Page 1


14/11/13 14.36

MESTIERI Doppia.indd 1

14/11/13 14.59

MESTIERI Doppia.indd 2

14/11/13 14.59

MESTIERI Doppia.indd 1

14/11/13 15.00

MESTIERI Doppia.indd 2

14/11/13 15.00


ne Sig


y d b

rlo a C n- es* a u J r To r


BUILDING BRIDGES BETWEEN WORLDS The dialogue between artists and artisans always generates new creative momentum. Which calls for a more dynamic attitude The very names of the crafts revealed in this eagerly awaited issue of Arts & Crafts & Design magazine sound like timeless poetry to our ears. Organ builder, English rose grower, kimono designer, maker of “haute couture” baseballs… The magic weaves an instant spell as one is irresistibly drawn to discover the contemporary creations of these artisans in their concurrent role as talented historical narrators. Vacheron Constantin is committed to preserving ancient skills from both anonymity and oblivion. In this respect, the “Métiers d’Art” collection symbolises the mission of our Manufacture. In its latest expression, the technique of Grand Feu grisaille enamelling has been chosen to revisit the plays on light and shade featured in the masterpieces by Edgar Degas, who used pastels which he referred to as “the dust on butterflies’ wings” to capture the ephemeral beauty of ballerinas at work. Revealing analogies, building bridges between various worlds, strengthening the ties between various actors: the sole purpose of this approach we nurture is to form a pocket of resistance around the Artistic Crafts. They stand for the purity of authentic gestures, an organic form of expertise that expresses human genius in the most generous possible manner.

The growing success of events such as the European Artistic Crafts Days ( JEMA) testifies to the emotional public reaction to these artisans accustomed to working in the background. Each object presented, each work mingling past and present, matter and concept, keeps the magic alive and cultivates a dreamlike quality. This determination to highlight artistic crafts favoured by Vacheron Constantin, in which the JEMA and now also the Arts & Crafts & Design magazine play such active roles, is crucial in terms of stimulating vocations. Such events meet the needs of up-and-coming generations that tend to lack landmarks and who rediscover, through the age-old techniques thus revealed, the value of “time” and the strength of passing on traditions.


We as Maisons and the institutions must work together to perpetuate the artistic crafts. One of the most effective means of achieving this is through bringing artists and artisans together in order to generate new creative momentum. Such encounters spark a positive and dynamic attitude that opens up whole new areas to explore for those who are the custodians of such ancient and remarkable techniques. The future belongs to those who are capable of remembering.

*CEO Vacheron Constantin

009_TORRES 3.indd 9

14/11/13 13.37



E d i t o r ’s l e t t e r

Te n a c nlu a i G


YOUNG PEOPLE: DISCOVER THE INTRINSIC VALUE OF BEAUTY The métiers d’art are the cornerstone of quality products, encompassing traditional knowledge and modern experimentation. And they help us to look to the future The métiers d’art are, quite rightly, the cornerstone of quality products. Of luxury products, we should say, even though we rarely use this term in our publications because in this country it is difficult to talk in terms of “luxury”. In Italy we tend to associate the concept of luxury with topflight Swiss and French productions; neither Italy nor, alas, the United States rouse the same connection. It is the result of a cultural approach, an attitude we have towards a realm, which is (obviously) also commercial, and that France, Switzerland and Japan not only protect but also, indeed, enhance. It is a concept that Franz Botré, a connoisseur of quality, regularly repeats. I agree with him. In Italy, the mystification that has wrought a negative effect on consumers has persisted for many years, too many now. The value of a brand has been mixed with that of the final product, particularly in textiles and clothing (although not just in this sector). In the end, the label sells more than the product itself.

dawn of time, has created and renewed the conception we have of ourselves and leave its indelible trace. All we have to do is observe what is around us, stop in front of a welldressed shop window, step inside an atelier or a workshop, or dedicate the necessary time (another luxury) to admire the work of man. But it takes more than following a fashion to achieve this level of excellence. You have to cultivate talents, help them grow and be straightforward. What is the point of having universities that churn out engineers, architects and scholars if the society we live in does not provide adequate responses to their legitimate expectations? Why swell the ranks of the unemployed? Shouldn’t we be teaching the young, just as was the custom until relatively recently, the importance of learning a craft? You will forgive me if I return to these values, but a skilled leather cutter, tailor, chiseller and carpenter, if sufficiently supported, is most likely to produce a satisfactory standard of living. From a creative and productive standpoint. If we read international magazines, we can clearly see a renewed interested in artistic crafts, which are portrayed in an increasingly positive light. I often think of the beauty that surrounds us, the pleasure of touch, the enjoyment of buying quality objects. Particularly in challenging times, such as the ones we are living now, when the word cost is increasingly replaced with the term value. We must defend knowledge, safeguard the knowhow we cannot do without, showcase what I continue to consider the workshop of wonders. This is what the world has to give us, if we only have the intelligence (more than the awareness) to think with our own heads. This is what we are proudly presenting in this magazine. This is what we are showing the world, thanks to the illuminated vision of Vacheron Constantin. For we are convinced that, whilst it is true, as Fyodor Dostoyevsky once wrote, that only beauty will save the world, Jean Anouilh was equally right when he stated that “beauty is one of the rare things which does not lead to doubt of God.”


Yet the métiers d’art, particularly when linked to design creativity, represent a feature of uniqueness that actually improves our lives. It has to do with the scent of wood, of stone, of manufacturing, of the workshop. The creation that takes shape, one piece after another, processed and assembled to become a unique item. The craftsmanship of the artisan, the handing down of time-honoured knowhow, the experimentation and the vision. It is that universal world which for many years (too many) has been perceived as an obsolete, dusty cellar. Not the materials, but rather the conception of life itself. And yet those little-big entrepreneurs who have never ceased to believe in it are now witnessing the rediscovery of old values that can withstand passing fashions. And the passing of time. Because the big names of artistic craftsmanship as well as small ateliers still continue to produce beauty and quality. To be a craftsman, what we define “contemporary artisan”, is the most meaningful profession in the world. And as such it should be transmitted to young people, to the generations of the future, so that craftsmanship can continue the process which, since the

011_EDITORIALE 3ENG.indd 5

14/11/13 13.40




Perspective BUILDING BRIDGES BETWEEN WORLDS by Juan-Carlos Torres Editor’s letter YOUNG PEOPLE: DISCOVER THE VALUE OF BEAUTY by Gianluca Tenti Workshops Books Awards Initiatives Fairs Shows ALBUM by Stefania Montani


Laboratories for the future LES MAÎTRES DE LA CAPITALE by Vassili Dragomirov


Success stories LIFTING THE CURTAIN ON FURNISHINGS by Alessandra de Nitto


Enterprises HANDCRAFTED LOVE by Alberto Cavalli


Maîtres of design FORMS THAT BECOME DIVINE by Ugo La Pietra


Timeless dedication THE DANCE OF THE HOURS by Alberto Cavalli

On the cover, a graphic elaboration of François Staub’s “Corte Nascosta”, by photographer Lorenzo Cotrozzi


Living treasures A WEAVER OF WISDOM by Akemi Okumura Roy


Fit like a glove MASTERY AT PLAY by Federica Cavriana


Maîtres d’art UNE FOLIE, C’EST UNE FOLIE, MA FOLIE by Paolo Dalla Sega

66 70 76 80 84

Talents of entertainment THE STUFF OF DREAMS by Gianluca Tenti

88 92

Notes of art IN CHORDIS ET ORGANO by Susanna Ardigò


Museums THE MIRABILIA OF THE HAPSBURGS by Alessandra de Nitto

Creating value SOUS LE SIGNE DU LION by Valentina Ceriani A customised home MULTI-FORM IDEAS by Valentina Ceriani Environment and landscape LADY ROSE by Giovanna Marchello Enlightened museums THE FLAMES OF MEMORY by Simona Cesana

Savoury crafts CHEMICAL ATTRACTION by Alessandra Meldolesi


Designer cathedrals NILUFAR: POETIC AND VISIONARY by Ugo La Pietra


Emerging talents BUILT, NOT STUFFED by Francesca Sammartino




Preparing for excellence by Gérard Desquand THE MÉTIERS D’ART: WHEN THE PAST BECOMES THE FUTURE


Future frontiers by Guy Salter CRAFTING A NATIONAL REPUTATION



21 106


14/11/13 14.55





Critic and historian of industrial desing and professor at Venice’s IUAV university. He has written numerous books and essays, and has worked with specialised magazines such as “Casabella”, “Auto & Design”, the “Sunday magazine” for “Il Sole 24 Ore” and “Il fatto”.

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.



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

A journalist, she has published two guides to Milan’s and Turin’s artisan workshops. She was awarded the Gabriele Lanfredini prize by Milan’s Chamber of Commerce for her contribution to raising awareness on culture and craftsmanship.



Luxury expert Guy Salter has held senior management roles in organisations including the Prince of Wales’ office, Laurent-Perrier, the Asprey & Garrard Group and Nyetimber. He chairs Walpole British Luxury’s thought leadership work, and founded Walpole Crafted, a mentorship programme for craftmakers.

Born in Trentino, he lives and works in Milan. He is the curator of many social and cultural events. He established the post-graduate course in Planning of cultural events at Università Cattolica, where he lectures on Urban valorisation.



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.

A graduate in design from Milan Polytechnic, she has always been interested in the applied arts and artistic design. She set up an association in Monza with a group of artists and professionals; the association organises cultural events and educational activities on the subjects of literature, music and theatre.



At a very young age she started to breathe the air of the newspaper trade. She hit the world of women’s magazines and went on to work with tourism publications, before ending up with a definitive role in the men’s magazine, Monsieur.

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

Editor at Large: Gianluca Tenti Art Director: Francesca Tedoldi Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte Director Alberto Cavalli Editorial Director: Alessandra de Nitto General Organisation: Susanna Ardigò

ARTS & CRAFTS & DESIGN Half-yearly – Year II – Volume 3 December 2013 Editor in Chief and Publisher: Franz Botré Editorial Director: Franco Cologni Creative Director: Ugo La Pietra


Contributors to this issue: Texts: Alberto Bassi, Augusto Bassi, Andrea Bertuzzi, Federica Cavriana, Valentina Ceriani, Simona Cesana, Paolo Dalla Sega, Gérard Desquand, Vassili Dragomirov, Alessandra Meldolesi, Giovanna Marchello, Stefania Montani, Akemi Okumura Roy, Guy Salter, Francesca Sammartino.

Translations: Traduko Revision and text adaptation: Giovanna Marchello Images: Enrico Cano, Lorenzo Cotrozzi, Achim Hatzius, Alexis Lecomte, Kiminasa Naito, Bob Noto, Marco Pagani, Emanuele Zamponi.

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

SWAN GROUP PUBBLICITÀ Arts & Crafts & Design is a project by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte Via Lovanio, 5 – 20121 Milan www.fondazionecologni.it © Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte. All rights reserved. Original manuscripts and photos will not be returned, even if unpublished. Texts and images cannot be reproduced, even partially.

Via Francesco Ferrucci 2 20145 Milano Phone: +39 02.3180891

www.monsieur.it www.fondazionecologni.it

15/11/13 14.14

MESTIERI Doppia.indd 1

14/11/13 15.02

MESTIERI Doppia.indd 2

14/11/13 15.02


Preparing for excellence


nte ume

d by

uand q s e dD r a r é G

THE MÉTIERS D’ART WHEN THE PAST BECOMES THE FUTURE As Ruskin wrote, “fine art is that in which the hand, the head and the heart of man go together.” New business models arise in our society, where man must return to play a central, crucial role

The métiers d’art are playing a central role in our economies and creative processes, satisfying a global request for products that possess an identity and a soul, in which the added value is given by the time, the creativity, the sensitivity of the hands that were necessary to produce them and by their endurance to the passing of time. Year by year, the success of the European Artistic Crafts Days promoted by the Institut National des Métiers d’Art bears witness to the increasing public awareness and appreciation for authenticity, meaningfulness and customisation. This growing consciousness has had an impact on events such as the Paris Designers’ Days and the Design Weeks organised in Europe and worldwide, which in turn have had a positive influence on regional craft skills and materials. If design is first and foremost a method and an indicator of progress, know-how involves “knowing how to think”. Moreover, given that mastering a skill intrinsically implies the ability to comprehend, invent and create, the métiers d’art have become the meeting ground for tradition and innovation. This innovation relies on creative ecosystems in which a crucial role is played by the quality and diversity of the co-operations between the various sectors and actors. The ateliers of the maîtres d’art, where the worlds of business, technology and art intersect, have returned to be the true laboratories of innovation. The new technologies and the desire to break new frontiers has seen the emergence of a new generation of creative “designer-maker” entrepreneurs. John Ruskin, the father of the Arts & Crafts movement, once said that “fine art is that in which the hand, the head and the heart of man go together.” A generation that, revealing practices and renewing production, creates new business models along with open collectives and spaces for novel collaborations. Innovation

and the necessity to adapt to the markets have created distinctiveness, competitiveness and economic development, which are all key areas for the métiers d’art on an international scale. In France, similar spheres are also affected by another factor, which is equally vital for the future: INMA is guiding the reform of the educational and training system in the métiers d’art and I, as Chairman, am particularly keen to follow it to its completion. If we are to create the heritage of tomorrow and invent our own future, we need to ensure that even the training system evolves. We have to elevate its quality and adapt it to the market in a more consistent way, even at regional and local levels. We need to create an educational supply chain which covers the process comprehensively and which is open to research and innovation. We need to harmonise it on a European scale, creating mobility for French students across the whole continent.


018_021_INMA-W~1.INDD 18

The métiers d’art foster careers and social emancipation in that they fully embody the “Slow Made” movement established in France in November 2012 by the Mobilier National and the INMA. More than being just a label, it is a collective hallmark for a lifestyle that encourages a new model of production and consumption, promoting high quality goods and durability. We want to give value to time: Slow Made means “made with the necessary amount of time,” the time needed by the working hand to perform its gestures, always at the service of research and innovation. Created around the métiers d’art, this movement is committed to grow beyond its sphere and embrace the entire ecosystem of creative professions. The professions of our past and our present are the key players in a changing paradigm of a social system in which all human beings are reinventing themselves. The métiers d’art are, above all, the professions of tomorrow.

14/11/13 13.44


Future frontiers


nte ume

d by

alter S y u G

CRAFTING A NATIONAL REPUTATION European brands continue to dominate the markets thanks to their cultural and creative abilities, significant assets of “soft power”. Now, however, we need to make a fresh start for the future

The global luxury industry is dominated by European brands and this configuration is likely to continue in the medium term. Despite much talk, very few luxury brands have emerged from fast-growing markets such as China or even more mature markets such as North America. Europe remains the commercial and spiritual heartland for luxury. This is remarkable, given how most of Europe’s competitive advantage, especially in manufacturing, has been moving eastwards. One of the main reasons for this can be found in what could be described as a brand’s cultural aspects. By cultural I mean the hard-to-define but critical national reputation for certain craft skills often related to a country, region or city (for example, leather-working in Florence) or quality (English vegetable-tanned bridle leather). This is often reinforced by the heritage or length of time during which that skill has been practised in a particular region. Taken together, these cultural and creative aspects of national and brand reputation are significant soft power assets. They have long been important to the success of the luxury industry, even if they are not normally descried in this way. And the craft component of this soft power is both critical and intrinsically mixed with both individual brand values and a wider national reputation.

evant way (to consumers in key overseas markets) than governments. In a similar way the luxury and independent craft sectors can help in terms of the tangible value of authenticity and exclusivity. Elitism is a dirty word, but why not aim at being the best? In Europe we try to be an open and fair society, which in itself contributes in no small part to our soft power appeal but that doesn’t come cheap. Striving for the highest standards pays in global business but can also engender aspiration and a sense of prosperity at home.


I also believe that luxury brands are not just recipients of the benefits of positive national soft power but contribute to their country’s positive reputation in a beneficial cycle. They can act as ‘ambassadors’, who often communicate contemporary national values more effectively and in a more rel-

018_021_INMA-W~1.INDD 19

So I would argue that both luxury brands and luxury craftsmen should be proud of and more aware of this cultural and commercial contribution. But with that also comes responsibility to keep up standards, to invest in new blood, to fight to preserve critical skills and to innovate. We also have, I believe, to be prepared to work harder to lobby policymakers and explain not just our soft power credentials but our contribution to the economy, exchequer and employment. Some governments still find it hard to take beautifully made things as seriously as ball bearings. And even though lots of micro businesses add up to a lot of employment, they tend to be too untidy and complicated for governments to measure and therefore treasure. But it’s not just politicians we have to persuade. We need to make craftsmanship more highly prized by young people, in order to have enough apprentices for the future. Because the uncomfortable fact is that, despite recent advances, design is seen as much more desirable a discipline than making. Part of the solution here is to make craftsmanship more prestigious and glamorous.

14/11/13 13.44



Made in Art

fied b y

Ugo L a Pie tra

MAY THIS ENTHUSIASM FOR CRAFTSMANSHIP BE MORE THAN A PASSING FAD For too long the attempts to bring design closer to craftsmanship and the territory have been ignored by the institutions. Now is the time to turn over a new leaf

University and industry, institutions and designers: in the world of design, everyone seems to agree on the important role craftsmanship plays in the survival of both design and business cultures in our country. It is not easy to partake in this collective enthusiasm having witnessed how, in recent decades, hundreds of artisan businesses have been forced out of business. We all remember, in the early Eighties, how the world of design euphorically acclaimed groups such as Memphis and Alchimia and the Postmodern school, trends that did not however contemplate the recovery of manual skills and know-how. Few will perhaps remember how difficult it was to make the design world accept the value of the craftsmen who, through their work, preserved the knowledge of their craft, while design had removed itself from works that could not be replicated.

was transformed into the “Polytechnic of design”, having finally turned its attentions to the applied arts as a whole (including craftsmanship!). As I was saying, it is not easy to take part in the enthusiasm which seems to permeate the entire culture of Italian design when one considers that the last educational reform cancelled all workshops in our Art Institutes; or when one realises that there are no applied arts galleries in Italy where one can meet collectors who understand the difference between porcelain and ceramic, or between glass and crystal, and who can recognise “the hand” (and therefore the name) of a craftsman in an artwork.


For all too long the official representatives of Italian design ignored the many attempts to bring the culture of design closer to the culture of craftsmanship and the territory (through exhibitions organised in the Eighties and Nineties, such as “Progetti e territori”, “Genius Loci”…). That same establishment founded the first school within the Milan Polytechnic which was called the “Faculty of industrial design”, a definition that years later

018_021_INMA-W~1.INDD 20

Only a handful of real enthusiasts have devoted, and will continue to devote, their energy to ensure that this important sphere of culture and production - bereft of museums, institutions and market - is encouraged and promoted. I want to believe in this collective enthusiasm and I will join in, as indeed I always have, by steering the attention of the professionals involved towards examples that come from the European world of crafts, a world that has always appreciated “design that produces three chairs a year!” In the hope that all this sensation for craftsmanship is not just the latest passing fad nourishing Italy’s increasingly debilitated design system.

14/11/13 13.44


ign Des

Historical thought


y ed b

ass B o ert


A NEW OUTLOOK FOR DESIGN AND ARTISAN KNOWLEDGE Italy has recently witnessed a surge of enthusiasm for “savoir-faire”. But we must go further, we need to study, enhance and spread new planning models. Different ways of bringing together design and production systems have played an active role in Italy’s design world. The projects of architects, artists, designers, technicians, engineers and “autodidacts” have been realised in small, medium and large ranges, depending on the case, by traditional workshops, mechanised artisan businesses and industries. The production methods have often been conjugated to create that unique feature which characterises Italian design: the ability to combine know-how and design. This variety of assets has not always been appropriately acknowledged, enhanced and explained. For example, the historical and critical interpretation has often tended to give a univocal and general definition of the subject, limiting the understanding of this phenomenon not only for the designers, the entrepreneurs, the communication, acknowledgement and training “systems” and tools (such as museums, publishers and schools), but also for the end-users and the market in general.

phase for the manufacturers and it has made it difficult for designers and producers to communicate, compare notes and grow together, diminishing the offer of products to the public. If we consider the present situation and the new development strategies that attempt to focus on the near future, however, we see that important changes are under way. From the crisis of the model of infinite development and consumption down to the “long tail” of the markets described by economist Chris Anderson; from the need for companies and products to have recognisable strategies and identities to the new demand for more experience-related and customised commodities; from horizons mapped out by new technologies and media to the new challenges for design, to which we are turning for help in looking after humanity and the planet. Italy has recently witnessed a resurgence of interest towards artisan “savoir-faire”, although this was instantly and improperly mixed up with the concepts of self-production, maker culture, do-it-yourself and so forth. A positive sign is the attention to an alternative model of designing, producing, communicating, distributing and consuming goods opposed, or complementary, to mass consumption and “developmentist” progress, which is no longer sustainable. On condition, however, that it does not burn out as a passing, temporary or nostalgic option, or as the latest “fashion”. New media, new systems of design and communication, new consumer awareness and new market conditions are all available. The issue is what to do on a mid- to longterm perspective to recover a balanced co-operation between design and artisans, which can support the development of business models that can function in today’s world. Models that will help us analyse, valorise and increase awareness of the past and present of what must be developed with and for artisan production. There is fresh work for many.


In short, the term design has been used to label a multifaceted, articulate and complex phenomenon as a whole. Not to mention the laughable, yet instrumental, notion that “everything is design” – which is like saying that nothing is! –, or that design is an extension of marketing, communication, widespread “eventism” and so on. Coarse instruments of knowledge have made it hard to identify the contribution and the specific nature of each element involved, and as a result, it has made it difficult to recognise their value and to protect and develop them. Without doubt this situation has jeopardised the possibility to establish a dialogue between design and craftsmanship. It has been stunted by a reciprocal lack of understanding; by the difficulties involved in undertaking, valorising, communicating and selling products designed and made for niche markets, to which limited productions and one-off handcrafted items are addressed. This has led to a complicated

018_021_INMA-W~1.INDD 21

14/11/13 13.44


ALBUM3ENG_TL.indd 22

by Stefania Montani

14/11/13 13.47

ALBUM Workshops Books Awards Initiatives Fairs Shows

ANABELA CARDOSO Lisbon, S. Vicente/ Alfama, Calçada de S. Vicente 62 Portugal has used decorative tiles since the thirteenth century, an artistic expression that has reached the highest qualitative standards, on par with painting and sculpture. Anabela Cardoso is the driving force behind one of the most famous “azulejos” laboratories in Lisbon. The decorations are made using brushes of different sizes, oxides and mineral colours, reproducing designs of the Portuguese tradition as well as creating new ones, in accordance with the context and the tastes of the customers. Thanks to her skill and experience, she is often commissioned the decoration of facades and interiors of palaces around the world, from France and Spain to Brazil and India. Anabela Cardoso is also a skilled ceramic restorer who has given proof of her talent in reproducing historical decorations. In her centrally located atelier, in the Alfana area, she holds multi-level courses dedicated to those who wish to approach this evocative form of art. anabelacardoso-azulejos.webnode.pt

ALBUM3ENG_TL.indd 23

14/11/13 13.47

ALBUM workshops ADRIAN ZÜRCHER Zurich, Schipfe 29 In the heart of Zurich, Adrian Zürcher’s charming little workshop with vault ceilings is located in an old sixteenth-century house overlooking the river Letten. Here he handcrafts bags, sacks, backpacks, pouches, belts, change trays, key fobs and many other made-to-measure leather accessories. Having always loved this profession, twelve years ago he took over the workshop of a time-honoured artisan who worked in the field, carrying on this tradition. Leather in a wide variety of shades, from which customers can pick the colour for their own models, is displayed on the shelves. The leather comes from a tannery in Tuscany, an area renowned for this type of product. On the table are scissors, cutters, pliers, needles and the many working instruments necessary to make these creations. The bags, with their clean and linear lines, can be produced in any size and shape, according to the customer’s taste. “Each piece is strictly hand-made, I don’t even use a sewing machine,” states Adrian Zürcher. “In this way we can customise them to the highest degree.” www.lederladen.ch

SILVER TRE Milan, Via Novi 5/7 Riccardo Traviganti is an eclectic artisan who inherited his metal spinning business from his father Carlo. He produces outstanding works in silver, brass, copper and steel. The most impressive creations of the Silver Tre workshop in Milan include the two-meter Fabergé eggs, fitted with a bar, and the life-size carriage drawn by a horse with a mechanical movement. Today, his son Carlo

and his daughters Mara and Lorena have taken over the laboratory. Together with a team of collaborators they breathe life into a wide range of creations, producing interior decoration objects in silver, alpaca and brass. The loft is scattered with casts and moulds in every size, and a large number of metal sheets and planks are lined against the walls. Their clientele ranges from the Emirates to Russia. Even Paris, where a shop renowned for its wide tea selection has commissioned camel-shaped teapots, the replica of an eighteenth-century model which Riccardo Traviganti came across in his art books. www.traviganti.it

ALBUM3ENG_TL.indd 24

TESSITURA GIAQUINTO Gagliano del Capo (Le) Via Redipuglia 8 Francesca Giaquinto was an enterprising woman from Italy’s Salento region. In the 1930s she transformed the tradition of handcrafted loom-weaving into a business. Today, this high-standard artisan production continues to be carried out in Puglia thanks to the secrets of the trade which she passed on to her descendants: her son Cosimo, his wife Annabella and grandchildren Francesco and Katiuscia. In the atelier situated in Gagliano del Capo, twenty clicking flying shuttle looms in wood, fully restored and still used for jacquard weaving, produce table cloths, sheets, bedcovers, household linen, towels and reels of textiles that are sold by the meter. All made exclusively with natural yarns including Egyptian pearl cotton and yarndyed linen, with patented cards and designs. Even the tailoring is carried out in the workshop by dressmakers who specialise in cutting, sewing and embroidery. This fine craftsmanship is now also successfully exported. www.tessituragiaquinto.com

14/11/13 13.47

ALBUM books


IN PRAISE OF HANDS The Art of Fine Jewelry at Van Cleef & Arpels by Franco Cologni, published by Marsilio Van Cleef & Arpels is perhaps the world’s best-known fine jewellery brand. Established in Paris in 1896, it features the creativity and boundless artisan skill of its master jewellers, the famous Mains d’Or, Golden Hands. In this volume, Franco Cologni narrates the work of these craftsmen, unveiling each stage of the process involved in creating outstanding jewellery: from its design to its production.

ARTIGIANATO E LUSSO Manifatture preziose alle origini del made in Italy POTERIE NOT FRÈRES Mas Saintes Puelles Route de la Poterie Since ancient times, the light clay abounding in the land on the banks of the Canal du Midi, between Toulouse and Carcassonne, has been used to make pottery, thanks to its outstanding characteristics. The furnace of the Not family, Robert, Philippe and Jean Pierre, was established by the Perrutel family in the nineteenth century, and is famous for its plates, jugs, garden vases, oven dishes and bowls, and in particular for the casseroles used to prepare traditional French dishes. A family-run artisan business. The clay is processed and mixed with water before being moulded and each piece is fired in the kiln one at a time. Left to dry on shelves, the objects are subsequently glazed with oxides and pigments and fired in a wood kiln measuring 40 cubic metres. To watch the items being stacked right up to the roof of the large kiln, until the door is sealed with sandy clay to prevent air from seeping inside, is a show in itself. The firing takes 36 hours at 1,000 degrees, and the cooling takes three weeks. Glazed pottery in shades of green, grey, ochre and brown that are not just highly appealing and beautiful, but also extremely hard-wearing. www.poterienot.fr

by Maria Pia Bortolotti, published by Skira This book on the history of fashion explores the use of different types of applied arts during the Visconti-Sforza period (fabrics, jewellery, furnishings, clothing, weapons, musical instruments, books and games) and retraces the origins of Milan’s outstanding manufacturing excellence, from the late-Middle Ages to the Renaissance.

COOKING COUTURE by Gisella Borioli with Giovanni Gastel, published by Marsilio Cooking Couture takes a visionary stroll through the reign of creative cuisine and designer fashion. The recipes invented by the young and successful new-generation chef Matias Perdomo for 11 designers take on the style and elegance of Italian manufacturing. By journalist and art director Gisella Borioli with photographs by Giovanni Gastel.

ARTEFICI DI BELLEZZA Mestieri d’arte nella moda italiana by Paolo Colombo with Alberto Cavalli and Emanuela Mora, published by Marsilio-Cologni Foundation On behalf of Cologni Foundation, Research centres “Modacult” and “Arti e mestieri” of Milan’s Università Cattolica have carried out an extensive research, combined with interviews to master craftsmen, to define the métiers d’art; not just professions, but intangible assets comprising knowledge, savoir-faire and creativity.

A BORD DES PAQUEBOTS 50 ans d’arts décoratifs by Frédéric Ollivier, Aymeric Perroy, Franck Sénant, published by Norma Editions From 1912, when the SS France first crossed the Atlantic route, to 1962, when the second France ocean liner was launched, French passenger ship companies and dockyards have enjoyed half a century of outstanding feats. Fourteen legendary ships created by the designers of the day.

LA NOBILTÀ DEL FARE by Andrea Kerbacher, photographs by Giovanni Gastel, published by Electa in collaboration with Acqua di Parma 23 stories of Italian excellences, photographed by Giovanni Gastel, featuring Pinin Brambilla Barcilon, Renzo Piano, Marco Magnifico, Mimmo Paladino, Uto Ughi, Maurizio Baglini, Daniele Gatti, Stefano Conia, the Marinelli brothers, Luca Litrico and many others. Rubelli textiles illustrate the cover.

ALBUM3ENG_TL.indd 25

14/11/13 13.47

ALBUMfairs HEIMTEXTIL Frankfurt, Fair January 8-11, 2014 A major international trade fair for home and contract textiles and upholstery fabrics. Featuring innumerable textiles made by the world’s leading manufacturers, with over 2,600 exhibitors. Each year, Heimtextil publishes its Trend Book, which previews information and orientation into the latest trends. www.heimtextil.messefrankfurt.com

tween creators, master watchmakers and designers. Exhibitors will include A. Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Baume & Mercier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Montblanc, IWC, Panerai, Parmigiani, Piaget, Greubel Forsey, Ralph Lauren, Van Cleef & Arpels, Vacheron Constantin, Roger Dubuis and Richard Mille. www.sihh.org



HOMI Milan, Rho Fair January 19-22, 2014 Macef, the International Home Show, changes its name and embraces new projects. Thanks to international agreements, it will also be held abroad in October, May and April. Starting with Asia, Russia and the United States. From “Home Wellness” to fashion and jewellery, from “Kid Style” to home textiles. With the vision of the “shop of tomorrow,” relating the lifestyles of a multicultural consumer who is concerned about personal care but is always inspired by Italian excellence. There will be a large selection of products in ceramic, glass, porcelain, metal, wood, leather, fabric and stone. www.homimilano.com 2

SALON INTERNATIONAL DE LA HAUTE HORLOGERIE Geneva, Palaexpo, January 20-24, 2014 The world preview of fine watch-making will be dedicated to excellence, showcasing the latest creations by the biggest brands. The event is the result of the research and co-operation be2

ALBUM3ENG_TL.indd 26

MAISON & OBJET Paris, Nord Villepinte January 24-28, 2014 The six-monthly Parisian exhibition presents the new production of leading manufacturers as well as successful and emerging designers. Pavillion number 4, named Craft, is entirely dedicated to the métiers d’art. With a rich offer of interior design solutions, art de la table and textiles, this year inspired by the sources of energy. www.maison-objet.com


EXPOCASA Turin, Lingotto Fiere, March 3-11, 2014 Six product categories: from home accessories to textiles, from bathroom furnishings to lighting sys-



FIERA DI SANT’ORSO Aosta, January, 30- 31, 2014 Craftsmanship and creativity take centre stage at the Fiera di Sant’Orso. This popular event is held every year in Aosta during the last two days of January. The fair fills the entire town centre with music, traditional food, wine tasting and handmade wooden products. The traditional Veillà will take place between January 30 and 31, an all-night event during which all the streets are illuminated, with music and stalls open until dawn. www.fieradisantorso.it

tems and outdoor furniture, from energy-saving, heating and air conditioning solutions to refurbishing materials. Plus the fifth edition of toBEeco, the exhibition-competition dedicated to environment and recycling, and addressed to designers and companies that combine creativity, social responsibility and industrial innovation in their production. Quality craftsmanship also comes under the spotlight in this event, which is attracting increasing international attention. www.expocasa.it

14/11/13 13.47


ALBUM awards initiatives The Brunello Cucinelli Foundation expands its objectives to encompass, on the one hand, art in all its guises, from painting to the theatre and music, and on the other the culture of education and research. A modern artisan humanism heralded by the Solomeo School of Crafts. www.brunellocucinelli.com




WORKSHOP TRAINING FOR MASTER CRAFTSMEN OF THE FUTURE 100 apprenticeships for 100 young master craftsmen. The Cologni Foundation of the Métiers d’Art presents the new edition of the project entitled “A school, a job. Training to Excellence”, aimed at financing extra-curricular training for young students who have graduated from Italy’s best arts and crafts schools. They will spend a six-month training period in a workshop, laboratory or in-house atelier, working with a great “master”. The Cologni Foundation has invited companies, private individuals and institutions to provide tangible support for the initiative by “adopting” a young artisan with a donation of 5,000 euro. An important step in the preservation and transmission of our extraordinary craft knowledge and skill. www.fondazionecologni.it

LILIANE BETTENCOURT AWARD FOR THE INTELLIGENCE OF THE HAND Since 1999, the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller has promoted an important contest dedicated to the métiers d’art, acknowledging craftsmanship of excellence. Even in the 2014 edition, participants will have to demonstrate their perfect skill combined with an innovative approach and indisputable aesthetic qualities. The prize is worth 50,000 euro. www.fondationbs.org




10TH INTERNATIONAL “SIGNIFICANT FURNITURE” AWARD “Fondazione Aldo Morelato – Progetto Opera” has awarded the prize to the design entitled “Ceppo” by Marco Fiorentino from Albenga: a multipurpose object which can be used as a coffee table or as a seat. Each of its four elements has three sides with smooth edges and one that is moulded. The pieces are joined together with three elastic bands. Available in solid cedar or oak wood. www.fondazionealdomorelato.org

THE BRUNELLO CUCINELLI SCHOOL OF CRAFTS After Teatro Cucinelli, with its rich programme of plays, music and dance, and the Accademia Neoumanistica Aureliana, providing seminars on philosophy, history, architecture and spirituality, Brunello Cucinelli inaugurated his “School of Crafts” in Solomeo (Perugia), dedicated to specialised training in high craftsmanship. The pupils, selected by public notice, will receive a study grant, and this year will be attending courses in the theory and practice of Darning and the Art of Mending.

ALBUM3ENG_TL.indd 27

14/11/13 13.47

ALBUM shows EROS MINIARTEXTIL Como, Villa Olmo Until December 1, 2013 The 23rd Miniartextil exhibition presents the best 54 mini-textiles chosen in an international competition with 430 artists participating from 43 different countries. Many important artists, well-known in the contemporary art scene, are involved: this year, amongst others, Yinka Shonibare from London and Mandy Greer from the US. EROS Miniartextil is a unique opportunity to see the works by renowned artists, which enhance the bond between the world of art and the textile concept. www.miniartextil.it

DECEPTION: CERAMICS AND IMITATIONS London, Victoria & Albert Museum Until January 5, 2014 From tableware disguised as fruit and vegetables to ceramic imitations of metals, marble or gemstones, master potters have always created objects that delight and surprise. The items displayed in this London exhibition are beautiful and unusual. www.vam.ac.uk UGO LA PIETRA: TRACCE. LA MIA TERRITORIALITÀ Mondovì, Palazzo Fauzone di Germagnano Until January 6, 2014 Since the early days, when he was a disciple of Fontana, La Pietra has been constantly in search of new signs and new techniques. His creativity has been expressed on paper and on canvas, and in recent years he has concentrated on pottery. Terracottas and ceramics that are bent and engraved, decorated and glazed. Made in Albisola, Milan, Nove and now Mondovì (Ceramiche Besio 1842, the last remaining historical brand still operating here), they constitute a very interesting and evocative asset of expression and culture. www.museoceramicamondovi.it


2 1

ISTANTI DI VETRO: Federica Bottoli interprets the work of Marina and Susanna Sent Murano (Venice), Spazio Sorelle Sent Until December 8, 2013 The Murano workshop-showroom of the Sent sisters has become an exhibition centre open to the public. To mark the event, their passion for glass is celebrated with forty-five photographs by Federica Bottoli, divided into two sections. One dedicated to transparencies, with thirty digital prints hot-glued to frameless sheets of aluminium. The second to colour, with fifteen opaque prints on forex panels with contrasting frames in dark wood. With glass as its sole protagonist, the exhibition staged by Marina and Susanna is the occasion for a new and poetic review of the twenty years during which the glassworks have been in business.

ALBUM3ENG_TL.indd 28

PIETRO PIFFETTI, KING OF CABINETMAKERS, CABINET-MAKER OF KINGS Turin, Museo Accorsi Until January 12, 2014 In the museum’s Chinese room, an interesting exhibition dedicated to Pietro Piffetti (Turin, 1701 – 1777)


celebrates the Foundation’s purchase of a coffer made by the extraordinary cabinet-maker of the House of Savoy. This piece will join the other seven masterpieces already in the museum’s collection, which will be displayed with twenty more of his works, mostly from private collections. www.fondazioneaccorsi-ometto.it 3

BODONI, THE PRINCE OF PRINTMAKERS IN EUROPE IN THE AGE OF ENLIGHTENMENT AND OF NAPOLEON (1740-1813) Parma, Biblioteca Palatina, Teatro Farnese and Galleria Nazionale Palazzo della Pilotta Until January 12, 2014 To mark the bi-centenary of his death, the great Giovambattista Bodoni is being celebrated with an exhibition that was made possible thanks to the significant contribution of Fondazione Cariparma. In three of the city’s most fascinating monumental locations, the Biblioteca Palatina, the Teatro Farnese and the Galleria Nazionale, it will be possible to admire the refined works published by Bodoni and retrace the history of their making and marketing. Between the eighteenth and


14/11/13 13.48

29 4

nineteenth centuries, Bodoni’s masterpieces were contended by European courts, academies, libraries and intellectuals for the exceptional quality of their layout and contents. www.mostrabodoni.it 5

THE EMPIRE OF FOLDS. FASHION AND TEXTILE ART FROM JAPAN Zurich, Museum Bellerive Until January 12, 2014 An evocative fashion exhibition in Zurich: from Kenzo’s designs of 1970 to the futurist models of Issey Miyake and revolutionary designers Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, clothing is transformed into a flexible shell of pleated and folded fabrics. www.museum-bellerive.ch FASHION JEWELRY. THE COLLECTION OF BARBARA BERGER New York, MAD Until January 20, 2014 Approximately 450 creations by major designers including Miriam Haskell, Marcel Boucher, Kenneth Jay Lane, Balenciaga, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent and Dior. From Barbara Berger’s collection of Haute Couture jewellery: the world’s largest, counting approximately 4,000 items including bracelets, necklaces, brooches and earrings. www.madmuseum.org 4

FORNASETTI, 100 YEARS PRACTICAL MADNESS Milan, Triennale Until February 9, 2014 The exhibition brings together 700 works, most of which from the extraordinary archive curated by Barnaba Fornasetti, who carries on his father’s tradition. Fornasetti was a painter, printer, designer, collector, fashion creator, refined artisan and a decorator. Endowed with a rich and complex personality, he designed and produced approximately 13,000 objects and designs. The exhibition is divided into sections that retrace his history, from his early paintings, in the spirit of the turn of the century, to his printing workshop for artists’ books, to the close partnership with Gio Ponti in the 1950s and 60s. Up to 1988, the year of his death. www.triennale.org

ALBUM3ENG_TL.indd 29


CIRCUITS BIJOUX. DANS LA LIGNE DE MIRE Paris, Musée des Art Decoratifs Until March 2, 2014 A new take on French contemporary creativity in the field of jewellery. Over 600 pieces will illustrate how jewellery is changing today: in its role and in its formal expression and daring experimentation. 55 creators of contemporary bijoux will be presenting their work in a highly original setting with videos, documentaries, fashion shows and advertising campaigns. www.circuitsbijoux.com SILVER FROM THE MALAY WORLD London, Victoria & Albert Museum Until March 16, 2014 The exhibition explores the rich variety of late nineteenth-century Malayan silver artefacts, featuring different techniques and intricate decorations, inspired by nature and geometry. A journey to rediscover a rare art form, with a wide selection of dining vessels, jewellery, ceremonial regalia and clothing accessories acquired by three prominent colonial administrators at the turn of the 20th century. www.vam.ac.uk

14/11/13 13.48


Laboratories for the future

A work created by master craftsman Claude Delhief, an expert in glyptic art (engraving and carving of hard and precious stones).


14/11/13 13.49





They say that a man who works with his hands is a labourer, a man who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman and a man who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist. And Giorgio Vasari certainly prefigured this distinction in his Lives of the Artists: only a man who is connected to creation in an authentic, intense way is an “artist”. The rest are artisans, dedicated to “minor” arts. This distinction was certainly useful in an epoch when the artist’s individuality had to emerge from the anonymous mass of the Medieval workshops, but it does not appropriately reflect the life, the work and the techniques of the maîtres d’art and fine artisans of our days. Because in their supremely skilful hands, in their interpretive ability, in the passion that animates their hearts there is a special quality that sets them apart: in an era dominated by counterfeits and mass production, to discover the beauty and the uniqueness of an object signed by a maître d’art is like unveiling a long-hidden beauty. “The métiers d’art are a laboratory for the future,” said the late Etienne Vatelot, famed violinmaker and Honorary President of the French Art Crafts Council. “They express a living and harmonious culture, sometimes referred to as the immaterial heritage, which they strive to bring to perfection and to transmit. Despite the fragility of these crafts, they show the path to the future.” Many luxury brands are focusing their marketing activities on the re-discovery of their artisanal hearts: and, in fact, the work of the maîtres d’art is the basic ingredient of “authentic luxury”, something that cannot be achieved without the “intelligence” of a human hand. La Ville Lumière, with its magnificent and tempting luxury shops, is certainly a privileged

showcase for the greatest artisans, whose outstanding works can be admired not only in the windows of world-famous designer brands but also in the more secret, confidential, discreet network of ateliers where these skilled craftsmen still operate. And if the number of artisans working in their own atelier or inside a Maison is certainly remarkable, the title Maître d’Art is awarded only to a very selected number of professionals: established in 1994 by the Minister of Culture and Communication, this honour is given only to the most talented craftsmen, who master an exceptional knowhow and are committed to transmitting their knowledge. Many of the 107 titled French Maîtres have their ateliers in Paris: often accessible by appointment only, or extremely difficult to find, they nevertheless express an authentic aspect of the City of Lights, certainly less tied to clichés and infinitely more fascinating in its pristine respect of luxe à la française. The professions connected to the show business, for instance, can count on the talent of Danièle Boutard, costume designer, and Erhard Stiefel, mask creator. The former succeeded Barbara Karinska, the legendary costumière for the Ballets Russes, in 1972, and is a real historian of couture and an expert in the interpretation of styles in the different epochs; the latter creates masks in leather, lace, wood, linen. Fine craftsmen can lend a hand to graphic arts too: in Paris, artists the likes of Arman, Zao Wu Ki, Niki de Sainte-Phalle do not hesitate to knock at the door of Arts Litho to realize their lithography with Stéphane Guilbaud. Serigraphy is the specialty of Eric Seydoux, who regularly takes part in the most important exhibitions in the world. And René Tazé is a maestro in ancient practices like etching

b y Va s s i l i D r a g o m i r o v - p h o t o s b y A l e x i s L e c o m t e

In France, the most gifted artisans, committed to trasmitting their knowledge, can boast the title of “Maîtres d’Art” awarded by the Ministry of Culture. Many of them have their ateliers in Paris, for centuries the home to luxury forged by intelligent hands


14/11/13 13.49


Laboratories for the future

and other precious and very laborious engraving techniques. are specialised in working delicate feathers for all the major Lison de Caunes, descendent of the famous decorator Ancoutouriers as well as, of course, for their “mother house” dré Groult, has dedicated her talent to revitalize the lost art Chanel. Nelly Saunier too is an expert in handling the of straw marquetry: with a technique similar to that of wood “plumes” and regularly works with many fashion brands on marquetry, she creates delicate and beautifully intricate dectheir extravagant creations. Lionel Hück’s speciality is the orations for polychrome boxes, small tables and pieces of restoration of ancient textiles and upholstered furniture: he furniture. Michel Jamet is one of the finest and most famous restored Madame Récamier’s room and many pieces from restorers in France and has worked on several pieces of furroyal palaces like Fontainebleau. Fabrice Gohard is not only niture from Versailles and Vaux-le-Vicomte. Ornamental an expert restorer of gold-lacquered objects and sculptures sculptures in wood are regularly created for sophisticated, but also a loyal collaborator of contemporary designers: he very reserved and international clients by Etienne Rayssac worked on the golden statues of the Paris Opéra and devel(who has also worked on the historical heritage of brands ops projects for Jean-Pierre Raynaud, the designer of the like Shiseido and Guerlain) and Jean Renouvel. huge golden vase at the Centre Pompidou. The Austrian-born Ludwig Vogelgesang is an expert in the Reinhard von Nagel builds harpsichords that play notes of restoration of Art-Déco works as well as the author of a crystalline pureness. Master goldsmiths Jean-Christophe refined collection of furniture inspired by the materials, the Fouchier, Gérard Desquand (President of the Institut Nashapes and the elegance of that epoch. Those who nurture tional des Métiers d’Art) and Claude Delhief all speciala passion for fine accessories will love the creations of Serge ize in different and time-honored techniques, from high Amoruso: bags and leather goods in precious materials, aljewellery to metal engraving and stone carving. And apart ways crafted with meticulous attention to the demands of from the Maîtres nominated by the Minister, Paris is rich in his clients. Or the delicate, elegant shoes signed by Pierre small ateliers where passionate craftsmen still perform their Corthay, who has also collaborated with Yohji Yamamoto, gestures with noble dignity: perfumers, glove-makers, taiDior Couture and Lanvin. Without forgetting Massaro, lors, milliners… Paris, magnificent treasure box, continues of course, who realized Coco Chanel’s iconto house and foster that same excellence in the Below, from left, ic “beige sandal”. Ladies who can indulge the making of luxury objects which has made her the masks of Erhard luxury of not carrying anything in their hands famous for centuries. Thanks to the talent of Stiefel; works will appreciate the exquisite delicacy of the fans her finest artisans, exceptional men and women photographed in René crafted by Anne Hoguet, who is also a restorer who can craft, interpret and fulfil a dream. In Tazé’s laboratory; and has created a museum dedicated to fans. In Paris they are called maîtres, masters. Never a detail of a theatre costume made by Danièle the atelier established by Lemarié, skilful hands name was more appropriate. Boutard.Top, coats of arms engraved by Gérard Desquand, chairman of the INMA.


14/11/13 13.49


Success stories

The entrance to Teatro Antonio Belloni Barlassina, a painstakingly decorated gem of a theatre, the result of eight years of work for Marco Belloni and his master artisans. Right, detail of a lime wood carving, the speciality of the Brianza-based factory.


14/11/13 13.36


LIFTING THE CURTAIN ON FURNISHINGS by Alessandra de Nitto - foto di Emanuele Zamponi

Marco Belloni is the entrepreneur who runs a virtuous exemplar of Italian manufacturing, in operation since 1898. After fulďŹ lling the dreams of many wealthy clients with supremely made furnishings, he made his own dream come true: a theatre dedicated to opera, in memory of his father


14/11/13 13.36


Marco Belloni’s is a wonderful Italian success story. Especially in our present situation, his story makes it easier for us to feel proud of being born in a country that can express so much passion, talent and dedication, a professional attitude and a solid business sense coupled with the ability to make dreams come true. A gem of Brianza’s manufacturing district, Belloni was established in 1898 by Angelo, who was soon joined by his son Antonio. At the company headquarters in Barlassina we are greeted by Marco, the founder’s grandson, who began his apprenticeship in the family business at a very early age. He smiles as he tells us about the horse-drawn carts that he used to see when he was a boy, carrying to the station the furniture his grandfather and father made: he was immensely fascinated by the big crates heading for America, a legendary country in his young eyes. He was still only a teenager when he started working in the company, patiently assisting his father and the artisans, learning every secret, in the best tradition of the artisan workshops, by “stealing with his eyes.” At the same time he cultivated his artistic talent, attending evening classes on sculpture and drawing at Brera Fine Art Academy. He built a background of knowledge that would prove invaluable, acquiring

The thrill of admiring spectacular carving in natural lime wood, on a important manual skills and grasping the history of art necessary for a deeper understanding of period furnishings. In 1973, following the death of his father, he took over the company which he continues to run today, at the age of 65, with a passionate and tenacious approach, supported by the fourth generation: his four sons, all of whom work in the family company, each with their own roles and skills. Together they defend the values of a tradition which they see as a family vocation and destiny, in spite of the many difficulties they are currently facing. Marco Belloni makes no attempt to conceal them: he tells us that nowadays it has become economically difficult, almost impossible, to maintain his high standards of excellence. But if his words convey the struggle, the difficulties and at times even the bitterness he experiences, his expression and gestures tell a different story. The way in which his fingers caress the curves of an engraving, the light in his eyes as he admires the perfection of an inlay, reveal that the passion for excellence is eternal in those whose sole aim is to produce beautiful, indeed stunning, pieces of furniture

that meet the highest standards. The photographic archive of the company’s designs and products, spanning from the turn of the century to the present day, is outstanding and mostly preserved on glass negative plates: a historical heritage of know-how which the company continues to use to reproduce models, details and finishes. The showroom is an incredible tour through the history of furniture, embracing each of the classic styles: from Louis XV to Louis XVI to Baroque, from Rococo to Empire and Art Deco. The crafting skill involved is extraordinary. Marquetry inlays and cabinet-making are the house’s jewels in the crown, now the sole preserve of a mere handful of very skilled local master craftsmen which the company considers living treasures. All the production is done in-house, except for the varnishing and polishing which is entrusted to expert external workshops. Belloni has always worked especially with overseas markets, including England, Switzerland, the United States and Canada. Today, most of his clients come from Russia and the Middle-East; they admire Italian savoir-faire and demand

Top left, an exclusive chaise longue from the “Subliminal” collection made by Belloni, produced using hand-carved wood of Baroque inspiration with silver leaf finishing and velvet upholstery. Right, Marco Belloni portrayed in his beloved Theatre.


14/11/13 13.36

Success stories

sideboard or wood panelling which exalts manual skill, remains priceless a sophisticated and exclusive product. Over the years, Marco Belloni, together with his craftsmen, has directed and personally supervised the production of the furnishings for entire five-star hotels (from the Excelsior in Rome to the Savoy in Zurich) and incredible villas, such as Sylvester Stallone’s house in Miami or, in more recent years, fabulous private residences in St. Petersburg and the Emirates, where he worked for over two years, furnishing a 17,000-square-metre palace in the middle of the desert. Traditionally specialised in period furnishings executed with formal perfection and expertise, the company has also developed more contemporary products, where design and experimentation with new materials come into play, resulting in collections like “Le Gemme”, in collaboration with Swarovski, and “Subliminal”, in which the most refined and exclusive production techniques are combined with outstanding materials. At present, the company is experimenting with a finish in liquid titanium which pushes research to the most extreme limits… But the thrill of admiring the stunning carvings in the natural lime

wood used for a sideboard or wood panelling, where the skill of the hand shines through in the generous volutes of leaves, flowers, garlands and shells, remains matchless. An astonishing and all-encompassing display of the savoir-faire of these master artisans is Teatro Antonio Belloni, which Marco built in Barlassina, in what was once the seat of the family business. A dream he nurtured for many years as a music enthusiast, the opera in particular, and that he literally made with his own hands and dedicated to his father. The discovery of this unique and enchanting place is moving. Beyond the elegant foyer, the small gem of a theatre features a neoclassical layout, seating one hundred spectators between the stalls, the eight boxes set out on two tiers and the box of honour. They afford a unique view of the performance, thanks to the intimate and captivating atmosphere and outstanding acoustics. Every detail of this masterpiece has been decorated with great care, from the wonderful wood carvings of the hall to the elegant dressing rooms for the performers. For eight years, Mar-


co Belloni, his son Giovanni and their craftsmen - more than fifty artisans, including cabinet makers, carpenters, plasterers, decorators, builders and electricians - have dedicated their free time to accomplish this feat. Marco Belloni modestly prefers not to talk about the costs, clearly enormous and all borne by the family. “We have been quite reckless,” he says, and changes the subject. Since 2010, the management of all activities has been entrusted to the Cultural Association of the Teatro Antonio Belloni, with the aim of promoting music and drama and becoming a major cultural pole in the region. Since its opening, the theatre has presented a rich programme of operas - Cavalleria Rusticana, Tosca and the Barber of Seville – as well as baroque and choral music, jazz concerts, musicals and plays. The entire family is personally involved in the theatre’s activities, and they never miss a performance …. It is a great challenge, but when the lights are dimmed, the star-studded ceiling is lit (1,600 optical fibres which Giovanni fitted by hand, one by one) and the curtains go up, it is easy to imagine how moved and proud this family must be: a family which gives a wonderful example of entrepreneurship that is “good and fair”.

Top left, all the production processes are carried out inside the company, where craftsmanship is of the highest standards. Right, a sumptuous Baroque-style table, with a magnificent top featuring a detailed intarsia of floral motifs.


14/11/13 13.36





LEOWE 3ENG_TL.indd 38

14/11/13 13.51




W When director Joseph L. Mankiewicz set “The Barefoot Contessa” in Madrid in 1954, the seductive beauty of Ava Gardner fascinated spectators worldwide: her grace combined with her explosive interpretation of the ballerina Maria Vargas perfectly portrayed the spirit of Spain, with its noble gestures, powerful passions and sensual colours. Nobility, passion and sensuality are such iconic elements of Spanish culture and life to be often reduced to stereotypes: as a result they need to be continually reinvented and re-experienced, revived and amplified, so that they may genuinely define the true Spanish spirit. A spirit that in Madrid is still represented by grandiosity with a domestic soul, and gracefulness that runs as thick as blood. The same iconic elements, traits and authentic qualities that characterise Loewe’s production: a German name for luxury goods that are exquisitely Spanish at heart. The company was named after the founder of the Maison, Enrique Loewe

Roessberg, who arrived in the Spanish capital from Germany in 1846 and went straight to work in the workshops of leather craftsmen. In that year, the demand for luxury goods had soared owing to the wedding of Queen Isabella II. Then, in 1872, Loewe founded his own workshop, and after a dozen-odd years, Loewe had become a favourite among the Iberian aristocracy, who flocked to his boutique in Calle del Principe to order gloves, bags and leather goods made by the skilled hands of the finest craftsmen that Loewe scouted to work in his atelier. A research that, on the one hand, proved rather easy, given Spain’s centuries-old tradition in leather crafts and, on the other, was complicated by the extreme individualism of the greatest Spanish masters of the arts. Enrique Loewe’s pragmatism and vision won through: in 1905, to mark Alfonso XIII marriage to Victoria Eugenia, the Maison (under the guidance of his son, Enrique Loewe Hilton) was granted the

by Alberto Cavalli

Bull-shaped purse, hand-made by Loewe artisans in Madrid. Opposite page, an embroiderer of Carrera Iglesias in Seville completes a Mantón de Manila which took four months to make.

LEOWE 3ENG_TL.indd 39

14/11/13 13.51



honour of the official title of “Supplier to the Royal Court”. High society ladies contended handbags in iguana or crocodile skin while the gentlemen ordered bags, pouches and briefcases in leather as soft as velvet. In the Thirties, in spite of the bleak political situation in Spain and Europe, Loewe managed to open the historic boutique on Madrid’s Gran Via, followed shortly after by the shop in Barcelona’s Paseo de Gracia. After the War, when a new and more creative fashion was arising, more sensitive to social change, the identity of Loewe (still firmly held in family hands) was interpreted by the legendary figure of José Pérez de Rozas, who embodied the spirit of the house until 1978. He created many of the iconic bags which to this day are the hallmark of the Spanish brand. Like the Amazona, perhaps the most representative of Pérez de Rozas’ creations, still made in priceless skins for a clientele that seeks craftsmanship coupled with impeccable style. Not surprisingly, Loewe’s style enticed many a Hollywood star: not just Ava Gardner, but also Cary Grant, Deborah Kerr and Maria Callas, who never missed the opportunity for a visit to the boutique on Gran Via for bags, products, creations made in skins the secret of which is closely guarded in the Loewe atelier: nappa leather as delicate as the wings of an angel yet durable and light; crocodile skins skilfully cut and dyed in the hottest colours of the season; travelling trunks fitted with the most luxurious lining seduce customers with their perfect combination of fine materials and skilled craftsmanship. The Spanish renaissance went hand in hand with the growing international success of the brand, which also started to produce a clothing collection designed by fashion legends such as Karl

LEOWE 3ENG_TL.indd 40

Lagerfeld and Giorgio Armani; yet the heart of the house of fashion has always remained around the cutting table, concentrated on the calligraphic construction of masterpieces in Spanish leather and focused on preserving its identity and making it instantly perceivable, like the warmth of the land it represents. A warmth that must be touched, discovered and loved. To appreciate the ultra-fine thickness (0.7 millimetres), meticulous finish and masterful construction of the “Cordero entrefino español”, from lambs herded in the Pyrenees, you must fell it, experience it, understand it with all five senses. This hand-crafted heart so closely bound to its territory still constitutes the competitive edge of a company which has a strong international standing but has never betrayed its original vocation: to transmit, in its authenticity, a sense of exclusivity, of private luxury, of research. In short, of exquisite craftsmanship, which Loewe fosters and promotes not just internally, but also through communication and protection projects. “Best Hands of Spain” is a photographic treasure chest, a tribute to three of the best and most important Spanish artisans, highly acclaimed and respected to this day: Castañer for espadrillas, Carbonell for fans and Carrera Iglesias for the Mantón de Manila. These craftsmen produced exclusive limited editions distributed worldwide by Loewe together with the leather-crafted “Animals” created by the brand’s masters in the Getafe atelier. Craftsmanship is a language that defies clichés and that needs to express itself in ever-changing shapes: and Loewe knows that craftsmanship is not about the absence of innovation, but about the presence of emotion. To be preserved and promoted, like the most caliente of passions.

14/11/13 13.51


Loewe and Casta単er have developed a range of nappa and suede espadrilles. Opposite page: bottom, the Amazona bag in suede with crocodile handles; top, an artisan at work at Madrid-based Carbonell, historic manufacturer of fans.

LEOWE 3ENG_TL.indd 41

14/11/13 13.51

A SACRED TOUCH The church of San Giovanni Battista in Mogno, Valle Maggia (Switzerland), built between 1986 and 1998. Opposite page, the holy water stoup of the church of San Pietro Apostolo in Sartirana di Merate, built between 1987 and 1995.

BOTTA 3ENG_TL.indd 42



14/11/13 13.53

Maîtres of design


forms T H AT B ECO M E




BOTTA 3ENG_TL.indd 43

by Ugo La Pietra

14/11/13 13.53

97 44

Maîtres of design

With his work, Mario Botta not only expresses the high standard of design applied to architecture, furniture and design. He also expresses a vocation for diversity, the territory’s resources and the use of materials linked to the culture of craftsmanship. His experience in liturgical furnishing and design provide an authoritative reference point for this particular field, which is experiencing renewed interest in both art and architecture. UGO LA PIETRA You are known for your consistency, your love of materials and the outstanding quality of your architecture, the same values that you transfer to the objects and furnishings you design. What is your position, as a designer and planner, when it comes to material culture, to handcrafted goods and craftsmanship in general? MARIO BOTTA As an architect, I feel that today the attention devoted to materials is not simply determined by a linguistic issue – the form of expression – but also by an attitude that sets itself against the cultural trends brought about by globalization. Matter is not just a technical instrument; it also represents our history and memory, the connection to our great past. The craftsman is the link, inasmuch as it provides continuity to this heritage. U.L.P. The Roman Catholic Curia is dedicating a great deal of renewed attention to its ecclesiastical buildings, not only as places of worship and meditation, but also in terms of the distinctive elements that characterise their interiors: objects, decorations and furnishings. Elements that have probably not been explored enough by the design culture. In what way have you developed the relationship between interior and exterior? Could you give us a few examples? M.B. In an architectural space that possesses symbolic and metaphorical values, the furnishings evidently play an important role, because they merge tradition and the more domestic aspects of everyday life. For this reason, I believe that the concept of “interior-exterior” should be treated as an interchangeable value, without the discontinuity that is evident in recent cases. In my projects I always concentrate on highlighting the “structural” characteristics of the architectural object: gravity, light, structural limits. My aim is to express these concepts using an essential language; this also applies to liturgical objects and furnishings, which I have also designed in the past. One of the many possible examples I can give you concerns the altar: until a couple of decades ago, its function was interpreted in the sense of the Latin “mensa”, whereas nowadays it is regarded more as an “ara”, a sacrificial altar. This calls for even greater stylistic rigorousness. Other examples can be seen in pews and pulpits: their design is more “prosaic” but at the same time they must communicate the great craftsmanship we have inherited from our past. U.L.P. In your opinion, should religious furnishings reflect the differences

between Churches, not only in terms of their architectural structure but also of their congregations? M.B. I think this distinction is unnecessary; the nature of ecclesiastical furnishings is to be interchangeable, their style depends on the style of the moment or on the cultures that use them. On the other hand, since the architectural structure is a unicum, the context must be integrated in the design. U.L.P. The attention you pay to design and the use of materials still reflects your working methodology, an approach confirmed in the armchair you recently designed for the Aldo Morelato Foundation, made by Morelato srl. Can you tell me more about it? M.B. Designing a chair reflects the constant need to reinterpret the objects we use every day. Even though we already have millions of chairs, some of which are very beautiful and of outstanding quality, we still have an urge to design new ones. I believe it is a way to represent our time, our awareness and, paradoxically, to survive our consumerist culture and passing vogues. In the “Morelato” chair, the skills and tradition of this company emerge: contemporary laminar wood is a product of the past but also of the new technologies. I wanted to create an image that could raise emotions and, why not, even a smile.

BOTTA 3ENG_TL.indd 44



14/11/13 13.53



TRANSMITTING VALUES The extraordinary architecture of Petra (Suvereto), designed by Mario Botta for Terra Moretti. The features recall the church of Santo Volto in Turin (opposite, top), concluded in 2006, also designed by Botta; bottom left, the church of San Giovanni Battista in Mogno.

BOTTA 3ENG_TL.indd 45

14/11/13 14.51


by Alberto Cavalli



14/11/13 13.55

Timeless dedication


The creations conceived in the Manufacture’s ateliers provide a new take on the ancestral technique of “grisaille Grand Feu” enamel to pay tribute to the art of classical ballet through some of Edgar Degas’ masterpieces.


14/11/13 13.55

48 Each face has been decorated according to the ancient and noble art of Grisaille Grand Feu enamel: a rare technique which calls for outstanding skill

H Above, the hands of the master enameller defining the last details. Right, the dial reveals every slightest detail: the pleats of the tutu, the lace on the neckline, the velvet of the ribbon around the neck, the transparency of the tulle and muslin.


His elegance and innate talent for dance made him one of the most admired danseurs of his day. When he performed the choreographies created by his teachers, the sun that crowned him exalted his majesty and hinted at his future: Louis XIV, the Sun King. His passion for the art of Terpsichore and the Academy that he established in 1661 made French ballet famous throughout the world. A royal decree issued in 1713 transformed the institution into the École Française de Danse, with its seat at the Opéra de Paris. Since then, these two cultural institutions have shared close ties. Not surprisingly, Swiss watchmaker Vacheron Constantin, sponsor of the Paris Opéra to which it has dedicated a collection of luxury watches inspired by the famous ceiling painted by Chagall, is celebrating the third centenary of the École de Danse with three new extraordinary creations for the Métiers d’Art series: Hommage à l’Art de la Danse. Three masterpieces bearing the Hallmark of Geneva. The Manufacture’s ties with dance run deep: the creation of a fine watch like Vacheron Constantin’s has in fact much in common with the ephemeral yet unforgettable performance of a ballet dancer. The balance between technical perfection and artistic gracefulness is one example: the training of a ballet dancer is extremely rigorous, and the École de Danse demands total dedication from a very early age, to achieve a level of execution that combines

the finest technique with impeccable precision. When ballerinas dance, what we see on stage are just their light and elegant movements, the delicate interpretation of a musical atmosphere: we perceive no effort or fatigue, only their great professionalism and the sophistication of their dance. The same balance characterises a haute horlogerie watch: the three models of Hommage à l’Art de la Dance reflect an aesthetic beauty that relies on the impeccable execution of the skilled craftsmen that contribute to their creation. The watches’ functions are determined by the complications, for the pleasure of those who wear them on their wrists. The ballerina figures, inspired by Degas, are ethereal and elegant. But behind this extraordinary perfection lies the patient, steadfast and painstaking work of the masters who have created them: the watchmakers of Vacheron Constantin, of course, who have made each single component of the timepiece. The specialists who created the 2460 SC calibre, designed and produced by Vacheron Constantin. The goldsmiths who cast the 40 mm case in 18-carat white gold. And the masters of art who decorated the dials with three extraordinary subjects: La classe de danse, La répétition and Deux danseuses sur scène. Each dial is decorated with the ancient and noble art of grisaille Grand Feu enamel: a rare and truly demanding process that involves great skill and mastery. It is hard to find specialists in this technique outside the canton of Geneva.

14/11/13 13.55

Timeless dedication



14/11/13 13.55


Timeless dedication

Without using colours or adding materials, the enameller creates a relief which enhances each detail, from the expressions to the pleats in the costumes and the transparency of tulle and muslin

Above, the workshop of the master enameller. Below, one of the three unique pieces from the new Métiers d’Art collection, Hommage à l’Art de la Danse. Opposite page, the heart of these watches: a mechanical automatic winding 2460 SC mechanism, designed and made by Vacheron Constantin.


The Grand Feu enamel is in fact typical of the city of Calvin, where the greatest artisans and experts in this profession live, and place their talents at the disposal of Vacheron Constantin to create masterpieces with dazzling colours. The grisaille Grand Feu is an even rarer specialisation: without using any colour, and without adding any material, the artisan who masters this métier d’art creates a relief that enhances every detail of the ballerinas, down to their expressions, the smallest folds of their costumes and the transparency of the tulle and muslin. The brightness and vividness of the dials, made entirely inside the Manufacture, are the result of a specific aesthetic choice: the craftsman does not apply the grisaille enamel to a black surface, but to a translucent brown enamel. The reliefs, designs and decorations are made with scrupulous attention to detail, using needles, ultra-fine brushes and even cactus spines: with these instruments, the Limoges white enamel, a very fine powder mixed with oils according to an archaic formula, is applied and worked. Sensitivity and intuition, manual skill and dexterity define the patient work of the master craftsman. The firing of each layer must be timed to the second, according to the type and amount of material applied. The firing time is but one of the many secrets guarded by the talented craftsmen of Vacheron Constantin, who can depict breathtakingly perfect

expressions, details and features with just a range of grey shades. Perfection does not lie solely in the execution but also in the inspiration: the master enameller interpreted three famous works by Degas after an extensive research and after having absorbed their poetry and lightness: Ballet Room at the Opera in Rue le Peletier, oil on canvas dated 1874 and displayed at the Musée d’Orsay; Ballet Rehearsal, oil on canvas painting of 1873, exhibited at the Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, USA); and Two Dancers on Stage, oil on canvas of 1874, exhibited at London’s Courtauld Gallery. In these works, the artist portrayed the energy, the expectation and the passion marking three key moments in the life of a ballerina: learning, practice and performance. Moments that occur also in the lives of every master watchmaker: the strict discipline that is necessary to learn the profession, the first complications constructed with meticulous perseverance, and the creation of the masterpiece that will adorn the wrist of someone who will take great pleasure in the movement of the hands, in the same way that a spectator is captivated by the gestures of a ballerina. Because both moments have to do with poetry. In the case of ballet, the moment is fugacious as it is unforgettable. In the case of the watch, the moment is eternal as time itself. Yet both are bound to the beauty that is born of the craft and becomes an art.

14/11/13 13.55



14/11/13 13.56


Living treasures

Sonoko Sasaki, “Living National Treasure� of Japan, at the spinning wheel, preparing the yarn that she uses to create textiles with the time-honoured technique of Tsumugi-ori. Born in Tokyo in 1939, she dedicated her life to weaving and making kimonos after experiencing the tactile sensations of traditional fabrics.


14/11/13 13.58




by Akemi Okumura Roy photos by Kimimasa Naito


14/11/13 13.58



The Kimono is a Japanese national costume, HER CREATIVE DESIGNS ARE HIGHLY which in the long history of traditional Japanese REFINED GRAPHIC MOTIFS THAT culture has always been handed down from one generation to the next. Nowadays, artisans still CELEBRATE THE RICHES OF NATURE, continue to weave kimonos by hand, crafting INCLUDING BIRDS AND FLOWERS masterpieces which are highly valuable and which require special artistic skills and techniques: in Japanese “Waza”. Sonoko Sasaki is of women in ancient Japan. Many of her great works are crafted a Living National Treasure of Japan. She was designated as the using traditional tools such as looms, spinning wheels, threads second holder of an important intangible cultural property for of different tones, colourful fabrics; her designs of birds and “Tsumugi-Ori” Weaving technique in 2005. vegetation genuinely express the very essence of the Japanese Born in Tokyo in 1939, after studying various disciplines such tradition. Beauty and a good energy are perceivable in her studio, as oil painting and photography, Sonoko Sasaki realised that as well as all around her person. the job of her life would be an artisanal one: her “encounter” Sasaki’s creative designs are classy graphical motifs of nature, with traditional fabrics, and the tactile sensations she felt when such as birds and flowers; her graphic sketches combine abtouching them, made her decide to become a weaving artist and to dedicate her talent to the creation of kimonos. A correct stract and naturalistic motifs to create elegant designs. All the materials are natural and have been obtained from the blessings intuition: Sasaki has now been working in this field continually of the Earth, from the bounty of the season. “Nature’s bounty for fifty years, thus treasuring and revitalising also the heritage is not created by humans,” she says; “I am always reminded of her mother, Aiko Sasaki, who was a textile scholar. that all creations are a constant exchange with God.” This is a For three years, Sasaki studied hand-loom Tsumugi weaving very central element in her creative process, which begins with (from which Pongee is produced, a very soft, unbleached silk fabric) in Shizuoka Prefecture; she then dedicated herself to the selection of natural silk yarns from the Gunma prefecture. warp, weft and pictorial ikat in Yonago and Hirose. Ikat is a Tsumugi silk yarn is boiled to dye with dry roots, nuts, leaves, flowers and tree roots, to obtain colours such as red, yellow, green, special dying technique that requires time, skill and patience. For brown, grey and blue. As the wine tastes different every year, seven years she had to go and stay frequently in these territoin the same way also textiles change their colour according to ries, to learn and master the technique. She also studied vegetal the season. Many of the plants that Sasaki uses are from Japan; dying techniques, using elements derived from plants. Though some of them grow only in the islands of the south and India. respecting the traditional techniques of rustic ikat, Sasaki has established her own style by introducing into Tsumugi-Ori a Once dyed, the threads are rinsed and given a finishing coat of creative way of designing based on sketch: a technique called Funori starch, extracted from marine algae. The yarn is then winded and woven, and at the end of the process one roll of pictorial ikat (E-gasuri, in Japanese) which requires complex kimono is created: an impressive fabric, with a length of 12 pattern designs and precise calculation. A rare technique that metres, and a width of just 40 centimetres. is kept in high esteem. Sonoko Sasaki has a dignified strength, Weaving is a very intense work. It requires a great deal of concena very clear voice and a total dedication and passion for what tration. If one thread is misplaced, the work is spoiled. It requires she does. Speaking to her is a very inspiring experience. For the photo shooting she was dressed in a traditional kimono; while concentration, attentiveness and dedication; all five senses must be alert. One piece can take as long as a year and a half to be working in her studio, her posture evokes the graceful manners Top, Sonoko Sasaki at the old handloom. Opposite page, “Green Storm”, a kimono created using the pictorial ikat technique known as E-gasuri. For fifty years, Ms Sasaki has been making traditional kimonos by hand, continuing in the footsteps of her mother Aiko Sasaki, a textile scholar.


14/11/13 13.58



Living treasures


14/11/13 13.58


Living treasures

crafted: being entirely manual, each phase of the THE STAGES OF AN UNDERSTATEDLY EXCELLENT LIFE process is stupendous and requires surprisingly 1939: Born in Tokyo July 4th 2001: Awarded the “Prize of the precise work. Sasaki uses genuine and pristine 1963: Studied handloom weaving in Governor of Tokyo” in the 48th “Japan elements such as the water from the well in her Shizuoka Prefecture Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition” garden, an old spinning wheel and a handloom, 1969: Opened Studio at home in 2002: Appointed executive director and tools that are traditionally antique. Her life, Tokyo of the Nihon Kogeikai and chairman of her technique, are reminiscent of the old world 1972: Received First Prize in the the Textile Division of Japanese folk tales. As Sasaki says, “when I 19th “Japan Traditional Art Crafts 2002: Awarded the Medal of Honour design, I never choose the theme first. The deExhibition” with Purple Ribbon sign is born spontaneously. The flowers or birds 1973-74: Studied pictorial ikat in 2003: Awarded the Anniversary Prize that are the origin of my sketches are floating in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture and Hirose, in the 50th “Japan Traditional Art my mind, and then I refine the shape by drawing Shimane Prefecture Crafts Exhibition” them in my sketchbook. Like a mirror, it reflects 1975: Awarded the “Director2005: Designated as an Important my life and my heart. I must not have a cloudGeneral Prize” in the 22nd “Japan Intangible Cultural Property for ed mind. This cannot be expressed in words, it Traditional Art Crafts Exhibition” Tsumugi-ori technique. resides in the sense of unity of life and work, 1983: Invited to the exhibit “30 2007: Exhibit “Crafting Beauty in and it is supported with prayer.” Her faith arises Years of Modern Japanese Traditional Modern Japan” – British Museum, from receiving Catholic baptism, in the Forties; Crafts” London. and in 1993, Sasaki presented white vestments 1993: Presented her handcrafted 2009: Received the Order of the to Pope John Paul II. vestments to Pope John Paul II Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette Sonoko Sasaki, who in 1969 opened a studio at her home in Tokyo, is dedicating her time also to hand down her skills and techniques to the next genernoko Sasaki gives her whole soul with loving care to every single ations by teaching at school, and by witnessing the importance thread. As the artist says, “there are some young people who of tradition and history through her lectures. She now has four have my own mind-set and share my vision of life: they come disciples working at her studio. Appointed executive director of around with pleasure, and they make a great effort every day to learn and inherit this Waza. Refined people can still feel the the Nihon Kogeikai (the Japanese Museum of Traditional Arts comfort of hand-woven clothes: these persons will preserve our and Crafts) and chairman of its textile division in 2002, Sasaki work, so that the artistically crafted kimono may not disappear believes that “traditional technology is part of the wisdom of the human race, therefore it has to be handed down to the next from Japanese culture.” As she says in a passionate, yet serene generations. Advanced technology does not necessarily ensure way, “I do not produce the same thing twice. All my works are human happiness, and a correct balance between technology and one of a kind. When one has been working for fifty years, as I have, of course one experiences moments of joy and moments art must always be found; now it is the time to make an effort to of discomfort; when I work on a kimono, using the whole body, try and solve, fearlessly, the problems within the textile industry, sharpening five senses and interacting with the material, I always and proceed with judicious calm.” Judicious calm is necessary feel a deep happiness. A kimono is silent, but I believe it speaks also to weave Tsumugi textiles. The texture is very stiff at first and it becomes lighter, softer and comfortable every time it is to those who can see something in it. I would like to convey this worn. The production process involves time and energy: Sopleasure every day, through my own hands.” Top, Sonoko Sasaki works with the old wooden shuffle. Right, the master of arts weaves her one-off masterpiece in a measured and skilled manner. “I never create the same thing twice. Making a kimono calls for total dedication: using the whole body, sharpening five senses, I always feel a profound sense of joy.”


14/11/13 13.59



14/11/13 13.59

58 97

Federica Cavriana


SCULPTURAL WORKS The artisan business founded by Paul Cunningham is called Leather Head Sports. The leather used is beautiful both to see and to touch. (www.leatherheadsports.com)


Perhaps to most people the word inning is not a familiar term, and strike means knocking down all pins on the first roll, and a diamond is nothing more than an allotrope of carbon – albeit a highly expensive one. Yet it is important to bear in mind that for baseball fans these terms have quite different meanings. They represent the waiting, the elation and the place in which the challenge itself takes place. Real baseball fans can’t get enough of the dates and scores of the great matches, that they know by heart, or of the baseball sticker collections with all the hitters and pitchers. To them, the most prized collector’s items are bats, gloves and baseballs autographed by the champions. Paul Cunningham, an American from Cooperstown and a true “baseball guy”, used to fantasise about owning a few balls or a glove touched by the hands of his idols when, still a boy, he sat on the bleachers of the ballpark. In his adult life, he enjoyed a successful and long career as photo editor for Major League Baseball.

But his passion drove him further. Why not try his hand at making those same gloves and baseballs, the perfect epitomes of a captivating spectator sport that made his adrenaline rush and bewitched him in his youth? He instantly took up the challenge. Paul started sewing gloves and then designing, assembling and blowing up baseballs, basketballs and footballs. He feels that the creativity and the manual dexterity involved in his work are far more gratifying than his whole career as photo editor: “Changing work and life was not a conscious decision. My skill as an artisan increased to the point that it started to dominate my professional career.” He went on to establish his enterprise, Leather Head Sports. Just how important the quality of the leather is to Mr Cunningham is evident in the very name of the business. Among his suppliers are Horween of Chicago, Tasman of Maine and a number of Italian manufacturers, for the balls made in brilliant colours. Paul calls it “serious leather”, leather that is not

14/11/13 14.02

Fit like a glove




only good to feel and hardwearing and coloured, but also “serious” because the quality must be fit for his clients, mostly professional players and also many enthusiast. As he himself says, “my clients are affluent and they are style-conscious. I am a leather artisan and I use the sculptural elements of sports balls to show how extraordinary this material is. I want people to understand the intrinsic beauty of each ball, to appreciate its essential elegance.” The craftsmen at Leather Head Sports put all their skill into achieving this result. To make just one basketball, eight parts of leather need to be sewn in a three-dimensional perspective: it takes a great deal of practice and skill and at least one hour’s work. Paul Cunningham’s imagination is continuously challenged, as he devises new solutions for his creations. “I am thinking of making a soccer ball, which is, unfortunately, time consuming and difficult to make. I am hoping to perfect it in time for the 2014 World Cup. We have very close


ties to soccer: my partner, Jeff Bradley, is the brother of Bob, currently Head Coach of the Egyptian national team, and the uncle of Michael Bradley, who plays for Roma. Although I have less time now to supervise customised productions, I always get requests, even from people who have invented a new sport. When it happens, I immediately start to design and check feasibility and costs, and, if it seems practicable, I get down to work.” Far from being just “toys for boys”, the siren song of these seductive, egg-shaped little objects enchants adults even more than kids. Not surprisingly, all Leather Head Sports craftsmen and staff enjoy playing with the balls they make, to test their quality and durability (well, at least that’s their excuse!). In other words, they bring their work home, though in a form that is much more fun than usual. The result of their dedication inside and outside the workshop is under the noses – apparently the serious leather smells wonderful – the eyes and hands of satisfied players worldwide.

PRACTICE AND SKILL To make a basketball it is necessary to sew, in three dimensions, eight separate pieces of leather. At least one hour is needed for each.

14/11/13 14.02


Maîtres d ’art

ENGRAVING AT ITS FINEST “Corte Nascosta” is an authentic masterpiece in the art of cabinet-making, inspired by Venetian architecture. This page, a close-up of François Staub’s pièce. Opposite, the façade of the Ca’ d’Oro is perfectly recognisable behind the open doors of the “sculpture”. Staub initially made a gilded version but eventually opted for white maple wood.

STAUB 3ENG_TL.indd 60

14/11/13 14.08

Eccellenze dal mondo

96 61


by Paolo Dalla Sega


14/11/13 14.08


Monsieur François Staub uses these words to describe his masterpiece (or rather, his pièce) in the fine art of cabinet making, christened with the singular name of “Corte Nascosta”, hidden court in Italian. It immediately brings to mind the title of a Corto Maltese adventure, the “Corte Sconta”, and the reference to Venice is well-founded. Whether folie or obsession, without doubt it represents a passion that has lasted over ten years and is now safely stored in the countryside of Morges, beyond Lausanne, in the heart of the Vaud, where it was created by the hands of a team of artisans and artists which François has orchestrated and directed like a film director. The pièce cannot be described as an object or a sculpture. It needs a long story, not just an explanation, and the story starts at the dinner table, with a little help from an “insolent” Cornalin, a red wine of the Valais all violets and myrtle, the memory of which lingers on together with other unique and indelible impressions. Twenty-five years ago, François Staub was undecided between the arts and the crafts, like many others in this small Europe. He chose the latter because he would not have made a living from the former. And he chose wood, with the training and the work that goes with it and that is necessary for the “construction” of this living material. He had a marked preference for maple wood –

At the beginning of his career he chose the crafts, because the arts would not earn him a living. But the artist emerged from the wood....

érable – hard but easy to work, with an even texture and an ideal density. It was only natural that he should specialise in cabinet-making, a fine and noble craft. He tirelessly dedicated his skill to the production of one-off pieces of furniture, amongst other things; special objects whose echoes and resonances reflect modern and contemporary art, with an awareness that embraces theatre and cinema. Furniture and objects made for architects and designers, at times co-designed and conceived in partnership – in keeping with the finest tradition of design, one half of the duo is often forgotten and only the other is designated as the “creator”– and at other times completely on his own, which is where his craft became an art in its own right. A complex corner bookshelf fully expresses the organic nature of this “raw material”, whose carnal curves reveal the mark of Dalì; staircases, shelves, and contemplative objects that evoke the folies or obsessions – again – of Escher and his irrational forms, endless and rambling. And a host of sketches or models of objects that have never been made, but that give us an insight into the minds of their creators (whether artisans or artists), who prefer a particular wood and colour – for reasons imperceptible to the untrained eye, like much of the films dear to the heart of Monsieur Staub, from Sokurov to Bela Tarr – and cover, unhampered, a

SPACIAL EXPLORATION Above, a new model inspired by Maurits Cornelis Escher’s visions. Top left, working materials in Staub’s atelier; the button that releases the opening mechanism is concealed in the Venetian well. Opposite page, the inlays inside “Corte Nascosta” recall the floor of Andrea Palladio’s Redentore Church in Giudecca.

STAUB 3ENG_TL.indd 62

14/11/13 14.08

Maîtres d ’art

STAUB 3ENG_TL.indd 63


14/11/13 14.08


Maîtres d ’art

variety of unusual fields, from race cars to watches, lamps and guitars. After all, in front of Staub’s workshop is a garage full of old Porsche 911s. Geneva is a stone’s throw away and François feels he is pretty much in the right place: “there are, perhaps, too many cows but then again, nature is important.” Practically speaking, there is no shortage of affluent customers around here, nor of wood, be it Swiss, French or from more exotic forests in other hemispheres. Today his ten artisans are putting the finishing touches to some pieces heading for Taipei, but his heart lies in Italy, in that secret recess of the heart where all the most daring follies are conceived. L’Italie: the flipside of Switzerland, but, more sensibly, the Italy of art, history, magic and widespread charm. And, even more than Italy, Venice, a treasure chest of art and hidden visions. François dedicates his “Corte Nascosta” to Venice: a dark, imposing monolith (60 x 60 x 100), almost redolent of Kubrick, propped on a pedestal from which it lures and at the same time unsettles us. It could be termed a meuble à secrets, a secret cabinet, but only the adjective is fit to describe it. It is a mise en scène. On its two dark portals lies Venice, cast into the sea and overrun by its canals; the doors open to reveal the luminous façade of Ca’ d’Oro; behind it, a court that is a quotation of Venice in

His works are exported to far-off countries, but his heart remains in Italy: the symbolic flipside of Switzerland, representing art, history, magic and widespread charm

fragments (the floor of the Redentore church) and here, amidst spiral staircases and loggias, it begins to reveal drawers, hidey-holes and mechanisms: secrets and the places of secrets. A concealed mechanism exposes a mirror, and we find ourselves inside this magical theatre, inside this black-andwhite film. Another reveals the menacing eyes of the Condottiero Colleoni, just as he was sculpted by Verrocchio in Campo San Giovanni e Paolo. A Wunderkammer to the letter, with artifices that draw us into the game, making us a part of this chiaroscuro madness, this cinematographic journey into an artist’s dream. The pièce, presented to prospective “buyers” in a number of private performances around Europe, from Lucerne to Venice, has yet to find a purchaser, and hence remains where it was conceived. Unique and solitary. François the artisan, who makes things for others, is not satisfied; but the artist is happy, and even more so the man, because it reminds him of his daring undertaking, successfully completed. In all this self-expression, what emerges in the end is a powerful sense of artistic craft as the pure reflection of the self. Cellini’s famous Salt Cellar, as we often recall, “was” Cellini, in the renowned definition of Francis I, who commissioned the work. La Corte Nascosta “is” François Staub.

A MONOLITH WAITING TO BE UNVEILED Above, another model inspired by Escher. Top left, the hands of Pascal Cuenot, the soloist in the orchestra of artisan-artists directed by Staub; left, detail of Venice’s canals on the monolith’s doors. The creation of “Corte Nascosta” took almost ten years.

STAUB 3ENG_TL.indd 64

14/11/13 14.08


STAUB 3ENG_TL.indd 65

14/11/13 14.09


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

Silvano Campeggi, alias “Nano�, started working as a typesetter at a very young age. He then became a book illustrator until Hollywood fell under his spell, after World War II. Above, his poster for An American in Paris. Opposite, his work table.


14/11/13 14.10




b y G i a n l u c a Te n t i - - p h o t o s b y L o re n z o C o t r oz z i


14/11/13 14.10


An artist amongst artists. The posters of 64 Oscar-winning films. All drawn freehand. Silvano Campeggi, alias Nano, at the age of 90 completed an exhibition on bullfighting in Crete and flew straight to the States, guest of honour at the tenth Syracuse International Film Festival with “his” Marilyn. The man who undressed Monroe with the sole purpose of making her portrait was this illustrator from Bagno a Ripoli. Brunelleschi’s cupola peers outside the windows of his studio overlooking the hills of Florence. The inseparable Elena is by his side; she is his model and muse, the curator of his impressive personal archive and the guardian angel of the domestic hearth. Nano works like this: a sheet cardboard, a charcoal stick, an inspiration. The colours come afterwards, with techniques that range from watercolour to felt-tip pens, Indian ink and graphite. An unpretentious man, when asked for his self-portrait for the Uffizi Gallery, he remained true to himself and donated a canvas that portrays him from the back. “What else could I do? In the middle of all those masterpieces...” he explains. His entire studio-home is overflown with sketches, hypotheses and hyperboles. From Gone with the Wind, to An American in Paris to Singing in the Rain, West Side Story, Some Like it Hot and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Remember the show bills outside cinemas? The only thing that certified their origin was the four-letter word “Nano” written somewhere on the poster. In Italy he made the drawings for maestro Alberto Manzi’s Orzowei. But how does one get to become a film poster artist? “You have to be equipped with plenty of passion and curiosity. Taking in everything that surrounds you. Imagining things. You have to know all the printing techniques; before even starting to do illustrations, you have to know how your creations are going to be printed. It’s not just a matter of aesthetics. My father was a typographer for Bemporad Marzocco and I followed in his footsteps.” Then came the Art School in his hometown, Florence. Soon after he picked up his first job as book illustrator, working for pub-



lishing houses Salani and Nerbini. When he was at Nerbini, in 1938, he even worked (if this is indeed the right word) with Federico Fellini: “We were both drawing cartoons for 420 (a satirical publication, Ed.), and he signed himself Fellas.” Then came World War II, and a trip to Rome, the “open city”. “When I arrived there I was 22. I was an illustrator specialised in printing. I presented myself to poster artist Martinati, who was the king of silent movie bills. He couldn’t give me a job, but he introduced me to a small film studio, they made “Aquila Nera” with Gino Cervi in 1946. They saw my work and asked for more... and I haven’t stopped since.” As designer for the Photo-Engravers Union he made the stereotypes for Zincografica Fiorentina which would later print his posters. How many? Three thousand. “All made with the same technique. A white sheet and tempera or acrylic paint for the initial drafts. Drawing the poster itself, I made sure I left enough room for the titles. There was no such thing as photoshop or In-design; it was all done by hand. Perhaps young people today are missing the pleasure of experimentation. We had to do everything: draw, supervise the production phases, oil the machines and even sweep the floors.” The value of experience can be summed up in his philosophy: “We worked with the Americans because the Italians didn’t pay. Not me, because I used to get paid after doing the draft. They didn’t pay the printer.” His eyes light up as he shows us the horses of Ben Hur, “voted by American critics the best poster in the history of film.” From 1945 he created the image of movies by Metro Goldwin Mayer, Universal, Paramount. He defined the iconography of the stars: Gary Cooper, Marlon Brando, Rita Hayworth, Liz Taylor, Ava Gardner, Vivien Leigh. And Marilyn. He never turned down an offer: “They paid the same fee for the Pink Panther and Ben Hur.” Does this profession have a future? “Digital photography, apps and wireless networks have changed the way we see the world. But the pleasure of beauty, for those capable of appreciating it, is the real future of contemporary craftsmanship.”

14/11/13 14.10

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


Above, the drawers of his desks yield the dreams of the past. With his work, Nano Campeggi brought the cinema to the world. Opposite page, the horses of Ben Hur and the Florentine artist at work; to this day he draws only freehand.


14/11/13 14.10


Creating value

Of the 58 pieces in Chanel’s fine jewellery collection “Sous le signe du Lion”, the most representative is Lion Royal (this page) in platinum, white gold and diamonds. It can be worn as a pendant or necklace, and the lion’s head turns into a brooch. Opposite page, the lion that stands on the column in front of the Palazzo Ducale in Venice’s Piazza San Marco.

CHANELok 3ENG_TL.indd 70

14/11/13 14.12


Sous le signe du



b y Va l e n t i n a C e r i a n i

CHANELok 3ENG_TL.indd 71

14/11/13 14.12


Creating value

Venetian intensity Retracing the footsteps of the irresistible infatuation that tied Mademoiselle Chanel to the city

The lion, just as she loved it. The lion she admired and whose vigour and elegance bewitched her. Their bond was written in the stars, Mademoiselle Chanel being born under the astrological sign of Leo on August 19, 1883. As a result, this proud beast became a recurring symbol in her creations. The lion in hunting mode, or at rest, or dominating the world with its paw firmly on the globe. It was a continuous source of inspiration, and in her Paris residence in Rue Cambon Gabrielle Chanel collected lions in manifold declinations which “narrate” the glorious history of the French Maison. Who knows what mademoiselle Chanel would say, today, if she could see her big cat sparkling with the light of priceless diamonds and gems, adorned with the purity of pearls or silhouetted by the transparencies of rock crystal or the intense blue of lapis lazuli. Masterpieces of fine jewellery in which the boundaries between craft and art are lost in the heart of the city of lights, inside one of those palaces that treasure the city’s remotest secrets: a workshop that reverberates with the musical touch of the hands that dance to the precious melody of a craft which asks to be revealed to those who do not have the privilege to see this performance with their own eyes.

This is where the lion so dear to the heart of Coco Chanel takes form. A timeless masterpiece, which instantly conjures the magic of Venice, a city she could not help but love. In Venice she healed her broken heart, devastated by the untimely death of her beloved Boy Capel, just a few days before Christmas in 1919. The Serenissima conquered her, with its museums, churches, palaces, canals and its splendid byzantine art, and, above all, with its lions. They are everywhere, on pediments and portals, in mosaics or on top of stone columns, like the one that rises next to the Palazzo Ducale in Piazza San Marco. The symbol of the city, and the symbol of Gabrielle Chanel. Venice was the muse that inspired mademoiselle Chanel, and the Maison has returned to Venice to retrace the footsteps of that infatuation: in the new Sous le Signe du Lion fine jewellery collection, the lion is the eclectic object of desire. On a ring, a necklace, a medallion, a bracelet or a brooch, or embellishing a pair of earrings or guarding the bezel of a watch. The reinterpretations of the majestic feline glittering under the Venice sky are works of art that reveal impressive skills that live, however, under the sky of Paris. A craft that moves and entrances. The idea takes

Above, the Constellation du Lion necklace in yellow and white gold, with yellow and white diamonds and rutilated quartz. Top left, the lion on the pediment of St. Mark’s Basilica, to the restoration of which Chanel gave its contribution; right, the Lion Céleste brooch in white gold and diamonds. Its making requires 400 hours and another 160 to set the gems. All by Chanel Joaillerie.

CHANELok 3ENG_TL.indd 72

14/11/13 14.12


Creating value

Under the aegis of creativity The first prototype reproduces the exact forms and volumes of the actual jewel, also the tiny holes where the gems will be set

shape in the atelier, where the sketches by Chanel’s designers arrive and everything starts, at first in a three-dimensional computerised representation. The model, the first prototype of the structure, is then made to capture the volumes and lines, as well as the first tiny holes in which the gems will be set by the skilled hands of the jewellers. This orchestra is conducted by Chanel’s studio, which follows every step and ensures that the work is perfectly in tune with the standards of the Maison. The intimate essence, its very nature, is visible in the raw material. In its “nakedness”, the noble metal is stripped of the light and perfection that we are used to see. If we observe it long enough, we almost feel that we are violating its most sheltered secrets, the work and passion of those who master this ancient art and unaltered savoir-faire. The artisan’s craft is expressed also in the way in which the various components of the lion are made: by choosing to construct them separately, in fact, it will be easier for the gem setters to clothe a paw entirely in diamonds, reaching those corners which, if attached to the body, would make the operation much more complicated. The stones are set very close to one another, and the gold that separates them must be minimal and imperceptible to the eye.

The work of the master craftsman’s hands respect the forms and shapes that a wax mould defines. Respect is the key word. This is art. This is Chanel. When the raw material is polished, its essence begins to glisten. The gold abandons itself to the gestures of the artisan, who will then set the diamonds and gemstones to “dress” the lion according to the creativity of Chanel. At the end of the process, the separate pieces of the lion are assembled: the feline takes shape, and appears in all its majesty. The result is the Sous le Signe du Lion collection, 58 pieces that play on the variations of the lion theme. Timeless elegance to be contemplated in white and yellow gold, platinum, diamonds, sapphires, onyx and rock crystal. And the blue lapis lazuli on which a lion has been sculpted, resting on a star of yellow diamonds, and a white diamond set in the middle. A ring conceived to adorn a hand, which at the same time tells the story of the lion on the façade of the Basilica in Venice’s Piazza San Marco, to the restoration of which Chanel gave its contribution. So once again we return to the city that inspired Coco Chanel and made her dream. That dream now belongs to every lady, and it came true in an atelier set in the heart of Paris.

Above, Lion Solaire earrings in yellow and white gold with garnets, beryllium, sapphires and diamonds. Top left, the Piraeus Lion at the Venetian Arsenal; right, setting diamonds in the Constellation du Lion brooch. The lions of Chanel’s haute joaillerie collection are made in a goldsmith’s workshop in the centre of Paris. (www.chanel.com)

CHANELok 3ENG_TL.indd 74

14/11/13 14.12


Poliform’s “Santa Monica” collection of sofas and armchairs, designed by Jean-Marie Massaud (2011). In the fabric version (there is also a leather edition) the upholstery is stitched and trimmed in contrasting colours. This page, the company’s skilled artisans use a special machine to make the trim of the armchair cover (opposite page).


14/11/13 14.15

A customised home



multi form

IDEAS The iron glides slowly, the careful hand leading it knows exactly where to go. At times it stops to allow the steam to smooth the parts of the fabric that put up the most resistance, the points where the sturdy upholstery is harder to mould around the body that is sitting there, waiting to don its suit. These are the final stages in a process that experienced craftsmen have carried out perfectly, from the cutting to the sewing and the finishing touches. No, we are not in a haute couture atelier, but we are still talking about tailoring: the custom-made


14/11/13 14.15


A customised home

THE FABRIC IS CUT, SEWN AND FINISHED BY HAND suit will be worn by a model called Santa Monica, a perfectly sculpted body with an impeccable silhouette and curves in the right places. It is a sofa! Welcome to Poliform. A company based in Inverigo (Como), whose total look furnishing solutions decorate residences the world over. It is said that a home reflects the personality of its inhabitants. So just as a suit is made to measure, a home should be tailored to express the tastes and identity of its owner. Poliform combines the appeal of tailor-made furniture and interior design, not to mention the art of savoir-faire behind each element. The wood tells the story of the stages involved in moulding walk-in wardrobes, bookshelves and tables, and the fabric interprets the shapes of sofas and armchairs. Aesthetics and function in a perfect balance, without foregoing quality, which keeps a watchful eye on the craftwork. All of this is in Poliform’s DNA: it is Made in Italy! The tradition of a company that has always remained faithful to its name “which means multi-form, in several forms,” explains Marco Spinelli, corporate manager and son of Aldo Spinelli; together with his cousins Alberto Spinelli and Giovanni Anzani, who are the managing directors, they conduct the business that their families set up. “The name was chosen in 1970 when the company was founded, evolving

from an artisan business set up in 1942.” It is much more than a name; it is a concept which lends itself to a variety of interpretations, in which the prefix “poli” conjugates the wide range of complements, bookshelves, containers, walk-in wardrobes, beds, tables, kitchens (under the Varenna brand) and upholstered furniture, which made their debut in 2006: manifold shapes, styles, materials and colours, designed by the numerous international architects and designers with which the Brianza company has always co-operated. But “poli” also describes the processes and production methods used to transform into a tangible object what was first designed on paper. The union of technology and craftsmanship, each respecting the role of the other: the former bears witness to the modern and international approach of the company, the latter expresses the excellence and appeal of traditions rooted in the most authentic Italian “savoir-faire”. Poliform is highly industrialised and uses cutting-edge technologies, but some processes are carried out by artisans who, with their skill, confer to the products those details that make the difference. In fact, the production of upholstered furniture involves haute-couture processes. Such is the case with the Santa Monica collection (designed by Jean-Marie Massaud), sofas and armchairs with a “poli” aesthetic approach: in the

fabrics, in the colours, in the finishes and in the stitching. Pure creative expression, to be admired and touched. A designer product with an artisan spirit, where skilled hands govern stitching and details. The hands of the craftsmen who, each day, manufacture these elements. Poliform is also this, a synergy of architects and artisans, and ideas that take form and become a success. “Hands are still vital in our work,” says Marco Spinelli. It is hard to imagine these hands labouring at their furniture, yet here they are, inviting us to make ourselves comfortable and revealing an important partnership with their more industrial side: “The structure is made of flexible moulded polyurethane, with expanded polyurethane inserts and an aluminium frame.” By contrast, the fabric is cut, sewn and finished manually, using special machines to make the contrasting stitching and trimming, the distinctive features of the Santa Monica collection. Aesthetically extravagant details make these sofas and armchairs the right balance between a style that is chic and one that is more informal. A touch of irony is provided by the contrasting colours. They easily adapt to the most varied interior design concepts. All this reflects Poliform’s comprehensive outlook, and once again demonstrates its flawless creativity and its mastery in the art of savoir-faire. (Valentina Ceriani)

Top, the Santa Monica sofa. Opposite page, the production process: from top left, the fabrics are cut; preparatory manual templates; assembling a joint; a step in the upholstering process; cutting the textiles; ironing; two steps in the upholstering process; close-up of the frogs. (www.poliform.it)


14/11/13 14.15



14/11/13 14.15



David Austin’s English Roses inherited the beautiful flowers of the old roses and the repeat flowering and wide colour range of the modern roses, capturing the best of both worlds by Giovanna Marchello

Constance Spry was the first English Rose to be created in 1961. Opposite page, David Austin Roses has its headquarters in Albrighton, Shropshire, where the gardens, nursery and the National Collection of English Roses are housed. (www.davidaustinroses.com)

ROSE2 3ENG.indd 80


Summer Song, Lady Emma Hamilton, Eglantyne, Harlow Carr, Gertrude Jekill, Constance Spry, Golden Celebration, Teasing Georgia, Spirit of Freedom. David C.H. Austin’s luxuriant English Roses have evocative names that conjure up exotic scenarios. The celebrated creations of the most important rose breeder in the world are the result of seventy years of dedication. They cover a variegated range of colour, fragrance and shape and their antique, romantic look and modern heart are the product of David Austin’s ingeniousness and tenacity. The fascinating story of the English Roses

is set in Albrighton, in eastern Shropshire, where the land is green and fertile and the climate moderate. David Austin was passionate about breeding plants and the family farm provided an unconstrained testing ground. When he came across the Old Roses with their rich, flat blooms and poignant fragrances, it was love at first sight, and for life. “Old Roses date from about 1900 and before. Most only flower once, in early summer, and their colour range is limited to white, pink and purple. When David Austin was a young man they were practically extinct,” explains Michael Marriott, for thirty

14/11/13 14.20

Environment and landscape

ROSE2 3ENG.indd 81


14/11/13 14.20


Environment and landscape

Below, Constance Spry. Top, from left, the Kew Gardens rose has only five petals and was created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the eponymous gardens; the Lady of Shalott owes her name to the Lady saved from a spell by Sir Lancelot in a poem by Lord Tennyson: its salmon pink petals turn golden yellow on the reverse; the Renaissance Garden.

ROSE2 3ENG.indd 82

years technical manager at David Austin Roses. “The market at the time had been taken over by the modern roses – hybrid teas and floribundas – characterised by repeat flowering and a wider colour range. That’s when he had the intuition that if he could cross the two groups he could get the best of both worlds. David Austin created a new hybrid that had the beautiful flowers, the wonderful fragrance and the charm of the Old Roses and the repeat flowering and wide colour range of the modern roses, and he named them English Roses.” “The first turning point was in the early 60s. My father was still a hobby breeder when he brought two of his new varieties, one of which was Constance Spry, to Graham Stuart Thomas, the number one expert in Britain on old-fashioned roses. Graham Thomas thought they were fantastic roses and told him that he would sell them at his own nursery,” explains David J.C. Austin, managing director of David Austin Roses. “This was an enormous boost to his confidence and he devoted the next ten years to breeding the first repeat flowerer. But in 1970, when he succeeded, the industry was still revolving around the hybrid tea and no one in the trade was interested in this new form of Old Rose. He understood that the only way to connect with the customers was to set up his own nursery, where he could sell his English Roses. And in fact, from the very early days, the emotional reaction from the public has been amazing. The second turning point came after another ten years, in 1983, at his first Chelsea Flower Show where the repeat-flowering English

Rose Graham Thomas and Mary Rose were introduced. That’s when it really took off. Thirty years on the Graham Thomas rose was voted The World’s Favourite Rose by the World Federation of Rose Societies representing 39 member countries. My father has devoted himself to his roses for seventy years and he’s perhaps even more enthusiastic today than he was when he started, because he can see the endless possibilities.” “When David Austin set about breeding his English Roses he wanted them to be as varied as possible, like the Old Roses. So some of them have only five petals, some 200. The flower shape can be flat, cup, reflexing. Some of the bushes are small, some are tall. Some are arching, some are climbers and some are upright.” What they all have in common is that they produce a profusion of blooms, from the bottom to the very top of the plant - even those varieties that can be grown as climbers. “English Roses cover the whole colour range - white, pink, red, purple, yellow, apricot – and they all have a fragrance. When you smell a rose it is always good to smell at least two or three different flowers. You have to have an open mind, a lot of people would just distractedly smell one flower, almost as if embarrassed to do it because they’re not experts,” explains Michael Marriott. In the course of 40 years, David C.H. Austin introduced 200 different new varieties, and in the beautifully landscaped gardens at the Albrighton headquarters - an estate that stretches over 50 hectares and houses the gardens, the nursery and the greenhouses - visitors can admire and smell at least 80 of them.

14/11/13 14.20


The cross-pollination is a painstaking process, carried out by patient hands according to traditional methods. “We don’t use any gene technology,” says David J.C. Austin. “It would only be a waste of time and money, because what we want is a collection of roses in a perpetual evolution.” The petals are stripped off the flower and only one is left for easy identification the following day. The stamens are very delicately taken out and put into little glass jars and heated at 20°C overnight. The pollen that is released is carefully brushed onto the stigma of another flower the following day. When the hips are ripe the seeds are taken out and kept in cold storage at about 1-2°C for three months. Then they are sown, and when they germinate they are transferred into the greenhouse. Michael Marriott explains that “the breeding process is very carefully planned, but it still takes a very long time to produce good roses. From an average of 250,000 seedlings, each one of which is genetically unique, we select about 10,000 that have attractive flowers and then these go out into the field, where disease will come in or they will not stand up to the weather, which will reduce the number to a few hundred that are worthwhile.” The selection is very tough and, on average, only four or five new varieties are introduced each year. “The deciding factor is: is it a beautiful rose? Has it got that magical character of charm and fragrance as well as of disease resistance and strength?” says Michael Marriott. Another specific variety of English Roses developed by David C. H. Austin are cut flower roses which are bred

ROSE2 3ENG.indd 83

by the same process. “We cross the garden English Roses with traditional cut roses to get the beauty and charm of the former and the straight stems and long-lasting vase life of the latter. But what we are always looking for is fragrance, whereas many traditional cut roses have none at all.” David J. C. Austin wants people to enjoy their gardens. For this reason they offer advice and expertise to customers. One area of growing roses many weekend gardeners get nervous about is pruning but, he explains, it really is very easy and by following simple advice, this fear can be quickly dispelled. Their roses grow in almost any climate, except in the extremes of temperatures, provided they have enough water. Disease resistance is also an important issue and a number of their roses do not have to be sprayed at all. The planting of mixed borders is also strongly encouraged. Michael Marriott has a long experience in designing private and public gardens in the UK and overseas: “Mixing roses with perennials looks very beautiful for the variety of shapes and colours and the possibility of introducing blue in the colour scheme, which is very effective and, of course, does not exist in roses. It also helps to keep the roses healthier, and attracts birds and insects, helping to control the pests on the roses. Also, if it’s not a monoculture, diseases don’t spread so easily.” Love and jealousy, pureness and sensuousness, fragility and strength, peace and war. The rose is so versatile in its symbolism that it can represent the entire spectrum of human emotions. And David Austin has a rose for every shade.

Above, David C.H. Austin created more than 200 English Roses. Today, the company is run by his son David J.C. Austin. Top, from left, the English Rose Graham Thomas was named after the number one expert in Britain on old-fashioned roses; Darcey Bussell, a new red rose that is both hardy and luxuriant.

14/11/13 14.20


Lumi_ING.indd 84

14/11/13 14.23

Enlightened museums





by Simona Cesana

Lumi_ING.indd 85

This page, a contemporary Hanukkiah in gold-plated wire, hand-made by Jessica R. Carrol (2002). Opposite, the Museum of Lights, located in the basement of Casale Monferrato’s Jewish Community, in the ancient Matzot oven.

14/11/13 14.23

Enlightened museums

Monferrato automatically brings to mind a rolling landscape Lights, located in the basement of Casale Monferrato’s Jewwith long stretches of vineyards, which have made this part ish Community, in the ancient oven for Matzot, the unof eastern Piedmont famous in the whole world thanks to leavened bread Jews eat during Passover. The quality and its outstanding wines. Casale Monferrato, considered the uniqueness of the collection has spread the fame of Casale’s capital of this area, is also a town steeped in history, enMuseum of Lights internationally, not least thanks to works veloping different traditions and cultures, one of which is it has loaned to the Musée d’Art et d’Histoire du Judaïsme Hebraism: indeed one of the best examples of a baroque in Paris, the Museo de Historia de los Judíos of Girona and synagogue is located in Casale and was built in 1595 in the the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam. town’s Jewish quarter. To this day, the rituals of Judaism are Many artists have donated works; the first include, amongst still carried out in the museum complex that has sprung up others, Emanuele Luzzati, Arman, Mimmo Paladino and around the synagogue, involving not only the local commuLucio Del Pezzo, followed by Giosetta Fioroni, Ugo Nenity. The chronicle of the Museo dei Lumi’s creation, with its spolo, Emilio Isgrò, William Xerra and many young artists collection that continues to grow thanks to constant donawho have come in contact with this collection over the years. tions by numerous artists, starts in 1994, on the occasion of Elio Carmi, one of the people who first conceived this prothe celebrations for the synagogue’s 400th anniversary. The ject, writes: “a strange shape, with one light here and eight first contributors were Elio Carmi, Antonio Recalcati, Aldo over there. And so, along the way, a couple of the things Mondino and Paolo Levi, who promoted the idea of a colthat were struggling inside of me to get out eventually manlection of contemporary art Hanukkiahs, the characteristic aged to ‘get themselves made’. I was aware and alert, but I eight-branch candelabras (the ninth is the Shamash, the also felt a spectator, a customer, as though I were there by servant light, which must never be the same as the others). chance, instead of being the one who had actually contrived Their lights are lit to celebrate Hanukkah, the Festival of them.” Many artists entrusted the production of their works Lights, which lasts eight days. This festival is celebrated at to some of Italy’s best craftsmen in ceramic, bronze casting, the start of winter, and represents both the victory of light silver and glass, not to mention contemporary materials. over darkness and, more metaphorically, the survival of the “As always, in my work I fuse playfulness and materiality, Jewish people. Over the years, many artists, some of interthe communion of sacred and profane. There are different national repute, have created their own version of this ritual ways for man to approach divinity. Dervishes pray when object, while remaining faithful to its precise characteristics. they dance. Art and dance are just different ways of praying.” In the preface of the volume dedicated to the museum’s colWith these words Aldo Mondino, who made a Hanukkiah lection, Maria Luisa Caffarelli underlines the fact that all of for the Casale collection out of transparent plastic Bic pens, the artists felt “the stimulus to put themexplains the spiritual essence of the artists’ selves to the test, to come up with a form approach to this experience: each in their for an object which already has one, and own way, bringing “light” through their Top, the Baroque synagogue is actually its substance.” As a result, the own unique voice which, combined with of Casale Monferrato, built in 1595. artists have given the Jewish community of the voices of the others, gives strength to Opposite, the collection of Casale a collection of unique pieces which, the choral message of a community. To the Museum of Lights following the latest donations received in return to the verses of poet Paul Celan, comprises 145 works December 2012, now number 145 works. these works are the crystallised witness of in a variety of materials, They are all housed in the Museum of communion and kinship. by Italian and



international artists.

Lumi_ING.indd 86

14/11/13 14.23


▲▼ Antonio Recalcati (ceramic, 1996) ▼▼ Giancarlo Montebello (silver, 2006)

▲ Emilio Isgrò (clay, paint and enamel, 2002 ) ▼▼ Mimmo Paladino (refractory clay, 1999)

▲▼ Arman (cast in brass, 1997) ▼ Elio Carmi (silver plated metal and copper, 1990)

▲▼ Luigi Mainolfi (terracotta, 2006) ▼▼ William Xerra (copper, 2006)

▲ Giosetta Fioroni (ceramic and drawn iron, 2003) ▼▼ Emanuele Luzzati (ceramic, 1993)

▲▼ Lucio Del Pezzo (painted wood, 1998) ▼ Aldo Mondino (wrought iron, Bic pens, 1997)

Lumi_ING.indd 87

14/11/13 14.23


Notes of art



14/11/13 14.25

by Susanna Ardigò



“Laudate Dominum in chordis et organo” reads the inscription on the cases of pipe organs that we still admire in our churches today. A verse taken from Psalm 150, in which the faithful are taught that the best way to praise God is through music. In fact, the majestic pipe organ is still the most important instrument in Christian liturgy. An instrument that developed particular features and characteristics in Italy. In the Renaissance, the sound of the Principale and Ripieno, two fundamental registrations of the instrument’s stops, achieved “timbres which came to be known as essentially Italian and have remained a reference point for modern master organists (…). Ever since its origins, the Italian organ was the test by which artists and master craftsmen of the past proved their skill, because it was a very complex instrument. Even more so in its completely mechanical version, with the bellows pumping air into the windchest and pipes (several thousands in the larger organs) and tracker action

from each key. The art of building organs was developed and refined to such an extent that, over the course of time, it has been possible to build models very similar to those made in the past,” explains Giuditta Comerci in her essay Liuteria, published in Mestieri d’Arte e Made in Italy. Giacimenti culturali da riscoprire (Marsilio Editori, Venice 2009) by Paolo Colombo, Alberto Cavalli and Gioachino Lanotte. In the course of the centuries the area around Crema, lying halfway between the prosperous cities of Cremona and Brescia, became a centre of excellence for the creation and restoration of pipe organs. Starting from the Renaissance, some of Italy’s most important instruments were built in the workshops of organ makers in this area. To this day, skilled artisans who master this ancient craft build fine organs and perform accurate restoration works on historical masterpieces in Crema and its immediate surroundings. Like the Bottega Organaria founded by Ugo

IN SAECULA SAECULORUM Above, the mechanics of an eighteenth-century organ. Opposite page, Claudio D’Arpino during the delicate phase of regulating the mechanics; top, the Carolus Sanarica organ dated 1757 in the Oria cathedral, Brindisi. (www.bottegaorganariasoncino.it)


14/11/13 14.25


Notes of art

Cremonesi and Claudio D’Arpino in Soncino (one of Italy’s most beautiful historical villages), in the peaceful countryside of Cremona. After attending the Music Conservatories of Brescia and Trento and working as a musician and piano teacher, Ugo Cremonesi decided to begin his apprenticeship in the time-honoured workshop of the Crema-based Pontificia Fabbrica d’Organi Inzoli Cav. Pacifico, in business since 1867. It was here that he met Claudio D’Arpino. Through their training they built a significant experience in the understanding both of the various components of the instrument and of organ construction techniques: D’Arpino specialised in the mechanics, bellows and restoration in general, whilst Cremonesi became an expert in the tuning and restoration of the pipes in particular. In 1997 they decided to open their own workshop, dedicated chiefly to the restoration of historical instruments. The delicate and precious work carried out by Cremonesi and D’Arpino does not involve solely their manual skills but also their thorough researches in the history of the in-

A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE ORGAN The invention of the organ is traditionally ascribed to Ctesibius of Alexandria, who lived in the second century B.C. The first organ was called Hydraulis: the wind was supplied by means of manual pumps placed in a container filled with water. It had one keyboard only, and never fully evolved

struments, the detailed visits on location and their careful handling of every single part of the many hundreds that make up an organ, a work that involves meticulous documentation, filing and registration of the tiniest piece of information, collected through surveys and photographs. Nothing is left to chance in the scrupulous organisation of these artisans, who can masterfully restore the original sound of these instruments. “On average, a restoration work can take from several months to a year, sometimes longer,” says Ugo Cremonesi. “Every instrument has to be disassembled and put back together again, in every smallest detail, after the damaged components have been remade or restored. The philosophy behind our restoration work strictly follows the guidelines of the various Sovrintendenza (the organs of the Italian ministry of culture in charge of the preservation of cultural heritage), with which we co-operate very closely.” In fact, Bottega Organaria’s methodology faithfully reflect the tenets dictated by the competent authorities, adopting

techniques that have been handed down in Lombardy’s ancient and celebrated organ-making tradition. Parishes intending to carry out restoration work on their organs must present the project drafted by the Bottega Organaria to the territorial office for cultural property. When approved, the same project has to be submitted to the assessment of the regional direction before any work can start. “In the workshop,” continues Cremonesi, “we always respect the temperature requirements for the correct handling of materials, particularly hot animal glues, and for the conservation of the instruments’ components. We also have a warehouse where we store disassembled instruments and where preliminary cleaning is carried out.” Thanks to the skilled hands of Cremonesi and D’Arpino, many historical instruments of outstanding artistic and musical value have been restored to their original sound. Some noteworthy examples are the Chiappani Giovanni organ (1647) in the church of San Pietro Apostolo, at Mezzana Casati (Lodi); the eighteenth-century organ made by an

into a proper musical instrument. The Romans brought the hydraulis to Rome after they conquered Greece (around 146 B.C.), and made great use of it in theatres and circuses. In this period, the organ underwent a radical transformation when it changed from a hydraulic to a pneumatic device, thus evolving into a musical instrument.

anonymous craftsman for the parish church of the Assunzione della Beata Vergine Maria, at Turano Lodigiano (Lodi); the eighteenth-century organ, again by an anonymous organ builder, in the church of San Vito Martire, at Lequile (Lecce); the Carolus Sanarica organ (1757) for the cathedral of Oria (Brindisi); the Cavalli Giuseppe organ (1847-1848) in the church of S. Giorgio Martire, at Dresano (Milan); the Serassi-Cavalli organ (1822-1896) in the parish church of San Bartolomeo Apostolo, at Borghetto Lodigiano (Lodi). Bottega Organaria is a member of the Italian Association of Organ Makers (AIO), established to support and promote the art of organ building respecting local and individual characteristics, two aspects that must be appreciated and defended. Which is something that the artisans that work in the Crema area do in their daily work, dedicating their talents to building, protecting and restoring the most complex, evocative and majestic of all Italian instruments.

SYMPHONIES OF PRECISION Opposite page, bottom left, Ugo Cremonesi catalogues the reeds; right, reassembling the phonic system; top right, the Bolognini Foglia organ (1700-1800) in the church of Mazzano (Brescia); a restored windchest.


14/11/13 14.25


In the course of the first millennium after Christ, the Western Roman Church introduced the organ in its liturgy (the Eastern Orthodox Church does not admit the pipe organ in its liturgy to this day). One of the first documented uses of an organ in a church dates back to 757 A.D.: in that year, the Emperor Constantine V gave Pippin, King of the


Francs, an organ which was later housed in the church of Compiègne. In those days, organs were much smaller and had a very limited number of pipes. The organ went on in its evolution until, in the fifteenth century, the pedal board and the mechanism of independent stops were introduced. The size of organs increased to the point

that they became difficult to move; this resulted in the birth of the Great Organ, the installation of which was evidently permanent. The instrument was generally placed in raised galleries (Presbytery, Apse or above the doorway). The major changes in sound and technical developments took place in the second half of the sixteenth century.

14/11/13 14.25

92 Ettore Bocchia is the father of molecular cuisine. At Villa Serbelloni’s Mistral restaurant in


by Alessandra Meldolesi – photos by Bob Noto


Molecular cuisine is a foundling with a multitude of would-be fathers and a host of DNA tests to its name. A revolution repudiated by most, which could end in a misconception no less explosive than the one that hit nouvelle cuisine, reduced to the rarefied contemplation of a solitary bean. Yet molecular cuisine has one proven father in Italy: in this age dominated by a paleo-cuisine worthy of the Flintstones, with collective skinning sessions and bonesaws for gory heads and femurs, Ettore Bocchia is a chef who continues to focus all the energy of a firmly-held creed (as that is precisely what is involved) on his plate. Where there is no room for messy improvisation or slapdash effects, but the scalpel descends firmly into the invisible nerves of the matter, dissecting its unsuspected potential. What


emerges from the nitrogen fumes is a distinctly Cartesian, calculated and precise effect. Flowing as lightly as a hand raking the lake’s waters. The scene is set at Villa Serbelloni, the praises of which were sung by Stendhal and Flaubert: a magnificent neoclassical building with renaissance foundations, whose loggias and spires are reflected in the blue waters of Lake Como. In the background, layered terraces are covered with flowerbeds, box trees and yew trees trained into geometric forms by a topiary artist. Inside, evocative atmospheres reminiscent of Visconti unfold under coffered ceilings and frescoed vaults, caressed by the evening breeze of the lake and the vibrations of chords played on the piano. Ettore Bocchia landed here back in 1992 and it was his first

14/11/13 14.27

Savoury crafts


Bellagio, he is rearing his offspring without conceit, enhancing flavours with scientific rigour


important professional experience. He was born in San Secondo, up in the unglamorous guises of dishwasher, barman, greenin the province of Parma, from working parents who ardently grocer, fishmonger and fill-in at a tavern, he finally broke into worshipped the cult of good food: “My aunt Linda occasionally the hotel industry in Punta Ala. At the same time, his training worked as a dishwasher for Cantarelli, in Samboseto, and it was continued at the École Lenôtre, at the Étoile School, and with a great opportunity to swap recipes with Mirella. I often hung Yves Thuriès. “Reading his magazine, where Hervé This had a out there. I remember Peppino always talking in metaphors, column for some time, I started to get absorbed in ‘molecular’ and only now do I understand just how much I owe to him. cuisine.” Scientia potentia est: and it became the path that his Because he initiated me to great French wines and whole career would follow. he instilled in me an obsession for the ingredients. Yet the karmic encounter occurred in Bellagio, THREE VERSIONS OF RED TUNA When the restaurant closed, the catering school with physicist Davide Cassi, with whom he emAbove from left, tartar with I attended at Salsomaggiore held a party in his barked on a lengthy partnership from 2001 to quail’s egg and sesame; honour; while I was preparing the rice savarin he 2003. The click as their pieces slotted together tuna belly caramelised with went into a passionate explanation of where and rang out across Italian cuisine: the cook and the soy sauce; reduction why he had bought that certain carnaroli rice and scientist, empirical and abstract knowledge tied of katsuobushi with enok the meat and the culatello.” After working his way together in a close-knit dialogue, who shared a mushrooms and coriander.


15/11/13 14.29


code of mutual flavours, gastronomic sensitivity and chic sandwich, which cannibalizes cultures, perthe background of seasoned gourmets. The result fectly balanced on a shimmering, evanescent was an unprecedented avant-garde, as revolutionstructure. Or the textured Angel’s hair, envelary in its approach (in the first few months they oped in the acidity of the caprino and lemon devised six novel cooking techniques) as it was cream, the sweetness of the raw sea-bottom deferential in its respect for tradition and for the scallop, the bitterness of the capers, the richpleasure of the taste buds; in other words univerness of Kaluga amur caviar. A dish less self-censal, as one would expect from a hotel restaurant. Altred than the former because it was conceived most mirroring the surrounding magic, those placid with the wine in mind. waters that - having lost the aggressive mineral strength The asymptotes of tradition and avant-garde come and the stormy stride of the sea - ripple the reflections of together in the Absolute Turbot, with vegetables, leek sauce the historic architecture and make you sink gently and slowly. and a foam of potatoes, a molecular cannon ball shot against The cuisine at Mistral is of the advanced kind, free from any strict classifications. Because the density of the sugar seals and organoleptic provocations and, as such, elusive and hard to concentrates the juices and compacts the flesh, which maintains classify. It is absolute, far beyond the names of the dishes, with the texture of the crude product in a dazzling paradox (a revoa roundness probably stemming from its Emilian origin that lutionary technique that is at the same time discreet and which predisposes her to a blissful marriage with wine. Like Coctecan also be applied to crayfish and lobster). They meet again in au’s artist, Bocchia seems to have swallowed “a locomotive to the Peacock Ravioli, filled with finely minced breast, dressed bring up a pipe,” as “neither painter nor musician should make with a sauce of leg and cooking juices; here the favourite fowl use of the spectacle afforded by machinery in order to render of renaissance banquets reveals its peach and apricot aromas. their art mechanical, but should make use of the measured And again in the perfectly cooked crunchy Frogs and glazed exaltation aroused in them by that spectacle in order to express Snails, neither meat nor fish, in a sour vegetable purée; in the other things of a more intimate kind.” And the pipe in question steamed Pigeon stuffed with foie gras in a croute of Australian puffs perfectly, churning out fragrances and stirring emotions. melanosporum truffle, an icon of trans-Alpine cuisine driven The starting point, unlike the techno-emotional cuisine that is towards the dazzling flash of mineral summits. The needle usually triggered by hand-me-down recipes (in the restaurant, points back towards the east with the Tuna in three versions where food and beverage are absent, the quest for excellence (tartare, seared tuna belly and katsuobushi), which triumphantly is Bocchia’s prerogative) are the ingredients, from which the carries forth the monumental delicacy of the fish caught in skilful chef extracts the fittest structures to construct his dishes, Fano. The grand finale is the impromptu ice cream with a new combining tastes that are primary and secondary, textures and interpretation of the Peach Melba, a tribute to Escoffier. This points of amalgamation; from a strictly chemical point of view, too is an inspirational invention, as the liquid nitrogen creates their composition is water, starch, fat and protein. The character micro-crystals, which do not freeze and anesthetise the mouth, is international, with evident French influences enhancing the base without using additives or (hot dishes are delivered from the kitchen under disagreeable gooey effects. A SENSORIAL IMMERSION the inevitable cloche, to maintain a temperature Complex messages conveyed simply, because the Above, Peach Melba with 4°C above body temperature along the way) and manipulation plays hide-and-seek with the ingreliquid nitrogen also Asian, particularly Japanese. dients. So in the end this is the only real provocaicecream. Top left, Ettore Oysters and Caviar on a fennel mousse with a tion, to be understood in Heidegger’s notion of Bocchia prepares the natural lemon sauce are the result of a mash-up a provocation that summons nature to itself in dessert. Opposite, neither fish nor meat. between blinis with caviar and huîtres gratinées, a order to reveal its energy and essence.


14/11/13 14.27

Savoury crafts



14/11/13 14.27



Benvenuto Cellini's "Salt Cellar" (1540-43), a true dinner table monument and absolute masterpiece of Mannerist goldsmithing. Opposite page, the Kunsthistoriches Museum of Vienna.

VIENNA 3ENG.indd 96

14/11/13 14.29



of the Hapsburgs

by Alessandra de Nitto


VIENNA 3ENG.indd 97

14/11/13 14.29

98 97


The Kunsthistorisches Museum of Vienna has at last reopened one of its most priceless gems to the public: the Kunstkammer (or “cabinet of art”), with its works of art and marvellous rarities, is a museum-within-a-museum, unique in its kind. It took a decade to thoroughly reorganise and restore the fabulous Hapsburg collection, and today the world can admire its splendours also thanks to the design of the exhibition, devised according to the most modern criteria for lighting, conservation and security. A long-awaited reopening that was keenly supported by the director of the Kunsthistorisches, Sabine Haag, tireless promoter of this ambitious project of inestimable cultural significance. More than 2,000 objets d’art (the most important and precious pieces of the whole collection, which numbers more than 8,000) are exhibited in the 20 rooms that cover an area of approximately 2,700 square metres on the main floor of the museum. The emperors and archdukes of the House of Austria were keen collectors, and the treasures of the Kunstkammer provide an extraordinary evidence of their passion and a seamless overview of their history, from the late Middle Ages to the Baroque. The amazing “cabinet of wonder”, known as Kunstkammer or Wunderkammer, has its roots in the late Middle Ages, reaching its maximum splendour during the Renaissance and the Baroque, when a taste for all things rare, curious, bizarre and artful prevailed. In these very premises, the initial nucleus of the museum itself, Europe’s greatest patrons and collectors brought together their mirabilia and displayed them to an astounded public. These fascinating collections were the sole preserve of great sovereigns, aristocrats and monastic orders. The naturalia and artificialia that they collected constituted the summa of knowledge of their times: the most impressive works of both nature and the creative genius of man. Next to splendid corals, pearls and rock crystals - gems believed to have magical powers - and shells, oysters, ostrich eggs, fangs and exotic horns, and fish, and birds, and rare and unknown fruits in unusual shapes and dimensions, we find fine works of applied art in glass and porcelain, jewellery and miniatures, cameos and filigree works that are masterpieces of technical skill, made to impress and awe, and coins, rare books and prints. And then archaeological finds, scientific instruments, clocks, astrolabes, musical instruments and the ingenious mechanical magic of the uncanny automatons. The new layout of the Kunstkammer faithfully retraces the history

VIENNA 3ENG.indd 98

14/11/13 14.29




of the various personages who, in the course of time, created stone and wood, tapestries, clocks and automatons. the original collections now assembled in this singular treasThe emblem and symbol of the collection is the famous salt cellar ure. Starting from the most ancient, the Wunderkammer that Benvenuto Cellini made in 1540-43 for Francis I of France. A Ferdinand II of Tyrol (1529-1595) put together at the castle of “dinner table monument” in miniature, this masterpiece of ManAmbras (Innsbruck) with many works from previous collections nerist goldsmithery portrays Neptune and Gaea, in a profusion belonging to Austrian emperors (from Frederick III to Ferdiof fish, shells, flowers and fruits representing sea and earth, and nand I). The Kunstkammer of Rudolf II (1552-1612), in Prague phantasy figures, allegories and outstanding ornamental motifs. Castle, was one of the most important and valuable collections An incredible example of the creativity and technical virtuosity of arts and marvels in Europe: only part of it was lost during the reached by the gifted Florentine sculptor and goldsmith. Ever Thirty Years’ War, while its masterpieces of goldsmith works and since Charles IX donated the salt cellar to Archduke Ferdinand precious stones, transferred to Vienna before the sacking, were II of Tyrol, in 1570, it has been one of the most exquisite and fortunately preserved. It is to the Archduke Leopold Wilhelm precious pieces of the Hapsburg collections. So much so that it (1614-1662), the enlightened founder of both the Kunsthiswas the object of a sensational theft in May 2003, fortunately torisches Museum and the Gemäldegalerie, that we owe the recovered three years after. Other works of extraordinary imporlater additions to the collection of exquisite Renaissance bronztance and craftsmanship include the poetic grace of the beautiful es and small stone and wood sculptures, in addition to a large Krumau Madonna in painted and gilded sandstone (Prague, number of curiosities from far-off lands, which had only just 1390-1400); the Allegory of Vanity by Jörg Syrlin the Elder been discovered. Around 1875, Franz Josef set about arranging (1470-80) portraying the three ages of life, carved from a single and reordering the immense collection, to which important doblock of wood; the astonishing ivory equestrian statuettes by nations from major European collectors and patrons had been Viennese sculptor Matthias Steinl (1690-93), wonders of invensubsequently added, and had it placed on the main floor of the tive dynamism; the collector’s cabinet and writing table (1582) Kunsthistorisches Museum. with intricate decorations and silver allegories; the grandiose “The power of this family, which was one of most centrepieces depicting herons cut in rock crystal, Top, from left: politically influential in Europe for its vast leverage made in the Milanese workshop of the Saracchis, Krumau Madonna; and immense financial resources, is reflected in the goldsmiths and engravers. The sublime Venus a gemstone cameo; Allegory of Vanity. Opposite page, artistic quality and variety of the objects gathered with Cupid, by Giovanni Ambrogio Miseroni a vessel-shaped here,” observes Sabine Haag in the preface to the (1600-1610), cut from a block of chalcedony and centrepiece with automated beautiful catalogue published by Brändstatter. It engraved with such skill that the stone almost figures (1585). Above, is impossible to enumerate the countless master- the Hapsburgs, patrons of the seems to change colour as it follows the sinews of pieces of the collection, which include goldsmith an incomparable embrace. Another feat of skill and arts, portrayed and lapidary works, ivories, bronzes, sculptures in poetic expressivity accomplished by Italian hands. with Cellini’s Salt Cellar.

VIENNA 3ENG.indd 99

14/11/13 14.29

100 97

by Ugo La Pietra

SINCE THE ‘90S, THE GALLERY FOUNDED BY NINA YASHAR IN MILAN IS A REFERENCE POINT FOR HISTORIC DESIGN CONNOISSEURS, BUT ALSO FOR THOSE WHO FOLLOW THE EVOLUTION OF CONTEMPORARY DESIGN Nilufar is a sophisticated gallery that opened in 1989 in Via della Spiga, in the centre of Milan, and where Nina Yashar, its founder, exhibits works of outstanding craftsmanship and artistic value. From the first Kilim rugs to the more recent collections of historical design (such as the “Untitled” exhibition in 2001, dedicated to the school of French rationalists Adnet, Leleu, Motte, Perriand and Prouvé), Nilufar occupies an increasingly authoritative position on the national and international artistic design market for unique pieces and limited editions. With an open mind that can see beyond and above labels and that can stretch across different periods and disciplines, from art to applied arts and design, Nina Yashar has searched high and low for the historical treasures of which the twentieth century abounds. In fact, since 2002 she has presented works

by designers and artists the likes of Roger Tallon, Borsani, Aalto, Boyer, Buzzi, Mollino and Pergay, and she was the first to introduce Paul Evans’ works in Europe. At the end of the 1990s, Nilufar had already conquered its market both from the point of view of historical design and from that of the evolution of contemporary design. According to the most recent experience of the gallery (which has taken part in all the biggest international events, namely Basel and Miami), in recent years the attention towards historical design has increased fivefold. A large share of the market has moved from contemporary art to historical design. An example of this trend is the increasing interest in the work of Gio Ponti. Nilufar is also dedicated to contemporary design. Together with prominent designers, the gallery hosts the works of young artists, in some

cases in the form of a fully-fledged exclusive patronage. The gallery has a prolific production of projects, publications and exhibitions, certainly also stimulated by the vitality of the city of Milan and of the other galleries that operate in this context. Nilufar’s latest creations were presented at the Basel show and at the gallery itself in Via della Spiga during the fringe events of the “Fuori salone”. Another feature of Nilufar are the stunning catalogues produced by Studio Cerri, which have expressed the character, direction and image of the gallery itself for the past ten years. Even though Nilufar does not as yet represent our sales system on an international scale, it is certainly working in that direction: it stimulates with its novelties and discoveries, brings together historical and contemporary design, publishes books and showcases young talents.

Nilufar: cultured,

Furniture and objects of contemporary and historic design exhibited at Galleria Nilufar during the last Salone del Mobile (2013). A place in which dialogue between established and emerging designers flows uninterrupted.

NILUFAR 3ENG_TL.indd 100

14/11/13 14.30

Designer cathedrals


poetic, visionary

Above, left, a glimpse of the gallery; right, the display created at the last edition of Art Basel, one of the most important international exhibitions of contemporary and modern art. Top, the window of Galleria Nilufar, at 32 Via della Spiga in Milan.

NILUFAR 3ENG_TL.indd 101

14/11/13 14.30



14/11/13 14.32

Emerging talents



NOT STUFFED by Francesca Sammartino - photos by Achim Hatzius

DANIEL HEER IS NOT JUST A MASTER OF ROSSHAARMATRATZE, MATTRESSES ENNOBLED WITH HORSEHAIR; HE IS ALSO AN ENLIGHTENED DESIGNER WHO HAS MANAGED TO BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO THE CRAFT ESTABLISHED BY HIS FOREBEARS CONTEMPORARY TRADITION In his atelier on Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse in Berlin, Daniel Heer still manufactures horsehair mattresses in the tradition initiated by his great-grandfather in the early eighteenth century, using woven horsehair, virgin wool, precious fabrics and hand-stitching.


14/11/13 14.32


li è professore ordinario di Psicologia del ciclo di vita, direttrice Centro ricerche orientamento scolastico e professi e del Master “Relazione


14/11/13 14.32

Emerging talents

Daniel Heer is the young descendant of a heritage craft business spanning four generations that manufactures the prestigious Rosshaarmatratzen, horsehair mattresses. “It was 1907 when my great-grandfather Benedikt Heer decided to open a saddlery in the Swiss town of Horw, on the shores of Lake Lucerne. When the farmers came into town they brought their horses to be shod by the blacksmith, and they handed over their saddles and bridles to us. Back in those days, mattress making was part of the saddle maker’s stock and trade.” Over one hundred years later, this legacy remains unchanged, though it has moved to the centre of Berlin, in the ultra-contemporary laboratory of the Manifaktur Daniel Heer in Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse. By using sustainable materials and modern design sensibility, Heer has managed to recover a time-honoured profession, revisiting it in a contemporary interpretation and developing the products of his tradition alongside original designer pieces. The relationship between tradition and innovation is important to Heer: “I think the difference between now and the past is the time that we live in. I have thought a great deal about how I could bring something as classic as a horsehair mattress into modernity. In terms of look and manufacturing technique, not much has changed since the early days; what I consider to be the greatest innovation is the way in which, today, these objects can be transferred into a new context, how they are being redefined.” To achieve this, Heer dresses his creations in soft cotton woven in England, gabardine wool

O Our products are not just functional, but also refined and exclusive

from Denmark, new wool fabric inspired by fine men’s suits and even deerskin. “By using these materials, the mattress doesn’t necessarily have to be covered but it can be displayed as it is. The idea is that it should be beautiful and exclusive, and of course functional, but not just an accessory for the bedroom.” Heer’s motto is Built, not stuffed, which represents the craftsman’s skill and painstaking care with which he perpetuates the memory of traditional manual techniques. Each mattress takes 19 hours to make, with 15 kg of horsehair from 40 horses and over 1,000 hand-sown


stitches. The horsehair, spun by Toggenburger & Co. in Marthalen, is sculpted in three layers that measure 2 feet in height. Horsehair is known for its elasticity and softness as well as for its matchless hygroscopic quality, absorbing the moisture that our bodies naturally produce. The layers of woven horsehair are then clad with virgin fleece from the south of France and lastly dressed in the fabrics chosen by the customer, which are sewn by hand. The finished product is of the highest quality, an exclusive cult object which has been in high demand with the royal families of Sweden and England. Even Queen Elizabeth II has had the opportunity to appreciate the prestigious Rosshaarmatratzen, created for the occasion with white horsehair. The combination of functionality and creativity are keywords in Daniel Heer’s vocabulary. Together with the house’s heritage products, his catalogue offers contemporary designer pieces in which his reflections on the aesthetic potential of an object’s framework become an exercise in style. From this perspective, his wood and leather stools are quite astounding: the webbing of the seat is not concealed but exposed, and the stool’s components are held together without glue or nails. The furniture range includes tables and daybeds, inspired by a new concept of rest. Heer’s latest creations have been exhibited in the exclusive location of the new Mykita shop in New York, dedicated to emerging German makers, for which he created a range of leather cushions, the evidence of his respect for tradition and of his being a talented and innovative designer.

A BLEND OF MODERN AND CLASSIC Above, Rosshaarmatratze are a favourite among royal families for their high quality. Opposite page, clockwise: three phases in the production of leather furnishings and designer objects; stitching a mattress by hand.


14/11/13 14.32



cultural asset such as the métiers d’art cannot be raised to dizzying heights only to be suddenly abandoned, as has been the case too many times. If we believe in change, we will overcome the reiteration of history



nc a r F


106_COLOGNI 3ENG_TL.indd 106

ogn l o C


I recall a Christmas gala dinner, a number of years ago. We were talking about the great music legend Dame Shirley Bassey, the extraordinary interpreter of “Goldfinger” and many other hits. Time has been kind to Dame Shirley, and I know that in recent years she recorded a new song, “History repeating”, with as much style and energy as ever. The song goes: “they say the next big thing is here, the revolution’s near, but to me it seems that it’s all just a little bit of history repeating.” And that is precisely what I feel, very often, when I see how the world of the crafts is periodically praised and glorified, only to be rapidly forgotten the minute the trend passes: history, in brief, repeats itself. Some claim that we are witnessing a positive resurgence of interest towards craftsmanship and the métiers d’art. Luxury brands are finally revealing the hands and faces of their artisans, emphasising the “manual” soul of their production. Local manufacturers are trying to revitalise traditional products. “Hand-made” sweets are a sophisticated and refined gift as well as a highly fashionable, and very tasteful, trend. The world of design is rediscovering its points of contact with the “makers”, fashion designers reinvent themselves as dressmakers, and even politicians employ screwdrivers and other tools in their metaphors, to make us believe that they are fixing things. In short: there is a lot of talk about the crafts and the


intelligence of the hand. And if all these words were to lead to a tangible, lasting effect I would be truly happy to acknowledge that we really are facing a revolution. But is it really happening? Or is it just (as Dame Shirley sings) a case of “history repeating”? It would be naive to think that all that glitters is gold. And perhaps it would be unfair to the world of the crafts and to all the commitment, work and excellence they represent, if we merely identified these activities as a quick and easy way to overcome this crisis: the métiers d’art – as we have said more than once – are a cultural asset and a competitive advantage, but if we want to promote, protect and diffuse them, we must do more than just talk about them. We need to appreciate and love them: we need to understand that artisans are not divinities, but that they provide outstanding interpretations of designs. That designers (or stylists or creative artists) are not gods, but professionals who are bringing a new vision into the world. We need to reconnect the ends of the broken dialogue between competences, not with ineffective billows of enthusiasm, but through the authentic appreciation of capacities and of the knowledge involved. We need, plainly speaking, to implement policies that will enable everybody to give their very best: to grow, to change and to improve. Only time will tell if the makers actually represent a revolution, if “do-ityourself ” is indeed a new perspective, if the métier d’art as the driving force of luxury is really an unexpected revelation: what we do know is, because we have seen it happen in the past, that we cannot allow history to repeat itself. No more raising artisans to dizzying heights, only to leave them up there when the world looks elsewhere. If history tends to repeat itself, we must change the screenplay, and innervate society with true change. And, perhaps, Dame Shirley will bestow upon us a new song with more optimistic lyrics.

14/11/13 14.33

Profile for Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d'Arte

Arts & Crafts & Design n°3  

Arts & Crafts & Design n°3  


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded