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Past Perfect

Past Perfect - Maison SIA
Designer brands and the family legacy that runs them. 

Ah, Italy. That boot-shaped country at the bottom of Europe that’s seemingly always in vacation mode, what with its toes dipped permanently into the Mediterranean Sea.

Known for its historical sites, architectural marvels, and delectable cuisines, Italy is a globally acknowledged tourist paradise. A lesser-known fact is that their traditional crafts, much like their secret family recipes, have been handed down through the generations. Many luxury Italian brands have humble origins as family businesses that began in lesser-known hamlets, tucked away from the crowds and glamour.

Pinetti, for example, began in the mountainous town of Bergamo, a few miles
northeast of Milan. In 1983, passionate young architect Alberto Pinetti began making objects of furniture for his own home. In 1983, an office desk he designed took off on the market. They soon began creating one-off pieces such as clocks, trays, and furnishing accessories that made an impression, thanks to their rich designs and quality manufacturing. The company’s ability to create unique, made-to-measure products led to collaborations with international names producing new collections in leather and wood. In recent years, Alberto and his wife Ezia’s skills have been passed on to their children, who incidentally also have watches and wallet collections named after them.   

Yalos Murano is today a corporate brand in the production of glassware for furnishing in contemporary living styles. Their history dates back 700 years, to the family of the Ferros, who after the terrible plague of 1630 returned to Murano. One among these, Francesco, opened a blown furnace and shop for the sale of artistic glass in Murano, associating his children with him. From them descend the Ferro masters who founded the furnaces that are still active today in Murano. Global publicity arrived in the trade in 1966, when Guido Ferro, along with his brothers, founded Effetre, a company that produces glass discs and cylinders as components for chandeliers. Owning an authentic piece of Murano glass is owning a piece of history, a piece that a Glassmaster has carefully innovated after centuries of research by his forefathers before him.

In the 1940s, Bernardo Zanetto was a little boy, who discovered his interest in
working with silver while observing the craftsmen of a historic laboratory in Padua, a riverside city in northern Italy. At 14, he was hired in the same laboratory and in just three years, rose to the position as head of the beating department. These were fundamental years where he learned sophisticated techniques until he began his own workshop. After establishing himself in Venetian silverware, the 70s were years of experimentation with avant-garde objects and design, and metals other than silver.

These ventures clearly bore fruit, first of all, the gold medal at the International Craft Show in Florence in 1973. Post 1993, after presenting themselves to an international audience at the fair in Frankfurt, Zanetto has been exporting 70% of their tableware and home accessories. One of the most distinctive features of the Zanetto manufacture is the particular manual processing that produces special details along the surface. These secret manufacturing techniques make it impossible to obtain these inimitable finishes elsewhere. Today, the company is headed by his son, Enrico who is passionate about the same mastery and dedication that led them this far.  

Italian craftsmanship in art, architecture, fashion, and décor, has dominated luxury design circles for centuries. Whether soaking up the sun in artistic Florence, with its terracotta tiled roofs and rolling hills, or keeping pace with busy pedestrians in fashionable Milan, Italy is no doubt a design lover’s ultimate feast. What makes Italian designs exquisite is knowing that they’ve been handmade by simple folks whose love for their trade and dedication to excellence have kept their families going for decades.

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