Milan made to measure

Is the craft shopping guide to the top 70 interpreters of a unique heritage of craftsmanship

As far back as 1750, the name Buccellati referred to a goldsmith’s shop just a stone’s throw away from the Duomo. Today, the elegant boutique in Via Montenapoleone, opened in 1919 by Mario Buccellati and now run by his son Gianmaria and grandson Andrea, represents the continuity of an ancient art that masterfully combines traditional tools and techniques and modern technologies. In 1876, the Villa family established a goldsmith’s business and in 1930 opened a jewellery shop in Via Manzoni. Since then, Villa has fascinated the Milanese and international public with its elegant and luxurious creations: an endless range of cufflinks, micromosaic brooches and rings, and the signature-piece sets of skilfully braided gold threads. Established in 1920, Ganci is one of the city’s oldest silverware manufacturers, a tradition of great craftsmanship that the Morandino family preserves with passion. From planishing to chisel work and engraving, they also produce made-to-order designs and reproductions from sample pieces. Even Roberto Miracoli and his son Renato continue a glorious family tradition, which began over a century ago, when grandfather Romeo established the business in 1912. This silverware workshop is renowned for the wonderfully detailed enamel silver animals it produces. Raffaella (Lella) Curiel descends from an uninterrupted line of successful women and runs a business that has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in the late 19th century. Today, dynamic Lella and her daughter Gigliola work side by side, sharing the same passion for haute couture and prêt-à-porter creations and for amazing craftsmanship, distinguishing features of their charming atelier. Heir to a tradition handed down from one generation to the next since the mid 1800s, Carlo Andreacchio creates impeccable men’s suits in the time-honoured Sartoria A. Caraceni. Carlo and his son Massimiliano, who represents the fifth generation, tailor 400 outstanding made-to-measure suits a year. Carlo, Mara and Lorena Traviganti run the Silver Tre workshop, where they perform the difficult art of sheet metal turning they learned from their father. They make spectacular objects in silver, brass, copper and steel, including 2-metre-tall Fabergé eggs and a life-size carriage drawn by a mechanical horse… Fornace Curti is probably the oldest workshop in Milan. As early as the fifteenth century it was making terracotta vases and capitals for the city under the Visconti family. Today this large atelier is still run by a member of the founding family: together with his wife Daria, Alberto Curti produces astonishing statues, vases, tiles and frames.

No less than 70 magnificent master craftsmen are introduced to the public in Milano su misura, the “craft shopping guide” which takes readers and visitors on a new and surprising discovery of Milanese savoir-faire. The acclaimed international capital of fashion and design unveils a more hidden dimension, equally fascinating and exquisite. The stories of Milan’s craftsmen are full of passion and poetry: commitment and dedication of great family legacies as well as the successful adventures of young and talented masters of the arts. Like Antonio Sciortino, an artisan-artist who creates original and fascinating wireworks. Or like Sabine Valente, a young designer who drapes her poetic brides in silk, organza, lace and embroidery. And Giacomo Moor, a carpenter and designer who assembles wood without using nails, in the best tradition of cabinet-making, and Lorenzo Rossi, a talented Italian luthier who was awarded third prize in cello making at the international competition in Cremona. Historic and contemporary workshops, in which new materials, creativity and innovative productive processes are developed along with traditional techniques. The guide invites the reader into the heart of these ateliers of excellence, true sanctuaries of know-how, to discover the faces and skilful gestures of the craftsmen who, in their often inspirational workshops, day by day put these techniques into practice with competence and passion. Their lives are wonderful examples of dedication and talent, as well as entrepreneurship, captured in the beauty and truth of the images that illustrate the guide.

Readers are taken on an enthralling journey in search of tailor-made beauty by Stefania Montani, a journalist committed to the promotion of craftsmanship of the highest standard, and photographer Dario Garofalo, who took the pictures thanks to the generous cooperation of the craftsmen themselves. The high cultural value of the project is the result of the successful partnership between Gruppo Editoriale (specialised in niche magazines and publications dedicated to Italian fashion, art, culture and territory) and Cologni Foundation of the Métiers d’Art. The workshops were selected by Cologni Foundation according to strict parameters of quality and acknowledged craftsmanship, and the project was specifically focused on creating a “shopping guide” for connoisseurs. Produced in a pocket format with Italian and English texts, the guide is also a valuable handbook for the curious traveller and aesthete, who will be impressed by the many handcrafted treasures that Milan has to offer. The publication has been made possible thanks to the invaluable contribution of the Four Seasons Hotel Milan, the very utmost in Milanese hospitality, and of the Swiss maison Vacheron Constantin, the world’s most ancient manufacture of high watchmaking and patron of outstanding métiers d’art.