Earlier this month, famed Italian luxury house Bottega Veneta released a video shot in its workshops. In Montebello Vicentino, northern Italy, a 19th century villa is a secret and sacred place where craftsmen with unique skills work to create wonders. In their hands, and with time, the company’s creations come to life. The video, entitled Craft in Motion, gradually reveals the intense, quiet atmosphere in which Bottega Veneta’s stunning pieces take shape.
Director Massimiliano Bomba’s camera pauses for a moment in front of the beautiful façade of the building, set in a garden. Trees are reflected in the windows. The door is flanked by two allegorical statues. Without a transition, the camera focuses on the details of a black leather braid supported by a golden thread. The camera pops out, stopping on the detail of the tree trunks, as if Bottega Veneta’s connection to the precision of nature was obvious. The image moves from the details of the braid to those of the period wooden ceiling. Beams and joists recall the fabric of the leather and emphasize the solidity of a craftsmanship that can stand the test of time. The beauty of the intrecciato, a unique and seamless weaving technique, which is part of the identity and signature of the famous Italian leather brand, is undisputable.
The camera then invites us into the workshop, following in the footsteps of Ruggero Negretto, one of the brand’s most experienced craftsmen. “When I come here, I close my eyes and the first thing that comes to mind is the smell of leather,” he says. Images of hands alternate with images of hides. If leatherworking at this level could be distilled to a gesture, it would be a caress. The cutter confidently runs through the pattern traced out on the leather. We see tools on trays, carts that make us think of a medical clinic: the gesture again, precise, surgical. We see faces, peaceful, smiling, bent over the work. There is an obvious joy in working in this place. We see the braid placed on its side, the leather bending and making an angle, simply pulled by gravity. No need to force. In this place, everything is softness.
“I think luxury is something you feel more than you see, you feel it on yourself before you feel it in the eyes of others,” says Mathieu Blazy, the creative director of Bottega Veneta. “Exceptional craftsmanship, creativity and the concept of quiet luxury are the essence of Bottega Veneta,” he adds.
Watching this poetic documentary, one can’t help but think that the time taken to create a piece is irrelevant, the end result is well worth the wait. We find ourselves thinking in terms of days, weeks perhaps, and in the end, the imperceptible passage of the seasons.
Craft in Motion can be viewed here.
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