Canadian Interiors hosting a new video series exploring Italian craftsmanship
Canadian Interiors is proud to host a new video series produced by partner Black Bread + Jam.
To celebrate the launch of a new video series titled Jammin’ Design Talk, produced by our friends at Black Bread + Jam and hosted by Canadian Interiors, we asked Giuseppe Avesani to take us on a tour of how the series came to be, and how the Six Memos of Italian writer and journalist Italo Calvino became guiding narrative threads that link the series together.
“We started thinking about a series of video interviews during the first wave of Covid-19, which was a period where we were seeing relationships with companies, customers, friends and the public struggle to stay connected due to lockdowns and distancing. Jammin’ Design Talk arose from the profound urgency to keep relationships alive through the simple exercise of dialogue. The keyword that was spinning in my head at that time was lightness; we wanted to do something fresh, light and new, and we realized that in our past experience we had built something solid enough to support that lightness.
We wanted to rediscover the reasons why we had chosen to collaborate with certain companies and realized that behind every company there are always people and it is those people who make the difference. As soon as we had the chance to physically move around, we went with a crew to interview our first four companies. We intentionally kept it loose but ended up using a few key subjects that then became regular topics such as music, food, art, Italianness, and people, but always keeping an eye on Design and Architecture. The result are dense portraits of humanity, ingenuity, competence and sacrifice.
As the interviews took shape and we had some material to edit, I realized that each of the companies embodied a peculiar characteristic from Italo Calvino’s 1985 Lezioni Americane (or “American Lessons,” later adapted into a book called Six Memos for the Next Millennium). Each lesson takes its cue from a literary quality that Calvino considered important: Lightness, Quickness, Exactitude, Visibility, Multiplicity and Consistency.
Lightness is perfectly embodied by the spirit of Instabilelab and particularly in Stefano Munaretto, its founder, who reminds us that no material in the world of design is lighter than paper. Stefano is a volcano of ideas and full of positive energy which he has poured into the creations of his research atelier located on the mainland a few kilometers from Venice. When we arrived at the company and see the space dedicated to customer visits, we were struck by the golden skulls with sequins, printed on half-wall wallpaper that contrast with a piano in the middle of the room and a Triumph Boneville 1984 Cafe Racer in the corner: a scenography seemingly plucked from the Wes Anderson film The Grand Budapest Hotel.
Exactitude is masterfully represented by architect Francesco Grassi, from Grassi Pietre. Speaking with the precision of a geology professor, Francesco explains for us how Vicenza stone – the same stone that the architect Andrea Palladio used for the construction of his villas in the 1500s – is a sedimentary rock that was formed where Vicenza is now, in a warm shallow lagoon rich in sea life including coral reefs, and how slabs cut from their quarries can carry fossils and other geological remnants that can enhance interior architecture or furnishings.
Our two-part interview with Patrizia Moroso is where Multiplicity is expressed: through the stories of the company’s history and in the many collaborations with diverse designers from all over the world, from Europe to Asia, from America to Africa. When we decided to include Moroso in this first round of interviews, I was both excited and nervous. Although we have been collaborating with this company for many years in Canada and I have known Patrizia personally for almost 20 years, I had seen dozens of her interviews where the interlocutors were professional journalists and during which she spoke about design with the competence of someone who has contributed to building a part of its contemporary history. In the end our conversation was full of ideas and unpublished anecdotes, with Patrizia’s dynamic personality emerges.
Consistency is the characteristic that comes to mind when I think of Morelato, a company that has more than one hundred years of history and that on a cold winter morning in the Verona countryside hosted us at Villa Dionisi, a splendid 18th century villa owned by the family and where Morelato has its own Design Museum. The white frost on the grass in the adjacent countryside counterbalanced the warmth of the fireplace in one of the stately rooms in which I chatted with Alessandro Morelato. When he spoke about his furniture, he expresses all the passion of a cabinetmaker who knows wood down to the smallest detail and who would be able to distinguish its typology by its scent.
When the pressures of the pandemic eased and travel reopened, we paused our interviews in order to dedicate ourselves to the opening of our new showroom, located in the Distillery District of Toronto. The two characteristics that are still missing from Calvino’s Lessons are Quickness and Visibility. I already have an idea of who to interview among the companies with which we collaborate that perfectly embody these two peculiarities and I can’t wait to find out if this is really the case, as well as other treasures to discover and new stories to tell.”
Click here to view the full Jammin’ Design Talk series, and watch for new additions.