The interview of this month is dedicated to Eugenio Monti Colla of Puppetry Company Colla and Sons.
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The Great Design Disaster is a highly original and innovative project stemming from the creative exchange between the expert on art and design Joy Herro and the interior designer and gallerist Gregory Gatserelia, who have come up with a new way to approach the experience of collectable design. In a now saturated market, TGDD aims to introduce a new modality based on creativity rather than on acquisition. A market that puts an end to the traditional structure of demand and supply and that develops from ideas; a way in which people with creative imagination can meet up with talented artisans, to give rise, with the help of one of TGDD’s agents, to a product with an exclusive and unique spirit. TGDD is bringing in a completely new conception of the system of collecting, edging out the phase of acquisition and focusing exclusively on that of creation. And in this way collectors are able to become designers in their own right, relying on the collaboration with highly skilled artisans, carefully selected by Joy and Gregory: talents who can turn fantasies into objects. Joy Herro, who moved two years ago to Milan, enamoured of the craft know-how of North Italy, tells us how The Great Design Disaster works.
EL was born in 2015 out of the encounter between the graphic designer Isabella Attanasio and the architect Marina Migneco, united by their passion for the contemporary and for the crafts, for sinuous and dynamic forms and for experimentation in all its possible facets. They conceive, design, make, assemble and apply the finishing touches to their objects at their two small workshops in Catania and Venice, relying on companies in the Veneto to do the electroplating and precision casting. Recently they have also set up an e-commerce platform.
Orsola Clerici took a diploma in painting and restoration in 2002. Fascinated by the world of art and conservation, she decided to specialize in the restoration of contemporary art at Milan’s Accademia di Belle Arti di Brera in 2005. In 2007, capitalizing on her training and the skills she had acquired, she and Chiara Troglio set up Pictalab, a workshop of decoration located in Milan. In 2009 Pictalab started to specialize in the production of decorations on paper, alongside the decoration of walls, favouring themes linked to nature. Thanks to her commitment, manual ability and great expertise, Orsola Clerici received the title of MAM (Maestro d’Arte e Mestiere), awarded for the third time in 2020.
For over twenty years Elena Palossi, decorator and set designer, has been the proprietor of the Milanese studio LargheVedute, a well-established enterprise in the city, recognized for the design and realization of customized works and bespoke products. Each project is the fruit of a passionate work of creative research and study that leads to a contemporary, evocative and poetic end product, always strictly crafted by hand.
The story of Lorenzi Milano commenced when Giovanni Lorenzi, having survived the First World War, arrived in Milan in 1919 from the valleys of Trentino and decided to open his knife-grinding and cutlery shop in 1929, drawing on the experience he had gained as a shop boy over long winters spent in Germany. And so G. Lorenzi was born, a small enterprise devoted to the sale of cutlery and the sharpening of knives located in Via Montenapoleone and frequented by a refined and demanding clientele. Today the tradition of the firm is maintained by Mauro Lorenzi who, thanks to the experience acquired over more than thirty years of work in the family business, has decided to write another chapter in its history by opening a new Lorenzi Milano workshop in Piazza Filippo Meda.
Son of a craftsman, goldsmith and coral cutter, Platimiro Fiorenza took his first steps in his father’s workshop. Born in Trapani in 1944, it was as a child that he began to work gold, silver and coral, to cut his first gems, to get to know semiprecious stones. A craft that he has mastered and that he practices with great skill, producing sumptuous works of art, rich in detail and contemporary in appearance. One of his most prestigious creations is now in the Vatican Museums. For his undisputed expertise and as a worthy heir to an ancient tradition, Platimiro Fiorenza was awarded the title of MAM (‘Master of Arts and Crafts’) in 2018.
Stefano Bertoli is a young violin-maker from Milan who earned the diploma of a Master Luthier specialised in the construction of stringed instruments from the Civica Scuola di Liuteria of Milan. After applying successfully to take part in the project ‘A School, a Job. Training to Excellence’, he served his apprenticeship at the Milanese workshop of master instrument-maker Carlo Chiesa. After this experience he decided to open a workshop of his own and this year won the third ‘Artigiano del Cuore’ competition, staged by Wellmade and supported by the Fondazione Cologni.
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.