To deliver our extraordinary fixtures, there are times when we seek out the specialized expertise of artisanal vendors around the world whose values fit with ours and who enable us to stretch our creative boundaries. A visit with these two Florentine families reveals the many reasons why the quality of that work is worth celebrating.
Tuscany has always been a land of abundance. A modern hub of art and architecture, commerce and culture, with medieval roots and a Renaissance soul, it remains rich in the quality and craftsmanship that have shaped its unique identity, as well as in the stewards of those traditions whose elevated ideals continue to define the region today. Early last fall, we spent three days criss-crossing the hills and countryside in and around Florence with a few of our partners in the region to capture the modern mastery up close—first at Mangani, a porcelain house with deep Florentine roots, and then at My Light, a glassblowing workshop producing some of the finest examples of this endangered art form. Both offer an incredible window into these time-honored traditions, as well as a reminder that intentional artisanship is not dying in this world of mass production we currently live in. To the contrary. As you’ll see below, it is thriving and, increasingly, influencing the makers and manufacturers of the future.
We first came to the Mangani family because they’ve been sculpting porcelain—and sharing their expertise and passion for it from one generation to the next—since the nineteenth century. In the 1950s, Alfiero Mangani’s workshop attracted the interest of Tiffany & Co., which launched a collaboration that endured for decades and produced some of the company’s most revered lamps and objects. Under the direction of the current standard bearers, siblings Giulia and Lorenzo (shown right), the Mangani legacy of superior design, quality raw Italian materials and unparalleled knowledge is secure for yet another generation. And it is on full display in the Leasowe semi-flush, one of our most recent introductions.
Founded in 1949, My Light is a multigenerational endeavor for both Cristina Corsi and her husband, Riccardo. Cristina’s grandfather started the company, and both her and Riccardo’s fathers carried on the tradition. To talk to Riccardo (shown left) is to experience a lesson in glassblowing history—he can chart the craft’s course through the centuries in minute detail. Which is how it should be. Once a flourishing trade for countless Italian craftsmen, its ranks today have dramatically dwindled. Fortunately, there are experts like Riccardo and Cristina to keep the flame— or, more accurately, the torch—alive. Today, the couple relies on the glassblowing techniques handed down from their forebears to create the incomparable globes that complete some of our signature fixtures like the Eddystone, Grayfoy and Jennifer.