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The Artisan

Dante Negro's Visionary Style

Get to know the history of Dante Negro, a cherished family-owned business, under the guidance of designer Margherita Rui, whose passion lies in shaping metal into exquisite indoor and outdoor artisanal furniture pieces. Delve deeper into the visionary style that defines Dante Negro, highlighting its latest collections, linking the past and the present.

Based in northern Italy, in the Veneto region, the family-owned business is now run by Dante Negro’s son, Elia. The core of its artisanal activity has always been metal and how it can be transformed into sophisticated indoor and outdoor furniture pieces such as chairs, tables, loungers, and sofas. In fact, Dante Negro himself attended wrought iron workshops, starting at age twelve, and learned the art of working and shaping the material from masters such as Toni Benetton.

The generational change, when Elia took ownership of the company, has brought about a shift: from a company focused on the local market, it has renewed itself as an international startup in the design industry. In 2021, Margherita Rui took over the Creative Direction of the brand, with the aim of exploring the artisanal potential of Dante Negro and its services, to identify new materials, and experiment with innovative manufacturing techniques.

Yours is a great family story that started in 1964 and continues to this day under the leadership of Elia Negro. Tell us about the company’s evolution over the years and how two different generations’ creativity and resourcefulness have come together.

Dante Negro has been investigating the soul of metal since 1964, exploring the extraordinary potential of the material as well as the imprint and handwork that can shape it into an object. After years of training in the workshops of wrought-iron masters, Dante founded his own business and immediately gained notoriety thanks to his penchant for experimentation and research. The most recent generational handover to his son, Elia Negro, has seen the company transform into a design brand with international appeal, with a culture of design at its core and the production of high-level furniture and architectural structures as its main goal. The brand has expanded its network of partnering artisans, establishing an expanded production district with expertise in glass, wood, and marble manufacturing.

Your link between past and present is very strong and is quite evident in "The past is not gone" Collection. How did this collection come about, and what is its heritage?

The Creative Direction began with a study of the brand's Heritage Collection, whose archival outdoor furniture - marked by romantic and retro shapes - was revisited with a designer trademark and covered with delicate and natural CMF. The collection has a contemporary feel: highly tactile textures, essential details, fabrics, and natural colors infuse levity and allow for a perfect symbiosis between past and present, all the while evoking the nuances of the earth, plants, flowers, the rhythmic passing of night to day, combined with precious and iridescent materials.

Unquestionably, a crucial aspect for you is the connection with the interiors that house your creations and, at the same time, the direct contact with the landscape. What is your vision for further strengthening this relationship?

“Blending Habitats” is Dante Negro's vision of the outdoors, an invitation to rediscover an authentic connection with the environment and to reclaim a close connection with the landscape. Distinguished by primitive charm and visionary style, the collections are presented as icons of biomorphism: enveloping shapes, organic geometries, natural colors, and sustainable fabrics that integrate the collections’ design with the surrounding landscape. The primordial concept of archetypal living inspires present and future collections. Their design always starts from the gazebo - an outdoor icon and an extension of the domestic space - where landscape, architecture, and humans are in symbiosis: the habitat of man living outdoors. The interconnection between wrought iron and the outdoors will remain the beating heart of our projects, driving the brand's expertise to restore the utmost value of handcraftsmanship.

Your ability to convey simplicity and light-heartedness through your creations is evident in your design collections. Where do you draw your inspiration to create such harmonious and light forms?

The pieces that comprise the collections aim to elevate workmanship and move away from the aesthetics of industrial products: the sculptural furnishings reveal the potential of wrought iron, whose irregular surface is in constant dialogue with nature. Charged with a contemporary aesthetic, the bond between man and nature takes on a new dimension: the new era of hyper-craftsmanship.

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