The Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte is celebrating its twentieth anniversary this year. Founded in Milan by Franco Cologni with the goal of promoting a new renaissance of artisanship, the foundation preserves special crafts that add to the exposure and reach of Italian heritage.
Through a range of initiatives in partnership with institutions, businesses and establishments throughout Europe, the Cologni Foundation showcases savoir-faire and educates the public, notably a younger audience, about the cultural and interpersonal value of these expertise.
The task of preserving training for manual crafts is of particular concern to the foundation, given the advancing age of the artisans and art masters of Italy. Material and immaterial national heritage now find themselves in the hands of a new generation of apprentices and future entrepreneurs who must be accompanied and encouraged in their vocations. The project “A school, a career. Training in excellence” initiated by the foundation, gives students of merit from the largest specialized schools in Italy an opportunity to intern in a professional workshop and experience the rigors of the working world at a young age.
The Cologni Foundation, in tandem with publishing houses, contributes to several book series on métiers d’art. Two special publications titled Métiers d’Art and Research concern the origin of craft, its evolution and its contemporary manifestations. Another, addressed to children, is called Stories of Talent and offers a way to discover this new universe. Yet another, a magazine named Arts & Crafts & Design, is published in English by Vacheron Constantin as well as in Italian under the title Mestieri d’Arte & Design; it celebrates the intelligence of the hand and its resulting creations.
Finally, the foundation participated in the recent launch of online platform Italia su misura, which identifies various métiers and offers a map of excellent workshops providing their services across the globe. The different crafts and arts are richly documented and described.
These initiatives hope to bring a fresh outlook to these age-old crafts and revived energy to a sector that seduces with its romanticism but struggles, in the eyes of many, with economic integration.
Cover Photo: Selenite engraving at Bianco Bianchi workshops, Florence