Oriente Italiano

Ginori 1735 fuses Italian craftsmanship with floral embellishments in its latest porcelain collection 

For over 280 years, Ginori 1735 has been at the forefront of Italian design and craftsmanship. A company rich in heritage, its design legacy is a lengthy and pronounced one; its name, for example, refers to the 18th century origins of the company when Marquis Carlo Andrea Ginori launched the Manifattura de Doccia in Doccia, which is located in the family estate nearby Florence. He opened a porcelain factory fuelled by his interests in white gold, which soon became an icon in its own right and the Ginori 1735 brand we know it as today.

A few years down the line and Ginori 1735 evolved with a modernised direction, still remaining true to its core values and essence as a brand. In the 20th century, Giò Ponti was named creative director and the manufacturing expanded through Europe, causing an artistic revolution and the development of new innovations. The Ginori 1735 tableware sets, for instance, made their debut in the 1950s and were celebrated for their elegant, minimalist aesthetic. Collaborations, too, played high importance in the 80s, with Italian designers such as Franco Albini, Franca Held, Antonio Piva, Sergio Asti and Achille Catiglioni breathing new life into the manufacturing. In 2013, Manifattura Ginori was acquired by Gucci and placed under the direction of Alessandro Michele, before being untrusted under the Kering Group and a team of designers formed by Alessandro. 

And now, with a plethora of table wear, decor and fragrances housed in its collections, Ginori 1735 has launched a new line, the Oriente Italiano. Blending floral embellishments with Italian craft, the pieces are distinctive in their own right – from tea sets to table objects. Annalisa Tani, brand and product designer at Ginori 1735, tells me more about the collection. 

This collection is a fusion of Italian and Far Eastern charm. What does this mean exactly, and how is this represented in the design?

The combination between exotic beauty and Italian style of the Oriente Italiano collection is represented by decoration, which is the result of a successful dialogue between different techniques and the traditional craftsmanship that distinguishes Ginori 1735.

Florals are a key feature running throughout the collection. Did you reference any existing materials – such as real life plants or photographs – when designing the patterns? Or are they drawn from your own imagination? 

The flower that characterises the decoration of Oriente Italiano is a stylised carnation, an iconic decoration of the Florentine majolica since the mid-1700s. The flower, reinterpreted by Gio Ponti, takes shape in a rapid stroke that reminds water colours in which the gradient dissolves in the background colour.

The colour palette is calmingly earthy, with mossy greens, blues and pinks. How did you decide on these specific tones, what do they evoke? 

The Oriente Italiano palette, composed by ten shades – azalea, iris, purple, periwinkle, cipria, vermilion, citrine, barium, malachite, albus – creates surprising and unexpected combinations. These soft and sensual colours express the charm of a journey in distant lands with a perfect chromatic balance.

Can you tell me a bit more about how the collection was made?

The Oriente Italiano collection is very complicated to produce and has many several steps. First of all, the colour is nebulised on the whole surface of the piece through the airbrush technique. This technique also enhances the shapes because the colour becomes more intense on the embossments, creating chiaroscuro effects. It’s a very elaborate technique because it’s very difficult to maintain the same and the homogeneous tone of colour on all pieces and in every production. 

Then, the colour is hand-applied with a precise direction to respect the plate’s supporting beams and make each piece perfectly the same to the other. Finally, the piece is hand-treated with “ritrovature”, tiny embellishments created by small brushstrokes, realised, for example, on the mug handles. Moreover, there are many firing processes with different temperatures depending on the colours created. 

Where do you see the collection being used? 

Oriente Italiano is a collection that suits perfectly in domestic environments as well as in hotel spaces thanks to its wide range of pieces that includes tableware and interior decor objects. The tableware proposal, thanks to its vast array of colours, creates a perfect mix and match allowing everyone to express their own creativity. 

How does this collection fit in with the brand’s rich history and design legacy – have you incorporated any characteristics or elements that nod to the past? 

All of our collections tell a story of excellence, savoir-faire, tradition and craftsmanship. Elements that have distinguished Ginori 1735 brand for over 280 years. The stylist signature of Oriente Italiano brings together craftsmanship, tradition as well as the artistic and the cultural values of the Manifattura. As one our best selling collections, Oriente Italiano allows us to export and make our heritage known all over the world.

How important is craftsmanship and traditional techniques to the making of this Ginori collection?

Craftsmanship and traditional techniques are very important for us. Tradition stands for the respect of a sense of continuity; it means transmitting. Through its tradition, Ginori 1735 creates products that express beauty, artisanship, design and style, typically made in Italy.

What’s next for Ginori?

In June, during the Milano Design Week, we will present a new home fragrance collection and two other exclusive collaborations with two well-known brands in fashion and design sectors. Furthermore, we will present the new fragrances of La Compagnia Di Caterina, the LCDC collection, created in collaboration with the designer Luca Nichetto. 


B&B Italia: 50 Years of Design

A new documentary offers a unique insight into B&B Italia’s history, design methods and architectural collaborators  
Established by Piero Ambrogio Busnelli in 1966, B&B Italia has surpassed 50 years in design innovation. The company’s dedication to creativity and technology has allowed it to become a leader of modern furniture, while its capacity to predict trends and respond to changes in taste and living has resulted in furniture collections that epitomise important phases in design history. Although Piero Ambrogio Busnelli died in 2014 aged 87, his legacy lives on through his son Giorgio Busnelli and grandchildren who now work within the company. 
A new documentary by film-maker and writer Didi Gnocchi is a rare and personal glimpse in to the vision of Piero Ambrogio Busnelli, tied together with photographs and interviews with influential designers and architects such as Renzo Piano, Mario Bellini, Antonio Citterio, Vincent Van Dyson and even Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum in London. The documentary unpacks B&B Italia’s 50-year legacy, and explores the past, present and future of the company and its collaborators.
Gnocchi has always been curious about the vision of designers but does not come from a design background; she spent most of her life as a journalist. Her media production company– 3D Produzioni– has been researching design, architecture and history for many years, building relationships with designers and architects all over the world. During the research process, Gnocchi browsed not only through B&B Italia’s archives, but through her own. ‘We filed a lot of material in our archives that turned out to be useful to give a better context to the years when the company was first set up, and how it later grew in relation to Italy,’ she says.  ‘Everyone was very pleased to tell us about their relationship with B&B Italia, especially with their new Research Centre which they all said is a worldwide milestone.’
B&B Italia: Poetry in the Shape, When Design Meets Industry is available to stream via the B&B Italia website from 13 April

Stories of Craftsmanship

In a series of six short films, Canali explores the craft and construction of some of its key designs

‘Where do stories come from?’ asks Italian writer and director Ivan Cottroneo. ‘Everything starts with a blank page – metaphorical or physical – or a blank screen in a cinema before a movie begins. This is a very significant image and despite everything that is said about writer’s block or director’s block, this image is inspirational to me. I get the urge to fill that blank screen, I want to fill that blank page.’

In a recent collaboration with Canali, Cottroneo – who co-wrote the script for Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love – came together with Luca Bigazzi, director of photography for Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, and Oscar-winning composer Dario Marianelli to create an exclusive short film. The result – Rewind – pays homage to the attention to detail involved in the making of a Canali blazer, from pattern-making to the final stitches. 

Now, this narrative continues with Stories of Craftsmanship, which explores the craft and construction of some of the other garments the brand is best known for. Six short films released over the several weeks each focus on an item from the Canali catalogue: The Shirt; The Tie; The Shoe; The Belt; The Sweater; The Trouser. The latest episode, released today, focuses on the construction of a Canali sweater. Watch it here






Celebrating Gio Ponti: Molteni&C

We take a look at the new Molteni&C furniture that celebrates the genius of the pioneering modernist Gio Ponti and eight decades of Italian design

Small Table D.552.2 by Gio Ponti for Molteni&C
Small Table D.552.2 by Gio Ponti for Molteni&C

In 1929 the designer and architect, Gio Ponti, founded the magazine Domus. Focussing on ‘the cultural debate of architecture and Italian design in the 20th century’, Domus and Ponti would become some of the key figures that established Italy as a centre of modernist design. They were also the driving force behind one of the country’s largest design houses, Molteni&C.

Until the Second World War, Molteni&C had manufactured reproduction Louis XIV chairs, but with peace came economic growth. “After the war there was a need to furnish Italy,” says Giulia Molteni, the granddaughter of founders Angelo and Giuseppina Molteni. “Following the war, my grandfather found designers and architects who had a different idea of modernity like Le Corbusier and Gio Ponti. He thought it would be a great adventure and believed in it. On the appointed day they simply stopped producing the reproduction furniture, threw away everything they were working on, and started anew.” It was an audacious move, but one that worked.

Armchair D.270.2 by Gio Ponti for Molteni&C
Armchair D.270.2 by Gio Ponti for Molteni&C”

Today, Molteni&C comprises four subsidiary companies that are currently celebrating 80 years in business. Fittingly, in collaboration with Gio Ponti’s heirs, Molteni&C has recently reissued a selection of Ponti’s designs that reflect on their history within Italian design and give a potted history of Ponti’s illustrious career. The first, Small Table D.552.2, is made of solid rosewood with bronze legs and a transparent triangular top and was designed for the American market in the 1950s. Joseph Singer, of Singer&Sons, travelled to Italy from New York in search of new designs and ideas and it was his patronage of Italian designers that helped to establish the reputation of Ponti, Carlo Mollino, Ico Parisi and many others in America.

The second piece, Armchair D.154.2, was commissioned for the Caracas villa of the collectors Anala and Armando Planchart – “a game of spaces, surfaces and volumes offered in different ways to those who visit”, as Ponti wrote in Domus. Ponti had travelled to Latin America in 1952–3 and his conception of both the villa and the furniture was inspired by what he had found there; Italian art and design was mixed with a Venezuelan vernacular. This armchair, despite being explicitly Italian in design, embraces a softer, more organic form, enclosing the sitter and reflecting its domestic purpose. It is this sensitivity to the object’s destination, to the requirements of the modern home, that is at the root of Molteni&C’s post-war transformation.

Molteni&C continues to innovate and experiment with its products, a strategy remains at the core of the business’ ethos. “We put at least 5 per cent of our profits into research and development,” explains Giulia. “And we try to ensure that we find international designers so we are not too Italian.” Perhaps this is best evinced by Patricia Urquiola’s Night and Day collection for Molteni&C – a series of sofas, chaise longues and single beds that can be configured for the needs of the user and, as Giulia puts it, the “varying needs of modern homes”.