The expression “Made in Italy” itself is almost perfectly identical to Italian craftsmanship, or “artigianato”, as the Italians say. From culinary products to clothing, from jewelry to leather goods and fabrics, the special, dedicated and skilled touch of human hands brought to life and built Italy’s excellence over centuries.
However, in the current world marked by fast developing technologies, standardized productions and characterized by a race to cheapness, the intrinsic beauty and value of something made by hand, immersed in history and quintessentially unique, was lost for a while.
People couldn’t see the point of paying more for a precious handcrafted masterpiece and younger generations failed to recognize the importance of carrying on their fathers’ work: they didn’t want to become the next artigiani.
Working with their hands was considered unglamorous, being a lawyer or a teacher was seen as a much better option for a successful future career: artigianato, precious to the world, and to Italy in particular, the last remaining treasure of centuries of history, tradition and art, and ultimately creator of culture, was seen as a second tier working activity.
Curiously, this didn’t mean the interest in Italy’s own craft products diminished: Made in Italy remained as an undisputed leader in several fields, meaning quality, beauty and value. Thousands of words and hours have been spent discussing the current state and the future of Italian artigianato.
Some experts point out that, because of the above mentioned lack of interest of younger generations in craftsmanship and the inability of many artigiani to keep up with modern technology and reinvent themselves as 21st century businessmen, artisanal activities may start to decline.
This alarming and heartbreaking consideration is unfortunately close to reality: the newer generations who keep on top of novelties and technological advances, who are perceptive enough to understand the importance of modern ways of communication and commerce, are not being attracted to craftsmanship’s legacy, even though they are truly needed to refresh it.
It’s almost impossible for their fathers, members of an entirely different generation and little versed in the magic of the internet and e-commerce, to keep up with changing times.
Nevertheless, despite all these threats, Italian artigianato is still alive and flourishing, since it is the standard bearer of Italian excellence around the world and represents a huge portion of Italian exports:according to the Ministero dello Sviluppo Economico, almost 13% of Italy’s exports come from craftsmanship products and this is without counting the food and wine industry. Handmade pottery, shoes, glasses and quality salumi are among the most exported Italian products in the world. Italian Craftsmanship is essential to the country’s economy.
Today, the younger generations, disenchanted by the stark reality of a job market where degrees and specializations no longer are synonyms to a safe employment, rediscovered the arts and crafts of their parents and grandparents, joining them in their ateliers or creating new exquisite handmade pieces. Young minds have now been introducing artigianato to technological innovation and modern forms of communication, opening up their workshops to the world, introducing modernity to a paradise made of traditional values and skills.
Italian craftsmanship holds history and art at its very core and, if modern devices and innovation are certainly supporting its smooth transition into the 21st century, its essence should remain rooted in tradition.
The market and customers, in Italy and all over the world, finally understood there are many things machines just cannot achieve as well as a human hand. Man is creative, Man is ingenious, and Man has hands which can bring art to life.
This means that, especially in the next decade, professions where the “human factor” is the most relevant will be heavily sought after. A 2015 study carried out by IRES, the Institute for Economic and Social Research, underlined how “in a country like Italy, famous for its high quality products, where unemployment among the young is incredibly heavy, but bakers, carpenters, tailors are diminishing in number, the world of craftsmanship becomes an immense professional opportunity.”
The same research also underlined how craftsmen’s “know-how” remains “an essential ingredient for the entire manufacturing sector,” especially today, when tradition and modernity can be merged to create a “formidable instrument of growth and innovation.” Even the European Commission, in a study investigating the whole EU, highlighted how craftsmanship, if well supported by modern marketing and technologies, is destined to become a real force in European economy.
Italian craftsmanship is the heart and soul of Italian economy, it values uniqueness, excellence and durability. It also carries skills, words, gestures and memories filled with history and heritage.
These are characteristics of craftsmanship in every corner of the world, but particularly in Italy, where we can see them treasured by several luxury brands, as the ones we will present to you next.
Bugatti Home and Fendi Casa from Luxury Living Group
Meticulous hand crafting, the most prestigious materials and creative designs are combined to produce exclusive furniture and accessories ranging from minimal abstraction, to fashion inspirations, to current expressions of grand décor.
The Fendi Casa collection celebrates the expressive principles of the Roman Maison in a melodic balance between fashion and design. The exceptional lifestyle of the Bugatti Home collection incorporates technological features in true Bugatti style.
The foundation of Flou, which took place in 1978, was based on the goal of manufacturing beds of high intrinsic and formal quality, combined with the desire to introduce a new ‘sleep culture’.
This was a period of great social changes: more women were going out to work, the homes required multi-functional spaces, the desire to live life with greater freedom and higher quality was growing. Therefore, the bedroom became somewhere more dynamic and the bed abandoned its traditional static white aesthetic and started dressing in colors.
B&B Italia’s uniqueness lies in an unmatched blend of creativity, innovation and industrial potential. The artful prevision of trends and expert touch in the evolution of taste, allows them to bring to life collections of contemporary design furniture with exquisite quality and design.
Flexform’s identity truly values Italy, the country when all their products are “thought & made” with local resources, in Meda.
“We have kept faith with our identity with tenacity and determination, and we have been able to make a name even in faraway lands. The interaction with different cultural models has undoubtedly enriched us, stimulating our desire to be open to new things. But our production philosophy has not been influenced. People love us because we are Made in Italy and because we offer products that are an alchemical distillate of elegance, comfort and aplomb. That is what is expected of us. And that is what we continue to give our clients, because it is in our DNA, and therefore comes effortlessly.”
“Flexform is a Made in Italy company also in the choice of the craftsmen who work on our production. Our sofas, our furnishings require great know-how, that “knowledge in the hands” that is required to make a product of such high manufacturing quality. The Brianza district in which we operate is a special territory for the world of furnishings, filled with specialized craftsmen who possess the necessary expertise, skills passed down from one generation to the next, making the products unique and inimitable.”
From its very first year in 1964, Seletti in Cicognara, Mantova, has followed its principles of everlasting research to achieve the best in innovation and creativity. The company focuses on design projects and on the outstanding art of Italian excellence.
Its collections include art pieces blended with daily life items, which marry function and form, sharing a unique view of a contemporary lifestyle. Nowadays, Seletti aims to preserve its journey and quest for true beauty.
Poltrona Frau is known for its craftsmanship, preserving the intelligence of hands, man’s ability, tradition and savoir faire. Its pieces are timeless icons, long sellers and contemporary best sellers, which are made of the finest European full-grain leather. The company always supports research and development as a guarantee to reach the best quality standards.
All its products showcase a careful ergonomic attention and sensibility for user-friendly comfort and sensory qualities, understanding the true meaning of luxury. Talent is treasured at Poltrona Frau, where the best master artisans, designers and architects collaborate together. The production process also respects the environment and its resources.
Kartell is a leading design company, founded in 1949 by Giulio Castelli and now run by Claudio Luti, a true symbol of Italian design around the world. Its success story was told through incredible product collections, from furniture, furnishings and lighting to home accessories, and it is now a contemporary design icon.
The brand collaborates with the most renowned international designers. Its collections are multifunctional, easy to use and beautiful to behold. Color, irony, transparency, unique shapes, charming to the senses and playful, these features all come together to bring to life unique pieces.
Kartell’s products are immediately recognizable around the world for their durability and undeniable quality. The current evolution in the use of plastics, the experimentation with new technologies and processes are vital for Kartell, which always strived to innovate its functional performance and the aesthetic qualities of its products.
Thanks to this research, new properties were introduced to plastic, such as satin-finish, transparency, flexibility, resistance to atmospheric agents, softness and touch, and surprising and special colors. In addition to being practical and functional, Kartell’s plastic is also sensual and precious, and radically transforms the perception of a plastic product from a merely functional object to a authentic luxury item.
Kartell’s know-how involves always seeking innovation, enabling designers to express their creativity with new technologies and materials in order to create real masterpieces.
Edra is a company with a unique history. It is a celebrated leader, in the vanguard of its field. It has followed its own path, with courage, dedication, respect and personality. It has created a history that will last in time, thanks to the manufacture of the highest quality products, never influenced by passing fashions and trends. This path has made it a prestigious brand and a reference point on the international design community.
Edra is the evolution of modern technology and artistic tradition. The production is the result of blending talent, invention, specialized craftsmanship, research on groundbreaking technologies and materials. The pieces are created with such care that they become unique, inimitable works of art. The sofas and cabinets manufactured by Edra adapt to all kinds of spaces, contemporary or traditional homes, public venues and even international museums.
Stay with us to find out more about the best of craftsmanship, contemporary art and design.
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