Ilario Mirror by Federica Biasi
Ilario Mingardo founded his blacksmith workshop in Monselice, near Padua, in 1970. Forty years after the creation of the workshop, Ilario’s son, Daniele, started his own brand to combine exquisite craftsmanship with contemporary design. His pieces feature a minimalist approach and are all hand-wrought by a highly skilled team of specialized artisans.
Ilario Mingardo founded Mingardo his blacksmith workshop in Monselice, near Padua, in 1970. Over the years, the company has collaborated with architects, starting with Carlo Scarpa, and important institutions such as the Museo del Novecento in Milan, Parco della Musica in Florence and the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari. Forty years after the creation of the workshop, Ilario’s son, Daniele, started his own brand to combine exquisite craftsmanship with contemporary design. His pieces feature a minimalist approach and are all hand-wrought by a highly skilled team of specialized artisans.
What is the secret behind a family business?
Compared to a large company, our daily relationship with those working here is essential. When you come to work in the morning, you connect directly with your team. It is paramount to have synergy in the vision we share and respect for everybody’s job. We can and we do confront each other and at the beginning we might not always agree, but the different inputs ultimately come together to create a better final product. When it comes to skills, the most important is versatility. Here, we cannot be good only at one thing: we need to be multi-talented and quick and we must be able to do a thousand things at the same time.
How important are tradition and innovation in the creation of your pieces?
Tradition is essential. It is our strong suit, what sets us apart and gives value and credibility to our products. However, it is important for us to be able to present them by using a modern, relatable language. It is a very subtle balance and,if we don’t create that exact mix of tradition and innovation, we either end up losing the value of experience or making old knickknacks.
How did the business start?
Our company started 50 years ago with its founder, Ilario Mingardo, who was a carpenter. His son Daniele learned the ropes in a metal workshop since he was a kid and in 2013 reinvented the business, combining his experience in working metal with a visceral passion for design and beautiful things.
What is the most fascinating step in creating such unique and detailed objects?
Well, every step has its own charm. We start with the idea, created along with the designer, then we make the object, and ultimately we sell it. Undoubtedly, the most special moment is in the evening, when the workday is over, the production schedule is set, and you can just sit down and experiment with what is on paper. That’s the magic moment that transforms an idea in a creation, and the adrenaline that rushes in keeps the dream alive.
Tell us an anecdote linked to your direct work experience.
One of the most fascinating aspects of our workshop is how it can bring together a very “rough” world, like the metal working world, with the extremely sensible realm of design. It is a rich and fertile union that never ceases to surprise me.
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