Small events, great opportunities
Let me explain what it is like to make craft tech items in 2019
Soultech - making of
May 2019, I am in Chengdu, China, and Angelo Bucci (outstanding architect) sends me a message to invite me to participate as a designer in the exhibition organized by the Exhibition of Artistic Craftmanship in Abruzzo which over the years has become a confirmation to discover and deepen craft production of my native territory. It is beautiful because it hosts only local excellences and, although we tend to underestimate these events from the outside, we do not realize that the grandeur of our country depends for the most part on the qualities of these men and women who, knowingly or not, do search for excellence.
I caught with great enthusiasm the invitation to participate as a designer in the Design Loci section, the exhibition corner coordinated by Angelo, because I feel part of a enhancement process of the territory.
Back in Italy I set at work to understand what to do.
I am not doing self-produced design for now, and logically I should have done something to show my job muscles. I could exhibit tables and chairs and do my job as a studio bringing home the best result.
But it seemed limiting to me.
There I was sorrounded by craftmanship and I found it restrictive to bring a piece of furniture, I wanted to create a more sincere connection with the area covered and somehow launch a message with the designer's tools and sensitivity.
While I was trying to figure out what to do, I started to think about the use of the light bulb in the world of craftsmanship during the years.
Making a lamp is by now an established and rather simple thing. A ceramist, a carpenter, a blacksmith (etc etc) can wasily face the realization of a luminous shape starting from a common lamp holder and creating a lampshade.
But if we think in a more analytical way, the light bulb is a technology, a very advanced one back in time, which is now in everyone's hands and perfectly manageable. The world goes on and, as has it happened with the light bulb, there are many other technological supports that satisfy needs in a more linked way to the contemporary, easy to find and to install.
Then I said to myself that, as you can manage a lamp holder, you can also manage a speaker or a bluetooth sensor, creating an envelope to make a sound box.
Obviously I am telling you like it is super easy, in reality it is a process with its complications but, as the English say, "it's not rocket science".
From there, finding other available accessories was not difficult and I added an induction smartphone charger and a touch screen pen to the collection.
The role of the craftsman then is to do the case and that should be valorized too.
To make my drawings I went to the best artisan I know: Daniele Paoletti, a blacksmith who I call the "welding surgeon", also very good at creating finishes on metal with acid etching. And it is precisely the acid-etched technique that make the products look always different and very artisan, despite the fact that they host modern technologies inside.
The speaker, in metal and glass, is etched by spray, one with a dark finish and the other on orange in corten style. The fabric covering the case is colored by hand by my sister Beatrice, designer and theatrical costume designer.
The wireless charger is made of Sapelli mahogany and ash wood, lovingly turned by Oswaldo Filipponi, one of my trusted prototypers, who usually make my chairs.
The surface finishes this time are sacid-etched, but with supports, such as brushes and sponges that guarantee a product totally at the mercy of the inspiration of those who apply the acid-etching, as if it were the canvas of a painter.
The touch screen pen was instead the product that came most naturally to us, simple to make, which consists of a turned hexagonal rod, as if it were a pencil, and immersed in acid-etching.
It has 3 different shades, the longer a surface is exposed to acid, the darker it becomes.
In the end the result is technological, artisanal and extemporaneous objects at the same time.