Arts & Crafts & Design N°1

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MAECENATISM Creating harmonies, the vocation of Vacheron Constantin

VISION Gae Aulenti’s farewell poem of superlative architecture

MATERIALS The soul of crystal sculpted in light and shaped in fire

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PASSION, DEDICATION, TRANSMISSION Vacheron Constantin has been promoting the métiers d’art since its foundation, in 1755. And firmly believes in a future made by hand

Artistic Crafts are an integral part of the tradition upheld by our Maison. Throughout its over 250 years of existence, Vacheron Constantin has constantly combined the works of the finest artists in order to offer the quintessence of finishing and decoration. These historical ties have been transformed into an authentic passion that is nurtured by the intense dedication of the artisans. They all play their part in building a reality that could never shine so brightly without the human hand. Their manual skills are threatened with extinction. We, as artisans of time, enjoy our own special bond with time. It is our responsibility to protect such age-old expertise and to ensure that it endures.

develop creativity. Freedom to develop new crafts, such as figurative guillochage that is not about merely reproducing motifs, but instead involves creating authentic pictures. And last but not least, freedom to put forward new proposals. Our task also lies in contributing to envisaging these skills from an innovative perspective. The “Métiers d’Art – Les Univers Infinis” series stemmed from a wish to offer a new, contemporary and highly graphic image of Fine Watchmaking. “Les Univers Infinis” bring together several artistic crafts cultivated by the Manufacture: guillochage, enamelling, gem-setting and engraving, exercised in a particularly complex sequence. Inspired by the work of Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher, they adopt the principles of geometry by reinterpreting the selective paving technique known as “tessellation” to create an incredible visually hypnotic effect. Finally, one cannot envisage Artistic Crafts without the dimension of “encounters” that they quite naturally generate. As such, our duty is to highlight these crafts and to share them with as many people as possible. It is in this spirit that since 2011 Vacheron Constantin has became the main patron of the Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art (European Arts and Crafts Days), encouraging exhibitions featuring live demonstrations to showcase craftsmanship excellence and inspired by the theme of passing on these traditional skills. Remaining open to the world, seeking excellence, supporting creativity while respecting and passing on traditions in a manner governed by a concern for sharing our passion: that is how we envisage Artistic Crafts, through the prism of our fundamental values. Five values like the five fingers of skilled artisans – who quite literally hold our civilisation in their hands.


Vacheron Constantin was the very first in the 1990s to rekindle the flame of Artistic Crafts. In order to revive them, we have sparked a desire by offering unique and dazzling creations embodying the peak of their art. To celebrate our 250th anniversary, we intensified our commitment to this field by creating unique pieces and a collection named “Métiers d’Art”, marvels of engraving and enamel painting. Another masterpiece, “Chagall & l’Opéra de Paris – Tribute to Famous Composers”, represents a feat of miniaturisation highlighting “Grand Feu” enamel painting according to the Geneva technique. In September 1755, Jean-Marc Vacheron hired an apprentice, thereby signalling his determination to hand down an intimate knowledge of his craft. The torch is indeed daily passed on in our Métiers d’Art workshops, where each master shares the essence of his art with an apprentice who wishes to follow in his footsteps. Creative freedom plays a role that is just as important as passing on expertise within this department that encompasses engraving, guillochage, enamelling and gem-setting. Freedom to nurture and

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FROM THE WORKSHOP TO THE WORLD THE ENTERPRENEURIAL ATELIER Shared values in a magazine that is going international, to export the culture of know-how. Starting from training Shared values: let us start from here, from that “little old world” that is a heritage of knowledge, mind, hands and heart, from that workshop of beauty and wisdom represented by the métiers d’art. A dogma we have been repeating in a loud and clear voice for five semesters, a concept that is inscribed in our DNA, our mind, our spirit. This is what we talked about last November 6 in Florence, in the unique frame of the Salone dei Cinquecento in Palazzo Vecchio. Within the “Florens 2012” event, the meeting on Arts & Crafts & Design, our magazine. The common effort of Swan Group and Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte. The editorial choice of promoting the art of know-how and… how to know. Indeed there is no product without communication, above all when we talk about objects that, though precious, are the expression of a non-serialised enterpreneurial culture.

ents the individual who does not give in to massification and rediscovers beauty. The beauty that is often in the eye of the beholder. Workshops and artisans are words that taste of poetry. Here the concept of “atelier” must be turned into a new idea: the enterpreneurial atelier, enclosing all. The strategic axis is the same, founded on the reappraisal of symbolic values, adapted to reality. Creativity, design, qualified workers, experiment, perfection. To publish is to communicate, conveying an idea from A to B. Despite good intentions it is not always possible to join both ends or to give value. Arts & Craft & Design, in its small way, succeeded, having been appreciated not only by the people working in the field, by the most careful readers, but above all across the border, by those who know the value of what we are saying. Hence a new step in our story, because the issue you are going to read (not just leaf through!) will travel through the whole world also in its English edition, thanks to a strategic agreement with Vacheron Constantin for the international issue, with unchanged contents. Since its foundation in 1755, the Geneva Maison has defended its manufacturing tradition transforming its island in an unviolable stronghold. Now it will give its patronage to Mestieri d’Arte in the declination of Arts & Crafts & Design. A further sign of how Italian ingeniousness can flourish wherever it finds sensitivity, a confirmation of Franco Cologni’s farsightedness and of the quality of all Franz Botré’s creations.


Easy to say, much less to accomplish. And we come back to the message this magazine is passionately committed to convey. Italy – a land so rich in tradition – has nearly only made mistakes. Not just in the recent years, but ever since the war. Elsewhere in the world, excellences were defended, systems were created to support a structure stretching from apprenticeship to production and trade. On the contrary, only a handful of magnificent soloists resisted here. The post-1968 idea of the right to education, as opposed to the duty of study, of the “political 18 pass” at the university, became the dominant homologated thought. Who worked in a workshop (what a nice word!) was labelled as a poor: he didn’t want to study, thus he went to work. As if the greatness of the true made in Italy had not been created by the arts and crafts. As if our universities produced working places and not unemployed people. For this reason the new beginning must start from our heritage. From manual skills, but in the new interpretation of a contemporary artisan merging his own capabilities with the complex universe of design. Let us open our workshops and let new light in. This is not a cultural manifesto for its own sake, nor a proclamation. It repres-

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One last note in defiance of a risky rhetoric. You will find here a contribution by Gae Aulenti. The lady of architecture faced the Great Mystery while this magazine was being published. We left it as it was, written in the first person, without annotations or “distico”. A way to show respect and profound admiration for the greatness of this extraordinary interpreter of creativity, who bent the rules and made - together with artisans - the most ambitious project “feasible”. May the earth be light upon her.

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MAECENATISM Creating harmonies, the vocation of Vacheron Constantin


Gae Aulenti’s farewell poem of superlative architecture

MATERIALS The soul of crystal sculpted in light and shaped in fire

Front cover: an image from the exhibition Costruttori di Armonie Emanuele Zamponi

Perspective PASSION, DEDICATION, TRANSMISSION by Juan-Carlos Torres


Restoration MAGNIFICENT OPIFICIO by Alessandra de Nitto

Editor’s letter FROM THE WORKSHOP TO THE WORLD by Gianluca Tenti


Museums REVEALED TREASURES by Akemi Okumura Roy

Historical reflections PALAZZO BRANCIFORTE by Gae Aulenti Workshops Books Awards Initiatives Fairs Shows ALBUM by Stefania Montani Enterprises 90 YEARS FOR DESIGN by Matteo Vercelloni

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Defending the roots THE CRAFT IS FLORENS by Marco Gemelli

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Creating value SEEMINGLY EASY by Ugo La Pietra

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Maecenatism MEMORY AND FUTURE by Alberto Cavalli

Maîtres of design CARS by Mario Favilla and Aldo Agnelli Enterprise and talent THE CHARMING HABIT by Karine Vergniol Living treasures DIVINE PASSION by Susanna Pozzoli Educating for the future A SCHOOL A JOB by Mariapia Garavaglia


Style and technique RED GOLD by Albert Vanderbilt

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Manual skills THE TRACE OF LACE by Paolo Coretti


Savoury crafts DECORATING HAPPINESS by Susanna Ardigò

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Christmas rites in Europe SWEET CHRISTMAS by Alessandra Meldolesi

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Signature projects TIME MADE BY HAND by Alberto Cavalli


Enterprises SCULPTED IN LIGHT by Federica Cavriana

Talents of entertainment CALL HIM WIZARD! by Giovanna Marchello

Environment and landscape MISTER ENEA’S FEELING by Paolo Dalla Sega Maîtres of design ECLECTIC DESIGN by Ugo La Pietra

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Trained for excellence by Jean-Michel Delisle THE FUTURE ENTRUSTED TO TRAINING, THE FRENCH EXAMPLE Made in Art by Ugo La Pietra DEFENDING ITALY’S SAVOURS

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From the territory by Giampiero Maracchi THE FUTURE BETWEEN SCHOOLS AND MARKETS Re-turn by Franco Cologni PLATO, HEGEL AND THE TRUE MASTERS

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The Royal Ballet School is one of the world’s great ballet schools and a shining beacon of excellence for all. Founded in 1926, its mission is to train and educate outstanding dancers and choreographers for premier ballet companies in the UK and worldwide, setting the standard in dance training internationally. Margot Fonteyn, Anthony Dowell and Darcey Bussell are among the many world renowned dancers who trained at the School. Equally, the early talent of some of the world’s most brilliant choreographers was nurtured at the School: Kenneth MacMillan, Jirˇí Kylian, John Neumeier and Christopher Wheeldon, to name but a few. The Royal Ballet School also values its responsibility to the wider public. Every year, the School’s extensive outreach activities touch the lives of an estimated 5,500 young people throughout the UK, most of whom are from disadvantaged areas. The Royal Ballet School is proud to partner Vacheron Constantin with whom it shares many values and traditions. Each unequivocally pursues the highest standards of excellence and precision and is committed to passing unique heritage to every new generation.





The Royal Ballet School | 46, Floral Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DA | tel.+44 (0)20 7836 88 99 | | Follow us on

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After managing communication for big 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.

She was one of the greatest and most celebrated protagonists of architecture and design in the world. Amongst her most renowned works: Musée d’Orsay in Paris, the restoration of Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Museu d’Art de Catalunya in Barcelona. Numberless awards, like the Gold Medal for the Career.



Alfa Romeo designer in the Sixties, becoming Advanced Design manager, he was involved in its main projects and has worked in redefining the aesthetical philosophy of the house in its roaring years. Now manages the Master in Transportation & Automobile Design at Milan Politecnico.

Since 1999 she has worked at the French Bfm Radio, now Bfm Business. She is director and anchor-woman of the “Goûts de luxe” broadcast show.



Born in Milan, where he lives and works as an architect, projecting large-scale buildings, retail spaces and designing objects. He co-operated with “Casa Vogue”, “Interni”, “Costruire”, “Abitare” and “Domus” among others. Since 2000 he has been editorial consultant for “Interni”.

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.



Engineer, he has managed a century-old company specialised in refined lighting elements for 30 years. He is a member of the Comité Colbert et Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant. He is currently President of the National Institute of Crafts and a member of the Paris Chamber of Commerce.

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.



Born in Trentino, he works in Milan. He is the curator of many social and cultural events. He is the holder of the first professorship in Management Systems of Métiers d’Art at the Università Cattolica of Milan, promoted by Fondazione Cologni with the support of Fondazione Cariplo.

A photographer with an international experience of residences, long stays and prestigious shows, she consecrates herself to the study and recollection of stories and places told with a personal style. Her projects evoke precious hidden realities with grace. Photography is the tool of her in-depth artistic research.

Editor at Large: Gianluca Tenti Art Director: Francesca Tedoldi Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte

ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN Half-yearly – Year I – Volume 1 December 2012 Editor in Chief and Publisher: Franz Botré Editorial Director: Franco Cologni Creative Director: Ugo La Pietra

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Director: Alberto Cavalli Editorial Director: Alessandra de Nitto General Organisation: Susanna Ardigò Contributors to this issue: Texts: Aldo Agnelli, Daniele Astrologo Abadal, Andrea Bertuzzi, Federica Cavriana, Paolo Coretti, Paolo Dalla Sega, Jean-Michel Delisle, Mario Favilla, Mariapia Garavaglia, Marco Gemelli, Giampiero Maracchi, Giovanna Marchello, Alessandra Meldolesi,

Stefania Montani, Akemi Okumura Roy, Susanna Pozzoli, Luciano Revelli, Paola Sosio, Matteo Vercelloni, Karine Vergniol. Translations: Giovanna Marchello, Cristina Pradella Images: Aldo Agnelli, Andrea Basile, Ezio Ferreri, Fredi Marcarini, Susanna Pozzoli, Emanuele Zamponi. Arts & Crafts & Design is a project by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte Via Lovanio, 5 – 20121 Milan © 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

SWAN GROUP PUBBLICITÀ Via Francesco Ferrucci 2 20145 Milan Phone: +39 02.3180891

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Historical reflections

PALAZZO BRANCIFORTE IN PALERMO, THE LAST POEM BY THE LADY OF ARCHITECTURE An intricate story, a firebomb, the rebuilding through contemporary lines creating a dialogue with the historical milieu The story of Palazzo Branciforte of Counts Raccuja in Palermo began in the last decades of the 16th century. It is an extremely intricate story: as intricate as the structural and conceptual milieu characterising the city of Palermo. Different structural changes occurred in the centuries, till 1801, when the palace was destined to house the new pawn offices and was called Monte di Santa Rosalia. In 1848, during the Sicilian Revolution, the building was hit by a firebomb causing a terrible fire and the subsequent fall of the roof and the inner structures. The consolidation works brought about a new architectural structure: to strengthen the Cavallerizza vaults – one of the most beautiful spaces in the palace – many of the original marble columns were enclosed within the walls. The Cavallerizza two higher floors were not rebuilt, thus bringing about a new double-level volume where the complex fixtures of wooden shelves were built, with stairs and galleries as an annex to the pawn house. The recent works of restoration and renovation in the Palace involving us as designers and artistic directors of the site were requested by Fondazione Sicilia and had the aim to create an important cultural pole open to all citizens. The new building rediscovered spaces of the old palace attributing them new functions, as well as completely new spaces designed for art and culture: an exhibition area, a library, a conference hall, representation rooms and offices for the staff. A work like the one of Palazzo Branciforte needed a great co-operation and great harmony of goals and aims: on one side between client and architect, who must find the necessary strategies to change the place; on the other amongst architect, contractors and artisans who give shape to the design by working together. I have always had a great respect for the artisan know-how supporting my work and granting its best accomplishment. I have always worked side by side with the artisans perfecting

those works, giving mutual suggestions to solve problems, not just in the yard activity, but during the executive planning, when decisions and choices are made not only for the aesthetic result but thinking of the work and costs involved. The artisan is able to combine traditional wisdom and high technology, and both with the manual skills necessary in a historical setting. Such as plasters: when you must work in palaces built according to ancient techniques and with aged materials, introducing new materials is an extremely delicate choice. In such a case, technologies, while using new products, are inspired by ancient techniques using plasters made of mortar and colours from coccio-pesto and marble dust – colours that derive from traditional wisdom, experience and intuition, typical features of those who know their craft.


As for windows, they were designed and produced one by one, since all spaces have different sizes. We chose contemporary frames in steel inspired by the thin old iron frames while granting the thermal insulation the former didn’t, a necessary feature for the right energy performances in buildings. The same smiths also made the light showcases, planned to exhibit and emphasise the precious collections of archaeological pieces, ceramics and coins in the palace. An almost ten-year relation links me to a Cantù carpentry that produced the bespoke furniture and the library hall, where a contemporary green wood bookcase has the fireproof features imposed by present-day laws and agreed upon with the Fire Department. Working in Palermo I visited again Palazzo Abatellis designed by Carlo Scarpa in the Fifties. The historians Mazzariol and Barbieri wrote: “… Scarpa’s style was to rely on artisans’ work, discussing with them and almost associating them to his own designing work in a relation of professional equality.” It’s a way of working I perfectly acknowledge myself in.

A FIRST-PERSON DESIGN The library in Palazzo Branciforte of Counts Raccuja in Palermo, built with materials taking the new laws into account and respecting the original 16th century building, damaged in the 19th century. A complex intervention by Gae Aulenti, made possible also thanks to the open dialogue with the artisans who know how to merge aesthetics and functionality.

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Trained for excellence

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THE FUTURE ENTRUSTED TO TRAINING, THE FRENCH EXAMPLE Different levels to offer a truly higher education and create a system that can produce objects appealing to the new markets, inverting the trend that ghettoised the crafts

The future of the crafts depends also on the training of the young. Within the process of harmonisation of training courses at a European level, it is vital for France to offer its young who choose an artisanal profession degrees at all levels, up to the highest (master, PhD), according to the Bologna Process on the creation of a European space for higher education. The existence of a coherent and wellstructured education system will allow the young to excercise their profession and master the technique, creating objects following the tastes of the different kinds of customers and developing new markets in the best possible way. A new generation of artisan-artists is emerging throughout Europe, inbet ween modernity and sustainable growth. This is the generation that training must cater for, revisiting its reference points regularly. At the same time, the availability of a permanent training must enable professionals to improve their craft, in working on materials (including the new ones), in the search of original shapes and colours. The education to the crafts must be more European than it is now: students can perfect their academic formation in a different European country from their own through European programmes such as Leonardo and Erasmus or any of the many programmes proposed by single member states and local communities. All these offers must be developed and strengthened. The crafts lie at the crossroads of culture, economics and development of the territory: the training to these professions allows the young choosing them to

follow a rich and diversified path, in line with the contemporary world. Training is also another crucial asset for the future; it prepares to technical excellence, develops the artistic sensitivity through a learning process of the project, creates a dialogue with design. It combines precision and creativity, rigour and ingeniousness, impertinence and freedom; it grants a great opening towards the contemporary world. And it should allow the young to develop also those fundamental human qualities that represent the specific feature of these professions. The training to the crafts was sometimes depreciated, as manual work was considered in some countries and in some periods as the refuge of people unable to go on with their studies. Now the sensitivity has changed: the crafts attract increasing numbers of young people with brilliant school careers, or professionals who decide to change their life choosing the work of their dreams. The image of artisanal work has really improved in recent years.


* Jean-Michel Delisle is President of the Institut National des Métiers d’Art (

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Considering the importance of this adventure for the future of the field, the Institut National des Métiers d’Art, together with all private and public partners involved, began to reconsider the range of startingup and permanent training and proposed its renewal. In this reform activity, we have considered the practices and experiences of our European partners. The training to the crafts must be considered on a European scale, developing exchanges between the institutions dealing with this task. It should also open itself to research: the breeding ground of tomorrow’s craftsmen. Their future relies on it.

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by Stefania Montani

Workshops Books Awards Initiatives Fairs Shows

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ALBUM BOTTEGA PRATA Bologna, via Caldarese 1D A really beautiful workshop in the historical heart of Bologna, objects that confirm the great expertise of the volcanic artisan, with a century-old history and a rich tradition. It is the forge who can handle all sorts of tasks, including restorations. 700 of Pierluigi Prata, born in the profession, following in the streetlamps for the Republic of San Marino, other lamps for footsteps of his father Giancarlo and his grandfather Antonio, the via D’Azeglio in Bologna, the railings of the Basilica of sharing with them the love of wrought iron as well as of the San Petronio and those of many other villas, including Villa secrets of this ancient craft, including the special tools they Gazzoni, were produced in his workshop. The master craftscreated for the most elaborate workings. The wide rooms man Pierluigi Prata can produce any kind of iron object and near Bologna’s Two Towers house some of the many works structure from a drawing, also using ancient decorations. He is created by three generations: table structures, lamps, railings, the president of the Unione Artistica Tradizionale dell’Emilia bedposts, chairs, appliques. And then statues and ornamental Romagna.

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ALBUM workshops

GIOSA Milan, via Ciovasso 6 If you pass along the via Ciovasso, you will be surely attracted by the windows of this workshop, a kaleidoscope of nealty displayed leather goods: bags in refined shapes, belts, wallets, shoes, suitcases, briefcases. All made with the best crocodile skin. It is the shop-workshop of Giorgio Santamaria, carrying on the craft he learnt as a child from his parents, owners of a worhshop in Porta Ticinese. He works with the same passion, helped by his wife, his son Gioele and a couple of expert craftsmen. Specialised in the art of working crocodile, ostrich and lizard skins, he prepares the models, nails the skins to the tables, polishes them with agate stone, stitches, finishes the inside with precious linings. You can see him at work bent over the large working table facing the street. The first-quality leathers come from a renowned French tannery supplying also Hermès. To have an idea of the variety of their creations it is enough to walk down the stairs to the basement: here all sorts of models are aligned in a wide range of colours, from turquoise to orange, from violet to dark blue, from black to brown. Santamaria is also very good at reproducing old shapes from a sample and restore vintage models.

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PASTICCERIA CAPPELLO Palermo, via Colonna Rotta 68 Near Piazza Indipendenza, Cappello is one of the historical shops in Palermo, a true institution for the lovers of chocolate and cakes. Established as a dairy in the Forties, this shop was developed by Salvatore, the bright son of the founders, who in the Seventies decided to refine his training in the confectionery art in Turin. When he came back to Palermo, he turned the family activity into a patisserie known throughout Sicily. His favourite ingredient is chocolate, “imported” to Palermo from Turin. Among Cappello’s specialities, the Kenia coffee cake, the chocolate mousse with flambé pears, the mixed berries mousse, the Delizia cake with Bronte pistachios and almond sponge cake, the lemon marmelade. And fruit sherbets covered with pistachio ice-cream and a banana sponge cake without flour, ideal for gluten-free diets. Among the titbits that have made the patisserie so famous are the pralines filled with liquor or cream, and Sole di Sicilia, a pistachio sweet glazed with chocolate. The winner of many awards for excellence in Sicily, Cappello is now member of the Accademia dei Pasticcieri Italiani. His son Giovanni is brilliantly following his tradition.

SYLVIE SAINT-ANDRÉ PERRIN Paris The atelier of the great master ceramist Sylvie Saint-André Perrin is hidden in a beautiful courtyard in the XV arrondissement. She produces dishes, bowls and objects for the table and the house, working clay, pigments and oxides with the techniques she herself invented. The effects are really extraordinary: pieces with shades ranging from dark blue to ochre, from green to grey, from rust to black. The patterns can be minimalist or rich in sinuous shapes and are never commonplace. As some important brands who order her exclusive collections discovered. The manufacturing technique is slow and complex, and production is limited to no more than 16 pieces a day. When the clay is poured into the mould and partially hardened, it is grated to a thin layer, then filed with steel wool and baked at 980 °C before it is varnished with a thin layer of transparent enamel and then placed into the kiln for a second baking. Recently the virtuoso artisan widened her range of decorations to include flowers and butterflies, introducing new techniques. Every object is unique, never similar to another. Sylvie Saint-André Perrin’s objects are sold in Paris as well as in many other cities, London, San Francisco and New York to name but a few.

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ALBUM books


MOSAICO MENDINI by Stefano Casciani (Edizioni Skira) A book consecrated to the work of the eclectic architect and artist Alessandro Mendini for Bisazza, the Italian industry that brought glass mosaics to a new contemporary splendour. The author is a designer and writer and has been co-operating with Mendini for a long time. From important architectures, like the Groningen Museum, to exhibitions and sculptures, the book presents works and projects by Mendini, his Atelier and other artists showcased in the collection of the Fondazione Bisazza in Alte, Vicenza.

EVI’S PUPPENKLINIK & TEDDYWERKSTATT Augsburg, Frauentorstr. 18 Eva Maria Haschler is not only famous amongst collectors and antique dealers, but above all amongst children. Her shop-workshop is in downtown Augsburg: here, packed deep in a variety of dolls, plush toys, modern and old games is her toy hospital, reknown even as far as Australia and the USA, from where the most desperate “cases” arrive to be healed. Her expertise derives also from her early start, when she was still a girl, to assemble parts and learn the mechanisms in the toy factory of her parents. Then Eva refi ned her skills opening a lab with her husband Harald, to bring back to life dolls made of porcelain, cellulose, rags, as well as plush animals and vintage tin toys. With great patience and competence the Haschlers repair simple toys and complex mechanisms, replace glass eyes, wigs and mend dresses with wool, cotton, nylon, silk and viscose. According to the materials, they prepare pastes in papier-mâche, stucco, clay, wood, leather, then join them all with special glues and resins, and paint the surfaces till the mending is invisible. In Eva and Harald Haschler’s shop it is also possible to find collector’s games, as well as antique pieces.

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BULGARI. 125 ANS DE MAGNIFICENCE ITALIENNE by Amanda Triossi (Edizioni Skira) On the occasion of the exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris to celebrate 125 years of creativity, Skira is publishing an edition of the catalogue with over 90 photos of rare jewels. Over 600 precious objects from the end of the 19th century to the present day, many of which belonged to celebrities, are linked with original photos and preparatory technical drawings, in an interesting journey through the history of goldsmithing and society. Triossi is an expert of jewels and curator of the Bulgari Vintage Collection. MAESTRI DEL FARE Silvia Mazzucotelli Salice, Isabella Medicina (Marsilio) An interesting and passionate socio-economic survey, commissioned by the Fondazione Cologni and the Scuola Cova in Milan, on the demand for artisanal jobs in the area of Milan, with particular reference to the business areas of fashion, furniture and jewellery. Through the many interviews to some of the master craftsmen, ateliers and leading companies, as well as to the institutions of reference, the book draws an unusual portrait of the contemporary crafts of excellence, the problems they are facing and above all their remarkable cultural and economic importance. ARTIGIANI, VISIONARI E MANAGER by Giorgio Brunetti (Edizioni Bollati Boringhieri) From the 16th century merchants of the Venetian Arsenale to the financial crisis of today, a long story of work, conquests, sufferance and inventions. Giorgio Brunetti, professor at Ca’ Foscari in Venice and Bocconi University in Milan, tells us the peculiarities, potentialities, critical points, conquests and continuous challenges of craftsmanship, to make this complex organisation as functional as possible in the contemporary economy. THE KIMONO: HISTORY AND STYLE Sacico Ito, Etsuko Yamashita (Edizioni Pie International, Rizzoli New York) The story of the Kimono, a dress that in its millennial history never ceased to be the typical garment of Japanese tradition and is still worn today to official ceremonies and on special occasions. Sacico Ito is costume and production designer with an experience of many movies and fashionable dresses. Etsuko Yamashita is the head of a kimono school teaching the techniques to create this elegant garment that has never gone out of fashion in Japan ever since the 8th century.

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ALBUMfairs Pavillon No. 3 will host Fatto ad Arte, an exhibition of the finest craftsmanship (in co-operation with Artex and with the support of CNA and Confartigianato Imprese) inspired by the culture of the territories, with productions using precious traditional techniques handed down through the centuries. Amongst the exhibited pieces, furniture and decorative accessories for the home in various materials: ceramic, glass, porcelain, metal, wood, leather, stone and fabrics. 2



HEIMTEXTIL Frankfurt, Fair, January 9-12, 2013 Important international trade fair for home and contract textiles and furnishings. Presents many fabrics for interior decoration produced by the leading textile manufacturers in the world, with over 2,600 exhibitors. MAISON & OBJET Paris, Nord Villepinte, Parc des Expositions, January 18-22, 2013 Furniture, gifts, art de la table, fabrics, solutions for interior design: the Paris exhibition is held every six months and offers an endless number of proposals designed by leading companies and famous and emerging designers. Pavillon no. 4, named Craft, is particularly interesting: a space wholly consecrated to métiers d’art.

tion between creators, master watchmakers, designers. In the name of excellence. MACEF Milan, Rho Fair, January 23-27, 2013 The winter edition of the International Home Show: household objects, gifts, interior decoration, silverware and linen for the table, the bed and the bathroom. A showcase for novelties from Italy and the world.

FIERA DI SANT’ORSO Aosta, January 30-31, 2013 The traditional fair of craftwork and bricolage meanders through the whole city centre, inside and along the Roman walls. Rich in events, the Fair is also music, folklore and an opportunity to taste the wine and traditional food. A true popular feast that finds its climax in the Veillà, the vigil stretching through the night between January 30 and 31, with the streets illuminated and crowded with people till dawn. EXPOCASA Turin, Lingotto Fiere, March 2-10, 2013 The 50th edition of the International Exibition of Furniture and Ideas for the House meanders inside Lingotto with a rich variety of proposals and an important area dedicated to high-quality craftsmanship.


SALON INTERNATIONAL DE LA HAUTE HORLOGERIE Geneva, Palaexpo, January 21-25, 2013 The Geneva event is the international preview of the latest creations of the most important fine watchmakers, the result of the research and co-opera-

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ALBUM awards initiatives 3

BOCUSE D’OR Chassieu Cedex, Eurexpo January 29-30, 2013 Coveted by the lovers of high cuisine, this international contest of chefs has been held at Lyon Eurexpo every two years since 1987. Professional chefs from all over the world take part in the event. ACCENTI D’ITALIA, ITALIAN GIFTWARE + DECOR A project has been recently developed with the aim to promote and support Italian fine craftsmanship on the United States market, to strengthen the level of internationalisation and competition of Italian artisans and small and medium companies operating in the fields of interior decoration, tableware and kitchen furnishings. The project is promoted by Artex, with the support of Toscana Promozione. ARTEX PRESENTS ARTSHOP, A PORTAL FOR HANDMADE CRAFTS This online store is available in Italian and English and is divided into different sections proposing a range of objects: fashion accessories, kitchen and table, home decor, lighting and textile for the home.


TOBEECO Turin Within Expocasa 2013, held at Lingotto Fiere, the winners of the fourth edition of toBEeco will be awarded. toBEeco is a programme supporting and promoting environment-friendly design, devised with the aim to discover and grant visibility to the young designers with an “eco” nature. The awards will be offered by Amiat (Azienda Multiservizi Igiene Ambientale Torinese). To take part in the contest or as an exhibitor (in 40 areas) it is necessary to submit digital

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projects that respect at least one of the three “Eco” definitions: Economy of the project, Eco-logy of the process, Eco-multi-functionality of the product. CONCORSO INTERNAZIONALE DELLA CERAMICA D’ARTE CONTEMPORANEA PREMIO FAENZA Faenza, Museo Internazionale delle Ceramiche, Italy This competition (the first in Europe) was created in 1932 and became international in 1963. Since the beginning it has represented an important occasion


to stimulate, renew and promote ceramic art in all its declinations. BCA - BIENNALE DE LA CERAMIQUE D’ANDENNE, BELGIUM The registrations for the 2014 award will be open until October 31, 2013. The next edition of this event, created in 1988 to revitalize the city’s ceramic industry, will end on June 8 and 9, 2014. Exhibitions, show-markets and courses will be carried out in the course of the event. NICHE AWARDS The 2013 edition of the competition is open to professional craft artists over the age of 21 living in America or Canada, and actively involved in the design and production of craftwork supplied to galleries and craft stores. TOM MALONE PRIZE Applications for the 2013 Gallery of Western Australia contest are open. The prize was instituted by Tom Malone to promote the creation and appreciation of glass made in Australia.

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ALBUM shows & Arpels from 1906 to the present day, illustrated by over 400 jewels. With archive documents illustrating the savoir-faire and inventions of a family of master goldsmiths that have represented elegance and creativity throughout one century. Like the gems set without collet or bezel, or the transformable jewels, that change in new and different shapes.




DRAGONS, NAGAS, AND CREATURES OF THE DEEP Until January 2013 Washington, Textile Museum In the Year of the Dragon, according to the Chinese calendar, the Textile Museum of Washington proposes an exhibition of carpets and fabrics depicting dragons and fantastical creatures. Angels or demons, these images decorated fabrics and furniture in the whole eastern world for centuries. FLEURISTE BRUNO LEGERON, MAÎTRE D’ART Until March 30, 2013 Lunéville, Musée Conservatoire des Broderies Lunéville A matchless mastery, a fantastic manual skill: the fabric flowers created by the house of Legeron have been famous ever since decorating hats and dresses with craft reproductions of natural elements became fashionable in the mid 19th century. The exhibition reveals the refined techniques of this delicate art and showcases the flowers created for haute couture as well as hosting fascinating craft demonstrations. TRAME DI MODA DONNE E STILE ALLA MOSTRA DEL CINEMA DI VENEZIA Until January 2013 Venice, Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo

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VETRO MURRINO DA ALTINO A MURANO Until January 2013 Altino and Murano, Museo Archeologico and Museo del Vetro The show is organised in two venues and is dedicated to the ancient art of murrina glass, from Roman times to the present day in Murano. The museum of Altino displays works from the local archaeological site, the ancient X Regio Venetia et Istria, which boasted commercial and cultural ties with the eastern coasts of the Mediterranean, the home of the art of glass making. The Glass Museum presents the works created in Murano from the 19th century to the present day, with excellent examples, such as the works by Vittorio Zecchin, Teodoro Wolf-Ferrari, Carlo Scarpa and Riccardo Licata. On the main floor, the interesting collection Le murrine by Giusy Moretti dedicated to the historic activity of her family.

Angelina Jolie, seducingly dressed in satin in The Tourist; Katherine Hepburn in Summertime, the extraordinary evolution of her wardrobe, from lonely woman to passionate lover; Helena Bonham Carter femme fatale in Fortuny dévoré velvets in The Wings of the Dove; Silvana Mangano wrapped in linen in Death in Venice or explosive hot pants in Mambo; Donald Sutherland and the mechanical doll, the gender and its double, male and female, symbols of transgression and the search for the absolute. And the magic red carpet dresses. Thanks to the exceptional dresses and documents, the exhibition honours a unique cultural and productive reality. 2

CHINESISCHE LACKKUNST. EINE DEUTSCHE PRIVATSAMMLUNG Until January 27, 2013 Berlin, Museum of Asian Art, Museen Dahlem A beautiful private collection of about 70 exhibitis of Chinese lacquer art belonging to Barbara Piert-Borgers and Walter Borgers. Exceptional examples of the Chinese carved lacquer art stretching from the 10th to the 19th century, from the Song to the Qing dynasty.

VAN CLEEF & ARPELS L’ART DE LA HAUTE JOAILLERIE Until February 10, 2013 Paris, Musée des arts décoratifs The extraordinary story of Van Cleef

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DANIEL BRUSH: BLUE STEEL GOLD LIGHT Until February 17, 2013 New York, Museum of Arts and Design Daniel Brush, with his Renaissance temper, is an artist, painter, sculptor, writer, professor, goldsmith. A complex personality able to merge creativ-

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KAMA, SESSO E DESIGN Until March 10, 2013 Milan, Triennale Design Museum The exhibition curated by Silvana Annicchiarico analyses the relationship between eros and design, investigating ways and forms through which sexuality incorporates itself in the things, beyond the stereotypes of easy scandals. A survey from the historical, mythical and anthropological roots until the present day, with over 200 archaeological finds, drawings, photos, objects and works by artists and designers. From Etruscan vases to Roman amulets, from Piero Fornasetti’s drawings to the pictures by Carlo Mollino and Ettore Sottsass, from the Mae West Sofa by Salvador Dalí to the provocative Great Wall of Vagina by Jamie McCartney. At the same time, eight international designers present their personal interpretation of this theme.


CHRISTOFLE FANTAISIE D’ART Paris, Musée des Années Trente de Boulogne-Billancourt An exhibition of objects for the house and bijoux witnessing the innovating creativity of Christofle production. In 1830 Charles founded the House and in ’42 patented the special electroplating for silver and gold, that become famous with his name. The show exhibits many precious objects with special plating and enamel finishes that enjoyed great success among the most illustrious people of the time, including Louis Philippe and Napoleon III.

ity, culture, craftsmanship. The exhibit brings together many works, above all sculptures, interior design objects, jewels made from steel, bakelite, stone, aluminium, gold, gems. The exhibition was made possible through the support of Siegelson, Christie’s, Van Cleef & Arpels and private collectors. HOLLYWOOD COSTUME Until January 27, 2013 London, Victoria & Albert Museum Over 100 movie costumes used by actresses and actors on the set, spanning a century of Hollywood film making (from 1912 to 2012), to bring back to life the unforgettable characters from the famous movies: Scarlett O’Hara, Jack Sparrow, Dorothy Gale, Indiana Jones… The show emphasises the important role played by costume design for the screen and takes us through a journey starting from Charlie Chaplin through the Golden age of Hollywood to the special effects of Avatar. Most of the clothes have left their archiveal collections for the first time ever to land at the Victoria & Albert Museum.


OTHER EVENTS El cuerpo vestido The history of garments Disseny Hub Barcelona Angel’s tears of Gems of the Ocean Pearls in the History of Jewellery Until Juanary 27, 2013 Schmuckmuseum - Pforzheim EXHIBITIONS AT THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART IN NEW YORK: 1) Colors of the Universe Chinese Hardstone Carving June 16, 2012–January 6, 2013 2) Gems of European Lace, ca. 1600–1920 Until January 13, 2013 3) British Silver The Wealth of a Nation Until January 2013


4) Turkmen Jewelry from the Collection of Marshall and Marilyn R. Wolf Until February 24, 2013 5) Extravagant Inventions The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens Until January 27, 2013

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b y M a t t e o Ve r c e l l o n i

FORGING THE MATTER Marni shop in London (courtesy Sybarite), opposite page the Design Museum in Holon (courtesy Ron Arad Associates).

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Above, Spun Coriolis Chair by Thomas Heatherwick (Cristiano Corte). Top, from the left, Missoni in Beverly Hills (Missoni), hammered mirrorpolished steel (Hundven Clements-Photography).

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Cantù – furniture industry “capital” in Brianza, northern Italy – is the place where Marzorati Ronchetti was established, created and developed in time. From one generation to the next, it has now reached its 90th anniversary. A perfect example of the “capability to continue in time” of an artisanal business, a “savoir-faire” testifying the value of a know-how difficult to repeat, based on an artisanal and entrepreneurial wisdom able to answer to what is “outside standards” and fulfil the most varied and complex exigencies in the world of design, then extended to the architecture of interiors, to exceptional designing objects and the world of art on the whole. The business area of home and interior design was the core activity of Fratelli Marzorati, then becoming Marzorati Ronchetti in 1956, a name remaining unchanged even after the turn of the millennium. In the years featuring the economic boom in Italy, the Cantù-located company became a true reference point for the artisanal companies working in the furniture field. A field where the “classic” furniture was still dominating, proposed according to the lucky formula of total furniture, but where the demand of “modern” furniture was already increasing. In the same years, many artisanal enterprises and carpentries with few employees started a mechanised production in some Italian areas, turning into small or small-medium family companies, in a highly fragmented business area whose DNA was and is still imbued with that “artisanal heritage” enabling the supremacy of the Italian model of furniture design, characterised among others by

high flexibility and innovation. In 1947 Azucena creation was one of the many interesting and lasting initiatives of Italian design, one of the many peculiar stories within a complex multifaceted and multilined milieu, if we want to consider the project of architecture, interiors and design as a unitary phenomenon – where Marzorati Ronchetti is an indirect and precious protagonist. Azucena was the first shop in Italy dealing with the production and sale of interior objects and furniture. Wanted by Luigi Caccia Dominioni with Ignazio Gardella and others, Azucena was founded first of all to overcome the lack of furniture and objects suitable to the houses designed or renovated by the same architects, and maybe also to go beyond the too restraining programme of “rational furniture”. More than a catalogue of modern furniture destined to a wide audience, more than a programme “cried” according to typical avant-garde behaviours, Azucena collected without any outcry interior design pieces coming from a more articulated design path and thought, to complete the interiors of houses being built or renovated by the same creators. Experimentation and elegance, measure and essentiality, intuition and ingeniousness are the main features of Azucena’s production, most of which was made by Fratelli Marzorati and then by Marzorati Ronchetti, furniture always aiming to emphasise an idea of interior design to which they are perfectly suitable in terms of concept and material intensity. These same features are also characterising the whole production by Marzorati Ronchetti.

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Experimentation and elegance, measure, essentiality and ingeniousness are the secrets of the Cant첫-located company

Above, macro detail of the matter while it is being worked (Cristiano Corte); top, bus shelter in Milan (courtesy Antonio Citterio & Partners).

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Above, British Museum (Hundven-ClementsPhotography), macro detail of the matter being worked. Below: Spun Coriolis Chair by Thomas Heatherwick (Cristiano Corte).

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This experience reveals an important concept of the industrial situation in Italy, and in particular in Brianza: the value of the industrial district considered as a whole of small to medium enterprises capable of synergies and able to convey and keep an artisanal wisdom which knows how to renew itself without losing its capability and uniqueness built and developed in time. This is Marzorati Ronchetti’s case, amongst the main protagonists of Brianza industrial district, and able to convey a precious know-how and an entrepreneurial reference model for the rest of the world. Starting as a company satisfying precise requests for design in general, specialised in the working of metals (painted iron and chromed brass at the beginning, then stainless steel and further on spreading its own know-how to every kind of metal), in the Seventies Marzorati Ronchetti could also manage the production of integrated services as well as the production of complex objects. From logistics to the creation and development of milieus, commercial spaces, objects and manufactures for architecture, Marzorati Ronchetti developed in time also a fundamental technical support and constant quality control, both linked with its own artisanal know-how. At the end of the Eighties the company offered itself to the international market, reaching with its own metal working – above all stainless steel – towards the highest possible expressivity. A point of view introducing in 1992 the adventure with “Metals”, a young

brand of experimental design characterised by metal furniture collections and above all by the meeting and co-operation with Ron Arad, emerging designer in the London underground scene. This brought the company to a high-end level both for custom-made production and for experimentation, assessing itself as one of the excellences for production quality and artisanal wisdom in Italy. The custom-made idea, the capability to make what is impossible to others, the will to work outside standards have become the rule and main feature of the company, merging the making capabilities of wise artisans, the ability of workers able to “caress” and forge metals to emphasise shapes and surfaces, and the qualities of the company technicians. The story of Marzorati Ronchetti is above all an Italian story, linked with Brianza – an area known the world over as the land of made-in-Italy furniture. A story keeping and developing an artisanal know-how, shifting it into the new millennium with new logics and ever more professional and complete ways to tackle the project, able to conquer international markets thanks to the value of a performing capability almost impossible to imitate. The concept of “luxury”, Marzorati Ronchetti’s main business area, is a value of great and substantial quality, rather than a style criterion or an idea of shallow opulence, a guarantee it offers the world market for every plan to be developed as a new challenge, never to stop and always to cope with technical capabilities and know-hows being in constant evolution and spurred towards a purely virtual goal, the future.

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Made in art

fied b y

Ugo L a Pie tra

DEFENDING ITALY’S SAVOURS A manufacturing reality made of small and medium-sized enterprises, the result of an ancient tradition founded on high quality also thanks to unique objects

Since we entered the European Union we have been told that we must cope with the globalisation of markets, that we have to produce great quantities of standardized products in order to conquer ever wider markets and compete with the great multinationals. But it is also true that Italy’s production is characterised by small and medium-sized enterprises, companies developing their own independent way by concentrating on “small production” and thus creating a completely different trend to the one mentioned above. This evaluation relies also on quality, original brand and numbered production (such as with many of our wines); thus we can say that a battle is going on inside large-scale production and another in the small segment linked with local cultures and traditions. It is like reading again the cultural battles and the controversies of the late Seventies, when radical designers, interested in local realities, rural cultures and suburban experiences, counterpoised themselves to globalised design (good for every place and linked with an interpretation of our society as depending on one big supermarket). Hence yesterday is like today. Our “tastes” try to keep their own identity and the hundreds of Italian cheeses, wines, salamis and vegetables find ever more supporters engaged in trying to avoid their disappearing from the market and thus from our table and from the international tables of those appreciating the products of Italian cuisine. The worlds of design, applied arts and craftsmanship have the same problem. Hence the advice to develop a way to co-operate. “Artistically and perfectly made” objects for our “unique” savours. Two worlds, two production realities we could save through co-operation, based on knowing that both productions described above belong to our “material culture.” A consciousness of-

ten lacking. This would allow the growth of objects expressing identity, belonging, origin, exploiting the success of one of “our” products already enjoying a good success on markets. Consider the wine flask in Empoli glass for our Chianti, the large-sized dishes made in Vietri for Neapolitan pizza, Grottaglie ceramics for the strong-tasting olive oil produced in southern Italy, or Nove ceramics for the delicate oil from the Garda lake, and Deruta ones for the prestigious Tuscan oil and so on. Many objects for the many products making us world-renowned. Projects and interventions are being perfected in view of 2015 Expo in Milan. Its theme is linked with food and introduces the common dilemma of choosing between globalisation and localisation. We will probably have to work on both sides even though our culture, our traditions and land turn us towards plans oriented towards localisation and our many genii loci. Why not propose an exhibition where food consumption is associated to the different domestic rituals that make up our (everchanging) daily life, not necessarily focusing on the traditional division of meals, breakfast, lunch and dinner? And at the same time evaluate instruments, products and food conveying Italian diversities through the projects? From tablecloths (fabrics and patterns from Romagna, Abruzzo, Sardinia…) to ceramics (from Grottaglie, Vietri sul Mare, Caltagirone, Deruta, Faenza, Nove, Santo Stefano di Camastra…), glass (Murano, Colle Val d’Elsa, Empoli), stone (from Apricena and Lavagna, steatite) and then silver, porcelain, wicker, wood… up to interior design objects. It is a wonderful opportunity to test the many possible links between our manufacturers of objects (artisans and small enterprises) and producers of food, to create and renovate synergies while opening to new possibilities of development and communication.


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Defending the roots

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by Marco Gemelli


THE CRAFT IS FLORENS In the Salone dei Cinquecento of Palazzo Vecchio, Florence, a meeting consecrated to the contemporaneity of our values. With a message for the future

The métiers d’art as protagonists of our future thanks to the farsightedness of foundations committed to the conservation of ancient know-hows in a contemporary context. This message to the new generations characterised the session of “Florens 2012” works, in the Salone dei Cinquecento of Palazzo Vecchio, Florence. Here Swan Group and Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte invited important, internationally renowned speakers to draw light on the inestimable heritage hidden inside workshops, a treasure created by an intelligence which is in the hands, in the heart, in the head of man. An inheritance we run the risk of losing constantly, every day, under the attacks of a globalising mentality that favours homologation and the standardisation of taste. The works, moderated by Gianluca Tenti, Swan Group co-director, defined an ambitious target at an international level, confirming that craft and design are strong elements in the conquest of new markets, obviously when referred to high quality products. To tell the truth, what is “perceived” is not crystal-clear as it would deserve. Commonplaces have contributed in time to

strengthen an old, rather than ancient, perception of “knowhow”: a dusty image, a grey photograph of old people closed in their workshops, bent on their working tables to carve wood, blow glass or forge metals. Nothing could be more worng. The wiser among us have long understood the truth, offering the master craftsmen institutional and legal protection (above all abroad), as well as economic support. Italy is deeply indebted to Franco Cologni, Chairman of the homonymous Foundation, who believes the solution should begin from the semantics: “Artistic handicraft is associated to the idea of luxury, in which perception is of capital importance. It is, however, a cultural heritage, a value handed down in time.” Mauro Fancelli – President of Cna Firenze (association of 11,000 artisans enterprises) and vice-president of Florens – agrees with him: “The ability to match creativity and craft to convey emotions is a language through which man can exchange culture.” Stefano Micelli, Professor of Economics and Business Management at Università Ca’ Foscari in Venice, admits that “today the word artisan runs the risk of sounding

CONVEYING TRADITION Above, from the left, Stefano Micelli’s and Franco Cologni’s addresses; Juan-Carlos Torres (Vacheron Constantin CEO) is presented the “Marzocco” by Giovanni Gentile with Mauro Fancelli of Florens; right Enrico Finzi. On the left page, the Salone dei Cinquecento.

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Defending the roots

ancient, but changing this perception and turning it into the propeller of a growth is extremely important.” His recipe is based on an international interpretation: the examples of the United States (where the artisan enterprise is considered a winning solution in the magazines dealing with innovation and development) or France show how artisans are beginning to be defined “heores” who can make economy growth happen. Hence three proposals: develop e-commerce, find new distribution spaces to grant a higher visibility, create a fascinating tale to explain how it is made. Because, to tell the truth, Italians have only an offhand idea of what the crafts are. According to a survey by AstraRicerche introduced by Enrico Finzi, over one thousand people between 18 and 55 have resulted to have scanty notions regarding the 25 craft categories examined: “Generally speaking, the knowledge of crafts increases in the olders age groups, despite a positive judgement (8.7 points out of 10).” The future lies in the idea that excellence cannot be delocalized. A feasible operation, if we merge tradition and new technologies. The idea of craft is strictly linked with talent, but it is not enough. A conclusion confirmed also by Alberto Cavalli, Director of the Fondazione Cologni: “Talent without commitment, method, time and dedication is not enough. We cannot give up our know-how, since the artisans are the marrow of an economic and cultural network

that granted Italy’s leadership for decades.We have become the triple F country (thanks to the success in manufacturing Fashion, Food and Furniture) but we suffer from the triple I (Ignorance, Invisibility, Irrelevance).” We need education, training, work placement. While defending the role of banking foundations supporting ancient professions, Giampiero Maracchi, leading the Osservatorio Mestieri d’Arte, said: “We are witnessing the end of an era and of a development model. We must look at the future.” Florence resounded with the passionate words of Franz Botré (Swan Group editor-in-chief and publisher): “When I was 14 I learnt to be a typographer at the monks’ school. I understood that I liked the world of the press and I turned it into my profession, creating magazines and becoming publisher myself.” The guest of honour was Vacheron Constantin, which considers the trasmission of its “savoir faire” as a must ever since its establishment, over 250 years ago. CEO Juan-Carlos Torres retraced the history of the Maison, emphasising how the mission always remained the same: 20 people are nominated every year to pick up Jean-Marc Vacheron’s inheritance, in a variety of activities: from the “Métiers d’art” collection to the partnership in other sectors, different from watchmaking. Mr. Torres received the “Marzocco di Firenze” award from Florens president Giovanni Gentile: “Our Maison promotes the crafts.” Impassioned words, echoed by those of Rosa Maria Villani (Scuola dell’arte della medaglia) and Enrico Marinelli (Guild of the Dome).

PROMOTING THE FUTURE Above, Michelangelo’s «Genius of Victory» exhibited in Palazzo Vecchio. Top, clockwise from the left, a fresco by Vasari; Gianluca Tenti; Franz Botré; Rosa Maria Villani; Enrico Marinelli; Alberto Cavalli; the statue of Pope Leo X; Giampiero Maracchi.

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THE ENAMEL IN ART Vacheron Constantin’s master enameller reproduces the whole ceiling painted by Marc Chagall with the ancient technique of the Geneva “Grand Feu” enamel miniature.

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As Johann Sebastian Bach ironically observed, there is nothing remarkable about playing, all one has to do is to hit the right notes at the right time. This perfect intertwining of time and technique, intuition and interpretation characterises Vacheron Constantin’s prestige watches. The most time-honoured swiss manufacture of fine watches, founded in Geneva in 1755, carries out a careful cultural action based on recovering and giving value to craftsmanship: where the master is also and above all an interpreter who performs skilful and expert gestures to create a caliper or a complication, to inlay or enamel. Among the numerous actions taken by the Manufacture to support the culture of the most refined artistic craftsmanship is the financing of the European Métiers d’Art Days: an event taking place in Paris, Geneva and Milan every year, to encourage the general public to develop a passion for the arts and crafts. But it is above all in the musical field that Vacheron Constantin devoted its special patronage, to exalt the expression of a savoir-faire that combines time, art and culture. For example becoming partner of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande: the prestigious Geneva-based institution and the Manufacture have made a three-year partnership to convey that passion towards the world that Vacheron Constantin has always cultivated, as witnessed by the first travels of its founders, Jean-Marc Vacheron and François Constantin. Within the partnership, the Manufacture supports

Quintessential skills and techinques are the heritage of the most timehonoured Swiss manufacture of fine watches

the post-graduate dilpoma in Orchestra Proficiency: a specialisation that has completely different characteristics to those of the soloist, as underlined by Metin Arditi, President of Osr. The art of precision, renewal and wonder, so typical of Vacheron Constantin, associates the Manufacture’s philosophy to that of the Opéra de Paris: one of the most famous theatres in the world, was so bold in the Sixties to challenge the severe keepers of the Napoleon III style by commissioning Marc Chagall a new ceiling with an oneiric scene. The same fresco by Chagall is the protagonist of the fine watches in the “Métiers d’Art” collection by Vacheron Constantin: in 2007 the Manufacture signed a partnership with the prestigious French institution, and the fresco by Chagall inaugurated a collection made of 15 precious specimens of remarkable timepieces. On the first, magnificent edition, Vacheron Constantin masters proved all their skill: they reproduced the whole fresco, measuring over 200 square metres, on a surface of 31.50mm, using the Grand Feu technique. Only few artisans know the art of Grand Feu, with its secrets and its numberless operations: this technique is surely the best way to link Chagall’s visionary spirit, the Opéra’s cultural commitment and the Manufacture’s farsightedness, that can translate treasures of art and craftsmansip to contemporary objects. As every watch refers to time as the source of its movement, so music needs not only great interpret-

TRUE WORKS OF ART Miniature painting on enamel for the watch Métiers d’Art Chagall & L’Opéra de Paris, “Homage to P.I. Tchaikovski” for the Swan Lake. Opposite, detail of the “Grand Feu” enamel dial.

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ers, but magnificent instruments as well. Instruments whose manufacture requires rigorous artisanal techniques that belong to a secret realm, treasured and handed down inside the workshop from one generation to the next, similary to the legends concerning the great luthiers from Cremona, from Stradivari to Guarneri del Gesù. Their instruments became an undisputed reference for all the luthiers in the world: Cremona, Lombardy, Italy still represent a thriving district where the most refined stringed instruments are created. To celebrate Cremona’s dignity and excellence in this field, the city is creating a new museum which will be the largest in the world: but to convey the importance and beauty of the luthier’s craft to the public it is necessary to link the instrument not only to its history, but to its music as well. To the sound. To the extraordinary performance offered by the interpreter, when those woods and strings vibrate. The same woods and strings that expert hands costruct in months of patient work, just like the master watchmaker composes his mechanical symphonies keeping always in mind the model, the paradigm, the reference. To enhance the unrivalled value of the Italian worldrenowned art of lutherie, linking it with a musical experience at an international level, Vacheron Constantin decided to sponsor the exhibition “Costruttori di Armonie”, promoted and organised by the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte with the part-

The show Costruttori di Armonie celebrates the Italian craft of making stringed instruments

nership of the Orchestra Verdi of Milan and the Fondazione Antonio Stradivari of Cremona, and the support of Intesa Sanpaolo. The exhibition was inaugurated in Milano at the Fondazione Cariplo Auditorium in largo Mahler, on December 5, with an extraordinary concert of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. On that occasion, two wonderful instruments of the Cremonese classic school were played by soloist Vadim Repin: his Guarneri del Gesù, with which he played Mendelssohn, and a precious inlaid violin by Stradivari, lent by the Fondazione Antonio Stradivari of Cremona. The exhibition wants to remind us that the excellence in the art of making stringed instruments is not confined to the past: materials, tools and some of the instruments that were awarded the prestigious triennial “Antonio Stradivari” contest invite the audience to enter the world of the masters of this craft with the utmost attention and interest. A photographic gallery by Emanuele Zamponi, held in the first-floor foyer, helps to discover the busy and also contemplative dimension in Cremona workshops, where every gesture must be precise and conscious. Val di Fiemme wood, contributed by the Magnifica Comunità which is also the custodian of the famous “Violin Forest”, is an attestation of the fact that a living material is inside every instrument, a material that vibrates with the body. Exactly like a watch, which does not just show the passing of time but gives time itself more value, because each movement talks about us and our dreams.

AESTHETICAL BEAUTY, ETHICAL QUALITY Top, the timepiece Métiers d’Art Chagall & L’Opéra de Paris, “Homage to illustrious composers”. Above, left luthier at work. Right, Vacheron Constantin’s “inner beauty”. Opposite, photo of the exhibition Costruttori di Armonie (Milan Auditorium, from December 6 to April 7, 2013).

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Senza titolo-7 46

by Ugo La Pietra

photos by Andrea Basile

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Creating value





MAKING MATTER MORE PRECIOUS Above, a detail of a dish belonging to the “Ripensa” collection (2006, self-production) where the waste and the breaking are aesthetically recovered and represent the object’s added value. Opposite, detail of a “152 Collection” Murano glass bowl (2008/2009, Fornasier Luigi production) reusing “cocciami”, glass wastes that become part of the project.

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48 Petty transgressions, reckless bursts, malice in proposing, intelligence in looking. Damiani has the shrewdness to grasp even the smallest occasion, and thus creating relationships with a variety of companies, looking for and finding the materials he needs, juxtaposing different parts to bring about even the creation of new typologies. Lorenzo Damiani has redefined many objects with his project: from the table to the mirror, from the cooling fan to the Holy Cross, from the bottle to the comb, and then corkscrews, taps and handles, reinterpreting them not just with his capability to “give shape” but also with his own personal method. A method based on deciphering and reinterpreting objects, drawing from the approach and experience of the disciplines nearer to design, such as art and applied arts, and operating with ever higher clear headedness. Many works by Damiani are the result of his personal experimentations, of manipulations and a great passion for his own “artisan workshop” made of participation, enthusiasm, will to know the matter as well as capability to give intelligence and irony to the same matter. Objects that at a first glance appear “simpli naïve”are the most qualifying result of his work, and thus the demonstra-

tion of Damiani’s enthusiasm to face the project and his easiness in reaching the best synthesis between thought and matter, to get to the shape that interprets at best its own function. The best way to read contents, inventions, matter transformations in Damiani’s works is to analyse some of the most representative. The attention towards environmental and production issues – according to the theory that it is better to recycle rather throw away, giving life to new ways to interpret materials – is easy to read in many of his projects, such as the “Udine Chair”, a chair with a very soft and comfortable seat made with the sawdust usually left over during the working phases. Why not using it again? After all, it’s always noble wood! In the “152 collection” the waste of glass – another noble material – is exploited to give life to a collection of bowls. The idea was born by blowing transparent bowl-shaped containers in which the so-called “cocciame” – waste material from Murano glass working – is cleaned and inserted and then turns into a fundamental part of the project. These rejects, in wonderful shapes and colours and deriving from wholly artisanal working, must be treated following precise and rigorous procedures according to



AIRPOUF – 2005 – CAMPEGGI PRODUCTION “Airpouf” is a vacuum cleaner that can be exhibited also to welcome guests, a comfortable seat as well as a useful electrical appliance. The merging of both element creates a hybrid object, a pouf-vacuum cleaner lined with a removable fabric cover. It looks like a sphere with three holes: one for the vacuum cleaner tube extension, one to turn the appliance on and the other as an air exhaust.

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Creating value



the Italian law, specifically the decree 152 of 2006, since they could release toxic micro-polluting substances into the air. According to the “152 collection” project, this “cocciame” is inserted into the bowl which has an air space and thus can house these materials. In a further step the bowl is permanently sealed and the cocciame cannot come into contact with the user. The self-production project “Ripensa” goes one step further in recovering the value of the waste, considered not only as a material but as a “memory” of a lived past as well: created starting from the environment-friendly and anti-consumerism concept that “keeping” is better than “recycling”, “Ripensa” is a kit of coloured enamels useful to fill in voids, chippings and small breakings which can occur in dishes used every day. A way to give more value to existing things, lengthening their lasting in time through the creative intervention of the end user. A project where we can easily read also

the playful side of Damiani’s work: the game of recovering the creativity in the person using the objects and living them in their everyday life. As is the case of “Airpouf ”, a vacuum cleaner that can be exhibited also to welcome guests, since it is a comfortable seat as well as a useful electrical appliance. The merging of both elements creates a hybrid kind of object, a pouf-vacuum cleaner lined with a removable fabric cover. It looks like a sphere with three holes: one to place the vacuum cleaner tube extension, one to turn the appliance on and the other as an air exhaust. Coloured balls close the holes when the pouf is used as a seat and start flying and lying suspended in the air when the vacuum cleaner is used. Play, attention to the environment and production, reversal and transition in the use of different technologies in the name of creativity and of the pleasure to create beautiful and right objects.

RECYCLING REJECTS Above, “Udine Chair” (2003), a comfortable seat made with recovered waste sawdust. This project is an example of the possibility to reduce resource consumptions. Under, a vase belonging to the collection “I Truciolari” (2010, Arredamento Garbagnati production), made with pasted and lathe-thrown chipboard panels.

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MaĂŽtres of design

ELEGANT TRAITS Walter Maria de Silva, currently head of design at Volkswagen Group, in front of Audi Quattro concept car, evoking the famous sports car of the Eighties. A technological lab for style solutions of all Ingolstadt models in Germany. The most famous car designer in the world has created many winning models, such as the latest Golf and Audi A5, which won him the RFT 2010 award.

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CARS live in a perfect


balance between technology and

handicraft. According

to Walter Maria de Silva, the most famous car designer in the world,

revealing his secret in an

interview with his friend Mario


Favilla: Learning requires humbleness

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by Mar io Favilla and A ldo A g nelli

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Maîtres of design

Mario Favilla, currently car design professor at Milan Politecnico, worked at Alfa Romeo with Walter Maria de Silva for ten years. He is the author of a book that deals with car design currently being produced by Marsilio Editori, edited by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, to be published in the spring of 2013. It includes the witnesses of great protagonists of this fascinating job, who merge high technology with an extraordinary craftsmanship. Arts&Crafts&Design publishes an abriged preview of Walter de Silva’s interview to his friend and associate. The photos in the book were taken by Aldo Agnelli in the design quarters of the automotive companies. QUESTION: Beauty in a car: what does it mean, and how can

an automotive company create innovating and long-lasting models that are also beautiful? ANSWER: The concept of beauty has two sides: subjective and objective. The former is linked with the personal judgement, the latter relies on the relation between aesthetics and ethics. First of all, a project must be ethical. Car design must be at the service of the idea of function, and only with rules and functions characterising a civil and democratic society can we create harmonious projects, fulfilling their original aim. The best way to produce beautiful cars is trying to be faithful to these principles, which also belong to industrial design: good architecture, good proportions and, if possible, no decorative excesses. Projects should not tire, since the car has a life cycle ranging from 4 to 7 years. The aesthetic innovation is certainly difficult since you must combine a good quantity of emotional features to those ethical and functional principles. This is were subjective beauty based on personal sensitivity is called into play. I give great importance to this aspect: as for shapes, I have a way to perceive beauty based on sight as well as touch. I can usually find a defect in the surface movement by touching, brushing, caressing the car. Q: It is said that the greater the fetters imposed to the car designer the higher the creativity.

A: Fetters are fundamental. We cannot mistake liberty and

creativity; the fetter is the element giving the right dimension to your engagement. Limits are a great stimulus: rules, safety, costs, time. In my 40 years of experience I have witnessed the advent of new techniques and rules, and I have always tried to turn them all into opportunities, instead of complaining. When a friend-journalist asked me whether I wasn’t frustrated by the idea of designing the seventh generation Golf, I exclaimed that I believe frustrated designers are those who have never designed a Golf! Q: In choosing the car designers of the future, how relevant are the psychocultural balance and the dual concept of creativity and reflectiveness? Any suggesstions to future car designers? A: We operate a continuous selection. In the first years the most difficult thing for the young is to be humble and willing to learn. We look for young people with a strong personality, capability to learn, curiosity and modesty: I saw many talented people fail within the first year for lack of all this, and also less talented young people being able to start important careers thanks to their strength and the right mentality and personality. Unfortunately we come across very talented young people who are not determined to learn. Furthermore, I hope the will to convey professional ideals to the young will improve: I see many senior designers with a wonderful career who are not being able to convey their knowledge to the young. Q: Does a car designer need to act as a mediator and what is his mission? A: The car designer is the mediator par excellence: the project has to go though an endless series of challenges. The car is one of the most complex objects, a matter of continuous discussions and debates, and it is often under judgement above all in times of crisis. The car designer’s mission is a peculiar one. He must design cars to meet the customer’s dreams and needs, and at the same time he has to make sure they do not increase air and sight pollution. An ugly car is embarrassing.

FROM THE IDEA TO THE MODEL Above, from the left, the clay model (1:4 scale) of the new Audi Quattro, at the Advanced Design Audi in Munich; the gear knob. Opposite, the new Audi A4 plate finished with the Tape technique. The photos of the book published by Marsilio Editori and edited by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri dell’Arte were taken by Aldo Agnelli.

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Walter Maria de Silva, one of the most ingenious and innovating car designers at an international level, was born in Lecco on February 26, 1951. His long career in the car business started at the Centro Design Fiat in Turin in 1972, then went on with a four-year experience (from 1975 to 1979) at Studio Bonetto in Milan. He became also a member of Istituto Idea in Turin, being head of the Industrial and Automotive Design department for seven years. After a brief period spent working for Trussardi Design in Milan, since 1986 he was responsible of the Centro Design Alfa Romeo in Milan, a position he kept till the late Nineties. In 1999 he entered Seat as the Head of Seat Design. Till March 2002 he was Design head for Audi group, including Audi, Lamborghini and Seat brands. In February 2007 he became Head of Volkswagen Design Group, and since then he has dealt with all the brands belonging to the Group. Amongst his many acknowledgments are the “RFT 2010 Design Award”, for Audi A5 design; the “Compasso d’Oro” in July 2011 and the “Career 2011 Award“ awarded him in Detroit (EyesOn Design).

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b y K a r i n e Ve r g n i o l


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Enterprise and talent




“As far as I can recollect, I have always had a fan…,” so Parisian Raphaëlle de Panafieu, about 30, recalling that when she was a child her father always came back from his frequent travels to Asia with a fan for herself and both her sisters. One day she wanted to buy a fan with her money, but didn’t like Asian fans, as well as the Spanish ones sold on the seafront. They fulfilled indeed their requested basic function, but were too “Asian”, or too “Spanish” according to her taste: thus they weren’t fashionable. Raphaëlle wanted something absolutely better. This is the beginning of her marvellous adventure. 2009: Raphaëlle started working for Ventilo - a high-end woman’s prêt-à-porter brand - as research manager for Department Stores in Asia, Northern America and the Middle East. Eloïse Gilles had previously worked for Louis Vuitton and was then dealing with luxury brands and their identity. Both were just thirty, and together decided to give the fan a new chance. Something really easy to decide, less easy to fulfil, since specialists in fan making had almost disappeared in Paris. Then the meeting with Duvelleroy’s heir: a historical and worldrenowned maison, the official purveyor of most European courts in the 19th century, and above all the inventor of the famous “language of the fan”. Fortune smiled on both of them since the owner had kept everything! All the archives and files since 1827, when the maison

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Enterprise and talent

was established: casts, feathers, drawings, sequins, and obviously paper patterns. A true gold mine. Eloïse Gilles and Raphaëlle de Panafieu bought the company. It was 2010: Sleeping Beauty was waking up. But at first they had to cope with the harshest proof: technique. Raphaëlle had studied Political Science, Eloïse ESSEC (the renowned Business School in Paris). Thus they were designers, not artisans: it was necessary to learn and understand how a fan works, dissecting and analysing it. But by luck they could count on the fundamental help of Maison Duvelleroy’s heir. “We made our first paper patterns drawing inspiration from the drawings reproduced in the Encyclopédie Universelle, for the ‘éventailliste’ headword,” so Raphaëlle. “Thus we understood all the geometry in a fan.” Then it was necessary to learn the craftsmen’s lexicon, get acquainted with their language and find good workers. Eloïse and Raphaëlle are now fully legitimized: some ten artisans (sculptors, engravers, embroiderers, fabric ennoblers, specialists in pleating…) work to manufacture the “haute-façon” fans by Duvelleroy. The acknowledgments are many: in 2012 the small enterprise got the “Entreprise du patrimoine vivant” acknowledgment from the French government, as well as the “Talents du Luxe” award acknowledged by Centre du Luxe et de la Création in Paris. For the legendary “Moulin

Rouge” they designed fans using the same feathers of red ostriches worn by the dancers on the stage. And the revival of the fan is going on. As a matter of fact, artisan skills and know-how aren’t missing now. What’s really missing is the usage of the fan. “Now women’s hands are never free. They hold mobiles and cigarettes, bags… A free gesture has turned into a luxury: it’s the case of using fan.” Thus what they offer is pure luxury: mother-of-pearl with pheasant feathers, horn and ostrich feathers… Duvelleroy proposes two collections every year. Amongst the latest models is “Brush”: a sheet of hand-painted silk organdie with gold and silver leaf, as well as ebony mounting. And for themselves? Raphaëlle has a 112-year-old fan in her bag: a mother-of-pearl and sequins specimen she bought at an auction in Drout just before purchasing the maison. “It was really expensive, but I carry it always with me: in summer and in winter.” Since these ladies are also modern women, as well as marketing experts, they got fans to enter Colette, style temple in Paris. Their ingenious idea: a co-operation with designers to create simple paper fans, each conveying a message, like “Air Conditioning” by Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, afterwards always present in the front rows during fashion shows in Paris. Pure artisan luxury for a timeless object.

REFINED MANUAL SKILLS Below, Duvelleroy workers make all the complex procedures to create a fan by hand. Above, the Mask model. On the previous pages, the fan of red feathers created for the Moulin Rouge.

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KOREAN TASTE AND TRADITION In the city of Daegu, Kim Jong-Moon and his son perpetuate the hand-made production of ceremonial drums. Opposite, Park Boo Won’s workshop; he is a master in manufacturing Gwangju traditional ceramics. Pure water and clay quality have made this location one of the most important areas for the production of ceramics.

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Living treasures



DIVINEPASSION Refl ecting on labour value, a thin line of action between art and craftsmanship, where rite repetition

and myth uniqueness coexist, is an urge coming from the Far East, when Susanna Pozzoli was invited to Seoul, South Korea, by Mongin Art Space international residence for artists. A three-month stay (September-December 2010) to develop a research on the meaning of craftsmanship inside a society ruled by the most futuristic technological progress. South Korean civilization features this peculiar oxymoron, a double nature devoted to the most relentless modernity, careful in keeping and enhancing the tradition merged into the cult of ceremony and ancient-rooted work, where man’s hand has a fundamental role. A land ever more imbued by the Western way of thinking, where the master craftsman shines as a stronghold of the past, a fundamental reference point not to lose contact with one’s own roots and cultural heritage. Susanna visited many artisans’ workshops. Her camera lingered on workplaces where she could grasp the sign, the object, the reality of a microcosm. The result is a filigreed tale. Daniele Astrologo Abadal

by Susanna Pozzoli

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Living treasures

The meeting Artisans are highly esteemed, requested and State-protected in South Korea, and thus it is not easy to meet them. Their names are published in magazines, emphasised in the many centres exhibiting artistic craftsmanship and even requested as guests in TV programmes. Master craftsmen are seen as holders of the specific wisdom in a discipline, are highly engaged and sought after. They protect the intimacy of their atelier and hate being disturbed. Hence it’s easy to infer that this project began long before the photos were taken: beside a research amongst the several associations and in business magazines, I met professor Chu, holding a course on marketing and artisan upgrading and chairman of Seoul Union of Artisan Masters. The meeting

was possible thanks to the support of the Park family, whom I met in Italy and is widely introduced in Korea’s traditional art scene. Thanks to their help I could enter this world. I visited and photographed twenty workshops in three months. Knowing that my work couldn’t be exhaustive, I chose some of the most representative jobs: ceramics (different schools), Imperial embroidery, creation of ornaments made of silk threads knotted and interlaced with gems, mother-of-pearl working and wood carving, production of traditional harps, drums and masks in ancient paper, production of naturally dyed fabrics, Korean paper and objects created with it. Meeting the master craftsmen was surprising. The tea rite was always organised before starting with the work: before entering the workshops, there was a formal meeting in an appropriate room or in the welcoming parlour, always in the presence of a translator. The artisan wanted to know my past and the reason of my being there. Strict rules of behaviour imposed a protocol allowing them to assess my seriousness, while giving me the precious possibility to grasp part of the character of the people in front of me. With the legs crossed under a low table, I was introduced to the master as well as to apprentices, sometimes the wife or the husband and their sons. Precious moments, when I could listen to the tale of a knowledge being handed down with rigour and joy. I witnessed the appreciation and esteem towards these great artisans. It’s easy to perceive their passion and the pride felt towards their tradition. “Korean way”: this is the leitmotiv used to distinguish a tradition being similar as well as different from the Japanese and ancient Chinese ones. I was surprised by this comparison between the richness of Korean traditional culture and heritage and the structure protecting it and granting that it will go on also with the next generations. Roots are fundamental in a country bent towards the utmost modernity, placed between two strong cultures. In a period of confusion, internationalisation and economic-cultural crisis, recovering one’s traditions and being able to place them into the new context is a key against the most aberrant consumerism.

A SPIRITUAL JOURNEY THROUGH WORKSHOPS Above, Lim Hang-Taek, a ceramist in Icheon-si, has his atelier inside a house-workshop boasting an elegant and minimalist design. Opposite, 1, 4. Lee Beyeong-Seop and his family own the last business producing wholly hand-made traditional paper. 2. Another photo of Lim Hang-Taek’s atelier. 3. Lee Bong Ju in his Mungyeong workshop manufactures small hand-beaten pewter and brass amphorae.

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Eccellenze dal mondo


1 2 4 3


The final result of this project is represented by an artist’s book, wholly handmade under the technical advice of two Japanese artists, Fumitaka and Ayumi Kudo. The book is a selection of ten Fine Art prints inserted one by one into transparent sheets, thus creating the book pages bound according to the Oriental technique. Lightness, balance and originality are the fundamental aspects of a publishing project starting from the photos of great master craftsmen’s workshops. The book is characterised by precious materials, the printing technique and exclusive design. The portfolio was created thanks to the support of Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte and Con-Temporary Art Gallery. Paola Sosio

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Educating for the future

A SCHOOL A JOB by Mariapia Garavaglia* photos by Emanuele Zamponi


I have always attributed to the word “politics” at least two different meanings: one more Aristotelian, referring to the orderly government of multiplicity, the other more Augustinian, wherein it is associated to the transformation of man’s city into the heavenly Jerusalem. In his writings on “The City of Man”, the unforgotten Giuseppe Lazzati, great rector of the Università Cattolica and tireless educator, traced a fundamental path of thought for all those who want to join these two meanings of politics: to move in multiplicity but with a clear vision of the common good. During my career I tried to construct on this teaching: as Minister of Health, President of the Red Cross, deputy mayor in Rome and senator I have always believed that my role was to ensure that the so-called social services are rendered fluid, available and efficient. Because the person is the focus of politics, and the institutions themselves – beyond their functioning, often not so efficient – are made of persons who must learn how to perform a job, that special craft that is known as public service. The “political” will to place the individual in the middle of a network of service is inspirational also in my recently acquired role of President of the Fondazione Manlio e Letizia Germozzi Onlus: the social expression of Confartigianato (the Italian federation of crafts and trade) named after the founder of the institution and his daughter. Amongst the aims of the Fondazione Germozzi is to promote training of excellence in the crafts, as well as to encourage access to the young in the professions. Work, in the sense of service and organised self-accomplishment, is a vital expression of our personality and * President Fondazione Germozzi

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V HANDING DOWN KNOWLEDGE Offering the young the possibility to work in close contact with the great master craftsmen allows them to live a fruitful period of learning, as well as to start a real on-the-job working experience.

identity: it is therefore fundamental to foster the young precise educational project, made possible thanks to the to discover themselves and their talent, facilitating all co-operation of Afol Milano (special agency for Trainthe phases of education as much as possible, so that ing, Vocational guidance and Work of the Province of they will not be just “sorcerer’s apprentices” but awaited Milan). The “masters” will be selected in co-operation representatives of a new generation of master craftsmen. with the different schools attended by the students, and Hence the decision that Fondazione Germozzi should will reflect Fondazione Germozzi’s and Fondazione Cotake part in the project “Una Scuola, un Lavoro. Percorsi logni’s will to provide real possibilities to young talents, di Eccellenza” (A school, a job. Training to excellence), allowing them to evolve successfully as professionals created and brought about by Fondazione Cologni dei and as people. Chairman Franco Cologni has an ambiMestieri d’Arte to allow ten talented young artisans to tious plan: increase the apprenticeships to one hundred. attend an apprenticeship in an atelier, a workshop or Ideas like this deserve our support and our acclaim, as an exclusive in-house atelier. well as our deep gratitude. Thanks to this project, both foundations will finance ten The future of our country depends also, and above all, six-month apprenticeon the success our ships, that will grant young will enjoy the young trainees in fulfilling their YOUNG AT WORKS (chosen by a regular dreams: handThe project “Una Scuola, un Lavoro. Perevaluation commitmade dreams, corsi di Eccellenza” introduces ten young tee) to live not only a dreams made with apprentices to workshops located in the period of on-the-job care and grace, provinces of Milan, Lecco, Como, Cremona, coaching with a high with passion and Rome and Florence: three luthiers, one eboeducational value, but dedication, to state nist, one goldsmith, one prop manager, one also to make their first once more that exhair&make-up artist, one specialist in textile working experience. cellence is always dyeing, one prototypist and one silversmith. Every apprenticeship the result of the Info: is regulated by a condialogue between vention and follows a hand and heart.

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From “stone painting� to the restoration of the great masterpieces of art, the Florentine workshop fosters a unique heritage of know-how and culture, admired all over the world


OPIFICIO by Alessandra de Nitto

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SAVED MASTERPIECES The Crucifix by Giotto in Florentine Ognissanti church, during the restoration works. Opposite, students of the Scuola di Alta Formazione of the Opificio delle pietre dure.

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The Opificio magnificently restored of art in the world: from Masaccio to


In 1588 the Grand Duke Ferdinand I de’ Medici, generous and distinguished patron of the fine arts who followed his family’s enlightened tradition, established the Opificio delle Pietre Dure in Florence, in the premises formerly occupied by the convent of San Niccolò. The Opificio was the grand ducal manufacture consecrated to the wonderful and fascinating art of Florentine intarsia. The workshop was founded above all to train the skilled artisans needed to create the marble decorations of the Cappella dei Principi in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, a true yard of excellence to which the best architects, decorators, painters and sculptors of Tuscany contributed for approximately three centuries. But it is above all a luxurious anthology of the so-called “commesso fiorentino”, the stunning “stone paintings”, the precious marble and stone inlays made in the audacious technique of Florentine tradition, that rose to its highest splendour with the Opificio under the Medicis and is still kept alive by a handful of great masters. The Opificio’s museum displays many extraordinary witnesses of this ancient, demanding as well as emotional technique:

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extremely refined and precious specimens, that illustrate the glorious history of the workshop through three centuries, from the Medici and Lorraine grand duchy to the period after the unification of Italy, with fascinating materials that show the difficulty of this craft, from the work benches to the tools. At the end of the 19th century, with the end of grand ducal commissions, the Opificio ceased its activity and was entirely devoted to restoration and the conservation of its rich heritage. The current Opificio – a leading example of conservation and restoration, acclaimed also at an international level - was made Institute of Restoration by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities in 1975, merging the old Opificio Mediceo with the Restoration workshop, created within the Superintendency in 1932 and developed above all after the devastating flood of Florence in 1966. To save many world-renowned works of art damaged by the dramatic event, the Opificio developed sophisticated know-how and technologies, reaching the highest levels of competence and turning into a point of reference for the whole world. During its long history, the Opificio per-

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E c c e l l e n z eR de sa tl o m r aotni do on


some of the most important works Donatello, from Mantegna to Raphael

fected the restoration of some of the most important works of art in the world. The ability of its artisans restored many undisputable masterpieces to their original splendours: Giotto’s Crucifix and the Holy Trinity by Masaccio in the church of Santa Maria Novella, the wooden Crucifix by Donatello in the church of Santa Croce, the Legend of the True Cross by Piero della Francesca in Arezzo, the Madonna with the Goldfinch by Raphael at the Uffizi, the San Zeno altarpiece by Andrea Mantegna in Verona, the Codex Resta at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, The Beheading of St. John the Baptist by Caravaggio in Malta, just to mention but a few of the most important accomplishments of the Opificio, that are particulary significant for the works of art involved and the difficulty of the operations, all documented in the rich archives of the seat. At present the Institute’s activity is organised in the workshops, located at the historical premises in via Alfani, where the museum and the library are located, as well as in the Fortezza da Basso and the Palazzo Vecchio. It is divided into departments organised according to the materials of the artworks, from tapestries to bronzes,

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from painting (on canvas, wood and wall) to stoneworks and paper documents, from mosaics to commesso fiorentino and jewellery, from wood sculpture to textiles and ceramics. The Institute deals also with research and teaching at the highest levels. It is the seat of the reputed Scuola di Alta Formazione, that attracts students from all corners of the world for the prestigious degree in Art restoration (equivalent to a master’s degree), it awards at the end of five years they spend between theory and workshops. Only 15 excellent students are admitted at this extraordinary school after a rigorous selection, against the many applications it receives every year. Sadly the managers have lamented a difficult situation for the Opificio because retiring restorers are not replaced due to scanty financial resources. Many precious knowhows are lost causing a great damage to the world of restoration, both in Italy and abroad. Public opinion must be urgently alterted and Italian institutions should grant the necessary funds to avoid the decline of this historical breeding house of excellence. Because Florence cannot lose its “gold hands”, a unique heritage of know-how and culture, admired all over the world.

HIGH SCHOOL Above, students and teachers of the Scuola di Alta Formazione during the restoration of the Crucifix by Giotto. Below, the cleaning of the San Zeno altarpiece by Mantegna. In the middle of the page, stone inlay work. Opposite, top, studying wood sculptures; bottom, the Madonna di Citerna by Donatello.

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Jewellery Gallery Staircase. On the right, Lalique, “Thistles” corsage ornament (France, about 1903). Lent through the generosity of William and Judith Bollinger.

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by Akemi Okumura Roy


One of the most spectacular collections of jewellery in the world is displayed in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, in the gallery entitled to William and Judith Bollinger (who funded its refurbishment in 2008). From Ancient Greece, Rome and Egypt to the present time, the collection has a special focus on Western jewellery since medieval times. The gallery, one of the most popular of the Museum, is organized on two levels. The lower one is a long room with dim lights and glass showcases against the walls, displaying precious jewellery dating from 1500 BC to present time in a chronological order: the arriving point is constituted by the selection of contemporary jewellery, which has been very important for V&A since its foundation. In the center of the gallery, semicircular glass showcases display particularly important pieces from each period. Computer terminals offer more information about many of the jewels in the collection. A spiral staircase takes the visitors to the upper level where boxes, watches, swords and European traditional jewellery are on display, along with the so-called “sentimental” and political jewellery dating from the 16th century to present times. The organisation of the collection, strong of more than 3,000 pieces, is meant to welcome both attentive visitors and more quick ones: every case has in fact 4 boards, each of which carries 6 to 8 pieces properly presented by complete captions and texts. But those who don’t have enough time to see everything can just focus on the central cases, where almost sixty extraordinary pieces are presented in chronological order.This didactic approach, extremely clever and clear, is nevertheless only one of the paths designed to let the visitors appreciate to the fullest the meaning of these jewels. The William and Judith Bollinger gallery offers in fact also two other approaches: one focusing on the symbolic meaning of jewels, and the other


TREASURES The William and Judith Bollinger Gallery in the Victoria & Albert Museum houses some of the most spectacular historical jewels in a seducing and educational ano lintelligent approach d i S u s milieu, a n n a with Pozz i

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Not just ornaments: the Gallery offers also fundamental keys to decipher the metaphorical and appealing power of jewels

presenting the excellent craftsmanship necessary to create these masterpieces. Symbols: jewels are not just an ornament. Next to the entrance of the gallery, the case “From Cradle to Grave - Jewellery Adorns and Protects the Wearer on the Journey through Life” shows how jewels have always been linked to the most relevant moments and events in people’s lives. Symbol of love and birth, amulets for protection in childhood and motherhood, signs of faith, wealth and status, jewels can express as well death and mourning; the collection offers visitors some fundamental keys to decode these powerful metaphorical meanings. Craftsmanship: three short and silent films (each of which lasts about three and half minutes) show the making-of of jewellery presenting some of the time-honored, rare manufacturing techniques, necessary to create a precious piece of high jewellery. The young British jeweller Shaun Leane explains the way a diamond ring is made, thus shedding light on one of the most popular pieces of jewellery ever. The famous enameller Jane Short, one of the best artisans in Britain, shows the difficulties and the gestures necessary to create a brilliant enamel brooch. And Martin Matthews, whose family has been making cases for watches for about 200 years, shows the pre-automated craft of watch-case making, inclunding the creation of tiny hinges and fine mouldings using a bow lathe and other techniques.This attention to fine craftsmanship is a typical trait of the Victoria & Albert Museum, where the “how to” is always investigated in an innovative and interlocutory way: an approach which gives back an insight into the world of the métiers d’art, still extremely alive and relevant for the creation of high jewellery. To name but some of the most precious pieces showcased in the gallery, the Shannongrove Gorget is a gold ornament realized in the sixth century BC in Ireland. The Heneage Jewel, about 1595, has a locket with a portrait of queen Elizabeth I, who gave it to Sir Thomas Heneage for his outstanding services; in the back of the pendant there is ship in the storm, symbolising the power of the monarch even in difficult times, while inside of the pendant there is a miniature of the queen by Nicholas Hilliard, one of the best English goldsmiths. Beautiful ornaments for Catherine the Great, commissioned to Leopold Pfisterer and created in 1764, are studded with diamonds.The Empire style is epytomized by an emerald and diamond parure presented by Napoleon to his adopted daughter Hortense de Beauharnais in 1806. And of course tiaras are some of the most spectacular pieces: like the one made by Cartier for Consuelo Duchess of Manchester in 1903. For the creation of this piece, the Duchess supplied to the French jeweller over fifteen hundred diamonds. The treasures of the gallery include as well works signed by the most prestigious names in the world: Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, René Lalique, Fabergé, Tiffany, Boucheron, Chaumet, as well as contemporary works by Giampaolo Babetto, Wendy Ramshaw, Gerda Flockinger... Back to the the lower gallery, some tools are displayed as well: a gift of Alan Rabey, who worked for some great jewellery houses in London. Next to them can be admired the collection of gemstones set in gold rings donated by collector reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend, who bequeathed 154 gems to the V&A in 1869. The visit thus symbolically finishes with an accent on the human passions behind these treasures of high jewellery: intelligent manual work, enthusiast love for beauty, a constant research for excellence, as senior curator Mr. Richard Edgcumbe fascinatingly underlines.

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The Heneage Jewel Locket open, painting by Nicholas Hilliard (England, about 1595). Given by the Art Fund through the generosity of Lord Wakefield.

Ring by Philip Sajet (London, 1992-3). Royal College of Art Visiting Artists Collection.

Bracelet with sapphires and diamonds (France, about 1925-30). Lent through the generosity of William and Judith Bollinger.

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Eccellenze dal mondo


MASTERPIECES The Beauharnais Emerald necklace and earrings (Nitot & Fils, France, 1806).

THE KALEIDOSCOPE OF WONDERS Above, from the left, “White Queen” ring set by Wendy Ramshaw (England, 1975). Private Collection. The Manchester Tiara by Cartier (Paris, 1903). V&A Images. Bottom, Brooch, comb and earrings of enamelled gold set with cornelian intaglios (France, about 1808). Private Collection. Bracelet in pearls, diamonds, enamel (Boucheron, France, about 1875). Bolckow Bequest.

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Style and technique

LIVING MATTER Coral fishing by a scuba diver. In the photo, journalist Gianni Roghi at 90 metres of depth (Sardinia 1961). Right, “Shepherd” of Mediterranean coral (12cm high), Museo Basilio Liverino. One of the hundreds of personages composing an enormous crib dating back to 1570 and given by the viceroy in Sicily to Philip II of Spain. It is considered the highest point of Trapani art.

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b y A l b e r t Va n d e r b i l t



RED GOLD A geographical heritage and a family business. A passion handed down from one generation to the next, that questions its native land, talks to the gestures of its craft, nourishes creativity: it is Liverinos’ coral, the mysterious flower coming from the sea and blossoming on the jewels produced by this family in Torre del Greco since 1894. “Torre del Greco owes to coral its fortune and fame in the whole world, and you are the living proof that this privilege is legitimate and grounded”, monsignor Salvatore Garofalo – Magnificent Emeritus Rector of the Pontificia Università Urbaniana in Rome – wrote to Basilio Liverino, when one of his books was published. It dealt obviously with this extraordinary material. The company was founded by Basilio Liverino, Cavaliere del lavoro, and is presently managed by his son Enzo. It produces culture as well as work, thanks to the many books published in the years, the school for young artisans in the same area, the museum offering visitors one of the most beautiful collections of coral objects in the world. “The museum was founded by my father in 1986,” says Enzo. “It exhibits objects coming from our private collection. Some were created by Milanese jeweller Romolo Grassi, with the co-operation of Carlo Parati, engraver in Torre del Greco.” Sciacca Coral, Cerasuolo, White, Peau d’Ange Coral or Deep Sea; Moor or Rose Coral. Flowers with an animal appeal blossom in the museum dug six metres under ground and kept at a constant temperature of 19 degrees centigrade. Other treasures are created every day by the wise hands of Torre del Greco artisans, giving new shape to these formations of polyps which have always epitomised two great passions of man: beauty and the sea. Enzo Liverino tells about his family company with righteous pride. A great coral expert, Liverino is also Fao

Basilio Liverino firm in Torre del Greco has handed down the most delicate coral-working techniques from one generation to the next, creating exquisite objects made with skill and passion

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Style and techinque

consultant as for the sustainability of fishing these extraordinary organisms: “regulating and controlling its fishing, as well as sanctioning abuses is fundamental” he says. A member of the World Jewellery Confederation (Cibjo) as president of the Coral Board, he adheres to Csr (Corporate Social Responsibility), the only organization operating with United Nations co-operation. Since 1973 he has devoted the same passion used to defend the natural environment and support his ideas also to coral-working excellence: “After I got my degree I started working with artisans, above all cutters, who taught me to recognise the value of coral. Its natural shapes are already a clear hint of the possible final result you can get. This ability to foresee the best final shape was really useful when my father sent me around the world to buy coral, since I could estimate the value of the raw piece.” At the end of the Seventies, Vincenzo set up the cameos working and the one of Asian coral imported from Japan. The same years saw also an increase of exports. Between 1973 and 1983 he went often to Taiwan, where he opened a workshop to use local working techniques and purchase the precious raw material. A material then worked into ever new shapes by artists and designers in Torre del Greco, whose projects pass also through artisans’ wise hands. “After so many years I am still surprised when I see the new works by our engravers,” so Vincenzo. Coral working requires a craft which is not easy to master and above all to find. Thus in 1993 Basilio Liverino established a specialising school “offering three years of general education, where students approach classic subjects, such as Italian and History of Art, and attend the first practical workshops; then there are two specialising years when they choose the course they want to follow among jewellery, coral engraving and coral cut,”

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says Vincenzo. The work must be learnt in the workshop, as usual: experience is a precious treasure, an exquisite heritage every young student has to learn so that his hands, his heart and his mind can create the masterpieces of highest handicraft that make the Liverino firm world-renowned. For this reason the Liverinos decided that after the school years the students should attend other workshops: also to prove that the school “was not only a resource of our company, but an asset of the whole community.” Coral working implies that handicraft and creativity constantly dialogue with technology: and if the tools are extensions of the hand, research has designed new machines giving further power and precision to the hand, while never substituting that “touch” only man can manage. Asian countries are the main manufacturers of highly sophisticated machines to work the coral, which Liverinos buy for their company as well as for the school: “I deem important that our students learn how to work with modern machines coping with the market new rhythms”, Enzo says, while stressing that the same machines must often be customised. “The metier d’art is the expression of its land: it favours its rebirth. But the work must not be only a homage to the past. It’s fundamental to be able to create contemporary subjects, so as to spread one’s customer portfolio, while in the same time keeping the beauty of our traditions intact.” In one of the famous coral cribs created by Liverino, a Holy Child is inside a cave among angels with a very delicate hue: his small fingers stretched towards the sky are created with an extreme ability, giving them an exquisite transparency. But there are no hints of nostalgia or melancholy in his eyes: you read beauty, pride, the contemporaneity of an image so traditional that it seems timeless, and the nobility of a material bearing life within itself.



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DELICACY AND PASSION Museo Basilio Liverino, “Fruits and Leaves” ornaments belonging to Paolina Bonaparte, made of Mediterranean coral and gold. Torre del Greco manufacture. Opposite: below, “rociatura” (modern rounding-off technique); selection according to size, colour and quality; the worked coral piercing and the stringing. Above, a crib made of coral.

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Manual skills

A WONDERFUL STORY OF WOMEN The pillow, where the design is traced, and the bobbins are the tools used by the crafty hands of the lace makers. Ancient postcards advertised the activity of the co-operative schools: "Original lace and reproductions of ancient bobbin lace designs" (Posta Torreano di Martignacco, Friuli).

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LACE by Paolo Coretti

The story of Friuli lace is a the outside school – in Gorizia wonderful story of women, and courageously open to all extraordinary women since the girls in the city. In a short they are utterly special. A time eastern Friuli, as well as POEMS ENTWINED story made also of women the nearby areas of Slovenia IN LACE ARE COMPOSED with a strong, non-conformist and Istria, began to produce character, always interested in lace that, reflecting Flemish IN THE ANCIENT the progress of society. Even Bohemian influences, ART OF THE WOMEN OF FRIULI and though these women came distinguished itself from the from countries far from this Italian and Veneto lace in boundary region, they were terms of patterns and techperfectly in tune with the niques. From that moment, women of Friuli, because the lace inspired by the type they shared the same special way of living and working: fashionable in Flanders and made with bobbins enjoyed resoluteness, ingeniousness, tenacious stubbornness, curia greater success. osity towards innovation and at the same time respect of At the same time Venetian needle lace became less poputradition and ancient customs. The first important charlar. In the same period, in 1696 to be precise, a resourceful acters of this long line of women who made the story of Bohemian woman, wife of an employee of the famous Friulian lace were the Ursoline nun Angela Aloisio, who ancient mercury mine, introduced in Idrija (Slovenia) came from Liège in the 17th century - a period when the the art of making lace with bobbins (in Slovenian, the city witnessed the flowering of the bobbin lace – and the wonderful onomatopoeic word “klekelnji” reproduces the Mother Superior Catherina Lambertina de Pauli Stravius, sweet and familiar clicking of wooden bobbins). she too born in Liège, who left Prague for Gorizia in She gave life to a lace culture independent from the Vene1672, to lead the Ursoline nunnery. tian and Burano style, but similarly to what was happening We should remember that in the Venetian Friuli (the in Gorizia, that was closer to the artistics traits of Flemish part of Friuli that belonged to the Republic of Venice lace though reflecting the Slovenian carachter. The art of from 1445 to 1797, when Napoleon caused the lowering lace developed so much in Friuli that it became one of the of the flag of San Marco) the art of creating lace was most important manufactures in the region (without forwidespread and quite similar to the art of Burano. But getting the art of weaving promoted by Jacopo Linussio both nuns could count on their significant experiences in Carnia and organising woman labour at home for the in the greatest European capitals and were also endowed first time in Europe). Lace produced in the Gorizia area at with a remarkable farsightedness, and this situation did that time was more refined. It was an exclusive production not stop them from teaching the art of producing lace for rich customers, nobles and the high clergy, who used to the young women who attended the nunnery and to lace to decorate their homes, for sacred vestments and establish the first school – called the “scuola di fuori”, furnishing. While in the 18th century Idrija's production

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Manual skills

was less refined and limited above all to the rural market of well-off farmers and country clergy, as well as the markets of nearby regions, such as eastern Slovenia, Istria, Dalmatia and inland Croatia. But it was always in Idrija that in 1876 what was probably the fi rst lay school of lace was founded thanks to the intuition and extraordinary capabilities of another special woman, Ivanka Ferjancic. The school witnessed the birth of a productive monoculture inside the world of lace. The school is still operating in the Slovenian city, even though with a lower didactic activity (it is called Cipkarska Sola Idrija, and caters mostly for primary school pupils). In the meantime, in the socalled historical Friuli, Cora Slocomb, a brave American lady born in New Orleans who moved to Brazzacco's sweet hills when she married Count Detalmo Savorgnan di Brazzà, founded the bobbin lace Scuole Cooperative di Brazzà, spurred by her philanthropic passion and by the possible economic and social effects of her initiative. She was in fact appalled by the terrible situation of Friuli's economy at that time, after the hasty reunion to Italy, and suffered to see the striking backwardness off Friulian k d F i li country life, where people were impoverished by terrible famines and debilitated by the then endemic pellagra. These schools provided a means of subsistence to the women without taking them away from the work in the fields and at home and created an artisanal activity so widespread that together with Gorizia and Idrija it gave life to an enormous production basin that spread almost uninterrupted to Udine, in the East. The success of Friuli lace at the World's Columbian Exposition of Chicago in 1893 and the acknowledgements received at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 brought about an increase in production. As a consequence, Friuli lace, considered of a great manufacturing quality and with special peculiarities, found their most important diffusion point in Rome and then turned towards important customers in several European countries. After 1920, when the Brazzacco school was closed, the Scuola di Merletti in Fagagna was still operating. It had been founded in 1892 as a public institution under the patronage of Countess Cora, and had amongst its protagonists personalities such as the teacher Angelica Marcuzzi, beloved by her students

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for her teaching ability as well as for being an exceptional teacher of life and a reference for their women’s expectations; Noemi Nigris, a benefactress who followed in Cora's footstep thanks to her indomitable character and talent, succeeding in overcoming the terrible time of the first World war and animated, in the post-war time, numberless cultural, social and humanitarian initiatives; the nun Rosina who come from Cantù and was a bobbin lace expert, managed the Fagagna school from 1930 to 1970, when the school was closed because the professional and personal perspectives it offered were no longer in line with the economic and social situation of those years. At present, the Scuola dei Corsi Merletti in Gorizia is the reference point of the culture of lace in Friuli, alongside with Cjase Cocèl, the seat of the Museo della Vita Contadina in Fagagna, where a schoolroom was recreated, and several courses are organised by the school itself. Founded in 1946 to compensate for the loss of the Idrija school when the city though very close to Gorizia - was incorporated into the new Republic of Yugoslavia, this school was managed by the Ministry off Ed Education h Mi i i till 1978, when the control of the Scuola Merletti in Gorizia was harded over to the direct administration of the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia. At present the school – managed by its own board and directed by Giovanna Vesci – co-ordinates 62 courses scattered in 37 Friuli Venezia Giulia communes, and has 800 students coming from the whole region, as well as from Slovenia and Austria. It is the only Italian public school to offer a master lacemaker diploma. The course lasts six years, including the acquisition of the techniques and the practical training necessary to master the art of bobbing lace-making, as well as history of art and indispensable lace designer courses. Beside promoting and protecting the local tradition, it owns the “Merletto Goriziano Scm-Fvg” collective trade mark, thanks to which it warrants nature, quality and origin of the lace made with bobbins and offers a tangible certification to its school leavers. Every two years the school organises the international contest “Il merletto di Gorizia”, to evaluate new expressive techniques, innovate the traditional signs, explore the market and find new application fields for lace.

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THE HAND, THE BEST TOOL Lace from the archive of the Scuola dei Corsi Merletti of Gorizia. Left, training at Cora’s school in Brazzà; the photograph was taken in the first years of the 20th century and is included in the precious volume «Finestre e finestrelle» di Detalmo Pirzio-Biroli (published by Campanotto), dedicated to 34 memoirs, all referred to the ancient art of lace making.

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THE LINE OF DREAM Above, the Corollaire collection, designed by José Levy, six vases consecrated to six flowers: chardon, hortensia, pivoine, rose, iris, and mimosa (limited edition of 29 specimens each). Top and opposite, crystal working phases.

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Sculpted in Light Shaped in Fire by Federica Cavriana

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“We believe that the key of it all is to pass on our know-how: that’s why we train many young”

In the festive season we feel a growing desire and gratification in enjoying our own spaces, to live our home as a private and cosy refuge. A place where we feel comfortable, surrounded by our objects and rituals. Objects that represent a familiar scenery: vases, glasses, tea sets, chandeliers. And where do they come from, these small crystal wonders, in their game of light and colour that master craftsmen create to arouse the admiration of our guests? For crystalware, we could try a plausible answer: all the main crystal manufacturers in Europe are located in the same French region, Lorraine, rich in water, sand and wood, the raw materials needed for the production of glass in the beginning and later on for crystal by now world-renowned glassmakers, such as Baccarat, Daum, Lalique or the oldest of all, Saint-Louis. The latter has recently experienced a period of rebirth, also thanks to the relaunch brought about by Hermès Group, that acquired it in 1989, believing in the strength of its history and heritage. Established in 1586, it was purchased as “Royal Glassworks” in 1767 because King Louis XV wanted to compete with the most famous glassworks of that time, located in Murano,

Bohemia and England. 150 years ago Saint-Louis imposed the fashion of crystal table services, chandeliers and candelabra, choosing ruby red as its signature colour. Multi-coloured bottles for precious perfumes and delicate opaline vases decorated the noble houses of the period. Saint-Louis increased its fame also because it created a small fashionable object: the crystal paperweight ball. In the 20th century Art Nouveau inspired the maison’s new designs, while the Thirties witnessed the launch of the Art Deco line, characterised by transparencies and geometric cut motives. In the Fifties, modernism gave rise to new insiprations, like the Stella service, designed to reflect light through a prismatic play. At the end of the 20th century SaintLouis inaugurated the production of crystals with a contemporary design, side by side to its historical production. From the Bubble collection, designed by Teleri Ann Jones in 1992, to the 2012 collections signed by José Lévy and Laurence Brabant, the manufacture decided to follow two policies: invest in the co-operation with designers and in a future focused on creativity while passing on its tradi-

AUTHOR’S GEOMETRIES Above, the amethyst roemer seen from above, Tommy collection (1928). Top, working of the molten glass and manufacture of the paperweight with the “Millefiori” technique. Opposite, red cocktail glass by Saint-Louis manufacturer, France.

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Contemporary creativity and protection of traditional know-how: 2012 is a record year for the crystal manufacturer

tional know-how. As Charles-Henri Leroy, Saint-Louis Commercial & Communication Director, explains: “For us, the transmission of know-how is the key: that’s why we co-operate with schools and above all train a lot of young people, including many women, till they know how to create a perfect crystal object after five years.” As for the creative aspect, Leroy recalled that “For eight years the Hermès Foundation has offered young artists the possibility to stay six months in workshops belonging to the Group (such as Saint-Louis, editor’s note), so as to be mutually enriched. This is the real research: we ask our artisans to think how to develop new colours and processes that can be used artistically. Thus artist and master craftsman together produce really unique pieces.” Saint-Louis demonstrates how tradition and innovation, work quality and creativity represent the right recipe to cope with the crisis effectively: in 2011 Saint-Louis crystal manufacturer reached its highest profits, and a strong growth is expected also this year. A growth being the result of a foresight shown not only through the choice of producing very modern collections together with the reproposal

of past bestsellers, as well as through the trust given to young talented designers, such as the very young Laura Klose, the first woman to be awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de France in the “glass and crystal” category in 2011, when she was just 25. The match to win success is played in Saint Louis with a young team trained by experienced people, and it is played in the field of handmade exclusiveness. So Leroy: “What makes us really unique, compared to other crystal manufacturers, is the completely hand-made manufacture of our products. Customers choose us since we can create incredible bespoke pieces. We have just created a 9.7-metre-high chandelier: a record for our company. At present the luxury market wants exclusive products, which we can supply.” Even though such exquisite beauties cannot be in everyone’s house, all have the possibility to admire the most extraordinary pieces in the factory’s history at La Grande Place, Musée du Cristal Saint-Louis, inside the works in Saint-Louis-lès-Bitche. During weekends, this fascinating museum hosts demonstrations where the master glassworkers show their exceptional craft in creating masterpieces of translucent elegance.

THE COLOURS OF THE SOUL Above, the Serpent paperweight produced in 75 numbered and certified specimens. Top, detail of the blowing and assembly of a 9.7-metrehigh chandelier in Saint-Louis atelier (650 hours of “warm” working.) Opposite, the Classique Arlequin chandelier.

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Savoury crafts

A dainty Father Christmas cake by sweet designer Claudia Lotta

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by Susanna Ardigò



Decorating HAPPINESS At number 7 via Bonafous in Turin, just off piazza Vittorio, sweet designer Claudia Lotta created her own cake shop-atelier enjoying a deserved success: a small space enclosing a world of sweetness and taste in a dreamy and welcoming setting. Before talking about her experience, we should first understand the real meaning of cake (or sweet) design, a term that has only recently become popular in Italy, and whose use was partly influenced by the media. Cake design is a discipline that combines technique and creativity in decorating cakes and sweets, reaching sometimes, as in Claudia’s case, the level of a pure artistic expression. The tradition is Anglo-Saxon, officially dating back to the 19th century, when baking techniques were refined thanks to the invention of ovens with controlled

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Savoury crafts

temperature; someone likes to link them to the marriage between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (1840) and the wedding cake served on the occasion. The technique was refined with time, reaching high-level aesthetic expressions and spreading its fame to the rest of the world, first of all to the United States. This is where the success of cake decoration began, boosted by the media. So far, if you wanted to learn the precious technique you had to organise quite a long stay in the United States or Great Britain, where masters are operating and courses organised by prestigious names in the business. After their training abroad, Italian cake designers opened their ateliers at home, attracting the attention of people with a sweet tooth and searching for a surprising aesthetic effect along with the quality of product. These artists organise in their turn decorating courses for their customers. Back to our excellent protagonist: Claudia Lotta. Her passion dates back to her childhood, when she liked preparing cakes and biscuits for birthday parties. As it sometimes happens, life gets us to stride temporarily away from our passions and Claudia got a degree in psychology, and followed a professional path in that direction. After some years, while she was pregnant of her daughter, she felt once again the call of sweetness and first attended a course for “Lady Chef ”, then a master at the Peggy Porschen Academy in London, and one at the historical Wilton Cake Decorating School in Chicago. Wonderful cakes and sweets started to come out from her wise hands and her artistic and aesthetic talent. Cakes made with ingredients of the highest quality, decorated with the most refined techniques and the brilliant use of the sac-à-poche. We are pleasantly amazed by her madeto-order decorated cakes, pure masterpieces thanks to the wise works of her hands. How else could we define the refined and precious cupcakes – small cakes common in the United States and so called because in the past they were baked in cups – she proposes every day with different flavours, even for vegan customers? Claudia Lotta’s atelier offers many other delicacies: spatulated cakes; pleasant cakepops, small chocolate-glazed cakes propped on small sticks; delicious brownies, chocolate bars very popular and famous in the United

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States; fragrant lemon bars, sweets with a creamy heart and a crunchy base, coming from the south of the US; gorgeous decorated biscuits, so beloved by children and grown-ups. Furthermore, Claudia Lotta inaugurated also a small Academy where she offers courses in cake decoration with sugarpaste flowers and leaves, drawing inspiration from her passion for Art Nouveau, as well as courses to create customised cakes.

Delicious heart-shaped biscuits. Top: the windows of Claudia Lotta’s atelier, Sweet Designer in via Alfonso Bonafous 7, Turin.

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Christmas rites in Europe


Sweet Christmas by Alessandra Meldolesi illustrations by Ugo La Pietra

A tangled recipe, braided as it is with folklore, metaphysics and pantry materiality. And, what’s more, interclass...

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90 Round like a doughnut, or better still like the turban of a Kugelhupf, also in 2012 the eternal comeback is turning the calendar leaves till the fateful December 25, bending the rule of history ever since the night of times. Almost as if it wanted to freeze the airy flipping of pages into an eternal moment. After all, habits haven’t changed much since the ancients celebrated Mithra, feasting the winter solstice with an irrefutable scientific precision. That same Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, when the fire ball seemed to stop abruptly to smile again at man, making the days grow longer, reducing the silence of the night. Rites the third millennium keeps as an oblivious and yet pervicacious inheritance, often attached to the tines of a small dessert fork exploring history’s crannies with archaeological expertise. The recipe of the Christmas cake is a tangled recipe, braided as it is with folklore, metaphysics and pantry materiality. And what’s more, up to interclass, because every community shares the same meal for one night, it is its sweet epilogue. History begins with the shopping list: honey (almost always) instead of sugar, only introduced in European eating habits after the discovery of the West Indies. And the unusual “abstinence” ingredients, with oil used instead of butter and milk for religious reasons (the citizens of Dresden had to wait for the “Butterbrief ” or “Butter Letter” signed by

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Every community shares the same meal for one night

pope Innocent VIII in 1490 before they could benefit of a special concession for the preparation of the Christstollen, even though the privilege was granted only to the Prince-elector who raised the question). Also the symbology linked to the feast remains. Like the steady presence of yellow, typical of the dough turning gold in the oven after being brushed with egg yolk, and above all evocative of the sun, to invoke the return of its light (the Romans used corn flour with this aim when they celebrated Mithra), and also the circular shape, linked with the old cult of the solstice. As is the case with Italian typical Christmas cakes, panettone and pandoro, as well as the American pumpkin pie, the Ukrainian kolach, the Portuguese bolo rei and the above-mentioned Kugelhupf. The chthonic reference comes back, reproducing the contrast between light and receding night. This explains also the frequent presence of almonds, a season’s fruit available in large quantities, that represent the return of the spring, since this tree is the first to blossom, as well as symbolising the renewal of nature thanks to the egg shape associated to Christ for the similitude with the eye and the fish. As the Messiah, who brought the light, was born in the darkness of a cave, so the white fruit is hidden in the hollows of the dough. A purpouse shared by a diversity of ingredients, all of good omen for the new beginning at the gate. The most symbolic

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Christmas rites in Europe

and representative good luck charm is the Christmas pudding, an archaic cake whose ingredients include suet, the kidney fat. The cake must cook for at least 10 hours in boiling water wrapped inside a towel, though the modern version is steamed. Often flambé and decorated with holly leaves, it is traditionally made with 13 ingredients (including spices, raisins, rum and almonds), alluding to Christ and the twelve apostles. The darkness of its dough inspired timeless practices, able to impose their rhythm to the calendar of Her Royal Majesty’s subjects. Agatha Christie decided to hide there the key of a thrilling detective story, entitled in fact The Adventure of the Christmas Pudding. To compete with Hercule Poirot’s mind and find the right solution you should know many strange things… For example that the pudding must be prepared on the Sunday before Advent, called “Stir-up Sunday” since on that occasion all family members are called to stir the dough with movements towards the west, so as to evoke the journey of the Magi. Or that different objects can be hidden there: silver coins, thimbles, hairpins and small anchors granting prosperity and fortune to the lucky ones finding them. Little things, not big rubies stolen from Oriental princes in love… A suspense to keep till the moment the cake is taken to the table, avoiding to cut it before. The surprise element is widespread also in Danish, Spanish and French confectioner’s shops: the julegrod, the roscon de Reyes and the pithiviers contain respectively: an almond; a

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Beyond the Alps we find the Bûche de Noël, symbolically evoking the Yule log, stored in the woodshed until Christmas Eve


gift and a dried broad bean (for the one who has to pay); a dried bean. The rich French feasts propose also the incredible Provençal ritual of thirteen desserts (again the number of the guests present at the Last Supper): a mix of dried fruit, fresh fruit and sweets dominated by the pompe à l’huile, a sweet bread evoking the Eucharist. They are the perfect end of the big supper served on three tablecloths, with three white candles, three ears of wheat and seven abstinence dishes representing the Virgin’s sorrows. It is compulsory to taste them all to pay homage to Christian numerology. Beyond the Alps we find also the Bûche de Noël, a cake that may look ordinary kitchen prose, and on the contrary it shines with the bright light of symbols. It looks quite ordinary: the soft spiral of biscuit dough is filled with cocoa cream and covered with ganache, then decorated with meringue mushrooms and marzipan leaves – a simple and naïve natural image dating back to the 19th century. Yet a millenary sap flows inside of it, if it is true that in Northern Europe Christmas was represented by the hardest stump, called Yule log, cut where the trunk was at its thickest and kept in the woodshed until Christmas Eve. From that moment till New Year it would warm the Holy Child, though keeping some old pagan reminiscences, since its ashes would be spread in the fields to grant their future fertility. This roll has an engaging mission: to replace wood logs, useless in contemporary hearths, and at the same time pass its ancient message on in our overcrowded cities.

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by Giovanna Marchello




Perception is the t keyword in Joe Letteri’s work. The creator of visual he award-winning aw blockbuster films like “The Lord effects for b of the Rings” trilogy, “King Kong” “Avatar” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is a charming gentleman who, in the course of a 30-year long career, dedicated his intuition, inventiveness and craft to the creation of looking-glass worlds for millions of ecstatic spectators worldwide. From the heart of New Zealand, a remote nation whose luxuriant nature is the perfect natural setting for the films he realizes, Joe Letteri explains to us how his appreciation of art grew from his fascination for the way in which artists, from the renaissance to realism, observed and perceived reality and reproduced it. He understood that perception is the basis, the clue to how people look at something and acknowledge it as real. Most of the art Joe Letteri creates is fantastic and real at the same time, as he puts it, and

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his goal is to “capture reality and reproduce it so that the images they create speak to you in a real way.” Like many boys, in his youth he enjoyed drawing dinosaurs. Rather uniquely, later in life he created the dinosaurs for Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park”. His approach to the virtual reconstruction of a dinosaur or of a helicopter crash is at one time artistic and scientific. The staging, objects and creatures are all digitally created but the starting point is the same of any artist or craftsman, which is the observation of reality. In this sense he is an artisan. “Twenty years ago it was more intuitive, now everything is scientific”, explains Joe Letteri. A great deal of research is carried out beforehand for each creature and object and landscape that has to be reproduced. The observation and measurement of the material, physical properties, the mechanics of movement and structure, texture and how the light reflects and refracts on the surface.

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Ta l e n t s o f e n t e r t a i n m e n t


In the idealised world of Tintin, the treasureladen Unicorn is attacked by pirates.

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Ta l e n t s o f e n t e r t a i n m e n t

Having deeply absorbed the essence of figurative art, Joe Letteri knows that light is integral to perception and uses it skilfully in combination with movement and the characters to obtain the visual synchronicity of what is happening on screen, that which the spectator will experience as “real”. Joe Letteri is Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Weta Digital, the visual effects company created by Peter Jackson in the 90s. Letteri directs a bustling team of young, talented and motivated artists. The making of a digital picture has only increased the number of people that may work on a given film. He tells us that nearly 900 worked just on the special visual effects of James Cameron’s “Avatar”. This advanced technology is mainly adopted for fantasy and adventure stories, but most

and categories, and each is assigned to a team of experts that deal with the different artistic and technical aspects. Joe Letteri supervises the whole process and gives his input and imprint. He found it particularly stimulating to work on a film like “Avatar”, because he had to create something that did not exist. But for Letteri the greatest and most intriguing challenge is to give life to characters and worlds the public will relate to and perceive as “real”, be it King Kong’s 1930s New York City or J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters and stories. Joe Letteri loves to work with fantasy characters, feeling that if he were creating actual people he would only be replicating life. Instead, he is intrigued by the potential of using characters to tell more emotional stories. He has always been fascinated by the sensitive,



films today use digital effects, to a greater or minor extent. We can imagine Joe Letteri as a modern craftsman in a futuristic workshop, where films are commissioned instead of buildings or ships, and the director details his requests. For James Cameron, Joe Letteri built a stage where Cameron could work and film directly in the virtual world. Peter Jackson, producer and director of “The Lord of the Rings”, “King Kong”, “The Adventures of Tintin” and “The Hobbit”, is very specific as to what parts of the stories are relevant, the details and costumes and characters. Once the framework is decided, the film is broken down in segments

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impalpable nature of a look, an expression. For Joe Letteri what really matters in films that are successful is a subtle quality, consisting of details and expressions that move the public on an emotional level.Which is why he takes pride in his recent appointment as Honorary Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to film by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. On top of the many prizes awarded to Letteri (four Academy Awards, four BAF TA Film Awards and also Saturn Awards, Visual Effects Society Awards, IOMA Awards), this recognition acknowledges the fact people identify with the stories he creates and, at least in a cinema, their dreams can come true.

Above, Andy Serkis becomes Caesar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes; bottom, Joe Letteri with Brian Van’t Hul and Christian Rivers receives the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for King Kong. Opposite: above, Tintin and Haddock at the desert outpost; bottom, Ann Darrow (played by Naomi Watts) and King Kong on the Empire State Building.

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Made by Hand by Alberto Cavalli



Giorgio de Santillana wrote that “in the archaic universe all things were signs and signature of each other, inscribed in the hologram, to be divined subtly.” The silent but eloquent dialogue among objects, materials and shapes represents a powerful form of communication between the self and the other self. A dialogue unravelling in time, increasing value in time. Thus an exhibition consecrated to time cannot avoid to face both impressions and symbols evoked by the ticking away of minutes: impressions made of signs, as if they were the hand on a watch dial, fixing moments to remind, instants to linger upon. And symbols like totemic representations, like “sculptural-icons” composed of shapes defining their aura of energy and poetry. In creating the works exhibited in the show “Arts & Crafts & Design. Time according to Alessandro Mendini and his artisans” the co-operating relations between art, design and craft are emphasised: the artist’s intuition creates

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a dialogue with the artisans’ capability to interpret and transform matter, to define a new way to see the object, enhancing its multiform identities. The maître d’art turns the project into a product; the designer shapes inspirations by constantly renewing techniques, styles, realms of knowledge representing an extraordinary cultural heritage. The subject of time was chosen as a homage to the world of fine watchmaking, where design, technique and art are strictly intertwined: for this reason this exhibition will be inaugurated at the Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie in Geneva, under the patronage of Vacheron Constantin. The show was conceived by Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain and Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte. It is organised by Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie. The thirteen works designed by Alessandro Mendini are created with thirteen different materials by great Italian artisans: the dialogue between

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Signature projects


TOTEMIC OBJECTS “Every object was designed to emphasise materials and artisan values of excellence, using both traditional and evolved techniques”, so Alessandro Mendini, who selected some of the most virtuous and talented maîtres d’art for the project.


artist, designer and maître, between designer and interpreter, brings about all the liveliness of an economic, productive and cultural system whose heritage is still alive. The show’s cultural aim is thus to emphasise the fundamental role of métiers d’art in our society, placing them in a constant and evolutionary dialogue with contemporary creations. Even though every work of art is different and has its own main features, each one is conceived for a unitary collection, bound both from a logical and a dimensional point of view. Twelve of the thirteen pieces are set around an ideal dial, creating a subtle and effective link between their symbolic meaning and the actual passing of time, whose spirit seems to be constantly caught, refracted, divided by the points the designer wanted to create for every object. The thirteenth object meets visitors as a kaleidoscopic sundial, as if it were a polyhedral index aiming at the cardinal points of a

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time, to be preserved as an important treasure. Carved wood, screen-printed crystal, Cantù lace, gilded copper, bronze, ceramic, lacquered wood, mosaic, blown glass, plastic, Plexiglas, turned polystyrene: every object created by the master craftsmen was designed to emphasise the values of excellence of the main works and materials characterising handicraft, using both traditional and evolved or experimental techniques. The artisans were chosen amongst the most talented and virtuous. Every object has its own aesthetic identity: its visual language is coherent with the qualities of the materials used. Emanuele Zamponi’s photos were taken while the objects were being manufactured and when they were finished. They witness the birth of every piece in a moving way. Every work reveals what Japanese people call “makoto”: endow your product with sincerity, search for the truth. Which, as the ancient said, is the daughter of time.

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by Paolo Dalla Sega



The village of Rapperswill lies twenty minutes from Zurich and the canton of St. Gallen. Here you can sit at a 12-metre table from New Zealand, stroll round a 75,000 sq. m. park, visit a museum with over 120 big trees, rest in the shadow of an original orangerie from the 17th century and, above all, meet Enzo Enea, the man who created all this and the most important landscape architect in Switzerland, as well as one of the most famous and active in the world. His story is rich in truth and pragmatism, sensitivity and manual skills, a deep “feeling for nature”, that is revealed by his character, as he walks with me through the park, stopping every few steps to touch, feel, finger each tree. “At fifty, a tree matures its own aspect, character, personality. It’s my passion, the very reason for this park-museum, created because I cannot cut a tree. Even though I need space, I keep every plant and give them new shapes year by year, like a bonsai gardener.” Enzo was born and grew up nearby Ruti. He is the son of Franco, who came from Cesena and was a dealer of Impruneta vases and terracotta objects between Italy and Switzerland. In the Nineties he took on his father’s business and transformed it passing from the commerce of vases to planning, designing and creating gardens, after completing

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Environment and landscape


ELING FOR TREES LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS IN THE WORLD: A PARK-MUSEUM OF NATURE his studies in industrial design and taking a master’s degree in garden design in London. At first he had just two gardeners; now, after moving to the epic new seat, the company has 140 amongst designers, technicians, maintenance workers. They follow hundreds of projects all over the world: from Bel Air to Russia, from Italy (with archistar Chipperfield on the Garda Lake) to Arab countries, from China to Miami (seat of a subsidiary) and obviously the whole of Switzerland (with an important shop in Zurich); private gardens, resorts, public parks, terraces and golf courses, architectures embedded in the environment. The park-museum-showroom-factory was built some years ago on the land owned by Cistercian nuns. Visiting it, you have the clear perception of a fascinating activity, almost out of time – though extremely modern – in its focus on “giving a shape” to nature, or better to an environment in perfect harmony with man and architecture “inside” the landscape. The design rooms are full of projects made in 0.3 mm drawing ink on tracing paper and “comics”, perfect autocad models creating one after the other a journey around the world

from East to West, and from North to South: before and after the spaces are turned into gardens. Scattered about, some syncretically inspiring books: Brancusi, Moore, Japanese gardens (“where you go to pray”), contemporary art and architecture, Roman - more than Italian - gardens, and obviously English gardens and landscapists, starting from Russell Page. In Enea’s study are great windows opening onto the park, a tall, empty table with just a roll of tracing paper on top, ready to receive every fancy. His method has a disarming simplicity: “I read and listen to the place where I am working, since every place wants its own architecture. I start from there, even from just one tree, sometimes a leaf; I don’t add things, nothing different. Because we are all a part of nature.” The same merging you breathe and almost feel by walking through the immense park-museum (open to the public), characterised by big sandstone blocks and Vicenza stone vases, between the orangerie bought at Sotheby’s and the columns of a Thai temple alternated with cherry trees and lotus flowers. Suggestions – even ritual ones – are powerful, but you come back to the

earth immediately, when you leave the park-museum and enter the nursery, an imposing collection of plants and vases for sale. Enea designs and builds environments and contemporary architectures, responding to a pragmatic, deep and diffused sense of livability: improve the climate and the quality of air, the sight and relation with the surrounding environment, while increasing the value of the area. His timing is obviously appreciated by customers all over the world, since Enea uses grown and well-developed plants. All this arranged in new designs, slopes, water elements (even real lakes) and wind games, produced by the interaction of materials and scents: for example, you drink wine among citrus fruits and thyme. Sometimes the composition of inspirations and actions touches multiple spheres: a table between old vineyards and apple orchards, intertwining recollections of trees and food, objects and places. Everywhere you breathe the sense of time, a very long time: like the time of Riva’s kauri wood table at which we sit for the interview in the showroom café, a tree saved from quicksand thousands of years ago.


THE SENSE OF TIME Below, garden on the banks of Lake Zurich, right, a terrace in the surroundings of Zurich. On the left page, above, a spectacular “trasplant” by Enzo Enea (in the photo); below, a yard in Miami, Florida, and a portrait of the architect in his park-museum.

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MaĂŽtres of design

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by Ugo La Pietra






atricia Urquiola today represents design as the expression of a constant research joint with a strong creative attitude. She studied in Spain and then at Milan Polythecnic, thus getting an extremely sound professional education. She is characterised by a manner to support the project through a rigorous logic, coupled with her capability to risk ever new goals. We asked her some questions to try and understand her position towards the role of design today.

BETWEEN SWEETNESS AND APPLIED ARTS Glass flûte “Variations” designed for Baccarat on the occasion of the Milan Salone del Mobile in 2012. Opposite: “Chasen”, suspended lamp designed for Flos; the body is made with a chemically photo-engraved slab in stainless steel and borosilicate diffuser.

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Maîtres of design


We all know your great versatility in facing projects with different formal results: which are the common denominators? I believe above all in the freedom to experiment, facing the project with a certain openness. It means understanding the intent of the company I am working with, letting materials and available techniques speak, every time getting to diversified projects. This way of working is therefore not characterised by style elements that can determine common denominators of the many works I design.

Cultural models Can we say that your work, and above all the design of upholstered furniture, represents the best way to recognise your cultural models? I have really appreciated the first opportunity I got, which was Patrizia Moroso’s order to design “upholstered furniture” for her company. The occasion was a really positive experience since I found a great open-mindedness in Patrizia and the whole company. I came from the rigorous education of the School of Architecture of Madrid, a path I continued in Italyy after the fourth year. y

Hence my training brought me to be nearer the Milanese design school that is now defined through the great historical masters like Castiglioni and Magistretti, even though at that time the disruptive experience of the Memphis Group and Alchimia was greatly appreciated in Milan. I was more attracted, or rather fascinated, by De Padova’s store windows, with their coherence and Magistretti’s works they exhibited.


In your designing path the priority is: the relation with materials, the household rituals, the company wishes, the poetic intuition? First of all I have to say that I find my activity really interesting since it allows me to face a multitude of realities. In this sense I never forget the reality, the company, with which I decide to co-operate. Since the project follows its own path, I prefer to let it go without tensions nor forcing solutions. I could define it a “sweet project”, without traumas, able to indulge and evaluate the company’s potentialities.

The Classics

Is there one object of the many you designed that you could define “classic”? According to Gio Ponti’s definition, “classic” means the object without any connotation: the chair was a chair-chair. Or would you prefer your objects to be appreciated and remembered for their varied formal and decorative connotations? I admire Gio Ponti and regard him very highly: I love keeping one of his small drawings on the wall behind by bed, but I think that the way to work and think doesn’t necessarily inply the research of “style”. I try and create coherent objects, but I don’t know whether I am working for something that will last in time. I believe in the contemporary object, whether it will live on will be determined by society.

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Maestri del Design


THE HAND OF TRUTH Above, armchair from the “M.a.s.s.a.s.” collection for Moroso: a compact and rigorous shape with cuts that map out the fabric asymmetrically; visible thread-stitching like a basting, retracing the perimeter till destructuring its aesthetic linearity. Left: “Comback Chair” for Kartell; top “Dechirer” porcelain stonewave tile collection for Mutina.

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Maîtres of design

series, like those developed by some galleries, such as Nilufar in Milan, enjoyed a positive reception on the market. On other occasions, I engaged in small-scale productions, like marble creations and interior decorations for hotels. A practice that brought me closer to artisanal productions, such as the creation of a glass collection produced by a master glass blower in Murano for the Venice Biennale. I felt a great emotion, shared with my assistant Francesca, in observing the artisan turning a mass of white-hot glass into amazingly fascinating objects. All this freed me from many prejudices on the world of artisan production. And it spurred me to reflect also on our way of working: as designers we connote our profession by strong artisanal features (in the creation of models, prototypes, in testing techniques…), even though the final aim is the accomplishment of standard works.


Limited edition and handicraft

Is the limited edition of some objects a projectual and productive solution that takes you close to the Craft (applied art) resulting in a higher artistic and artisanal value? If so, by what means do you think it is possible to give the artisan a leading role in the world of design if the “design-system” does not consider the artisan’s identity (name, brand) in the accomplished work, and instead always focuses on the designer’s name and that of the company producing the work, its “editor”? I know that for many design objects we cannot talk of standard products, it’s rather the contrary! In the last ten years I didn’t deal only with a wide range of standard products, and in fact many of my works produced in small

Since many young designers cannot find operating spaces in the medium and small industry in Italy, do you think self-production is a valid option? It is just like the great creative designers in northern Europe did inside the Craft. In a new area usually composed of Museums, Institutions, Schools, Galleries, Market, Collectors, authors’ listing – all aspects wholly missing in Italy. I think that design can offer many opportunities to the young generations. New paths through new technologies: almost following the example of the ancient ceramist self-producing his own object in his own kiln, thus the self-producing young will be able to work with the small kiln to give threedimensional shape to the objects they design. I believe also in the development of new roles arising for new professions brought about by the development of the net and the many roles that depend on the specific features of each industrial activity. If the young are able to acquire many experiences and gather much information, then we can look forward to the opening of new professional paths.

IN THE SIGN OF FUNCTIONALITY Above, “Husk” seat collection for B&B Italia, characterised by a solid plastic structure supporting the seat stitched in soft squares. Left, “Tatou” lamp for Flos with polycarbonate diffuser. The Spanish designer’s uniqueness is represented by her capability to design privileging functionality.

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From the territory


THE FUTURE BETWEEN SCHOOLS & MARKETS The artisan work has now a completely different meaning: it is a kind of artistic expression taking its shape in everyday objects. Let us teach the young to find this way again

The precondition to talk about craftsmanship lies in the knowledge that this business area does not have the same meaning as some decades ago, even from a semantic point of view. In France the definition of “métier d’art” was correctly chosen to substitute “artisanat”. While in the past handicraft was a concept associated to the continuity of the production of consumption goods by the artisan regardless of the quality, the raw material, the techniques or the design, now the artisan work has a completely new meaning: it is a kind of artistic expression taking its shape in everyday objects, in interior design, clothing and fashion accessories, combining the choice of materials, the use of refined techniques, the uniqueness of the product and its own aesthetic characterisation. This change is not immediately understood and generally accepted, even by the most refined observer: it is a craft revolution we could even define as anthropologic, but it is far more difficult to convey the need of this evolution to the old generation of artisans still linked with an anachronistic vision of their work. To introduce these new concepts we need interventions of communication and promotion together with the development of a cultural debate which is not easy to support also for practical reasons, like the ones of the economic resources to be collected for the necessary actions. The solution lies in forming a new generation of artist-artisans, or better artisan-artists, culturally ready to face this challenge in the new millennium. Thus coaching acquires a fundamental role. A peculiar coaching, since it must combine a sound cultural education and the practical “know-how”, using instruments and new techniques that can grant quality and uniqueness of the product while allowing to improve the economic performances, the natural basis to stimulate the young to choose this activity. It does not seem that

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cchi* a r a oM r e i p Giam

the recent school reform in Italy deeply considered this theme. Elitarian as it may seem, it joins together elements of cultural novelty in a period when the paradigms at the base of development in the last hundred years seem to live a harsh crisis. Public school and its structures are not ready for this cultural revolution. Often also private schools are not able to develop the necessary programmes due to economic constraints. Furthermore, an idea of the artisanal work as a diminishing work restricts coaching to that field of activities managed by local institutions, unable to train these new professional figures both in terms of time and organisation of the courses. Another problem is university education. Here new ideas should be developed, but the approach is still dominated by an interpretation of art dating back to Vasari’s 16th century distinction between major arts (painting, sculpture and architecture, considered the only ones to represent intellectual dignity) and minor arts, characterised only by their manual contents. According to this same vision, the field of crafts is relegated to the limbo of those complementary subject matters enjoying a space too small to influence both students and public opinion. What can be done? Create a movement awakening the sundry category organisations, themselves involved in this sector but with an inferior numerical relevance and, hence, representation; inform press and media so that they can talk of this heritage born from our history and needing to be interpreted in a new way; take the question to the attention of the European Parliament and Commission, since it is an important part of the cultural heritage in its national, regional and local expressions. We will keep following the path begun over ten years ago, to honour our history and on behalf of the generations to follow.


*President of the Associazione Osservatorio dei Mestieri d’Arte

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ovelties and changes meet our hopes for a better future year after year. Let us look to lessons of the past and the dialogue necessary to enrich our spirit. As Benedictine monks teach: nothing is voiceless


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The beginning of a new year, anticipated by this issue of our magazine, always brings with itself a deep desire for novelty and change: both words being often used, abused and repeated in Italy, while their turning into reality remains a utopia in many cases. The master craftsman knows that every new project must imply a deep discussion about himself and his own talent: even though his gestures are self-assured, even though he has a wide knowledge of the materials he uses and a deep understanding of the customer’s desires and craft in the use of tools, he does not behave as Pascoli’s lamb “which goes on all fours” in beginning a new work, but questions himself, analyses, uses his hands and at the same time tries to go beyond gestures to grow as a person and as an artisan. I think it is a very good lesson to learn and a magnificent purpose. Many are the teachings we can learn from the master craftsmen, such as the disposition to dialogue. There is always something to learn from the dialogue with the masters. When I taught Theatre History at Università Cattolica in Milan I worked near extraordinary persons such as Mario Apollonio and Giuseppe Lazzati, with whom you could discuss and above all dialogue. Hence I consider them my “masters”. And the maîtres nourishing their gestures on the dialogue with designers, clients and other artisans are there to remind us that we cannot cease to communicate with those who know more



than us. Even though we do not like to admit that there is someone better, wiser or more talented in talent than we are. In the theatre, dialogues are the essence of what happens on the stage. Plato taught us that philosophy and truth are learnt through the dialogue. Even Hegel, in his concept of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, taught us to progress mantaining the values of the past: tradition, prestige, honesty. Hegel showed us the way to reach the truth through the continuous overcoming of thesis and antithesis. At present, trends are diverging: on the one hand endless meetings are held with at least ten people without taking even one decision, on the other we resort to technology to put a screen, a keyboard or a mobile phone between us and our interlocutor. On the contrary, master craftsmen constantly invite us never to forget the value of dialogue, never to give up our curiosity and keep learning, asking, discovering. First of all because it is amusing. And then because it is useful. In the end also because the métier d’art is culture, and there is no culture without a sincere and impassioned dialogue with the others, even with objects. Benedictine spirituality teaches us that nothing is voiceless. If it is true that wise people in the past conveyed their theories resorting to the dialogue, now the same dialogue between master craftsman and artisan must represent and convey a different wisdom, the one of intuition turning into a project. Above all in Italy. Designers know that in Italy they find a fertile cultural milieu as well as “smart hands” of master craftsmen that know how to understand and interpret the project, set up a dialogue with others, propose a concrete vision on the use of materials and techniques. Just like objects, also gestures have their own voice: they have sound, consistence, even a weight. Let us take heed of this “voice”, in order to open to dialogue and grow as professionals and individuals.

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MAECENATISM Creating harmonies, the vocation of Vacheron Constantin

VISION Gae Aulenti’s farewell poem of superlative architecture

MATERIALS The soul of crystal sculpted in light and shaped in fire

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