My Brilliant Friend

Conceptual furniture collection celebrates Southern Italy’s craft culture

Illuminate: A slant of Light by Germans Ermics (Alessandro Saletta, Mattia Caprara/DSL Studio)

Europe is awash with heritage brands that, in the wake of late 20th-century industrial flight, have risen to prominence. Countries like France and Italy tend to stand out, as both represent a substantial list of artisanal manufacturers. These international purveyors of luxury produce everything from quality food products to haute couture and high-end furniture. Most European governments pay particular attention to territorial and traditional expertise and often bestow cultural labels to ensure preservation. These policies are also intended to promote economic growth.

However, all regions within these countries are not made equal—some prosper more than others. In particular, the North-South divide paradigm seems more prevalent in Italy than anywhere else in the world. Throughout modern history, the areas around major Italian cities like Turin, Milan, and Venice have fared better than those surrounding Rome, Naples, or Palermo. Northern Italy has been as an important center of mid-range design production since the early 20th century. The economic disparity has shaped deeply ingrained cultural stigmas and fueled multiple waves of emigration. As a result, the artisanal prowess of the country’s southern regions has long been overlooked and overshadowed.

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