First stop – BISAZZA
This is my second visit to BISAZZA… Even so, I am excited, nervous and filled with awe like a young child discovering something new! In essence, I have come to learn about the powerhouse that is BISAZZA, to go behind the scenes and catch a glimpse of the creative process.
Italy has become like my second home over the last 20 years. Whenever I am there, the Italian people, their culture, their way of life appeals to me. And so it is with this factory. As Sales Developer for Southern Africa, I feel a yearning and a duty to immerse myself in everything BISAZZA! The sheer magnificence of this place cannot even be described – you really do need to see it to understand!
BISAZZA, having started up in 1956, became a household name via the innovative way that they were able to create artistic masterpieces with glass. Over the last 63 years they have shown their ability to adapt to an ever changing environment – not only by following and keeping up with design trend, but more so by creating trends the world has come to love. In the last decade they have added to their creative vision by branching out into other interior decor materials, such as: marble, wood and most recently – cement. Yes, that’s right, CEMENT!
In 2017, the demand for the age old way of producing colourful tiles that made Morocco famous, (even though the common belief is that the Portuguese developed this encaustic tile and introduced them to the Northern African cities of Casablanca and Marrakesh) became apparent. True to form, BISAZZA led the charge by employing some of the top designers from around the globe to redesign these encaustic tiles for the modern era, and in so doing, again proved why they are such a trend setting brand. (It must be noted that the tiles produced in Spain, are equally as beautiful but they are predominantly laser printed. This gives them some limitations.) The CEMENTILES by BISAZZA are truly a modern day reproduction of a classic tile that CAN stand the test of time.
My incredible day at BISAZZA ended with training on the installation of their products – explained in much detail by the Project and Technical Manager, Luigi. Whilst I do not ever see myself actually physically needing to install the product, the point was made that they do not want their material simply purchased and then forgotten. It was emphasized that all sales developers like myself are essential for the completion of the sale, only when the perfectly installed product is on display. Any issues that might occur during installation could damage their name, even though the product is not to blame.
One more point to note, is the quite incredible FONDAZIONE BISAZZA. It is the 7000m2 head office and historic museum showcasing all that they have achieved over the past 60 plus years. It is abundantly clear to see why the museum of the company’s history is open to the public for daily visits and even featured in all well known travel guides as a ‘must see’ stop during your visit to Vicenza, Italy.
I must extend my heartfelt and sincere thanks to Barbara, Jeanne, Franchesca and Luigi for a most memorable day in Vincenza.
Next stop…PETRA ANTIQUA
While Bisazza was always going to be the most exciting part of my trip to Vicenza, I cannot deny the fact that I was equally as excited for my second visit to Monte di Malo. The town of Monte di Malo lies 15 kms north of Vicenza at the foot of the Dolomite mountains. This is where the natural stone factory of unmatched skill and craftsmanship, calls home.
The history of Petra Antiqua began with the tumbled tile (a process that requires antiquing the stone). The company, born in 1995, started as a small handicraft business in the tumbled marble floor and cladding sector. Today the Bressan family have managed to expand their Natural Stone market worldwide. Although I only stopped over for one hour to finalise a few orders I have been working on with them, it was still wonderful to journey into this little piece of heaven. Their friendliness and attention to detail has always inspired me! I am looking forward to learning more about how Petra have successfully managed to capitalise on this natural resource without destroying the environment and being loyal and true to the natural product itself.
The rest of my time in Italy was taken up with exploring my surroundings. For the weekend, I ventured off alone into the city of Bassano del Grappa. A very small village that is big in history and charm. It is a place to breathe, to reflect and to find some much needed rest.
I will definitely return in the future!