Luxury Design as the Craftsmanship Propeller – Summit’18 – After a sumptuous first day, the second day began with a blast. The luxurious panel, composed by Serena Confalonieri and Francesca Merciani, from Doppia Firma, fashion designers Storytailors, Alda Tomas, a Designer from Vista Alegre and Toni Grilo, a product designer. The panel, moderated by Essential Lisboa‘s magazine editor and open media director, Fernando Caetano. The panel’s goal is rather simple: to show everyone in the audience that the future of luxury design lies in the hands of craftsmen and women.
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Serena Confalonieri, alongside Francesca Merciani, opened the talks by presenting the honourable organization they’re representing: Doppia Firma. Presented by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, Doppia Firma is a project by Fondazione Cologni del Mestieri d’arte with Living Corriere Della Sera, that provides a platform for a vibrant dialogue between the craftsperson and designer to develop new artworks that combine the finest métiers d’art expertise and contemporary design culture. Every that’s connected with the project is paired with a rather talented craftsperson, so they can learn from one another. Gathering the best of both worlds, Doppia Firma aims to elevate the role of craftsmanship in contemporary design. During the month of September, in Venice, you can see first-handed the beautiful results of the project, at Homo Faber.
João Branco and Luis Sanchez created Storytailors in 2001 after finishing their Fashion Design studies at the Architecture College of Lisbon’s Technical University. They met during 1996 while attending the same classes; during the course, they realised that their aesthetic universes had a lot in common and that their ideas and opinions about fashion were complementary. They joined forces, matured ideas and decided to create a project with a game-concept that would reflect internationally their way of seeing and working fashion. Passion for History, fables and stories along with their fascination with garment construction, tailoring and fashion gathered two words into one, and this story and tailors became Storytailors. From their researches and inspirations, they craft stories for the future in a liberating way, revealing them as chapters in every collection. The metaphorical language implicit in each garment is their way of communicating. Their work mixes History, contemporaneity and future in timeless design. Each Storytailors garment survives the season in which it was designed and can be reproduced at any time, on demand or in special editions. The young designers took us on a ride through their brand’s path, showing the importance of the concept and high-end execution to achieve the design they thought of.
”what we look for in our work is to be able to finnancially support our work experiments, so we can always try new materials and techniques. That’s what drives us.”
Alda Tomás, Vista Alegre’s designer, showed us what the brand’s work is about. from the finest china to crystals and glass. Founded in 1824, the Vista Alegre Porcelain Factory was the first industrial unit dedicated to producing porcelain in Portugal. The persistence of its founder, José Ferreira Pinto Basto, was instrumental to the launch and success of this daring enterprise. A landowner, audacious merchant and distinguished figure in Portuguese society at the time, José Ferreira Pinto Basto wisely adopted the liberal ideas of the 19th century, having become “the first example of free initiative” in Portugal. ”It’s Incredibly difficult to design for Vista Alegre” she said. The brand has its own DNA, with German and Italian influences, all merging into unique and timeless designs. Alda took the opportunity to introduce one of the brands most prominent designers: Evelyn Tannus. The young Brazilian designer explained to us the delicate process of designing a Vista Alegre piece, alongside the young, international design team at the brand’s core.
Designer and Art Director, Toni Grilo was born in France in 1979. Graduate by the École Boulle in Paris in 2001, he immediately goes to Lisbon, continuing to develop projects in France. At the end of Europe, finding its roots, he discovers a rich industrial and craft country and is obsessed by the beauty of technical processes and materials. After various collaborations, he decides to stay permanently in Portugal: he founds in 2005 a first agency, Objection with the designer Elder Monteiro, but in 2008 he opens his own studio, creating products, furniture and scenography. Toni not only sees himself as a designer but as a maker as well. ”I know how to sculpt a chair” he said ”I learned it during my training, and I never forgot it”. For him, crafting the piece is as important as designing it, if not more. He still has welding scars in his legs from the first time he designed for Christofle. He not only designed the piece, he built it himself. Proving once more the value of the craftspeople know-how in today«s luxury design business.
”Going to the factories, getting my hands dirty, that’s what I love the most”
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