Market Players January 15th, 2021


Craftsmanship Made in Italy between heritage and new perspectives

Interview with Alberto Cavalli, General Manager, Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d'Arte

How is the concept of artisanship evolving today and also the mission of the Cologni Foundation?

The mission of the Cologni Foundation is to support and nurture the culture of artistic crafts of excellence. Not only the protection of doing good, therefore but also the constant invitation to be aware of the extraordinary value generated by craftsmanship. The elements that make this value are increasingly vital to our society's wellbeing: the recovery of territories, the sustainability of production, the recognition of talent, the satisfaction of those who manage to transform a dream into a project. The future of Made in Italy is played out around this concept of craftsmanship as mastery, or rather as the ability to consciously and creatively transform elements and materials into extraordinary objects, thanks to the capable use of refined techniques. For this reason, we try not only to support this attention to high craftsmanship but also to encourage and actively support it.

What are your main initiatives to support the art professions?

The Foundation publishes books and magazines and funds scientific research to create an up-to-date vocabulary and awareness of the art professions. We fund dozens of internships for young artisans every year as part of the "Una Scuola, un Lavoro" ( project. We created Well-made, a platform to give visibility and value to the artisan workshops of Italy. We have a chair at the Faculty of Design of the Milan Polytechnic, called "Mestieri d'Arte e Bellezza Italiana" (Artistic Crafts and Italian Beauty), to bring young designers closer to the value of the craft. For this reason, every year, on the Salone del Mobile occasion, we present the event "Doppia Firma" (Double Signature) together with Living Corriere Della Sera to emphasize the importance of the dialogue between design and craftsmanship. We organize events and exhibitions to give visibility to the great interpreters of contemporary crafts, and we try to be as collaborative and ecumenical as possible. Moreover, every two years, we assign the title of MAM - Maestro d'Arte e Mestiere (Master of Art and Craft) to the crucial Italian artisans, precisely to underline and enhance the most notable and exemplary stories.

The craftsmanship exhibited: tell us about your latest projects.

With Triennale Milano, we signed a one-year agreement to organize a cycle of exhibitions entitled "Mestieri d'Arte & Design" at the Quadreria del Palazzo in Viale Alemagna: we started with "Mirabilia" dedicated to contemporary Milanese masters, and we will continue with "Vitrea" (Italian art glass, curated by Jean Blanchaert), with an exhibition on contemporary Italian ceramics curated by Ugo La Pietra, and finally with a dialogue between Roberto Capucci's high fashion and Rometti's ceramics, orchestrated by Gian Luca Bauzano. These are evocative exhibitions that offer an unprecedented and surprising point of view on the applied arts. Homo Faber, the great event of Michelangelo Foundation of which Fondazione Cologni is a partner, is an extraordinary journey into wonder: it is a continuous discovery of everything that human hands can, and always will do better than any machine. From September 9th to 26th, Giorgio Cini Foundation's spaces in Venice will host a careful selection of objects, techniques, materials, but also and above all of the masters: thanks to the collaboration with an international team of experts, curators, designers, and architects. Japan, with its living national treasures, will be the guest of honor. A principal but necessary commitment: we believe that only the direct and conscious encounter with beauty, mastery, and talent can create and maintain the perception of value.

How did the idea of the Homo Faber Guide come about?

After the success of the first edition of Homo Faber in 2018, we wondered about a way to give visibility to the work of the many excellent artisans who, throughout Europe, celebrate every day the ritual of beautiful well-made. So we worked for two years on this platform that is in constant motion: every week, we add new artisans, countries, experiences related to the world of craft. Also available on APP, the Guide wants to offer a new and more evocative way to visit a city, or to discover a place, thanks to the magnificent prism of art crafts.

Projects and initiatives for the future, also to overcome this historical moment.

Never stop investing in quality, creativity, and awareness in education and training. As President Lincoln said: if you think education is expensive, try ignorance!



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Craftsmanship Made in Italy between heritage and new perspectives Interview with Alberto Cavalli, General Manager, Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d'Arte How is the concept of artisan...

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