Alberto Cavalli with Giuditta Comerci and Giovanna Marchello, foreword by Stefano Micelli

In order to understand the origins and future of authentic Made in Italy production it is necessary to analyse, evaluate end comprehend the true meaning of craftsmanship of excellence and the noble nature of the master artisan’s craft.

The aim of this research, conceived and developed by Alberto Cavalli with Giuditta Comerci and Giovanna Marchello on behalf of the Cologni Foundation, is to create a matrix for the evaluation of artisanal excellence.

The investigation sets out from the fundamental role that artistic crafts play in Italy’s manufacturing excellence and develops a matrix for its evaluation. Far from elaborating an assessment of excellence based on arithmetic formulas, the research aims at providing a set of clear, documented and shared characteristics that a product should possess in order to be defined “excellent”. When the definition of artisanal excellence is based on solid foundations, the transmission of its uniqueness and beauty is facilitated, thus contributing to creating a common knowledge of what is universally recognised as the main ingredient of Italian manufacturing: “beauty that is well made”.

To create the matrix, the research explores and compares the legislations of Italy and other European countries and the regional production specifications compiled by local authorities, extrapolating a series of recurrent definitions, which become the basis for the identification of the concept-terms that define artisanal excellence.

A sociological research conducted by Enrico Finzi sheds more light on how the Italian public perceives the “métiers d'art”, and on the fundamental characteristics of artisanal excellence. The concept-terms are extensively discussed with important and influential master artisans from Lombardy: their contribution is fundamental to verifying the validity both of the matrix and of the classification system.

The assessment matrix is not only an innovative tool for understanding and evaluating excellence, but it also provides a valuable point of reference for those who aim to reach it. The matrix includes criteria pertaining to the subject (creativity, competence, training, talent, interpretation), terms that define relational and spatial associations (territory, tradition), and concepts more objectively connecting the artefact with the master who made it (authenticity, originality, craftsmanship, innovation).