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Meet the Artisans: Sotow

Paolo Calcagni has worked in advertisement and directed commercials for global brands such as Swatch, Vodafone, and L’Oréal. However, he had always loved design and moved away from advertisement to found Sotow, a unique artisan workshop that creates elegant one-of-a-kind pieces of furniture.

Calcagni’s passion for design, his collaboration with expert artisans and craftsmen, and the use of innovative technologies alongside traditional methods are the secret of the success of this Made in Italy atelier.

Paolo Calcagni designing his chairs
Paolo Calcagni

Tell us about your products and what makes them special.

Our objects are simple and timeless and they are made just like tailored clothes: customized to our clients’ taste and needs. Nowadays design depersonalizes beauty and comfort. Sotow goes the opposite way and makes pieces to order.

Sotow chairs in the beautiful setting of Costiera Amalfitana
Paolo Calcagni at work

Can you describe the stages of the production process?

After designing the piece, I make the first prototypes. When the object satisfies me esthetically and ergonomically, we produce a series. The seat is sandblasted with steal spheres and dust-painted, while the central part is colored with a spray gun. When the chair is dry, we add the feet and at the same time we make the cushion either in braided raffia, cotton, suede leather, or in a fabric printed in HD.

A Sotow chair in the making

Tell us about the history of your company.

Ours is not really a company, it is an artisan workshop. I always loved design, back when I was in advertisement. I started moving away from advertisement in 2002 when I edited for three consecutive years the book “The Official Point of View” for the Milan Furniture Fair. I started making furniture almost as a joke three years ago: at the Fuorisalone events during the Furniture Fair I held an exhibition of ten prototypes of chairs that became very popular. It all started then. It is very gratifying to make objects that people like and want to enjoy in the intimacy of their homes.

Who are the key people in your company?

The team is very important, like when I used to shoot commercials. On set you make a film with your entire team, and now I collaborate with great artisans: the upholsterer, the carpenter, the blacksmiths. We all work together and we work with enthusiasm.

How do your surroundings influence your work?

Italy is a country of great beauty that inspires me.

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