Back from Homo Faber in Venice, where we have set up Duvelleroy's workshop until September 30, I share with you my enthusiasm for a historic initiative for fine crafts. This Biennial of Excellence was conceived by the Michelangelo Foundation, co-founded by Yohann Rupert and Franco Cologni, as an exhibition of the best of European craftsmanship. 4000m2 spread over 15 spaces such as the cloister, the old swimming pool, the library... have been entrusted to curators such as India Mahdavi, Judith Clark, Jean Blanchart, Nicolas Bos or Alain Lardet. Each of them was keen to showcase the excellence of their skills in an extremely contemporary perspective, but without ever leaving the concrete and profoundly human aspect that characterises our professions.
Cabinetmaker, embroiderer, ceramist, restorers, gilders, glassmaker, fansmith, crimper, glyptician, eyewear maker, saddler, designer have sometimes entrusted an object or sometimes moved part of their workshop to share the specificity of their know-how and make it resonate from one trade to another, from one material to another.
This cohabitation gives rise to aesthetic and sometimes very practical exchanges: for example, Christian Bonnet, master of the art of eyewear making and an expert in tortoiseshell, has repaired a piece of straw straw inlaid fan, which Lison de Caune had awarded us because he had the right glue and the right blower on the spot.
For the first time, craftsmen are being honoured not as anonymous, folkloric little hands, but as experts, creators, human beings gifted with exceptional talents. The greatest Houses are naming and valuing their workshop managers, their masters of art and their companions. And, right next to them, small Houses like Duvelleroy bear witness to the revival of a know-how that has disappeared thanks to the taste and vision of exceptional clients.
120 young ambassadorshave been recruited from the best design and know-how schools in Europe. They are the craftsmen of tomorrow and serve as mediators explaining gestures, materials and creative impulses. This joyful population, amazed by its luck, is the blood that gives life to this Homo Faber.
In this article, I share the words of Yohann Rupert, CEO of Richemont, in response to Suzy Menkes, the papess of fashion. Together, they agree that craftsmanship through their humanity and beauty are both strategic for the future of luxury Houses and vital to the fulfilment of humanity. "Crafting a more human future" is the subtitle of this Biennial, which marks a historic turning point for the craft sector.