DESIGNER, COMPANY OR BOTH?
￼When designers take care not only of design, but also of production, by relying on the widespread artisan knowledge of their territory, what makes them different from a company?
Self-production allows me to be free and to experience more. I can design and produce not only objects but also ideas, and commission work to Italian craftsmen.
TRADITION: WORKING WITH CRAFTSMEN
￼Marble and brass are part of our Italian craftsmanship tradition and can easily be approached thanks to the many workshops still extant. The common heritage of knowledge which we can gain is invaluable. Gran Turismo is a synthesis of this widespread knowledge and my experiences and tastes. It is difficult to establish the boundary between “my” and “our” project.
MARBLE CARRARA DISTRICT
The White Carrara and Grigio Bardiglio marbles come from the Carrara quarries and are processed by Apuana Corporate.
APUANA CORPORATE – THE CRISIS OF CARRARA MARBLE WORKSHOPS
Apuana Corporate is an informal network of marble-processing workshops. Its purpose is to prevent the artisan know-how from dying out for good, and to transform Carrara, where they are based, into a prosperous widespread factory and not just a quarry.
Thanks to the vision of Claudio Morelli, for whom innovation runs in the family, Apuana Corporate won the Italian SMAU “Il digitale per fare business”.
BRASS PADOVA DISTRICT
Brass parts are handmade by the Due Emme workshop in Loreggia, Padua.
DUE EMME – GENERATIONAL TRANSITION
Due Emme is a workshop for metalworking and the construction of luminaires.
Due Emme has recently passed from father to sons; the young new owners have started to value the inestimable heritage of the company’s experience in brass handworking and are trying to implement it to the full.
ASSEMBLY TREVISO DISTRICT
Progetti in Luce was responsible for the final assembly of electrical components, according to CE regulations.
PROGETTI IN LUCE – FLEXIBILITY FOR SMALL AND DIVERSIFIED PRODUCTION
Progetti in Luce was born for the on-line sale of design lamps. The company is currently focusing on the production of small and diversified batches, both for private customers and designers.
Turnery – Padua district
Fabric printing – Treviso district
Lampshade craftsman – Padua district
The Macarons is a collection of lamps clearly inspired by the famous French confection. Their cute appearance conceals production made entirely by hand in Italy with a special attention to detail.The lamp base is made of tulipwood. Blocks of solid wood are first hand-hewn, and then finished on a lathe. Two symmetrical elements are so obtained, just as for the French confection, which are assembled by hand.
The natural base is simply finished with water-based wood preservative, while the colored ones are lacquered.
Even the lampshades are handmade in Italy. The textures are made exclusively for this collection and are drawn in such a way as to follow the natural curving of the lampshades, narrowing at the top and widening at the base. The pattern will look the same regardless of the viewpoint. The craftsman cuts out the fabric and, using discs of painted iron rod and lamp holders, creates the lampshades. A special structure, where the arms of the lamp holder have different sizes, was created to obtain the tilted version. To give a further touch of retro-style and to pay homage to tradition, the lampshades are finished off with passementerie.
The real challenge was to fix the planks to the shelves in an extremely accurate way. The scanning of the planks has to be very accurate in order for the opening of the cabinet to be exactly where it is supposed to be.By using a wood-workstation and a 3D program, we were able to get the result we were looking for: the electronically-driven milling machine cuts the countertop out from an MDF panel and then, with a different drill, makes the holes where the planks will be fixed. The corners of the planks are rounded by hand from okumè panels and are treated with a primer to obtain the color base.
In a forced-ventilation room the planks are placed on a cart and varnished with many coats of shiny-acrylic paint. Colors and solvents used in the process are carefully monitored during preparation and application. The vapors are channeled before being disposed of. Once dry, the planks are fixed to the holes previously created by the electronically-driven drill.
Marble worker – Padua district
Brass craftsman – Treviso district
Brass-label worker – Padua historic centre
The marbles for the lamp have been chosen for reasons of style and viability. The marbles had to express Art Deco taste but at the same time be easily available. Many types of Italian marble in fact no longer exist or are very difficult to find because the quarries have meanwhile been closed. For these reasons, I selected Nero Marquinia and Bianco di Carrara. On special occasions I have used other, rarer types of marble.
The disks are made from 2 to 3 centimeters thick slabs of marble. The circular cutter rotates over the slab and is then able to slowly cut the piece. The whole process occurs under a constant stream of water that prevents overheating and removes dust.
Once it has been cut, the disk is dressed and polished. The disk is patiently finished off and polished up by hand, first the sides and then the front. As a finishing touch, the edges are smoothed so that they form a 45° angle, instead of 90°. No chemical compound is used, only machinery and skilled craftsmanship.
Near Treviso I then found the right company to work with for the realization of the custom-made brass structure and LED components. Thanks to their expertise, we have identified the best LED source that would ensure the best light and atmosphere, and enhance Novecento. In their workshop we also developed the brass structure.
A skilled craftsman with more than 30 years of experience folds the brass rod by hand at room temperature without having to heat the material. In order to be more accurate, he uses a template that helps in the folding of the piece. The peculiarity of Novecento is that each piece is unique, that is different from any other piece. Brass is a fascinating material but much harder to work and weld compared with iron or steel. Perfect accuracy is unattainable, but I think this typical, capricious behaviour of brass makes each Novecento even more special: a personal creation of the artisan. I have favoured brass over other metals because I wanted a noble material. I could have used another metal and then finished it off to imitate brass, but I prefer the genuine features of a material to show.