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December 7, 2020

HANDMADE STORIES N°1 - Massimiliano Benvenuti

Today we meet Massimiliano Benvenuti, silversmith craftsman, son of art and owner of Osvaldo Benvenuti. From the very first meeting, Massimiliano manages to convey knowledge of his profession but also the desire and awareness that innovation, even in his sector, is the only way to a future as protagonists.

«To break the ice Massimiliano let's talk about your company, how was it born? What story does it bring with it in the making of these splendid objects?»

«The company was born with my grandfather, Osvaldo Benvenuti. A man who worked in a completely different world from ours. Just imagine that he was from 1916 and that as a child he started working in the various Florentine workshops to learn the trade without any documentary trace of this first phase. Before 1947, in fact, there was no artisans register! Since the first establishment of the register, however, we find the name of my grandfather as a silversmith craftsman and therefore as the official starting date of our company, now in its third generation of silversmiths. Our history can therefore be enclosed in a few periods: the first unrecorded phase from 1930 to 1947, unfortunately spaced out by the war, a second with Osvaldo at the head of the company, a third with my father Gianni and the current one in which Alessandro and I , Osvaldo's grandchildren, we are carrying out his dream».

«A long history that carries within it the best Florentine craftsmanship tradition. From a guy who learns a trade in an evolving world to your company, modern and looking to the future. In this regard, instead for you, Massimiliano, when did the decision and passion to carry on this family tradition come about?»

«My story is inextricably linked to that of Alessandro, my cousin and my partner. He was a son of art but as a goldsmith. In 1998 he brought his experience as a goldsmith into the company, creating an unexpected and excellent collaboration. My story, on the other hand, is that of a boy who at 25, after many other experiences, decided to make my organizational experience available to my father's company and to, pass me the term, frontman of the company. From this combination, in which I try to bring new ideas and new customers, a unique and exciting path was born. We are a duo that works and unites different souls, all necessary to be able to renew a company so important and rooted in its roots».

«A look to the future then. What will your future be? What are the challenges you will face?»

«The challenge, as Artiopia itself knows well, for artistic craftsmanship is primarily a digital challenge! We must do beautiful and high-value things, but we must also be able to expand the stage compared to the city stage, the highest regional one, which the craftsman had always had over the years. The challenge is enormous because to do this you need money, time and ideas. Things that the craftsman has not always had. To do this, we have to rely on trade associations, calls for tenders and the encounter with realities like yours in order to be able to bring our message and our work where it had never arrived before.»

«How does 2020 fit into this context? What can a craftsman do to overcome this moment?»

«First of all we try to survive. For example, I had started 2020 very well with important customers but then it was a question of being able to continue communicating, to be seen. The theme is always the same, collaborate, open your eyes, raise your eyes from the laboratory alone in order to resist and even grow despite everything. An example? Don't be limited to your own world and product. I did this by establishing relationships with bronze workers and also changing and adapting my ad hoc products for the new relationships we have developed as a company».

«Very clear and on this point Artiopia can only try to support you and encourage these paths. But back for a romantic moment. What can be the object you are most attached to, the one that represents you the most?»

«It is a very difficult question to answer but in our case perhaps I have to think of an object that for years has been our flagship: the ivy perforated frame. A more representative decoration which is however a reminder of an important past but which, for example, is now somehow outdated and has left room for jewels and crystals that represent us and differentiate us from other competitors».

«Here is the differentiation. Fundamental theme to be able to emerge. What can be the most unique and representative technique of Osvaldo Benvenuti?»

«First of all. We do everything by hand and internally from the model to the realization. Then the most representative technique, as you can also see on Artiopia, is the lost wax casting. We are therefore essentially unique for these two main reasons: models all made internally with a unique flexibility and the casting technique».

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