De Castelli: The Metal whisperer
When one thinks of metal, some of the first words that come to one’s mind, most probably are cold, heavy or hard… At De Castelli, it becomes as flexible as clay, when experienced masters of this Italian company based in the Province of Treviso, North-East Italy, put their hands on it. Having had a possibility to see them in action, I call them the metal whisperers.
For Albino Celato, who founded the company in 2003, choosing metal as the primary material to work with has been a natural thing to do, as he comes from a family that, for generations, has been involved in blacksmithing. What he did differently from his ancestors was not only concentrate on different, complex and unique ways of processing metal but putting an emphasis on design. With time, collaborations with important contemporary architects and designers, such as Michele De Lucchi, Aldo Cibic, Ramon Esteve, and others, were born.
I have had an pleasure and honour of having a possibility to meet Albino Celato and ask him a couple of questions.
Albino, what vision of the company did you have in mind when you founded De Castelli in 2003?
To step out of the existing world to a new one, combining the production capacity, know-how and masterly manual processing. At that moment, we had the willingness, the vision, and the objective to have our own brand that would earn recognition thanks to the combination of the aforementioned things.
According to you, have you succeeded implementing your vision? Has it changed since then?
Absolutely yes, we have! And the vision itself has changed a lot. Now, we are striving for earning recognition at the international level, first of all, for the quality of our work.
In fact, in just a bit more than a decade De Castelli has become an international market player, with projects dispersed all over the world, from New York to Hong Kong. What is your key to success?
Exactly the capacity to combine technology with manual work, maniacal search for continuous product improvement, combined with our readiness to face new challenges, day after day, in order to solve emerging problems.
How do you imagine your company after other 10 years?
I do not make plans for such a long period. Everything around us changes so fast! In 2-3 years I would see the company having earned international recognition, immediately and precisely managed, and in continuous spasmodic search for further product and service improvement.
In less than two decades De Castelli has already become an internationally renowned company that not only has its ever-evolving collection of furniture and accessories in new and unique finishes, but also works on different projects all over the world, from Hong Kong and Moscow in the East to Paris and Barcelona in the West, to name a few. Not even mentioning a wide variety of projects in Italy.
In 2014, De Castelli created Archimbuto, the portal for the Italian Pavilion at the 14th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice designed by Milanese architect Cino Zucchi and built and sponsored by De Castelli. It consists of as much as 163 panels for a total height of 10 meters and weighing 6 tons. Amazing, isn’t it?
In 2015, millions of visitors of the Expo Milano 2015 fair had an opportunity to admire another important work by De Castelli, realized under the project of architects Alessandro Pedron and Marco Zito: pavilions of two Italian brands, OVS and Excelsior Milan, covered with innovative diagonal four-sided geometrical figures in two finishes: industrial brushed aluminium and more sophisticated brushed brass, reflecting the brands’ identity.
The combination of different ways of processing and the choice from a variety of metals have resulted in the creation of an extensive collection of different indoor and outdoor furniture, lights, and accessories. Some of the products look so sophisticated and fragile that remind me of the famous Burano lace. Others seem to be a reflection of the colours of nature: the sea, the soil. Metal, whether it is copper, brass, cor-ten, stainless steel, iron or aluminium, acquires incredible shapes and colours.
Some other products of the collection look really important and have interesting ideas behind them. For example, Celato that, translated from Italian, means hidden or concealed. You have to take a good look in order to understand, how and where drawers of this cabinet open. An excellent place to hide some of your secrets!
The inspiration to create important and sophisticated Yoroi cabinet, designed by Alessandro Masturzo, comes from Japanese armour worn by the samurai class in feudal Japan. Indeed, it has a very strong visual impact!
As all important Italian design furniture brands, De Castelli will present their news at the Salone del Mobile fair in Milan, which this year will take place on 12-19 April. I will let them surprise me, again.