When you think about craft – with its grand traditions and workshops cluttered with time-worn tools – you rarely think of modern design. But that’s precisely what Stories of Italy specialises in. And, great news, its colourful collection – spanning tableware and vases – has arrived at Paul Smith.
Making a name for itself continuing the custom of Murano glassmaking, Stories of Italy is influenced by the legacy of age-old Italian crafts, drawing much of its inspiration from the archaeological and cultural heritage of the region. Etruscan vessels for example, inform the shape of the Olla vases in the Paul Smith edit with the silhouette only ever-so-slightly updated for a more contemporary take. “The techniques we use are personal reinterpretations of traditional techniques,” creative director and co-founder Dario Buratto explains. “Implicitly, I think that our pieces carry within them this history and this culture that instils a sense of preciousness and uniqueness. When you see them up close and touch them, you can immediately feel that there is a layering of meaning and centuries-old stories inside.”
An appreciation for craft runs deep in Italy, too, and so the company also looks to the myriad handmade objects that form the fabric of growing up in the country. “I think it is unconsciously part of the DNA of every Italian. In our daily life we have all come into contact with beautiful, handcrafted objects,” Dario says. “In the homes of our parents and grandparents there was always some special piece that deserved a lot of attention and care. Maybe a Murano glass vase, Capodimonte porcelain or a pair of handmade leather shoes.”
It’s in that spirit that Stories of Italy operates. Each item is designed to be a modern heirloom: something to cherish for generations to come. It doesn’t necessarily follow that the pieces look old, but it does mean a lot of thought has gone into making them timeless. “The typical aesthetic of Stories of Italy is minimal in form and maximalist in colour – a subtle balance between tradition and contemporaneity,” Dario explains.
Made by a group of master artisans, each piece is also impeccably crafted. “It is no coincidence that luxury brands from all over the world choose Italy and Italian artisans to make their products,” Dario explains. But beautiful wares is only half the reason why Stories Of Italy feels so strongly about working with independent craftspeople. “One of the main purposes of Stories of Italy is to support, enhance and disseminate Italian artisanship,” Dario says. “Fast-design often hurts the environment, workers' rights and the quality and durability of what is put on the market.”
This overriding philosophy might sound a little familiar – it is, after all, one that Paul Smith shares. The pieces available in our edit stay true to those principles of slow design and heritage craft, but with a twist: each piece comes in a limited-edition selection of colours designed to mirror the SS22 collection’s summery palette. “Paul Smith is world famous for his sense of colour and his joyful and elegant design,” Dario says. “I find that this concept is very similar to ours and the collaboration was therefore very fluid and natural.”
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