A young Italian couple is on a mission to revive the country's tradition of artisanship and a contemporary twist, with new brand LATOxLATO
For centuries, the words "made in Italy" have been synonymous with craftsmanship, style and quality. This is as accurate today as it's ever been: the country's artisans remain true to their art, steadfast in their drive towards perfection.
As architects, de Capnist and Valentini aim to balance functionality and form. As custodians of Italian craftsmanship, they hope these pieces can serve as reminders in the age of mass production
Making its debut at this year's Milan Design Week was a new brand, LATOxLATO, conceived by young architects Francesco Breganze de Capnist and Virginia Valentini. Having established their own design studio Spazio Primario in New York, they soon realised that some Italian homeware and furnishings did not do justice to the country's reputation.As Italians, it was natural for de Capnist and Valentini to bring their personal vision to their products. LATOxLATO is no vanity project: As Valentini puts it, the mission for their brand is to bring a long tradition of artisanal know-how to the present generation.
LATOxLATO is the name in Italian of the formula used to calculate the area of a square – a nod to the geometry that is all around us. "Our inspiration is our day-to-day lives," says Valentini. "Our background as architects makes us see the world in a certain way and we are unconsciously used to connect whatever surrounds us to a precise shape."The collection features a series of decor and furniture pieces, all made in Italy. Though not necessarily immediately apparent, each product is both an amalgamation and reinterpretation of Italian heritage. They include the Vestalia candleholder, elegantly beautiful in marble and influenced by the geometrical forms of architect Carlo Scarpa's works; bold centrepieces inspired by rationalist and renaissance architecture; and a quirky, eight-legged coffee table, Aracne (the mortal of Greek mythology who was transformed into a spider), a highlight in the line-up that draws on the zoomorphism of '50s Italian design.
As architects, de Capnist and Valentini aim to balance functionality and form. As custodians of Italian craftsmanship, they hope these pieces can serve as reminders in the age of mass production. "In Italy, we still have a great tradition of true masters of the art that mould one piece at a time with their hands, giving each one their almost obsessive attention," says Valentini.