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Craftsmanship Meets Design: Manufatto

Read our interview with Manufatto, a team of designers who interact and work with local artisans to create unique products with a contemporary aesthetic. Crafted using centuries-old techniques and methods, each piece combines designers' concepts with craftsmen's ancient know-how.

Ilaria and Davide, the young duo behind Manufatto.
Manufatto's production is fully handmade.

Born out of a desire to create a network of small workshops and designers exchange techniques and ideas, Manufatto, whose name in Italian means "Made and guided by hand”, is a brand inspired by the dedicated artisans scattered around the Italian peninsula. These collaborations result in a series of single-material objects that epitomize the hand-making process and represent the importance of reclaiming local crafting traditions.

Ulysses pitcher and glasses are crafted using the finest mouth-blown glass.

How has Manufatto started?

Manufatto was born out of the need of working in the contest of our territory, with our roots well planted in our traditions, but with a long glance toward the future. This image is the vision guiding our production system, in which designers and craftsmen work together, each bringing his or her knowledge: our designers contribute with their ability to conceive contemporary and sustainable objects; and our craftsmen, with their centuries-old skills, work their materials inextricably linked to tradition and to the territory.

What is the meaning of the name “Manufatto” and why have you chosen it? In what way does it represent your identity?

“Manufatto” is a word in Italian that alludes to the manual skills that we look for in the craftsmen with which we collaborate. In the Italian dictionary, the definition of the word is, “Made and guided by hand”, and we would love to add, “Designed from manufacturing”.

Our pieces originate from the synergy between the concept of the designer and the expertise of the artisans. The central element of our projects is the craftsmanship, with its links to local traditions. Italy is a place where the local artisanal excellences give body to ideas and Manufatto is a net of workshops and designers cooperating with each other and exchanging points of view and techniques.

Our products are small objects made of one material and represent the archetype of the action that inspired their designs. They are crafted keeping in mind their function and their interactive vocation with us.

Detail of Ballerina Vase manufacturing process

What is your philosophy?

Manufatto lives in our workshops. It understands and assimilates their secrets and techniques and the rich tradition of manual artistry. Every craftsman has a unique story and human heritage and is distinctive because of the specific methods and material he uses. Manufatto observes and listens to the craftsmen, designing objects with them, and guiding them in a process of regeneration, reinvigorating their ateliers that become also commercial spaces.

What are the projects and collaborations you are most proud of?

We are proud of all our projects. Each of them narrates the work of a craftsman and the technique that he uses. Each time, it is a fascinating voyage that leads to knowing and creating with a new artisan. Working with the Guncaio Iuzzi in Viaio, a town in the province of Arezzo, was one of the most fascinating project we embarked on. Weaving is a technique that brings us back to the dawn of man and designing with this method an object that was modern and capable of interacting with contemporary users was a long and difficult process. The result is magnificent: a rural piece that is a perfect mix of the majesty of nature and of human achievement.

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