The interview of this month is dedicated to Eugenio Monti Colla of Puppetry Company Colla and Sons.
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Paola Bacchi is an interior decorator from Rome who in 2018, thanks to her know-how and skill, was awarded the MAM (‘Master of Arts and Crafts’) title by the Fondazione Cologni. Each of her designs is the fruit of a passionate effort of creative research and study, assisted both by the technological and innovative capacities of major Italian companies operating in the field of design and the experience of refined specialists in craft products. In particular Paola Bacchi has worked on large-scale decorative projects in numerous private and public residences of great prestige, located in St Petersburg, Moscow, Paris, Vienna, London, Cap Ferrat...
Pablo Neruda once described Alberto Tallone as a ‘maestro de la claridad, profesor de pureza, héroe del book’ (‘master of clarity, teacher of purity, hero of the book’): qualities that can be found today in his son Enrico, who since 1973 has been running the publishing house founded by his father in Paris in 1938. After moving to Alpignano, in Piedmont, this genuine atelier of art publication has collected a whole string of marks of recognition and commendations at an international level over the years.
San Patrignano Design Lab, originally Casa d’Arte, identifies the different artisanal workshops founded in the eponymous and very well-known rehabilitation community by Vincenzo Muccioli, who was a firm believer in the power of manual work to rekindle passion and re-educate youngsters on their path to rebirth. For about ten years now, special attention has been developed here to link artisanal activities with design and to develop relations with important fashion and furniture companies. We asked Luca Giunta, to present us this activity.
Alba Gallizia, a true Milanese, architect and designer, has always been inspired by the legendary names of the 20th century for her creations: Le Corbusier, Caccia Dominioni, Ponti, Castiglioni… are her points of reference. A tireless experimenter, in 2015 she founded the brands Algares (accessories and jewellery) and Alba Gallizia Design (furniture and lighting), both based on research and on her collaboration with Italian craftsmen of a very high standard. Alba is well aware that the dialogue between design and craftsmanship is essential: this is why her work pursues the right combination of competences between mind and hands, capable of giving contemporary results in the name of the excellence and tradition.
Matteo Seguso, born in Venice in 1973, today one of the most talented engravers on glass in Murano, inherited his passion for the ancient art of engraving from his father, the master craftsman Bruno Seguso. Matteo, using a fixed lathe with interchangeable shafts and wheels, transforms glass into works of art encompassing a number of subjects - from floral to landscapes, from figurative to abstract, to the use of the “battuto” technique which creates beautiful geometric effects over the whole surface. Continually in search of new challenges and new experimentations, he encourages exchanging and sharing ideas and knowledge, and for many years he has taught the fascinating technique of engraving on glass.
Sonia Maria Luce Possentini was born in Canossa (Reggio Emilia), and divides her life and work between Canossa and Pigneto sul Secchia (Modena). After graduating in History of Art from the DAMS (University for Art, Music and performing Arts), and obtaining a diploma from the Academy of Fine Arts of Bologna, she studied at the Sarmede School of Illustration under Stepan Zavrel. In 2017, she received the prestigious Andersen Award for Best Illustrator and worked on the book "The plants with no name", in the Storietalentuose series edited by Fondazione Cologni for Carthusia. In 2018 she received the MAM-Maestro d'Arte e Mestiere award.
Efisio Usai was born in 1942 in Assemini (Cagliari), in Sardinia. He comes from a family which for centuries has made ceramics in Assemini, remaining loyal to some values over all these years: tradition and culture on the one hand, and passion and innovation on the other. Clay was already getting into his blood in his adolescence, when his father taught him the secrets of working with this material. In 1961 Efisio built a new workshop in the heart of Assemini, where his creations were greatly inspired by his native Sardinia. In 2018 the Fondazione Cologni honoured him as an MAM-Master of Art and Metier.
Since 2000 Massimiliano Massia has been at the head of Antica Passamaneria Massia Vittorio of Turin, founded in 1843 by his great-grandfather, a Royal Warrant Holder of the Savoy Court. The company is based in Pianezza, where the Museum of Passementerie is also located, the only one existing in Europe. The route of the visit, through historical functioning machinery used in the business, includes the story of all the phases of production and the live demonstration of some processes, together with the history and tradition of a family that for more than a century have devoted themselves with passion and great expertise to an ancient art with a contemporary appeal, today very much in vogue also in furnishing, fashion and design.
Saskia Wittmer, German by birth but Italian by adoption, has been working for over 15 years in her laboratory in the heart of Florence, where she creates bespoke shoes greatly appreciated by lovers of hand-made footwear. Wittmers’ is a very classic style, although she has an individual, original and feminine approach when she is working on products for male clients.
The story of the Bice&Berta bespoke knitwear in Torre Boldone, a few kilometres away from Bergamo, in Northern Italy, is a wool yarn running through the decades and connecting the hearts of extraordinary women, who grew up in different ages and have been brought together by the same passion. The same passion which, 27 years ago, encouraged Marina Rizzini to establish the laboratory and atelier which has now become a special place, fulfilling the soft tailor-made dreams of her clients, and turning them into perfect garments to be worn.
In the very heart of Varese, the “garden city” renowned for its Art Nouveau villas, its parks and proximity to the enchanting Lombard lakes, small contemporary factory can be discovered, where Elena Magni’s and Valeria Bellorini’s sophisticated savoir-faire gives life to state-of the art furnishings accessories based on precious, unusual materials.
In 1968, Fiorenzo Fallani opened his serigraphy atelier in Venice, where he imported a brand-new US printing technique to Italy. Over the decades, more than 200 world-renowned artists and promising contemporary young art talents visited the place, where they found a fertile environment to test their ideas, attentively interpreted by Gianpaolo himself.
Starting 1980, Filippo Villa has been following the family path founded by the outstanding master goldsmith and excellence craftsman Benvenuto Villa in 1876. The tradition is now being continued through the exclusive models created by the very best team of craftsmen in town. In 1995, Filippo Villa decided to become the first goldsmith reintroducing the use of cufflinks, which had first enteredthe history of costume in the 18th century and had been forgotten along the last 20 years. Thanks to his skills, passion and undeniable savoir-faire, in 2018 Villa has been awarded the Fondazione Cologni’s Prize MAM-Maestro d'Arte e Mestiere.
Born in Enna in 1954, he moved to Milan with his family in 1962. After attending the lower secondary school, he started working in a workshop where he learnt the upholsterer trade while attending the evening courses of the tapestry school run by Milan’s Atisea (the last school of this kind in Italy). After finishing the school, he started collaborating with a number of workshops, among which two historical workshops of Milan’s upholstery: Toniolo and Parinis. Thanks to his expertise, passion and acquaintance with processing methods and materials, he performs state of the art works.
Lidiana Miotto, born in Padua but now living in Lecce, is the only representative of the unique craft of papier-mache restoration in Italy. After achieving a qualification from the Ministry for Cultural Heritage enabling her to operate on their behalf, she moved to Lecce, Apulia, where she founded the Centre for Paper Restoration. Living in a town world-acknowledged for the excellence of its papier-mache creations, Lidiana Miotto is now reclaiming those antique artworks which had undergone extensive renovations over time.
Caterina Crepax was born in Milan in 1964, the heir to a family profoundly connected to art. She grew up in an evocative, imaginative and creative environment, which would prove a crucial asset in her education and training. But Caterina has always been an impassioned lover of paper. The daughter of world-famous artist Guido Crepax, she inherited her father’s great manual skills and imagination which led her to create an entire three-dimensional structure out of a paper leaf.
Hands on Design, a brand founded in 2015 by Kaori Shiina and Riccardo Nardi, creates, produces and commercialises its high craftsmanship design products within a network including, to this day, about 30 artisans and craft businesses and 110 international designers.
On the path of her personal and professional life, Gabriella Sacchi embodies the image of the craftswoman and designer combining creativity and savoir-faire at the highest level. In 1981, she established her Spazio Nibe laboratory, where, to this day, she has been engaged in ceramics sculpture while also pursuing cultural, research and promotional activities in the field of contemporary ceramics. In 2018, she was acknowledged the MAM-Maestro d'arte e Mestiere award, granted by Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d'Arte, in collaboration with ALMA.
Master Marino Menegazzo is the current owner of the Venetian historical craft workshop Mario Berta Battiloro. The workshop was founded in 1969, with the aim to continue the ancient family trade established in 1926.