We have visited the Laboratorio Paravicini, an
artisanal workshop located in a historic district of Milan known as the “Cinque
Vie”. Workshops in this area will be open to visitors on the weekend
celebrations of the European Artistic Crafts Days (28-29 March 2015).
How did you start the Laboratorio Paravicini?
The workshop opened at the beginning of the 1990s. Initially, we wanted to produce our own dinner sets, because we could not find anything that we liked on the market. Our goal was to create ceramic plates that would be suitable for everyday use as well as being non-toxic and dishwasher safe. We had to make many attempts, experimenting and throwing away a lot of ceramics, before we managed to obtain the right product. We soon began to receive our first orders and from a hobby it gradually became a full-time job.... and we never found the time to make plates for ourselves!
Does this profession require a specific training?
No school training is necessary, at least not for the decoration of the plates, which is our main activity. But it does take an incredible amount of time and dedication to acquire the skill that is necessary to paint sophisticated decorations on a rough and permeable surface. One has to be demanding, patient and creative.
The problem is that most young people expect to be successful immediately; in this trade, what really counts is experience, which takes time to build it.
How do you reconcile your work with the new needs and trends of the market?
In a globalised world, consumers are becoming increasingly sensitive to personalised, unique and non-replicable products. Perhaps more than in the past.
Which types of clients do you target?
We have a private clientele as well as shops that work in a close relationship with their customers. We deal with both local and international clients.
Do you think that young people are fascinated and inspired by your profession?
Probably the economic crisis has helped the young understand that there are many self-employed work opportunities in the crafts, which are only waiting to be discovered and promoted. The problem is that most young people expect to be successful immediately; in this trade, what really counts is experience, which takes time to build it.
During the European Artistic Crafts Days, your workshop participates in the open days of the “Cinque Vie” district in Milan. Are you planning anything special for the event?
We will carry on our activities as usual, and visitors to our workshop will have the opportunity see how we make our handmade dinnerware.