Made in Italy, the challenges of contemporary craftsmanship and what we can do to make young people love it again, and why after this crisis we will NEED to buy jewelry: we’ve asked Piero Marangon, CEO and co-founder of Nanis Italian Jewels, to answer to these crucial questions.
What is Made in Italy for you and what makes it unique?
I will avoid giving it an institutional definition, instead I will refer to a widespread sensation abroad, a set of values that are completely normal to us but that are not normal at all. I will try not to state the obvious, as Made in Italy is anything BUT obvious. It is truly a phenomenon that should be studied and analyzed. And I guess it is, but I give you my opinion seen from within, that is, by a person that lives the Made in Italy every day. Just as our DNA is handed down generation after generation, our sensitivity, taste, industriousness, tenacity, imagination and creativity, is the result of a journey of centuries of history. What’s interesting is that it has been a natural and spontaneous process, which has deep-seated within us without we could even try to oppose it. Everything has originated from the history of a country that has been the cradle of history, of trade and therefore of art, which is the daughter of wealth. A country that in its history has been able to build monuments that have become icons of humanity, but at the same time urban agglomerations where art has become a tangle of alleys and houses and churches, sometimes climbed on the top of a mountain. Behind those walls, workshops of artists and crafts flourished, that fathers hoped to entrust to their children, making them learn their art. Workshops where apprentices competed with their teachers ... And I could go on with the examples up to our times, where travel has become contamination, communication. It was the medium that showed our beauty to the world, that spread the "desire" of Italy everywhere, as a set of spontaneously expressed beauties.
Made in Italy is the result of generational contamination, of historical contamination, and is also the result of pride, which comes from the diversity that emerges in comparison with the world. Think about our 100 production districts, and the 100 dialects that still distinguish them today. All this would not have been possible in a country other than Italy.
Looking at young people, it seems like craftsmanship "is no longer in fashion". Why the new generations don’t approach this profession much?
On the contrary, craftsmanship is absolutely in fashion. Unfortunately, however, it is a more philosophical than real fashion. In fact, the great cultural limit to which young people are subjected is the misvalue of dirty hands, physical fatigue, and the fault lies with our generation, which has always shown them different examples to refer to, such as the notary and the lawyer. Thus disparaging in their eyes the carpenter or the tailor, the plumber or the bricklayer, the carpenter or the blacksmith. I have the perception that young people are in love and terrified at the same time at the idea of creating a solid cedar table, extracted from an 8-meter trunk. Yet in these professions there is a history, culture, ability, creativity, knowledge that all together cannot be found even in a degree in architecture. The legacy of an overprotective education is simply the fear of living. And all this is unforgivable.
What can and should be done to enhance and protect Italian craftsmanship, especially at a time like this?
Let us consider only the artisan companies that are classified as "artistic craftsmanship": in order to enhance this important Italian asset, in my opinion we should work on several levels. First of all, on education: schools should be more structured, in order to be able to provide a school level and a consequent qualification that satisfies the expectations of families, and much more connected with the world of work. However, education does not only concern young people, but also professionals, who should be supported with a continuous training designed to adapt their workshops to the conclusion of the students' training courses. Secondly, I consider the simplification of doing business for laboratories with a high manual and artistic content as fundamental. Last, but certainly not least, we must work to promote "Made in Italy" at an international level, which is exactly the only real brand to focus on, the big "umbrella" under which everyone can play their game. We must overcome all the regionalisms, the thousand consortia, groupings and associations (all with their own brand, and all absolutely unknown), and create a great, ongoing global campaign, supported by timeless testimonials, from Leonardo Da Vinci, to Giorgio Armani, from Pavarotti to Gualtiero Marchesi, from Roberto Benigni to Federico Fellini, from Guccio Gucci to Sophia Loren, to then move on to great works, monuments, design, and much more. A communication with great artistic and cultural contents, transversal to all sectors, and capable of put together all investments for a truly memorable campaign.
This year Nanis turns 30: how has the goldsmith's art evolved in these 3 decades?
Two trends and two ways of thinking have met: the first towards a quantitative production, supported by great technological innovations, the second towards a jewel of design research that aimed at niche, and mostly international, markets. With the crisis of 2001 and 2008, these trends accelerated, so that the decrease of large scale production on the one hand and the shift of high jewelry towards a more "democratic" jewelry on the other, let these two trends meet, defining a new large area where new technology was adapted to smaller quantities, even to the single piece, thus elevating the technical content of the limited series and enhancing the design aspect, finally no more conditioned by technical reference limits.
Tell us about Nanis "high-manufactured jewels": what makes them unique?
Our manufactured jewels are precisely the result of this process of technological innovation, wisely combined with what history and tradition has left us as a legacy. On the other hand, research has always been at the heart of Nanis. In our jewels, you’ll find all or in any case many of the available goldsmith techniques together, for unique effects and characteristics. Hardly a jewel so conceived couldn’t be made In Italy.
Many people say that this pandemic will change us: why after this crisis would we still want to buy jewelry?
In fact, we simply won't want to buy. We will be dismayed, frustrated, disoriented, exhausted, economically weakened. We will be called to rebuild a new order of reference values, which will have priorities and quantitative weights. It will take time, and we will be influenced by the search for references that we can trust. We will have a renewed sensitivity to the concept of community, an aversion to the concept of globalization, looking for a more human dimension. The speed with which we landed in this crisis has left our knees scraped: we will get up again, but this memory will stay with us for a long time.We will no longer have the desire to buy jewelry, but the NEED to do it. "BEAUTY will save the world": I am sure of it, and the jewel is an anchor, a symbol, a companion that never betrays you, that you miss if it is not with You, it is a memory or THE memory itself, a symbol, an emotion that becomes peace, and that becomes emotion for You or for others. We will have to take this into account in our creativity.