Born in Enna in 1954, he moved to Milan with his family in 1962. After attending the lower secondary school, he started working in a workshop where he learnt the upholsterer trade while attending the evening courses of the tapestry school run by Milan’s Atisea (the last school of this kind in Italy). After finishing the school, he started collaborating with a number of workshops, among which two historical workshops of Milan’s upholstery: Toniolo and Parinis. Thanks to his expertise, passion and acquaintance with processing methods and materials, he performs state of the art works.
What is your story? How did you start this trade?
I started this trade the way we used to in those days, while walking in front of an open upholstery lab; I became curious about the different colours and articles I saw and went in to offer my skills as an apprentice, and never left after that.
What is your attitude to creating upholstery nowadays?
Producing all-round tapestry allows me to comply with my clients’ demands by customising them, thus enhancing any craftsman’s inherent creativity and manual skills. Recently, more and more young clients are interested in bespoke creations, which is very gratifying.
In 2018, you collaborated with designer India Mahdavi to create her pavilion at the Homo Faber event, thus proving that traditional trades like yours can access contemporary solutions. How did you feel about working with a designer? Would you repeat this experience?
I always remember this experience with great pleasure; it allowed me to collaborate with a great designer and engage all my skills and expertise, even inventing new unprecedented solutions. The result was really rewarding and appreciated. Working with designers is always a positive experience, which enhances my working style. They were always open to start a dialogue as well as understand and overcome the critical issues we had found during the implementation phase.
What is your source of inspiration? How do your ideas come up?
I would say my primary source of inspiration is ordinary everyday life, provided I look at it from an operational point of view; the world sends us multiple messages we can tap into to be inspired about a project. Most of the time, then, ideas come up by chance: speaking, observing and, above all, avoiding to stick onto a specific product, maybe while we are talking about anything except our trade.
Is there any eccentric work among your creations?
Yes. During a Salone del Mobile I created a huge 15x10m hand, hanging 4m above the earth. For a Proposte event in Cernobbio, I made two three-metre high seamless Xes in silk velvet, a very peculiar, complex creation, demanding great dexterity and manual skills. Both experiences were very satisfactory.
Is there a moment you remember with special emotion?
Definitely, my first capitonné bean couch, which I made at 20 years old for Maestro Paris Enea; then, receiving my diploma from the upholstery school and starting my business thus making my dream come true. Then, my latest award in chronological order, the 2018 MAM prize, which has filled my heart with pride to this day.
What are the requirements that define an original tapestry?
The tapestry should realise or evoke solutions able to comply with the clients’dreams and expectations, but also small, simple works can be important and satisfy the client when they are created with craftsmanship and passion.