Thursday, August 5, 2010

Richard Ginori Manufacture and Museum, Florence

It felt great to be back in Florence, even though it seemed hotter, more full of tourist and a bit dirtier than usual this time. I had a prearranged appointment for a factory and museum tour at Richard Ginori in Sesto Fieorentino, just north of the city. The people there were very open and allowed pictures and want to spread the word about their amazing production, which began in 1735. They have an interesting history, originally making clay slip casts from bronze sculptures. They moved with the times through the centuries and expanded to make dinnerware as well as sculptures. The do a good amount of hand painting even today but they are the masters of the decal. I met the heads of the four main areas - design, mold making, hand decorating and silkscreen printing.

The curator then toured me through their museum. We took a lunch break and I was treated to lunch in the employee cafeteria. So gracious! The museum is arranged chronologically, which was very interesting in order to see how the production changed through the years. They had a room devoted to their major art director from 1923 - 1930, Gio Ponti (also well known as an architect). I am a huge fan of Ponti ceramics and to see so much of it in one place was an exceptional experience.

Overall, it was an overwhelming experience in terms of new things seen and learned.