The Italian touch

The holidays are around the corner, I can feel it. Fair enough, I have already gone to 7 holiday parties so far this month: talk about a warm up. And a logistics challenge when I get invited to three of them in the same night. It is not so much about being popular, rather, or so I see it, it goes back to wanting to make a month worth of work fit in two weeks. Add the parties scheduled before the lucky ones get to leave the city and crowd airports: perfect source of revenue for the cab companies, unless party-goers decide to have fun (i.e. drink) and give back to the community with using Operation Red Nose for instance.

The last dinner party I joined was loud and diverse. I got to meet Daniela who had just moved from Mexico three months ago for work. She is a kitchen designer and mostly consults for high-end brands, along with architects. I am not referring to a giant Swedish brand scoring 333 stores in 40 countries: that would be logistically “too” easy. I am talking about a company founded in 1925 Northern Italy (also Il Divin Codino‘s birthplace) and started as an artisan laboratory specialising in wood working. This strikes a chord as, besides wine making, my roots are related to fine wood craft too. I remember designing pieces of furniture for fun: Daniela does it for fun too, at a very different level though.

Chatting with her reminded me of another logistics I got exposed to while I was working for a rather wealthy company, away from any economic worry at the time. Similar story, different context, yet Daniela works with the engineers, architects, and of course, her clients, from the concept to the final installation. It is so granular that using a common pre-cut material is just unthinkable. It is wood: it is not like there is none available in North America, let alone in the Pacific Northwest, to serve the West Coast clientele. She shared that any of her designs is sent to Italy to then be created. My question was simple: can her designs not be built in North America? The answer is no.

She underlined the finesse of the craft, the architectonic, the choice of the material, the finishes and the quality of the design. Passion emanated from her voice and justified the effort, the distance and the long lead time to get unique designs for a kitchen. It may not be a Raphael, a Titian or a Masacchio, and it is even better: the client can have the piece imported. By special cargo, or even by plane for the impatient ones, whatever rocks their boat, and their wallet. At that point, it is Art and deserves to be treated as such. No explanation required. Extra padding is required for shipping, same as for traveling art exhibitions, except that, this time, there is no layover, just a final destination: the client’s pleasure.

Whether it is an Italian artifact or not, I wish you Peaceful Holidays, and a delightful renaissance for 2012.

Photo credits: She’s a private dancer, Rome (Italy) – Courtsey of © Olivier Borgognon Photography