new skills with my design background.” Mia Sabel doesn’t do much saddlery now. “It’s very difficult and there is a lot of competition. It’s very hard to get someone to pay for a completely hand-made saddle. I still do repairs, because it’s a fantastic way to learn how things work and find solutions to fix them. I also do prototyping. I work a great deal with specialised companies who want me to research and develop bespoke products for them. I also work with architects and designers, to develop their ideas in leather. And of course I create my own luxury leather line, for which I often use bridle leather, the strongest and toughest. I use the typical colours of saddlery, which go from naturals to brown, black and red. I can do pink of course, if a customer asks, but in my collection I like to focus on tradition.” Her signature item is the Stirrup Bag, which she invented for her product range. Mia Sabel tells me that when Queen Elizabeth II saw it, on an official visit to the QEST Crafting Excellence exhibition held at Fortnum and Mason in 2012, she picked it up with her gloved hand and said she was impressed by how light it was. A very encouraging debut for a craftsman who has one ambition: to make the best and most beautiful objects for the most sophisticated customers. Mia Sabel has integrated her new competencies with her previously acquired skills and technological fluency, building a bridge between heritage and contemporary crafts, and amplifying the range of her reach beyond traditional boundaries. But like many modern craftsmen who do not fit in classical definitions, she has to improvise and open her way inch by inch into a rapidly changing world in which the institutions and the industry are not running at the same pace. The 21st century craftsman must also be an inventor, an explorer and a guerrilla fighter.

1” WAD PUNCH

COW BONE FOLDERS

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SADDLER’S CLAMS

A LABORIOUS AND PHYSICAL WORK Above, a hand-made English GP saddle in “Dark Havana” pig print saddle butt and soft panel hide. Below, the saddler’s tools. Opposite page, from left: bespoke Stirrup Bag, created from a reclaimed stirrup iron, in black calfskin and red nappa; double-handed saddle stitch.

DIVIDERS (TOP PART)

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Schools of excellence

This page, advanced training courses by the Central Institute for Book and Archives Conservation and Restoration in Rome. Right, the Scuola Superiore di Sartoria, Brioni’s tailoring school in Penne.

The rule of

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TALENT, PASSION AND “THE CODE”: THE SCHOOLS OF EXCELLENCE, ENTRUSTED WITH THE PROTECTION AND TRANSMISSION OF A UNIQUE HERITAGE OF CRAF T KNOWLEDGE TO TOMORROW’S MASTERS OF THE ARTS, FOR THE FIRST TIME COLLECTED IN A BOOK by Alessandra de Nitto photos by Laila Pozzo

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YOUNG PEOPLE ARE NOT JUGS TO BE FILLED, BUT TORCHES TO BE LIT

T Top, from left: the Opificio delle pietre dure in Florence provides specialised training in the field of art restoration; the Scuola dell’arte della medaglia in Rome, one of its kind in the world, teaches the art of metal engraving. Opposite, flair and skill at the Footwear Polytechnic in the Riviera del Brenta.

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The publication of the book La regola del talento. Mestieri d’arte e Scuole di eccellenza (The code of talent. Métiers d’Art and Schools of Excellence. Marsilio Editori, March 2014) is part of a high-profile cultural project announced by Cologni Foundation of the Métiers d’Art in conjunction with Deutsche Bank Italia Foundation, marking the latter’s first official philanthropic, social and educational initiative in Italy. Readers will be introduced to some of Italy’s finest schools, true guardians of knowledge and knowhow, opening their doors to the public for the first time. With a history often centuries old, these institutes are entrusted with the extraordinary task of preserving and transmitting a unique heritage of skills and knowledge. To train and support the new generations of master craftsmen is to promote and protect Italy’s remarkable tradition in culture, beauty and savoir-faire: more crucial than ever for the country’s economic and productive system. The book is a tribute to all those who are engaged in this mission, often facing many difficulties. The 17 major schools described in the book were selected according to strict criteria: acknowledged leadership and tradition in their specific field, deep-rooted ties to the territory, recognition, high-level teaching standards, and the ability to combine tradition and innovation. Though far from exhaustive, this virtuous selection provides an insight into the excellence achieved in the transmission of know-

how. The book is part of a project that includes a new website that provides in-depth and extensive information about the many high-standard training centres across Italy. The schools introduced in this book are presented by their directors, head teachers and didactic coordinators, the same individuals who take personal responsibility for welcoming, motivating and preparing our young people each day, as well as guiding their talent and kindling the flame of their passion. “Young people are not jugs to be filled, but torches to be lit,” wrote Quintilian (35-96 A.D.). This is something the teachers are well aware of. They are often master craftsmen themselves, who mould talent abiding by the rules and the discipline without which even the greatest passion comes to nothing. The road to becoming a maître d’art is long and hard, but as Cesare De Michelis writes in his enlightening contribution to this book, it can be an extraordinary adventure, a way to rediscover the supremacy of the individual, the mystery of beauty, the fascinating role played by ability, skill and personality... A road that needs to be mapped out for young people and their educators, as a meaningful perspective on life and the professions. Laila Pozzo’s breathtaking photography illustrates how these top-flight schools are not sanctuaries of knowledge, but places that are full of life. In these hothouses, talent is combined with manual skill, and teaching involves training in the workshops, following the masters’ example. A lesson that comes to

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IN THE RENAISSANCE WORKSHOPS APPRENTICES LEARNED BY EXAMPLE us from the workshops of the Renaissance, and that these schools continue to put into practice. Schools proudly guard the secrets of their tradition, which are the result of the experience and know-how accumulated in the course of the centuries, as well as the expression of great regional vocations. At the same time, cutting-edge technologies can inject new lifeblood into this heritage, as the four major advanced training centres for restoration of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism (MiBACT) demonstrate: in Rome, the Istituto superiore per la conservazione ed il restauro (Institute of advanced studies in conservation and restoration) and the Istituto centrale per il restauro e la conservazione del patrimonio archivistico e librario (Central institute for book and archives conservation and restoration); in Florence, the Opificio delle pietre dure (leader in the field of art restoration); and in Turin, the most recent yet equally extraordinary training institute of La Venaria Reale. These are centres of excellence that have achieved an authoritative and international reputation thanks to the advanced technologies developed by their workshops, the invaluable allies of Italy’s unique savoir-faire. Tradition is thriving and evolving in every sector in which the schools featured in this book operate: mosaic (Scuola mosaicisti del Friuli, Spilimbergo), glass (Scuola del vetro Abate Zanetti, Murano), ceramics (the time-honoured art institutes of Faenza and

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Caltagirone), jewellery (Istituto d’arte Pietro Selvatico, Padova), jewels and watchmaking (Tarì Design School, Marcianise), metal engraving (Scuola dell’arte della medaglia, Rome). Not to mention leather (Alta scuola di pelletteria italiana, Scandicci), shoes (the Footwear Polytechnic, Vigonza) and tailoring (Scuola di sartoria Nazareno Fonticoli, Penne). And the fascinating professions of stagecraft (Accademia Teatro alla Scala, Milan), violin making (Scuola internazionale di liuteria, Cremona), and haute cuisine (Alma, the international school of Italian Cuisine, Colorno). This variety of rich and complex training opportunities is provided by public institutes of national repute, professional schools linked to regional traditions and centres established by farsighted private companies with the aim of protecting and transmitting a cultural and productive wealth of knowledge that cannot be exported and must not be lost. This indispensable role is underlined by Giovanni Puglisi in his authoritative introduction: “Given the absence, in Italy, of specific public programmes to support direct transmission of knowledge from master to apprentice in the informal setting of the atelier and the workshop, the most effective means to protect our traditional arts and crafts is represented by the schools, institutes and centres which this book brings to the attention of the public. Indeed in some cases it is the only barrier to prevent the irreversible depletion of Italy’s time-honoured creativity.” (www.scuolemestieridarte.it)

Top, from left: the ancient art of glass making is handed down in the historic school Abate Zanetti in Murano; students at Alma, the international training centre for Italian Cuisine, whose Rector is Gualtiero Marchesi. Below, the cover of the book La regola del talento (The Code of talent). Opposite, the four major schools run by the MiBACT (Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Tourism) are the standard-bearers of Italy’s supremacy in conservation and restoration.

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ign Des

Historical thought

ARTISANS TOO MUST SPEAK WITH THEIR HANDS

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io n i m la

y ed b

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oni d l a u

*

An extraordinary wealth of skills and sensitivity has carved out Italy’s history, making it the place where common wisdom is forged. One need only distinguish between art and the arts... While his brother Agostino was engaged in a learned dissertation on Laocoön and the awe-inspiring virtues of the ancient arts, Annibale Carracci set about drawing the famous group of sculptures on a wall. When asked why, he replied: “We depictors must speak with our hands.” This anecdote is well-known and particularly relevant, today. It allows us to reason on the contemporary role of the artifex bonus, the creator who acquires knowledge through the work of his hands, a figure with deep-seated roots in our artistic past. Not just “depictors” talk with their hands. So do all those who, possessing artistic skills, are involved in the fervent and at times erudite process of making things; their importance and responsibility may vary in degree, but they are all equally essential. Similarly, and contrary to popular belief, even the Renaissance workshops did not produce only masterpieces.

skills, know-how and taste. As Vasari wrote, when the work created “industriously by the learned hand” of great artists is assessed with different parameters than those used for other men of the arts, there will be two different outcomes. Not only will “the desire to be considered a universal genius degrade many artisans,” as Jean-Baptiste abbé du Bos lamented in the 18th century, but people will also lose sight of the fact that the artist’s charisma is only an intellectual excellence, compared with solid, acknowledged and common wisdom; where art is not involved, ingenuity may seem irrelevant. In this perspective, Italy is an outstanding example of a phenomenon that has taken place in the past and indeed continues, owing to the continuity and solidity of the creative and productive activity surrounding “pure” art. According to economist and historian Enrico Stumpo, this has “probably favoured the integration of the manufacturing economies of renowned centres such as Florence, Venice, Genoa, Rome and Milan with a more diversified production of artistic objects and also of luxury goods: weapons, jewellery, silverware, books, musical instruments, decorations, furniture, ceramics and tiles, paintings, statues, plasterwork, coins, medals, prints, engravings, mirrors and chandeliers.”

S

They were engaged in a multitude of activities, producing at the same time great works and others that we would now define as “applied arts”: at the turn of the 16th century, for example, Bernardo di Stefano Rosselli’s workshop created altarpieces and panel paintings as well as paintings on paper and parchment, ornate candles, tinted plasterworks, coats of arms, decorations for beams, frames, beds, furniture, parrot cages, painted textiles, shop and tavern signs, mirrors, plaques and baskets. In the late 16th century, painter and art theorist Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo enumerated these artificers, the “names of some moderns excellent in their art”: beside painters, sculptors and architects, he listed “mathematicians, engravers of prints in wood, copper and iron, goldsmiths, medal coiners, turners in the round, statuaries, machinists, embroiderers, modelers, illuminators, masters of filing, inventors of burnishing of iron, carvers of iron bas-relief, experts in the art of duplication, carvers of cameo and crystal, clockmakers, stone-carvers, inventors of hydraulic organs, burnishers of stones, founders, stucco workers and tapestry makers.” These were men of the arts who shared

Since its outset in the 15th century, this trend has continued well into the 20th century, up to the present day: developing into the “economy of ostentation” and the intelligent luxury we call design and haute couture or, more generically, Made in Italy. Encompassing a heritage that, in its ups and downs, has evolved into a modern classic, rather than its opposite. In the 18th century, Mary Wortley Montagu wrote: “The more I see of Italy, the more I am persuaded that the Italians have a style (if I may use that expression) in everything, which distinguishes them almost essentially from all other Europeans. Where they have got it, whether from natural genius or ancient imitation and inheritance, I shall not examine; but the fact is certain.”

THE DESIGN HISTORIAN *Flaminio Gualdoni teaches History of Art and History of Design at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts. He has directed the City Gallery of Modena, the City Museums of Varese, and the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation in Milan.

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Eccellenze dal mondo

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MILAN IS THE INTERIOR DESIGN AND FURNITURE CAPITAL OF THE WORLD. THE 53RD SALONE DEL MOBILE ATTRACTS INTERNATIONAL ATTENTION AND RECOGNITION. WITH MADE-IN-ITALY PRODUCTS, THE CULTURE OF BEAUTY FINDS ITS WAY INTO OUR HOMES

B&B ITALIA ime sofa Above, Tufty-Time (Patricia Urquiola, 2005). Opposite, Serie Up armchair (Gaetano Pesce, 1969). Itt is the product of the revolutionary injection moulding technology.

ACQUA DI PARMA A Above, the exclusive Prestige Edition of the original Cologne. Opposite, the new iPad holder in elegant brown buffalo skin.

The art of living GIORGETTI Opposite, Myo stand, designed by Chi Wing Lo (2012). Below, Altea bed (2013), by Carlo Colombo. Available in one or two colours. POLIFORM/VARENNA POL RENNA Left, Strip chair, designed by Carlo Colombo for Poliform. Top, op, the Kyton kitchen, designed by CR&S C &S Varenna, enhances practicality through simplicity and clean lines.

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THE ESSENCE

DESI B&B ITALIA

POLIFORM

The culture of beauty has a home, a genius loci. Over the centuries it has unleashed its subversive inspiration and uplifted its potential, enhancing the concept of design. This place is Italy. “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,” confessed Isaac Newton. If Italian design could speak, it would affirm the same thing, because it legitimately stands on the shoulders of the giants of art and the arts. Undoubtedly it also possesses the special touch of thousands of artisans whose craft interprets the very best in Italian manufacturing for the home. This superior quality is consecrated at Milan’s Salone del Mobile, the annual international furniture fair, this year scheduled from 8 to 13 April. Any attempt from our side to retrace, in the space of these few pages, the conquests achieved on behalf of mankind by our heroes would be as impossible as ridiculous. From ancient Rome to the Renaissance, from Baroque to Futurism, Italian ingenuity has created universally accepted and imitated tenets. The art of proportion that immediately turned into function. And what indeed is design, if not the quest to find the point where beauty meets purpose? A quest that starts with aesthetics as a means of determining ethics, for which the home is both its ideal destination and its most stimulating

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challenge. “To inhabit” is increasingly becoming a transitive verb: a living interaction with things that favours a vital relationship between people. Today all the aces of design are standing atop the shoulders of that thousand-year-old inspiration which drives and awes them as they once again go about defining the space in which we live, throwing open the doors to spaces that are yet to be inhabited. Spaces that gratify the five senses, that reward us with experiences, that give us pleasure and nourish the soul. “If anyone wishes to see how the soul dwells in its body, let him observe how this body uses its daily habitation; that is to say, if this is devoid of order and confused, the body will be kept in disorder and confusion by its soul,” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci in his Atlantic Codex. And this very ethic of living, which cannot do without aesthetics, is the basis of home design that is created around the know-how of the métiers d’art. Modelled to suit needs that are still evolving, yet founded on manual skills and craftsmanship sustained by technology. A dialogue is established with the finest exponents of this creativity that exalts beauty and impeccable execution. From Giorgetti to Poliform, from B&B Italia to Acqua di Parma, companies that can re-establish Italy’s leadership and consolidate our genius loci.

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giorgetti MAN IS THE RAW MATERIAL

Tradition, handcrafting and selected materials are the linchpins of Giorgetti, established in the late nineteenth century as a cabinetmaker in Meda, Brianza. Wood, fabric, leather and hide, along with metal, stone, glass and upholstering are just some of the materials which the company uses in its production. “Everything is handcrafted, including the stitching,” explains owner Carlo Giorgetti, who represents the third generation of this family business. “Each material is best fit for a specific production, so it is vital to understand the peculiarities of each. As much as it is important to possess the necessary skills, learned in professional schools, in order to use specific machinery and tools. Our furniture is still almost entirely made in solid natural wood. Often it is the hidden soul of our products, and its fragrance fills our factories.” In the 1980s, Giorgetti developed partnerships with designers to create functional, contemporary objects for the home that are original and recognisable. Timeless furniture elements that combine the very finest cabinetmaking with the use of sophisticated manufacturing technologies. “The contribution of our master craftsmen is irreplaceable,” Giorgetti clarifies. “Technology enhances the human touch, it makes it even more eloquent, but it can never supersede it.” The company also continues to pursue the objective of introducing young students from professional schools, because the training of “young human resources” is of paramount importance.

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Above, Erasmo desk by Massimo Scolari (2009). The structure, top and drawer are in solid wood and walnut veneer. It is available in natural, tobacco and dark walnut finishes. The leg and joining section are made of Canaletto walnut with a natural finish. Opposite page, from left: close-up of the Erasmo desk; marking the planks; details of the armrests of the 1987 Progetti chair; selecting the planks of walnut (www.giorgetti.eu).

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The art of living

Clockwise, from left: leather goods are entirely hand-stitched; the iconic Cube candles that leave a scent of Italian design; buffalo skin is used for the TournĂŠe business bags; shaving brushes of the Barbiere collection are made with badger bristles. Opposite page, a sketch for the Designer edition cologne by Luca Scacchetti (www.acquadiparma.it).

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69 Parma was known to the Byzantines by the name of Chrysopolis, city of gold. The intimate essence of the seven arts, and a place where beauty is nurtured. Over the centuries, golden Parma has exalted its vocation, revealing its scent first to the Duchy of Parma and then to the nascent republic. Parma has the allure of a compact capital city with a transnational vocation, combined with a touch of provincialism that, setting rhetoric aside, allows for a more gentle pace of life. The city was described as locus amoenus by both Stendhal and Proust, and was home to Verdi and Toscanini. Indeed Parma distilled a cosmopolitan Italian culture long before historical events officialised the nation’s geographical boundaries. And since 1916 Parma has its Acqua. The evocative bottle, with its squared-off corners, captures the history of the 20th century, of which it is an elegant testimony. The threshold of recognition is clearly one of pleasure: Acqua di Parma was the first Italian cologne. In their laboratory, the master perfumers - true artisans of the senses - created a fragrance that was the epiphany of their meticulous research, and which would represent an entire epoch. The famous bottle, fashioned in the pragmatic style of art deco, became the tòpos, or defining feature, of Europe’s high society and WASPs in the ‘50s. The scent of Italian beauty in a universal synesthesia, a legacy that has remained unaltered ever since. Its essence was exalted when it was acquired by the LVMH Group, a cornerstone of artisan grandeur, revealing that legacy to other collections and other crafts. Quintessentially Italian elements, reminiscent of days gone by, which smell of citruses and gardens, of villas and seas. Totems of know-how are blown into the glass, sewn into the leather, brushed onto the wengé wood or burnished brass with a style that is authentically Italian. Today, Acqua di Parma continues to read from the script of beauty, with accessories and small leather goods designed for a contemporary Grand Tour. It also offers a range for shaving and skincare which is both practical and distinguished. Its home decor is decked in a regal yellow, the colour of choice owing to its noble roots, as well as room fragrances of an intimate familiarity. The line was amplified with new incarnations of the original Cologne (the essence of which has been translated without betraying it) as well as fragrances created with women in mind. Like the handkerchief soaked in Acqua di Parma, with which a gentleman would have revived the senses of his fair lady while the carriage was taking them, at a sedate pace, to Parma’s Regio theatre... ADP_SCACCHETTI_TL.qxp:Layout 1

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70 CREATIVITY AND INNOVATION

Research and development, quality and innovation. Not to mention the ability to represent contemporary culture, to foresee and anticipate trends, to respond to changing tastes and living requirements. These are the founding principles that have enabled B&B Italia, an iconic design furnishings company founded in Novedrate (Como) in 1966, to become a reputed and leading furniture industry on the international scene. “The company blends industrial know-how with considerable knowledge of more traditional techniques,” explains Giorgio Busnelli, chairman of B&B Italia and son of Piero Ambrogio, the company’s founder. The company has an internal “workshop” in which meetings and cultural experiences take place. The Research & Development Centre “where the heart of B&B Italia throbs. Where the craft skills of master artisans (including upholsterers, carpenters, blacksmiths and lacquer specialists) converge and what we consider the supreme expression of the métiers d’art can unfold. That is, the ability to interact with world famous designers, guiding their creativity into products that carry our signature and, as such, epitomise an inimitable alchemy of creativity, quality and innovation.” B&B Italia excels in upholstered furniture: “In our design furnishings we always strive to combine form and function,” continues Busnelli. “Even the most sculptural of our creations is in fact an invitation to comfort, from the iconic Serie Up by Gaetano Pesce to the celebration of fluid forms in Zaha Hadid’s Moon System sofa.” Technology is the asset upon which the company has built its success. “The real revolution came with polyurethane foam moulding, which gives us a sizeable competitive advantage and translates into quality and durability.” Another successful factor is the international language of the company’s products. “The finishes and materials we use (colours, fabrics and wood) enable us to achieve a high degree of customisation. So the products addressed to a specific market can be adapted to the nature and culture of that area. In doing so, we think with an international mind and remain loyal to our brand identity.”

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The strong personality of the Grande Papilio armchair designed by Naoto Fukasawa is moulded in one volume and one material. Created in 2009, it has become an icon of B&B Italia, from which a full range of furniture was developed, including chairs and armchairs, in indoor and outdoor variations, sofas, ottomans and beds (www.bebitalia.com).

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poliform

THE ROOTS OF THE FUTURE

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The Poliform collection is the result of a commitment to offer even the most demanding customers a wide selection of furnishing solutions for their domestic environment. The range includes modular systems and furniture elements for every part of the home, including bookshelves, containers, wardrobes and beds. In 1996 the Varenna brand was incorporated into Poliform, and a branch was created that was dedicated exclusively to outstanding kitchens. In 2006, the first collection of padded furniture was presented. But what is the substance of Poliform’s quality? “Our quality is based on our in-depth knowledge of wood, the roots of which lie in the traditional craftsmanship of the Brianza area, one of the most important in the world. We expand our knowledge continuously, and in doing so we make sure that our technological know-how is always cutting edge,” explains Alberto Spinelli, managing director of Poliform. “We are also very demanding in selecting the raw materials, because they must express the renowned aesthetical trait of all our products. At the same time, the research for raw materials of the very finest quality, all of which meet European standards, also focuses on their performance in terms of reliability and duration.” A quest that hones know-how and celebrates design. What are the standards that define your form of expression? “All our products have close links with contemporary life: from the modular systems to the furnishing accessories, whether for living rooms or bedrooms, the collection expresses the variety of styles reflecting the times we live in. One of the key elements to Poliform’s expansion and success lies in the creative contribution from the many celebrated designers who have worked, and indeed continue to work, with the company.”

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The “Ego” wardrobe designed by Giuseppe Bavuso represents an evolution in the modular nature of Poliform. The design is characterised by lightness, while the “endless” system multiplies the potential composition options (www.poliform.it).

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An explosion

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E VALENCIA CELEBRATES THE TRADITIONAL FALLAS WITH A KALEIDOSCOPE OF FIREWORKS AND SILKS

by Federica Cavriana photos by Manuel Scrima

A VENERABLE CUSTOM Above, a precious espolı´n is woven on a 19th-century loom at Rafael Catalá, founded 244 years ago.

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Every year Valencia celebrates Saint Joseph with the Fallas, a joyful and captivating explosion of spectacular pyrotechnics, music and song. The patron of carpenters is honoured by painters, sculptors and artesans falleros who work for months to prepare the fallas, enormous and grotesque mise-en-scènes that parody current events and on which gigantic figures, the Ninots, are crammed. The masters of the fireworks elaborate new combinations of light, explosions and colours for the many afternoon performances of the mascletá and for the great fireworks held on the closing night, between 18 and 19 March, called La nit del foc (the Night of Fire). And specialised artisans put their experience at the disposal of the Falleras Mayores, the stars of the celebrations and queens of the city for the whole year. The fallera mayor is appointed among the women called to represent each neighbourhood (known as falleras), whereas the fallera mayor infantil is elected among the children. Jewels, combs, charms, embroidered socks and sumptuous dresses, all inspired by ancient costumes, are created for them by hand. The gowns of the mayores are made in lustrous silks, hand-woven in an infinite variety of colours and adorned with the finest decorations, echoing those of the 18th and 19th centuries. The precious silks that symbolise Valentia and the Fallas have a very long history. The secrets of silk production were brought by the Arabs, who ruled in the 8th century, and silk became a vital part of the region’s manufacturing activity. In the 15th century, known as the Siglo de Oro or golden century, new weaving techniques were introduced by immigrant velvet makers from Genoa. The guild of velvet makers, eventually of silk makers, was founded in 1494 and was based in the newly established Colegio del arte mayor de la seda, the College of silk art, today a historical archive. Business transactions were conducted in the shade of the majestic arcades of the silk exchange, the Lonja de la seda, which bears witness, with its flamboyant gothic style, to the importance of silk commerce in this period. The great beauty and significance of the building has earned UNESCO World Heritage status. After a period of recession triggered by competition from other cities such as Toledo and Seville, which were favoured by the Spanish Court, Valencia’s silk found new prosperity in the 18th century, when the Bourbons brought the latest fashions from Versailles with them. Valencia managed to exploit these contaminations, creating silks with iconographic motifs of outstanding beauty and realism, embroidered with roses, daisies and lilies in elegant hues. It grew to become one of the most highly acclaimed silk production districts, giving work to no less than 25,000 people. Today, the decorations and patterns of the 18th century inspire the indumentaristas, the dressmaker-designers who create Valencia’s incredible traditional gowns. Time has changed many things, including the fact that these dresses are not ordered by the nobility any more,

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but thanks to the Fallas, silk weaving is still very important in Valencia. Silk mills maintain their leadership by employing artisans whose family trees can boast ancestors in the same profession, perhaps even working for the same company and in the same neighbourhood. Rafael Catalá is a perfect example of this uninterrupted transmission of knowledge and, thanks to the competence of its artisans, the company has been in business for 244 years. Alberto Catalá, the current owner, explains just how invaluable these specialised workers are: it takes only six months’ training for a weaver to work on a modern loom, whereas an average of six years are necessary to master the technique on a manual loom. The most valuable pieces it produces are known as espolín, cuts of silk made exclusively on traditional, non-mechanical looms. The espolín is named after the small spool that is used to weave the design on the warp. Although the espolín measures 54 cm, like the silks made on modern looms, its authenticity is in the designs and in the direction of the weft. The price is also a revealing indicator: a

THE MOST PRECIOUS PIECES ARE CREATED WITH THE ANCIENT “ESPOLÍN” TECHNIQUE fabric made on a machine, known as seda estrecha, costs around 3,000 Euro, whereas an espolín can cost anything between 16,000 and 24,000 Euro. The impressive design archive of Rafael Catalá further highlights its amazing manufacturing history. Other silk makers have set up shop in this area over the course of the years, driven by their passion and a fresh approach to the profession. In the 1950s, Luis Vives and José Marí, two young and skilled weavers, decided to open a small business dedicated entirely to damasks, religious ornaments and only very few espolín. Later, in the 1960s, they founded another company, Vives y Marí, with three new partners, Manuel Aznar, Vicente Bayot and Jaime García. This time they concentrated their efforts in the production of fabrics for the typical Valencian gowns, and they looked for antique looms to restore in order to make traditional espolín. It goes without saying that the company produces mainly sedas estrechas, but they are very proud to make hand-made espolín for the dresses of the falleras mayores. At least 500 hours of work are needed to weave enough metres of fabric to make these dresses, which are woven with gold, silver and complicated designs. But to espolín customers, money is no object. What really counts is being able to wear a priceless and unique garment made of a fabric that is created in the exact shade of colour to enhance her complexion, the colour of her eyes or the shimmering tone of her hair. The main clients of Vives y Marí are the indumentaristas, the tailors who make the garments. The designs are recovered from antiquarians, archives and antique fabrics, to underline the strong ties with local traditions. It is a vital link for Vives y Marí, the only manufacturer that provides its espolín with an authenticity certificate. When, clothed in her dazzling silks, the fallera mayor announces to the crowd waiting with baited breath that the Fallas may begin, the whole city bursts into light. Let the fiesta begin. Special thanks to Stefano Mirpurian for lending his expertise www.valenciafashion.com

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SUMPTUOUS FEMININITY Above, a group of Valencian falleras mayores. Top, Vives y Mari, detail of a 19th-century loom. Opposite page, making a fallera skirt.

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THE HAND AND THE MATTER In Alessandro Grassi’s historic workshop, the third generation of a family of master craftsmen makes extraordinary leadlight windows that are sought after worldwide. Right: Conti Borbone is Milan’s oldest bookbinder’s workshop: since 1870, the family binds precious books in leather, marbled paper, canvas, silk and pure gold gilding.

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MILAN

made to measure

“MILANO SU MISURA” IS THE CRAFT SHOPPING GUIDE TO THE TOP 70 INTERPRETERS OF A UNIQUE HERITAGE OF CRAFTSMANSHIP by Alessandra de Nitto

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photos by Dario Garofalo

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As far back as 1750, the name Buccellati referred to a goldsmith’s shop just a stone’s throw away from the Duomo. Today, the elegant boutique in Via Montenapoleone, opened in 1919 by Mario Buccellati and now run by his son Gianmaria and grandson Andrea, represents the continuity of an ancient art that masterfully combines traditional tools and techniques and modern technologies. In 1876, the Villa family established a goldsmith’s business and in 1930 opened a jewellery shop in Via Manzoni. Since then, Villa

to chisel work and engraving, they also produce made-to-order designs and reproductions from sample pieces. Even Roberto Miracoli and his son Renato continue a glorious family tradition, which began over a century ago, when grandfather Romeo established the business in 1912. This silverware workshop is renowned for the wonderfully detailed enamel silver animals it produces. Raffaella (Lella) Curiel descends from an uninterrupted line of successful women and runs a business that has gone from strength

suits in the time-honoured Sartoria A. Caraceni. Carlo and his son Massimiliano, who represents the fifth generation, tailor 400 outstanding made-to-measure suits a year. Carlo, Mara and Lorena Traviganti run the Silver Tre workshop, where they perform the difficult art of sheet metal turning they learned from their father. They make spectacular objects in silver, brass, copper and steel, including 2-metre-tall Fabergé eggs and a lifesize carriage drawn by a mechanical horse... Fornace Curti is probably the

to strength since it was founded in the late 19th century. Today, dynamic Lella and her daughter Gigliola work side by side, sharing the same passion for haute couture and prêt-à-porter creations and for amazing craftsmanship, distinguishing features of their charming atelier. Heir to a tradition handed down from one generation to the next since the mid 1800s, Carlo Andreacchio creates impeccable men’s

oldest workshop in Milan. As early as the fifteenth century it was making terracotta vases and capitals for the city under the Visconti family. Today this large atelier is still run by a member of the founding family: together with his wife Daria, Alberto Curti produces astonishing statues, vases, tiles and frames. No less than 70 magnificent master craftsmen are introduced to the public in Milano su misura, the “craft

ITINERARIES OF CULTURE ARE CARVED, MOULDED, ENGRAVED, DECORATED AND TURNED BY THE REPRESENTATIVES OF MILANESE SAVOIR-FAIRE

has fascinated the Milanese and international public with its elegant and luxurious creations: an endless range of cufflinks, micromosaic brooches and rings, and the signature-piece sets of skilfully braided gold threads. Established in 1920, Ganci is one of the city’s oldest silverware manufacturers, a tradition of great craftsmanship that the Morandino family preserves with passion. From planishing

INIMITABLE JEWELLERY ARTISTS Above, since 1750 the name Buccellati has been a byword for the fine art of jewellery making. In their Via Montenapoleone boutique, opened in 1919, Gianmaria and Andrea Buccellati guarantee the continuity of the most refined savoir-faire, and personally oversee the entire production process, guiding the jewellery makers in all the production phases. The level of personalisation involved makes their creations unique.

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Donatella Pellini , costume jewellery

Lella and Gigliola Curiel, designers and dressmakers

Giuseppe Vigorelli, fireplaces and stoves

Filippo, Fausto and Silvia of the Stivaleria Savoia

Costanza Paravicini, ceramic artist

Alessandro Siniscalchi, custom-made shirts

Sabine Valente, bridal dresses

Roberto Fumagalli, plaster casts

Lorenzo Rossi, violin maker

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shopping guide” which takes readers and visitors on a new and surprising discovery of Milanese savoir-faire. The acclaimed international capital of fashion and design unveils a more hidden dimension, equally fascinating and exquisite. The stories of Milan’s craftsmen are full of passion and poetry: commitment and dedication of great family legacies as well as the successful adventures of young and talented masters of the arts. Like Antonio Sciortino, an artisan-artist who creates original and fascinating wireworks. Or

workshops, in which new materials, creativity and innovative productive processes are developed along with traditional techniques. The guide invites the reader into the heart of these ateliers of excellence, true sanctuaries of know-how, to discover the faces and skilful gestures of the craftsmen who, in their often inspirational workshops, day by day put these techniques into practice with competence and passion. Their lives are wonderful examples of dedication and talent, as well as entrepreneurship, captured in

the result of the successful partnership between Gruppo Editoriale (specialised in niche magazines and publications dedicated to Italian fashion, art, culture and territory) and Cologni Foundation of the Métiers d’Art. The workshops were selected by Cologni Foundation according to strict parameters of quality and acknowledged craftsmanship, and the project was specifically focused on creating a “shopping guide” for connoisseurs. Produced in a pocket format with Italian and English texts, the guide is also a valuable handbook for the cu-

the beauty and truth of the images that illustrate the guide. Readers are taken on an enthralling journey in search of tailor-made beauty by Stefania Montani, a journalist committed to the promotion of craftsmanship of the highest standard, and photographer Dario Garofalo, who took the pictures thanks to the generous cooperation of the craftsmen themselves. The high cultural value of the project is

rious traveller and aesthete, who will be impressed by the many handcrafted treasures that Milan has to offer. The publication has been made possible thanks to the invaluable contribution of the Four Seasons Hotel Milan, the very utmost in Milanese hospitality, and of the Swiss maison Vacheron Constantin, the world’s most ancient manufacture of high watchmaking and patron of outstanding métiers d’art.

A PUBLISHING PROJECT REPRESENTING A DIALOGUE BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE OF MILAN’S HISTORIC AND CONTEMPORARY WORKSHOPS. WHERE MATERIALS, IDEAS AND INNOVATIVE PROCESSES ARE DEVELOPED

like Sabine Valente, a young designer who drapes her poetic brides in silk, organza, lace and embroidery. And Giacomo Moor, a carpenter and designer who assembles wood without using nails, in the best tradition of cabinet-making, and Lorenzo Rossi, a talented Italian luthier who was awarded third prize in cello making at the international competition in Cremona. Historic and contemporary

NOBLE TRADITIONS OF CRAFTSMANSHIP Above, Donatella Pellini’s studio: one of the best-known creators of costume jewellery continues in her grandmother’s footsteps. Right, Stivaleria Savoia, in business since 1925, inherited the experience of master shoemakers who made boots for the Savoia regiment: in 2004 Maurizio Marinella took over the workshop, where he also handcrafts made-to-measure shoes.

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Graceful progress

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SCULPTURES IN

movement by Alberto Cavalli

IN VACHERON CONSTANTIN’S NEW COLLECTION MÉTIERS D’ART MÉCANIQUES AJOURÉES THE ECHOES OF AN ENTIRE EPOCH ARE SCULPTED INTO THE MAISON’S SUPREME MICRO-MECHANICS. RESULTING IN THREE SUBLIME OPENWORKED WATCHES

O The openworked architecture of the Calibre 4400SQ reveals fascinating hand-engraving which adds a graceful touch to the performance of the Manufacture’s movement: hand-winding, 28,800 vibrations per hour, and a power reserve of 65 hours.

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Oscar Wilde once wrote that our ambition should be to rule ourselves and, accordingly, that true progress is to know more, and be more and to do more. It is a vision that embraces the unconditional imperative which has marked the history of Vacheron Constantin since 1755: to do better wherever possible, for indeed it is always possible. Over the centuries, the Geneva Manufacture has remained loyal to an idea of progress that lies in the ability to grasp and interpret the essence of contemporary beauty, and has thus developed a consistent and innovative aesthetic vision as well as a tradition of excellence in craftsmanship. The magnificent timekeepers it creates in the beating heart of its Geneva atelier incorporate and express a rare and invaluable savoir-faire. Like the expertise of master engravers, confronted with a new challenge - as stimulating as it is complex - in the new Métiers d’Art collection by Vacheron Constantin, called Mécaniques Ajourées. The collection, presented at the 2014 Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, consists of three wristwatches bearing the Hallmark of Geneva. Three sculptures in their own right, starting from one of the Maison’s most iconic movements, the Calibre 4400 (which is made entirely in the Manufacture’s workshops). The master engravers at Vacheron Constantin have created a unique openworking movement, in which the grace and perfection of the curved lines are evocative of the wrought iron vaulting of railway stations at the turn of the 19th century. The process starts with a solid calibre, from which material is gradually removed, without interfering with the functioning of the mechanical parts. In the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées series, the engraver’s accuracy and consciousness resemble that of a sculptor, and in the dials a striking effect of light and shadow is created in the breathtaking three-dimensional construction.

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THE DESIGN IS INSPIRED BY EARLY 20TH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE, COMBINING BEAUTY WITH FUNCTIONALITY, TECHNIQUE AND HARMONY In this collection, the interpretation of the Art Nouveau style that characterised the period of revolutions and progress of the industrial age is particularly significant: it not only imparts gracefulness and elegance to the watches’ lines, but it represents a historical reference to a period when exchanges were accelerating and cultures were merging together. A time when railways were bringing civilisations and countries closer, and sharing a common time reference became imperative. It was during this period that large central clocks first made their appearance in railway stations, standardising the various time keeping systems. And the architecture of the representative places of progress itself was transformed: stocky buildings merely functional to providing a service became cathedrals of light and wrought iron that celebrated movement and the modern age. A process of change that left its mark also on watchmaking, as pocket-watch calibres became gradually slimmer and the first openworked watches appeared, at the beginning of the 20th century. The manufacturing techniques of these watches reveals the same yearning that inspired the architecture of the times: to reconcile aesthetics with technique. In the age of progress, Vacheron Constantin’s tireless research was continuing to produce pioneering results: as early as 1775, founder JeanMarc Vacheron had already made a watch with an openworked and engraved balance-cock, and in 1924 the first entirely openworked cal-

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Top, profile of a Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées wristwatch with “Grand feu” blue enamel ring. Below, detail of the movement with the Hallmark of Geneva. Opposite, a mainplate skilfully sculpted by the master watchmaker.

ibre was produced. Openwork movements for wristwatches made their first appearance in 1960, and instantly set new standards of excellence: the Manufacture succeeded in openworking complicated calibres as the minute repeaters, perpetual calendar and tourbillons, eventually in ultra-slim versions as well. To make the new Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées collection, the craftsmen at Vacheron Constantin have further ennobled the Calibre 4400, a masterpiece of fine watchmaking that ticks at a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour, and boasts a 65-hour power reserve. The surprising and sculptural grace of the Mécaniques Ajourées, based on the 4400 itself, is the result of the meticulous work of Vacheron Constantin’s designers and master engravers. Indeed it takes all the experience of the best master watchmakers to achieve the delicate and exact balance between the hollowing out of the material and the flawless functioning of the calibre. The conceptualisation, design and modelisation phases alone require several hundred hours of work. By the same token, the work of the artisans is challenging as it is complex and engaging: each single component must be patiently engraved by the master craftsman to create the subtle contrast between the polished finish of the chamfering, which captures the light, and the matt effect of the hand-drawing, which accentuates the radiance. This art, in itself difficult to master, becomes even more sophisticated in the curved

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Graceful progress

EACH CALIBRE STAYS IN THE HANDS OF THE ENGRAVER FOR ONE WEEK: THE MINIMUM AMOUNT OF TIME NEEDED TO ACHIEVE PERFECTION openings and interior angles – some narrower than 45° - that Vacheron Constantin favours in its openworked creations, and which no machine can reproduce. To make the masterpieces of the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées collection, the smooth surfaces of the mainplate and bridges are not simply cut with a minute handsaw: the artisans carefully chase the whole circumference of each component creating a sculpture with its own volume and depth. Inspired by the ribbed vaults of late 19th-century railway stations, the poetry of Art Nouveau is captured and reproduced in the complexity of these rounded shapes, which the Manufacture has developed and introduced, and which represent an aesthetic and technical progress from the straight lines of the traditional openwork movements. The laborious process through which the relief work of the engraved vaults is highlighted involves more than three days of work for every single calibre: it is a concept of time based on the unique nature of each item. Even more time is needed to create each timepiece: after the chamfering and hand-drawing phases are completed, the master engraver comes into play. Each calibre spends a week in his hands, the minimum amount of time necessary for the artisan to sculpt the material with meticulous strokes of the burin. When the engraver’s work is finished, the pattern of the relief unfolds in a hypnotic dance, like a symphony of flawless harmony. This personal approach,

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Top left, the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées; right, a blue enamel ring. Below, in the High jewellery version, a third métier d’art is involved: the stone setter. Opposite, the sumptuous openworking can be seen both from the face and from the sapphire crystal caseback.

this effort to achieving a form that is as functional as it is harmonious, has long been a feature of Vacheron Constantin’s engagement in the development of important measures to safeguard the uniqueness of this métier d’art, ensuring that, at the same time, techniques and research evolve hand in hand. A uniqueness that is heightened by the dialogue the Manufacture stimulates between the various professions. In the case of the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées collection, for example, the ring topping the calibre is made using the Grand Feu enamel technique, which is part of the artisan heritage of the city of Geneva. The circular shape of the ring requires extra attention; it is enamelled in blue, grey and deep and opaque black. In order to convey all the beauty and perfection of this colour, which inexorably reflects every ray of light, the master enameller has to create a perfectly flat and smooth surface to ensure no bubbles appear when the enamel is fired in successive stages. In the High jewellery version of the Métiers d’Art Mécaniques Ajourées, a third métier d’art comes into play: the master stone setter adorns the bezel with 42 baguette-cut diamonds and the clasp of the strap with another 12 baguette-cut diamonds (for a total of approximately 2.8 carats). Progress, movement, craftsmanship and art: at Vacheron Constantin time passes gracefully, allowing the intelligent hand of man to achieve ever-changing goals.

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by Gunnar Almevik

CRAFT LABORATORY Restore culturally significant buildings. Develop strategic co-operations between craftsmen. Support research. Sweden has grasped the fact that authenticity needs preserving. Here’s how

Where craftsmanship is concerned, the attribute of authenticity is highly demanded by the markets in Europe. At the same time, traditional craft knowledge and skills have been marginalised by mass production and mass consumption. A centuries-old heritage of culture has been lost. When a craft is defined as “traditional” today, one may assume that the tradition from which it stems is threatened, if not extinguished. Within this context, a Swedish initiative was created with the aim to enhance the capacity of traditional craftsmanship to meet future challenges. The University of Gothenburg and the Swedish National Heritage Board, in co-operation with the Church of Sweden, craft enterprises and trade organisations, have opened a national Craft Laboratory. The centre started its activities in 2010 and the focus is set on heritage craft skills to restore and maintain cultural environments and historical buildings. The project embraces traditional crafts in gardening, carpentry, masonry and painting. The task of the centre is to document, transmit and develop co-craft strategies in weak and endangered craft fields. Another objective is to initiate craft research and project-based laboratories to re-enact forgotten knowledge and to develop and expand traditional processes to make them sustainable in contemporary society.

Developing the knowledge bank

LA RESEARCH MANO, ILAND MIGLIORE STUDY Above, STRUMENTO Patrik Jarefäll explores Dalla realizzazione the blacksmith’s del modello craft. Opposite all’applicazione page, from dei selezionatissimi left, detail of a medieval pellami, church dallain progettazione Tångeråsa and a wall all’esecuzione: decorated ininthe Bottega traditional Veneta colours. la mano

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Many of our protected cultural environments are the result of extensive craftsmanship, which means that successful preservation is not possible without advanced craft skills. Craftsmanship is required in restoration and maintenance and, interdependently, the preservation of tangible heritage is necessary for the survival of many crafts. This relation has been recognised and internationally promoted by UNESCO’s Convention for the safeguarding of the intangible cultural heritage, where traditional craftsmanship is a specified domain, along with the tools and artefacts associated to it. It is, however, rare to find in-depth records of craftsmanship that may be beneficial in education and training. For this reason, the Craft Laboratory co-operates with craftsmen and muse-

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92 ums in order to improve documentation of craftsmanship so that it may serve as a learning resource. A core issue is to question what are the most important features of the craftsman. Hence, it is necessary to involve master craftsmen in both the planning and the execution of the documentation. The tacit dimensions of craftsmanship are not easily articulated, so special interest is devoted to digital methods and interactive media that can target the multi-sensory and performative aspects of craftsmanship.

The project embraces traditional crafts in gardening, carpentry, masonry and painting. To recover a centuries-old knowhow Empowering the craftspersons in restoration

Crafts have to be practised – only then are they maintained and developed. The Craft Laboratory co-operates with heritage agencies and managers of historic buildings to involve craftspersons not only in the hands-on work but also for the purpose to interpret and analyse the crafted objects and constructions. The craftspersons can be the key players to achieve better results in restoration. They take most of the decisions and have the greatest impact on the final result. They spend the most time on site and are close to the source material. The Craft Laboratory’s role is to create arenas and advocate positions for craftspersons to affect restoration projects at an early stage. The Church of Sweden has, for instance, supported a project where master craftsmen have reviewed and specified quality on material and working procedures in restoration of historic church buildings. In this way the master craftsmen inform the clients on a general level how to procure good craftsmanship. The National Heritage

THE ART OF WORK Above, stained glass. Restoration and research work is carried out in the workshop of Nidaros Cathedral. Right, craftsmen repairing the original enclosure.

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board is involved in another project to enhance craftsmanship, where routines and instructions are developed to support craftspersons to take part in documentation before and during a restoration.

Visiting craft researcher

Craft skills are often maintained in professional practice, but even in this case exploration does not always make economic sense when coupled with production. Know-how and skills are primarily means to produce; developing methods and improving skills is the way to improve personal competence. In order to provide the opportunity for craftspeople and businesses to exchange knowledge and development of methods outside the professional field, the Craft Laboratory has established a programme for visiting craft researchers. In this way, a craftsman affiliated to the University of Gothenburg can get economic support, access to workshops, research infrastructure and scholar mentorship to investigate a craft-related problem, to create learning resources or experiment new work methods, tools and products. This practice-led craft research is theoretical in the sense that it is aimed at explaining and understanding the craft procedures and processes, and practical because both the methodology and the findings depend on the researchers’ ability to skilfully perform the procedures and control the processes - as opposed to knowing how they are performed or controlled.

Craftsmanship as an academic research discipline

One may question the risks and the advantages deriving from ‘academising’ the crafts. The answer is not unambiguous. Nevertheless, one may look at surgery as the discipline of medicine where the research emerges from practical surgery, and is carried out by surgeons to support a better practice. In a similar way, the Craft Laboratory seeks to strengthen the field of practice in traditional crafts, in a way that theoretical inquiry is not an external contemplating position for a theorist, but a perspective from within that is grounded on the logic of practice.

AN OPEN DIALOGUE Above, detail of the decorations in the cathedral of Nidaros. Craft Laboratory seminaries focus on heritage crafts.

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Inviting shapes

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ON THE TOPIC Edra has a reputation for its production and research, especially in upholstered furniture. The secret? The pleasure of elaborating on details is as important as the final result

OF COMFORT The word “exedra”, indicating an architectural space reserved to meeting and conversation, inspired the poetic and evocative name of Edra, a company that has been engaged in the production of furnishings for domestic and collective comfort for over 20 years. Edra is famous above all for its experimentation with design and furniture, particularly of the upholstered kind. This research has been stimulated and encouraged by Massimo Morozzi, the company’s most representative

designer as well as its long-standing art director. Morozzi was born in Tuscany, like the company itself, and is known for being one of the founders of the Archizoom Group in Florence, active in the field of radical design in the ‘70s. Since the beginning, Morozzi has encouraged Edra to undertake advanced research into new materials and new lines of work. To follow this vocation, the company has invested in artisanal knowhow and has paid special attention to the development

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOLD Two designs by Brazilian Campana Brothers, Fernando and Humberto. Above, the Corallo bed with its unusual irregular weave of steel wire, twisted by hand and finished with gold epoxy paint. Opposite, the Favela armchair (2003), made with many small pieces of natural wood glued and nailed together by hand. This design won the Compasso d’Oro award.

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Inviting shapes

Manual intervention is a feature that characterises the collection, bestowing uniqueness to each furniture element of its production processes, in which the pleasure of elaborating on the details is as important as the final result. The hallmark of craftsmanship is evident in Edra’s diverse product range. And, indeed, the skill of the hand bestows the feature of uniqueness to serial production. The objects designed by Fernando and Humberto Campana, which include Vermelha, Boa, Favela, Corallo, Scrigno and Cipria, are perhaps those that best represent the combination of manual skill and experimentation with new materials. Another of the company’s defining characteristics is well represented in the designs of Francesco Binfaré, who prefers to work furniture, and sofas in particular, because “it involves the Behaviour, the Space and Communication”, the spheres of work he most enjoys. Under the artistic direction

of Massimo Morozzi (who in the ‘70s was co-ordinating the Montefibre design centre, where furnishing fabrics were created), Edra developed and expanded the variety of materials used in the production of many different types of upholstered furniture: objects that possess sensorial, visual, tactile and emotional qualities. Yet a company capable of developing and renewing itself must keep a watchful eye on the changes in society. And if we look at Edra’s catalogues of the last 20 years, we can see how the production has evolved as new “social groups featuring the same elective affinities” have emerged. As a result, thanks to the contribution of international designers, of research and experimentation, Edra can address the public in original languages (www.edra.com).

MODULAR RELAXATION Above, the Cipria armchair designed by the Campana Brothers (2009): nine impalpable cushions made in different and independent shapes supported by a tubular metal frame. Opposite page, the reclinable Flap sofa designed by Francesco Binfaré (2000). Behind it, Campana Brothers designed the Brasilia version of the Paesaggi Italiani modular furniture system by Massimo Morozzi, with overlapping sheets of mirrored methacrylate.

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Craftsmanship on stage

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by Susanna Ardigò

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Theatre is a

metaphor for the world AtMoulins,whereCocoChanellearnedtheartof dressmaking,agallery of 10,000 stage clothes reveals the refinement of costume workshops

Above, at the Centre Nationale du Costume de Scène et de la Scénographie the costumes are modelled on special made-to-measure supports, in a process known as mannequinage. Opposite, the mannequinage of a dress by Christian Lacroix.

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On 1 July 2006 the Minister for Culture Renaud Donnedieu produces two or three major events and exhibitions each year, de Vabres inaugurated the Centre Nationale du Costume is equipped with an auditorium, a documentation centre and de Scène et de la Scénographie (CNCS) in Moulins, the workshops (offering specialised courses to the professionals capital of the Allier department situated in the heart of of tomorrow, including drawing, embroidery, dance) along France. The first institution in the world to be entirely with a variety of conferences and internship programmes. dedicated to theatre heritage represents the confluence of Costumes are not isolated elements in a performance. On the two worlds: that of performing arts, the contrary, their aspect plays a fundamenreign of ephemerality and appearance, and tal role in the vision the director wishes The costumes that become that of conservation, in which study and to convey on stage. Every theatrical propart of the collection dedication are necessary to preserve and duction is the result of a collective effort, transmit a documented cultural legacy. It are considered works of art: in which the director leads the team and took the French authorities and the town chooses the costume designer and the set they are never worn of Moulins twelve years of intense work decorator, although the same person often again and are treated as to establish this partnership. Firstly, to deplays both roles. The making of a costume fine the cultural and scientific purpose of is a true act of love: the costume designer museum treasures the Centre. Secondly, to restore the comcreates what expert craftsmen produce in plex that now houses the Centre and the specialised ateliers. collections (four of the ten 18th-century The centre currently houses over 10,000 buildings in the Quartier Villar, originally costumes and accessories. Given the enormilitary barracks). mous quantity of theatre productions, a The mission of the Centre Nationale du selection is made according to specific Costume de Scène is to preserve the stage criteria, such as the importance of the costumes coming from the Opéra nationproduction, the fame of the actors who al de Paris, the Bibliothèque national de wore them or of the costume designer who France and the Comédie-Française, the created them, as well as the technical charCentre’s founding institutions. It also acteristics involved in their making. The receives donations from theatres, theatre oldest models date back to the second half companies, choreographers and costume of the 19th century and represent every designers as well as legacies from artists, genre, style and period. In many cases the amateurs and collectors in particular. Furgarments are accompanied by their stage thermore, it serves as a museum, a geoaccessories, such as shoes, hats, gloves, jewgraphic and scientific reference point at ellery, stockings and bags. the service of the general public and stage When they arrive in the area called “les professionals alike. The Centre, which réserves”, the costumes are quarantined in Above, the main entrance of the CNCS. Inaugurated in 2006, it is open to the public and professionals. The Centre houses over 10,000 stage clothes and accessories. Top left, modelling a costume. The oldest date back to the second half of the 19th century.

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an oxygen-free storage to eliminate dust particles and insects. buildings possesses the characteristic austerity of Grand SièEach item is inventoried, photographed and labelled, and cle monuments, yet inside it is very bright and full of light. all the information regarding its history is recorded in the The reception area is on the ground floor, together with the databank (date of creation, atelier of origin, production in shop, the cloakroom, the restaurant and a 100-seat auditowhich it was used, role of the actor wearing it, state of rium. The entire first floor (in origin, where the officers and conservation...). In this way, a detailed identity card is cresoldiers were housed) is dedicated to the exhibitions: eight ated for each costume. After the initial halls with big windows, two multi-purcleaning phase, the costumes are painspose rooms and the large Salle du Gril, takingly reconditioned and then wrapped where theatrical scenery can be mounted in pH-neutral silk. The garments are then thanks to the double-height ceiling. The hung on padded coat hangers and moddocumentation centre on the second floor elled into their original form. To preserve encompasses the history of performing arts them, they are kept at a constant temperand stage professions, with particular referature of 18° C, with relative humidity at ence to costumes and fashion. It is open not 50%. The most delicate items are stored only to professionals but also to the general horizontally in special drawers. Once they public, with a vast selection of textbooks, become part of the CNCS collections, illustrations, research dossiers and multicostumes are considered works of art and medial documents. On top, young memthey are never worn again. Instead, they bers of the public are offered a package are treated with the same care that is lavwhich includes guided tours, workshops ished on precious museum artefacts. and performances staged in cooperation After World War II, the complex was with schools, recreational centres, technical NUREYEV DANCES ALONE occupied by the Gendarmerie, which left institutes and universities. The main body Since October 2013 the Centre it in 1980 because the buildings were to is flanked by the “Réserves”, the Centre’s hosts a permanent collection be demolished. They were saved at the safe deposit designed by Jean-Michel dedicated to Rudolf Nureyev (above), last minute in 1984, when the site was Wilmotte: it is a rectangular concrete donated by the Nureyev declared a historical monument. After building protected by a steel mesh that Foundation: one hundred objects much research, the French authorities resembles a coat of mail. Covering a surbelonging to the great dancer which asked the town of Moulins to host the face of 1,730 square metres, the structure represent his artistic Centre Nationale du Costume de Scène. includes a work area on the ground floor life and his personal tastes. The main building is also the oldest one. (arrival and departure of costumes, packCentre national du costume de scène Its proportions are breathtakingly elegant, ing, treatment, quarantine room and modQuartier Villars, Route de Montilly, and it develops around three monumental elling on mannequins), while the costumes Moulins; www.cncs.fr staircases. From the outside, the group of are stored on the three floors above. Before they are modelled and stored, the costumes are quarantined in an oxygen-free storage in the Réserves (top left) to remove dust particles and insects. Then they are inventoried and reconditioned, and wrapped in pH-neutral silk (right).

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MaĂŽtres of design

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by Ali Filippini

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Territorial culture, a passion for craftsmanship and a natural inclination for communication. French designer Sam Baron, art director of Fabrica design studio and all-round designer, tells us of his love for projects conceived with the hands

COMMUNICATING

savoir-faire

Above, Sam Baron created the Beautifuless plate set in partnership with Vista Alegre, for Nilufar Unlimited. Decorative elements are applied to recovered dishes, originally rejected because they did not comply with production quality standards. Opposite page, Sam Baron’s coffee tables for Casamania, inspired by 18th-century decor: “Marie Antoinette Pop” and three-legged “Philippe I”.

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Maîtres of design

It is not easy to keep up with Sam Baron. He works in Italy, France and Portugal and is always on the move between Europe and the rest of the world, where he stages his exhibitions and takes part in all the most important design events. The 37-year-old French designer is well known in the design world because he places himself halfway between factory and workshop. So much so that in the last ten years – he started working in 1997, before finishing his studies –he designed objects for design brands such as Zanotta, Ligne Roset and Casamania and took

part in special partnership projects with important manufactures, such as Sèvres and Limoges. On top of this, he works as head of the design department of Fabrica, the school/research centre founded by the Benetton group, and the personal projects that he carries out under the name Baron Edition. ALI FILIPPINI. Sam, you are a prolific designer as well as a very active art director, and your projects develop into installations and exhibitions with a cultural content (such as your most recent, Belvedere, held at Villa Necchi during the last Salone del Mobile). Are design and its “mise-en-scène” a valid medium for the protection and promotion of savoir-faire?

esting, because you have to take into consideration elements that eventually will steer the whole project. Like my last collection for Vista Alegre, Lusitania: I designed a porcelain set in blue and white with a contemporary interpretation of the azulejos heritage, in a modern mix-and-match. A.F. What do you think of the renewed attention towards unique pieces in design? What differences do you see with the so-called “design-art”? S.B. When we talk about design we are referring to a discipline that is relatively young. It emerged after the Second World War and its purpose was to give people new objects and furniture. Since then, many attempts have been

A country’s culture and attitude generates a different approach to work. As a designer, it is very stimulating and interesting to look for specific features when selecting partners SAM BARON. Design is a process, a practice which allows you to combine different components: creativity, technique and communication... so as an art director it is possible for me to convey a message through a collection of objects that can be focused on a particular subject or theme, depending on the occasion. I believe that when young talents can be dedicated to elaborate new visions (like the projects elaborated with the Fabrica team. Ed.) we are given a great opportunity to establish a dialogue and a contact with the public on specific issues, such as how to defend the legacy of craftsmanship. A.F. You co-operate with different manufactures in Europe. As a designer, do you see differences in the approach and in the way of working in these places, particularly where craft skills are concerned? S.B. Each country has its own features, which you discover and understand when you are working in close contact with these companies. A country’s culture and attitude also generates a different approach to work, which forces me, as a designer, to look for specific features when selecting partners. It is very stimulating and inter-

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made to define where it stands, and the process is still under way. In its early days, design was characterised by an industrial language, then it evolved into a more conceptual phase – as occurred twenty years ago with the Dutch avant-garde of Droog Design – and on again into the “arty” phase that still seems to represent it today. I think there is room for everybody on the market, provided that briefing and intentions are clear. The problem is when things get muddled up, when the clients don’t understand how and why they should spend their money. So if you are looking for a unique dining table, why not ask a design gallery or an artist? It doesn’t make much difference if people can share a good moment enjoying food and having friends at home. A.F. What are your favourite materials? And how have you refined the way in which you interact with those who put your ideas into practice using different techniques and processes? S.B. I don’t have a preference for a material in particular, although when I started I worked with ceramic and porcelain on an industrial scale. Perhaps the most important aspect of my work

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105 designer, or to make a good product, all you have to do is make a prototype. I think it is important not to forget that we need craftsmen and that craftsmen need us. And craftsmen have to pay a price in order to exist: that is why they have to sell their products, so they can continue to survive. Quite often the strategy pursued is limited to displaying the work of artisans in exhibitions, when in actual fact we should ask ourselves, as designers, how we can help them achieve a greater commercial substance, with a view to the future. A.F. What do you think of the whole phenomenon of the “makers” (selfmade design achieved in particular with digital printers and robotics that has given rise to a “technological craftsmanship” around which many start-ups are being established. Ed.)? What future do you see for this approach to design, considering that it is probably an evolution of artisan production? S.B. Are we talking about a new fashion because we have put a name to something that, in fact, has existed for a long time? Or is it that we are really enjoying

the fact that we are making something with our own hands because the world has turned into a fake reality? I think that a reflection on the maker culture is in itself positive, because it involves considering potential scenarios of change and approaches, and in this sense the question is about the way we live; but at the same time I believe that a craftsman knows exactly what “to make” means. Designers, on the other hand, should only be concerned about thinking and designing!

MARCO ZANIN / FABRICA

is the “scale progress” I have made over time: I started off designing small objects, moving on to furniture and now to space. I like this evolution in my career; it is the common thread that joins everything together in a controlled, almost organic progression. I have a very close relationship with those who work with me. On top of everything I have to respect and trust them and their skills. In order to produce a good project you must feel confortable and in a team. I like to be “surprised” by people who are passionate about their work; and besides, we all want to prove that our collaboration is special and that together we can achieve a unique result. A.F. You work a lot with young or aspiring designers: what type of relationship do new generations have with craftsmanship? Do you see interesting studies underway, and on what aspects of research do you think they should be focusing? S.B. I think young designers are aware of, and indeed open to, artisan skills. In spite of the fact that, at the moment, it is commonly believed that to be a

Above, Le bureau de Paolo, teak desk crafted for Secondome Edizioni in a limited edition of eight pieces. Top, a portrait of French designer Sam Baron. Opposite page, Louis, Jeanne, Michel et les autres... an installation of six imposing totemvases made with Galerie de Sèvres–Cité de la céramique for the 2012 edition of the Paris Designer’s days.

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Special projects

Above, “Upside down”, a project by Inesa Kovalova for the Van Cleef & Arpels boutique in via Verri 10, Milano. The scenery created by the Compagnia Marionettistica Carlo Colla & Figli (www.marionettecolla.org) will dress the windows of the boutique during the Salone del Mobile, to highlight the Maison’s precious and enchanting jewellery (www.vancleefarpels.com).

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Susanna Pozzoli

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FAIRYTALE SCENERY THE SPELLBINDING KNOW-HOW OF VAN CLEEF & ARPELS SUMMONS THE YOUNG STUDENTS OF THE CREATIVE ACADEMY AND THE THEATRICAL GENIUS OF COMPAGNIA CARLO COLLA by Eugenio Monti Colla

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Special projects

Sophisticated elegance, bewitching splendour, a precious phantasmagoria of light and shade created by the coloured gemstones in an endless play of fleeting luminosity and opalescence. The eyes are surprised and captivated; they follow the radiant lustre and grasp its irresistible beauty, while the mind, perceiving it, is urged to reach, or rather rediscover, the recesses of the soul where this enchanted beauty can, in turn, be placed in its rightful setting. A fairytale world, suffused with harmony and enchantment. Where everything glimmers with visionary and poetic plausibility. And the metaphor, clothed in sumptuous garments, follows tortuous imaginary paths full of pitfalls, obstacles and initiation rites, until it reaches the final catharsis. In this domain of imagination emerge impalpable creatures that have travelled from the subconscious to change the destiny of those who have fallen prey to torment, deprivation and unhappiness. Here “fatum” transmutes into visions of arcane and airy figures that provide soothing comfort, protection and magical talismans: the fairies. This is the theme chosen by Van Cleef & Arpels to be interpreted by the creativity of the 20 students in the Master of Arts in Design at the Creative Academy of Milan. Every year the international school founded by Richemont Group in 2003 trains a selection of young designers who specialise in luxury goods. For the 2014 edition of the Salone del Mobile, Milan’s international furniture fair, the boutique located in via Verri 10 will open its doors from April 8 to 13, to reveal what happens when an inspiring subject encounters the fertile imagination of talented young designers. An equally magical world reveals

itself to these young artists: it is the kingdom of marionettes. The workshop of the Compagnia Carlo Colla & Figli and Grupporiani Association offers a unique insight into puppetry and the materials used in staging marionette performances. The puppet is a wooden theatre prop made to represent a human being. Yet, it remains far removed from the human, enclosed as it is in its own metaphysical dimension. In its being a symbol and a metaphor of the theatrical narration, the marionette is a complex medium which encompasses ritual, magic, illusion and resemblance. Its gestures are unnatural, and yet so authentic and allusive. Its gait is mechanical, and yet so real. The marionette’s life slides off the fingers of the puppeteer, in a tangle of strings that disappear as the eyes of the spectators get accustomed to their manifest presence, and the puppet’s physiognomic physicality seems to come to life when struck by shafts of light. This is the universe that reveals itself to the students and to their imagination, their fantasy, their ability to abstract and their creative invention. Together with the inspiring tangible reality of string, wood, fabric, paper, metal and other materials. The projects of the students are selected and developed under the guidance of the Compagnia Carlo Colla & Figli, the history and experience of which is based on the daily dedication to all the production sectors of the puppet theatre (sculpture, carpentry, costume design and production, shoe making, weapons, wigs, stage jewellery, scenography, set equipment and lighting). In this way, the marionette remains a mute instrument by means of which we can communicate with ourselves.

Above, fairies and butterflies are elements of the enchanted nature that comes to life in the jewellery of Van Cleef & Arpels. In Inesa Kovalova’s project, Paris’s legendary Place Vendôme, where the Maison was established in 1906, is seen in an unusual perspective.

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Susanna Pozzoli

Susanna Pozzoli

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The scenographers of the Compagnia Carlo Colla at work in the Milanese workshop. Under the direction of Eugenio Monti Colla, the Compagnia has overseen the production of the projects by the students of the Creative Academy (www.creative-academy.com).

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Savoury crafts

THE NEUE DEUTSCHE SCHULE INCARNATES HARD WORK, GENUINENESS, PERFECTIONISM AND ORDERLY CREATIVITY by Alessandra Meldolesi

THE TASTE OF

VIRTUE The welcoming entrance of Osnabrück’s La Vie restaurant, opened in 2006 by Thomas Bühner, standard bearer of the Neue Deutsche Schule movement. In 2012 the restaurant was awarded three Michelin stars. Opposite, langoustine with ricotta, courgette and romanesque broccoli, mango-glazed pork fat, fried bacon rind, tomatoes and bulgur (Krahnstraße 1 1-2, tel. +49.(0)541.331150 www.restaurant-lavie.de).

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Würstel, Brotsuppe, Sauerbraten. With an optional torchon from the kitchen would lull him to sleep. On finishing his apde foie gras or poularde de Bresse for the gourmet clientele. prenticeship at the Schweizerhaus restaurant in Paderborn, he German tables have been cleared and the breadcrumbs of the embarked on his profession: first the Hilton in Düsseldorf, then past are being swept away by the Neue Deutsche Schule. A the Landhaus Scherrer in Hamburg, the Grand Cru restaurant movement theorised by journalist Jürgen Dollase in 2007. Leavin Lippstadt and the Jörg Müller restaurant in Westerland, on ing French hotplates behind, German cuisine has lifted the the island of Sylt. He became chef de partie at the Schwarzwaldlid on its regional resources, recovering ancestral or modernist stube in Baiersbronn, where Harald Wohlfahrt imparted to him techniques. “Savours from the world” are welcome, and Chefs the values of discipline and perseverence. Bühner went solo understand the complex sensorial effects that they trigger: they in 1991, when he took over the La Table restaurant in Dortcarefully plan their dishes, to ensure that the client’s perceptions mund, inside the Hohensyburg casino. He was soon rewarded coincide with their intentions. Dollase imagined a structural first by one and, shortly after, two Michelin stars, and a score cuisine based on proportions and of 19 in the Gault et Millau guide. relations, to enhance multipliciIn 2012, the third star consecrated ty and refinement. His colleague the La Vie restaurant he opened in Thomas Ruhl put the picture in Osnabrück in 2006, with the aid THE GERMAN CHEF SKETCHES focus: “The essence of the Neue of his wife Thayarni KanagaratOUT HIS PLATES, Deutsche Schule is in how Gernam, of Tamil origins, who runs many traditionally approaches THEN HE CAREFULLY PAINTS IN the dining room. Their approach design and creativity: a German stands out for its enveloping manEVERY INGREDIENT chef does not fill his canvas with nerism, where the French foundaexpressive brushstrokes. He tions provide the pedestal for an sketches out his work and then extravagant effect packed with paints in each ingredient. Like global influences: edible flowers, German design and engineering, the Neue Deutsche Schule is aromatic herbs and powders of disparate diameter and temgenuineness, hard work, perfectionism and orderly creativity, perature. Bühner explains that it is “aromatic cuisine” in three making it one of the best in the world, like Thomas Bühner, dimensions. The first coincides with the natural flavour of Christian Bau, Nils Henkel and Sven Elverfeld show.” The the ingredients, preserved and at times even emphasised. The four 3-starred apostles of the new word are revolutionising the second, in which the materials are processed, benefits from European gastronomic scene. And on their journey to becoming low temperatures. “Fuss vom Gas”, take your foot off the gas, chefs, they have trodden the virgin path of complexity. is the chef ’s motto. Last but not least comes the “repertoire”: Thomas Bühner interprets this multi-faceted identity. Less rethe dishes on the menu follow each other like the movements stricted than France and more substantial than Spain, his Gerof a symphony, first the allegretto, then the adagio. Thanks many integrates classical foundations with cutting-edge techto the vacuum-sealed cooking, game becomes a real “taste nologies and alien ingredients. Surprisingly, everything started bomb”, ignited by a sauce that is distilled like a tea. All layered when Bühner applied at the job centre in Riesenbeck, where he with inserts of local tradition, like the Dampfnudeln that are was born in 1962 (his father was a sales agent and his mother a spiralled around the dishes and the stunning chaudfroid apple housewife). The vocational test ruled: chef, baker or farmer. And dessert. But they are “deviated quotations”, as Achille Bonito a chef he became. Possibly because he missed his grandparents’ Oliva would define them: through transpositions, leaps and pub where a freshly baked slice of bread with butter and Westslippages they have acquired a new meaning, finally shedding phalia ham was always ready for him, and the clanging sounds the narcolepsy of comfort food.

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Savoury crafts

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Above, sugar parsley root and pistachios, cream of black garlic and lime, one of the restaurant’s favourite desserts. Opposite, from left, guests are welcomed by a doorman in uniform; a glimpse of the restaurant; chef Thomas Bßhner in his kitchen. His cuisine stands out for its enveloping mannerism, the French foundations providing a pedestal for an extravagant concoction packed with global influences.

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k

nowledge is not a collection of facts and figures and it cannot be achieved through mere talent alone, as school and society would lead young people to believe. It can be accomplished only by interiorising the teachings of the masters, and applying them in everyday life

KNOW-HOW FOSTERS INTEGRITY

t Sta

nc a r F

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The Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran (18831931) wrote in The Prophet that “the teacher who is indeed wise does not bid you to enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.” A concept also dear to Saint Paul, who expressed it in his theory of liminality: it is necessary to reach the threshold of the soul, of knowledge or experience, and then be prepared to wait and observe with curiosity and respect, before continuing with the due confidence. If we go even further back, the mind cannot fail to conjure up the Oracle of Delphi and that “Man, know thyself, and thou shalt know the Universe and the Gods!” which has so strongly characterised Western culture. For this is how wisdom is created: not by piling up concepts, but through the gradual assimilation of teachings, which must be put in practice day by day. In our age, teaching and learning are interpreted in a rather different way. On the one hand, we leave the young to stew in an education system that is anything but up-to-date. Where know-how (and, more often than not, knowledge itself ) is left in the background. Where only the bare minimum is required, and where there is still no appreciation of the importance of foreign languages, practical skills, artistic and musical abilities, which contribute to the formation of rich and multi-faceted personalities, whatever road the students decide to take. On the

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other hand, in a senseless succession of contradictions, young people are denied the time for learning: today we demand instant success, we aim straight at the heart of the matter, we expect precocious and brilliant intuitions and also the ability to translate them into practical and applicable concepts. The talent shows that are such a big hit on television are anything but a good example. They present “talent” as something that can only be innate and histrionic, and they induce us to believe that, at the end of spectacular competitions, the winner is immediately crowned by eternal success and glory. A total misrepresentation. Talent goes to waste if it is not fostered; only through commitment, learning, diligence and hours and hours of practice can young people really get to know themselves and give a true name to their dreams and skills. The world of the métiers d’art once again helps us to understand the right framework in which education should be set, if we want it to be effective. Transmitting know-how is now of vital importance to artisans, if the new generations are to tackle the challenges of the contemporary world. Yet one does not become a master in the space of a few months: it takes years, it takes dedication and it takes determination. Talent is, of course, essential, but so is the humility to listen and learn, through observation, the master’s secrets, and making them evolve through one’s own personality. In The Voice of the Master, Gibran also wrote that “Learning is the only wealth tyrants cannot despoil. Only death can dim the lamp of knowledge that is within you. The true wealth of a nation lies not in its gold or silver but in its learning, wisdom and in the uprightness of its sons.” Today it is vital to ensure that this knowledge is transmitted, that it grows strong roots and that it is not wasted. Because it is in this “integrity” that we need to seek the competitive advantage that will help us live a happier, more fulfilling life in which we will be more aware of our value, as men and artisans of the future.

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ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN

4

CULTURE

Ottoman architecture • Indian manuscript • French lace Chinese embroidery

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The European Days transform talent into a true profession

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LONDON

British saddler Mia Sabel holds her life’s reins in her hands

SHANGHAI

The Arts and Crafts Museum is the custodian of fine timeless treasures

MILAN

The excellence of Italian creativity and furniture for the perfect home

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