Homo Faber event offers the unprecedented opportunity to meet artisans from twenty European luxury houses at work, to discover how finest craftsmanship contributes to the luxury meaning. Each of its 16 exhibit spaces focuses on a different aspect of craftsmanship. The room Discovery & Rediscover at Homo Faber, specially selected by Michelangelo Foundation, highlights the human hands behind the brands with an over the top experience.

The word of luxury conjures money and status, but the original concept of luxury has a deeper meaning. Beneath the beauty of their outward appearance, luxury products can embody the values, culture and time-honoured skills of the master artisans who create them by hand.

Ther are common concepts and details that usually define luxury: a meticulously hand-sewn saddle with a unique double stitching is stronger than one made by a machine, or the painstakingly creating tiny gold rails 0.2mm thick allows you to fix gemstones in a setting that is virtually invisible. That it is worth taking three weeks to decorate a single plate with bespoke porcelain painting without a template, or that mastering a centuries-old enameling technique can create a stunning three-dimensional effect.

 

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Nib crafting by MontBlanc. To create a nib that perfectly matches an individual’s writing style, the artisan works through 35 different stages, rolling, stamping and shaping the 18 karat gold nib with painstaking patience, before engraving it with the emblem and the number 4810, Mont Blanc’s height in metres. Photo: © Mont Blanc

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Nib crafting by MontBlanc at Homo Faber’s Discover & Rediscovery room. Photo: © Covet Foundation

Crystal engraving at Lobmeyr. The engraver carefully holds the glass object against a copper wheel with an abrasive paste applied. Changing the wheels, speed, order of cuts and other variables he can create every required shape and pattern. A simple letter takes about an hour to engrave. luxury meaning How Craftsmanship is Embedded in Luxury Meaning Homo Faber Venice 2018 Michelangelo Foundation European Craftsmanship Crystal Engraving Technique

Crystal engraving at Lobmeyr. The engraver carefully holds the glass object against a copper wheel with an abrasive paste applied. Changing the wheels, the speed, the order of cuts and other details, the artisan creates every required shape and pattern. A simple letter takes about an hour to engrave. Photo: Gravur Baerenjagd © Lobmeyr

Brands like Mont Blanc, Cartier, Van Cleef & Harpels, Lesage, Hermès, Jaeger LeCoultre, demonstrate the rare techniques and exceptional skills mastered by artisans working in the European luxury sector used to create products of the highest quality, the true meaning of luxury.

Europe has long been a centre of excellence for luxury products, but in this modern world of machine-driven consumerism, the essential values of the luxury design sector are sometimes forgotten or lost altogether. This exhibit puts the focus squarely back on the craftsmanship that goes into making luxury objets, shining a spotlight on the human beings behind the brands – the artisans whose skills and experience bring real meaning to the concept of luxury.

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Embroidering (Luneville Technique) at Lesage. Exceptional embroideries are a combination of traditional techniques acquired over centuries, using needle or hook. Photo: © Lesage

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New techniques have been created by the House of Lesage, like the vermicelli and volume embroidery with innovative contemporary materials. Photo: © Covet Foundation

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Glassworking at Venini, Decorating Techniques. After blowing and shaping the melted glass, the masters apply traditional engraving techniques. The one of a kind Battitura technique involves the use of different sized grinding wheels to conceive different patterns on the surface, giving the object a tactile dimension. Another famous technique, Incisione, requires the use of a special grinding wheel to create fascinating linear sequences. Photo by François Wavre, © Michelangelo Foundation

Discovery and Rediscovery showcases 20 very special artisanal techniques inspired by the list of métiers d’art outlined by the French Institut National des Métiers d’Art (INMA). Each technique will be demonstrated by an artisan from a European luxury house whose history and ethos is closely linked to the skill on view. Renowned maisons and exceptional ateliers will come together in the same room in an unprecedented showcase of the extraordinary craftsmanship behind iconic products of true luxury.

Visitors will be able to interact with master artisans from each of the maisons as they work on site, making beautiful items that require skills such as crystal engraving, gem sculpting, hand weaving, boo Lunéville embroidery or bookbinding. Visitors will leave with a real appreciation of the care, mastery of technique, respect for materials, passion for process and sheer man hours that go into finished products of the highest quality.

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Gemstone Sculpting by Cartier. The master carves semi-precious stones and ornamental gems to create miniature sculptures. Photo: © Covet Foundation

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Gemstone Sculpting handmade technique with precious stones by the renowned House of Cartier. Photo: © Covet Foundation

luxury meaning How Craftsmanship is Embedded in Luxury Meaning Homo Faber Venice 2018 European Craftsmanship Discovery and Rediscovery

Watchmaking by Jaeger LeCoultre. To conceive the smallest mechanical watch movement ever made, the caliber 101, it is required handful watchmakers. The famous movement is tailor-made with very detailed techniques and a lot of time and patience.

We started with traditional craftsmanship related to the world of luxury, and we tried to choose the best representative for each specific know-how,” Franco Cologni, Co-Founder of the Michelangelo Foundation, explains. “Our goal was to present both legendary, world-acknowledged houses and smaller, less well-known brands from the viewpoint of craftsmanship which is essential to their heritage. By putting the master artisans at the centre of our narrative in this space, we are saying that true luxury is more about human excellence and the refinement of skill than simply about expensive objects.”

The exhibit testifies to the high regard the luxury meaning has for artisanal skills and its continuing commitment to preserving master craftsmanship for the future.

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Embroidering (linen) from Madeira (Bordado da Madeira). The artist of hand embroidery of Madeira draws a pattern on wax paper, which is then perforated so the design can be traced onto the fabric using a sponge soaked in blue ink. The fabric is sent to the home of the artisan, who will spend many hours embroidering the fabric by hand which will be trimmed, washed and ironed. Photo: © IVBAM

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Embroidering from Madeira, Portugal. Exquisite patterns and delicate technique can be seen in Venice. Photo: © Covet Foundation

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Eyewear making by Bonnet. The artisan works with the client to elaborate the style of frame and choose the materials to be used, before a minimum of 12 facial measurements are taken from the client. Photo: © Covet Foundation

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Made by hand in a ten-step process, the bespoke frames are shaped and polished to absorb or reflect the light in a particular manner, then fitted until they become a part of the features and identity of the wearer. Photo: © Covet Foundation

The most innovative thing you can do in the 21st century is to use your talent and passion to create something with your hands instead of copy-pasting and data-sourcing,” says Anders Thomas, CEO of Porzellan Manufaktur Nymphenburg, one of the participating luxury houses. “The craftsmanship of European artisans results in genuine luxury products that are unique and contribute to the variety and quality of the society we live in, and this must be preserved. By bringing so many master artisans together, Homo Faber is showing the relevance of human skill at the highest level of creativity and passion.”

Discovery and Rediscovery is one of 16 exhibits that make up Homo Faber, a major new exhibition celebrating European craftsmanship, organised by the Michelangelo Foundation.

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Homo Faber – Crafting a more human future
14-30 September
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

Homo Faber is the first major cultural exhibition dedicated to the very best in European craftsmanship. Organised by the Michelangelo Foundation, it aims to put fine craftsmanship on the global map and increase recognition and visibility for master artisans. The exhibition will bring together a vast range of materials and disciplines, from jewellery to bespoke bicycles, from the rarest artisanal techniques to some of the most iconic examples of the finest European workmanship. Created by a hand-picked team of world-class designers, curators and architects, the exhibition stretches over a number of magnificent spaces throughout the Fondazione Giorgio Cini.

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