By Andrea Carloni e Carlotta Ferrati
The following is an interview with Filippo Pisan, a young designer, who since 2011 has been manager of De Castelli’s research and development.
De Castelli is a young company founded by Albino Celato whose family for many generations has dedicated themselves to the crafting of metals. The history of this company, like so many others born in our country in the last century, is part of that history of Italy that narrates a story of small and ingenious entrepreneurs whose passion and dedication have created unique things and collaborated piece by piece to create that which today is known as “Made in Italy”. De Castelli, unlike many, has managed to build upon his knowledge and adapt it to the contemporary market.
How was De Castelli conceived?
De Castelli, although a young company founded in 2003, is heir to the experience of skilled blacksmiths and exemplary masters in metal working that goes back four generations with Albino Celato, founder and soul of the company. The beginning of the 2000s was the decisive turning point; since then De Castelli has distinguished itself internationally for having introduced design in metal processing. It aims for a production that combines craftsmanship with technology and design. Materials such as stainless steel, aluminium, Cor-Ten, iron, brass and copper are transformed through manual workmanship that is precious and accurate, that characterises the details and overall quality of De Castelli’s creations and differentiates them from any other production.
De Castelli – Pensando ad Acapulco by Ivdesign – Photo: Alberto Parise
On a structural level, the De Castelli company on one hand produces objects, and on the other works on commission?
Exactly. De Castelli is a very flexible realm in which different souls coexist. On the one hand the interior and the outdoor components, associated with the very high quality linked to De Castelli’s technological / artisan production, continue to be produced for the private client and to be distributed in the best Italian and foreign showrooms. On the other hand, the company makes its know-how available to designers and architects for the creation of custom projects. This collaboration, thanks to relationships with designers of relevant professionalism and fame has already resulted in prestigious achievements. Examples include the Archimbuto by Cino Zucchi for the Italian Pavilion in the 2014 Architecture Biennale and the Milan Expo 2015 Pavilions by architects Zito and Pedron for OVS and Excelsior Milano.
De Castelli – L’Archimbuto by Cino Zucchi
In Italy I have seen that more and more companies have an approach similar to yours …
In a high-end market position, the possibility of customisation cannot be disregarded. The clientele requires dedicated products, designed and manufactured to precise requirements. Knowing how to interpret and respond to these needs is the real strength of De Castelli.
De Castelli – Photo: Matteo Imbriani
De Castelli has been involved with many designers over the years. How do you usually relate to designers in product development?
Our relationship with designers has always been fundamental for De Castelli and every year we have numerous requests for collaboration. In recent years we decided to send a brief to whom requests it, that on the one hand talks about our identity and on the other tries to better express the qualities and desires behind our products. Towards the end of September, we select the proposals that we find interesting and develop the project together with the designers for the future collection. At other times, as in the case of Tracing Identity, we selected a range of designers, in this case women only, whom we asked to design a product that best expresses their identity and the potential of De Castelli metals.
De Castelli – Polifemo by Elena Salmistraro and Scribble by Francesca Lanzavecchia – Photo: Matteo Imbriani
Do you need this to remain in the contemporary world?
Yes, but not exclusively. A company linked to the processing of a specific material such as ours must continually question itself and be open to new visions and contaminations. A continuous search.
De Castelli – Stand De Castelli Salone del Mobile Milano 2019 – Photo: Alberto Parise
How important is it today for a company to evaluate and compare itself with the world of social networks and digital media in general?
Social networks and digital media have now entered forcefully into the everyday life of every person, so it has become essential for a contemporary company to deal with these realities. The world of communication is evolving rapidly, and it is vital to follow and govern these changes.
De Castelli – Marea by Zanellato / Bortotto and Placas by LucidiPevere – Photo: Matteo Imbriani
Your photographic quality is very high …
De Castelli has always dedicated particular care to the photographic material, managing and following the shootings internally and very carefully. The choice of setting, the control of lights and perspectives enhance the expressive potential of our materials, giving life to images that become recognisable and characterising for the brand. Over the years this dedication has allowed us to define a clear and recognisable style, both ethereal and corporeal.
De Castelli – Loom by Filippo Pisan – Photo: Matteo Imbriani
Talking about De Castelli means talking about metal working. How important is it for your corporate identity that your items be associated with this material?
Metal is our DNA. Each of our projects has its roots. The items we make cannot be without metal, but rather must be able to express their expressive qualities as well as the technical possibilities to the fullest. The De Castelli-metal duo is essential.
De Castelli e Paola Lenti, Fuori Salone 2019 Milano – Photo: Sergio Chimenti
Is Made in Italy still important?
It is undoubtedly an abused value, but still qualifying, and one which we must hold in respect. The Italian panorama is rich with artisan realities with multiple skills that, when combined with adequate technological and cultural development, can give life to unique situations with very high added value. We live in the Renaissance country where art, culture and beauty have made us famous throughout the world. We need to know how to start over from our bases.