I opened my factory in Bregano in 1964, but I had already started working in a workshop during the War.
I find that the workshop is often better than a school, because there is the possibility of doing and of learning, and sometimes of making mistakes. “Design” then is a very recent name: in my days, it was called industrial design. I started out in a workshop, cutting decorative shapes from sheet metal; every day I walked from Blevio to Como to go to work.
I find that the workshop is often better than a school, because there is the possibility of doing and of learning, and sometimes of making mistakes.
When I moved to Milan I rented a small workshop opposite Vigorelli, where I made objects that were commissioned from me and where I started to make the forms that I myself had designed. Then these objects ended up on the desk of one of my friends who worked in Gio Ponti’s studio: when Giò Ponti saw them, he wanted to know who had done them. He himself came to see me in my shop. With Ponti I also went to Paris, together with Bruno Munari, Fausto Melotti and Salvatore Fiume.
Technology has never been a problem, nor an element to which I have paid too much attention: I have always worked with forms, and now I can think and create forms that I would never have dreamed of making, because they would have taken too long and cost too much to produce. Nowadays too often people think that technology is a valid substitute for creativity without thinking about the fact that it is not always important how we make it but what we make.
Technology sometimes kills inventiveness: there are too many people who let themselves be guided by what a computer says rather than by what they could do on their own. The real problem is that everyone copies and no one tries to invent any more.
My work has never been oriented towards the search for a luxury product, in the sense of a product for the elite. I am happy when many people can afford the objects that I design. My generation grew up with little or very little, so luxury is not really something that is part of me.
The designer’s work is difficult: wonderful but also very hard, especially for a young person, and that’s because young people won’t let themselves do nothing, they can’t make mistakes and so they never learn. I used to keep my factory open on Saturdays to give lessons to whoever wanted to learn. That for me was the real school, because instead of being at a desk, I was in the middle of real work tools and I could immediately demonstrate what I was saying, letting the kids try to “make” with their hands.
They are always the same ones, unfortunately: there are too many people who want to apply themselves, but when it comes to getting down to work seriously they back out. This happens on all levels, from enterpreneurs to professors and curators. Fortunatuely there are still people, although there aren’t very many, who do all the work for everyone.
Laura Inghirami, journalist and advisor specialized in the jewelry sector, and Founder of Donna Jewel, interviewed, for the Cologni Foundation, the Master artisans who have been awarded as “MAM – Master of Arts and Crafts”, in the category: Jewelry - Silversmithing – Goldsmithing.