It is quite natural that a designer should be passionate about his creations, but rarely have I found such passion in the mission of the brand that has been endorsed by the young and enthusiastic designer and President of Pianegonda, Franco Pianegonda. The desire to make people who wear Pianegonda “happy” may seem simple objective and, to some extent, is probably the underlying desire of many customer-oriented brands. However, unlike many brands, Pianegonda seems committed to this mission. In just 13 years, it has made its mark in the hearts of many women around the world that have quickly become loyal clients to this unique and dynamic brand. During the recent Basel Fair, I had the opportunity to meet Franco Pianegonda to talk about the brand and some of his more personal views and opinions.
You have created a reputable and dynamic brand in a very short space of time and while talking to some of your staff I can see your values are well- enforced. So, what’s the secret?
No secret. I love what I do, and I want all those around me to share this with me. Whatever role you play in the company, it’s important to understand the values and the objective of Pianegonda as a brand. I put my staff first, and then I can be sure that they will put our clients first. That’s the only way to guarantee growth.
Talking about clients, who should wear Pianegonda?
Those who want to live naturally with style and express their values through jewellery should wear Pianegonda. All my designs are inspired by natural elements like space, air, fire, water and earth. And the precious materials we use are the best from nature too: wood, metal, silver, gold and gems. Jewellery is a gift from nature, and it’s a form of natural luxury that makes people happy. Our customers buy Pianegonda not only to adorn their bodies, but also get them as gifts because they want to make someone happy. Pianegonda is for everyone who seeks happiness.
Many jewellery brands and critics speak about timeless pieces. What’s your opinion of the concept of timeless jewellery?
I’d like to think all my jewellery is timeless, a huge amount of thought, effort and craftsmanship goes into every piece from the original concept, the design and to the final production. We use materials that are thousands and possible millions of years old. Hence, if the materials themselves are timeless, I feel the resulting product from these material will also be timeless. But, more importantly, we want Pianegonda’s clients to be happy purely because they are wearing a piece of Pianegonda jewellery. The positive and happy memories each individual has while wearing Pianegonda we hope will return for many years. Therefore, even though past collections may no longer be contemporary, they will remain timeless for our clients and for us.
Is there any particular piece or collection that you have a special feeling for?
I have two sons. One is as important as the other, and they both make me very happy and proud, though they are quite different one from the other. I feel much the same way about my designs and collections. I’m sure my staff and clients feel the same too. Each pieces has something special that will make it unique now and forever, though the reason that makes it unique may differ for each of us.
How do you see the future of the jewellery industry?
This is a very good period for jewellery. However, I do feel jewellery designs need to get back in touch with natural elements and nature itself. The simple things in life I believe are still the most beautiful. So often we complicate things and make the purest and simplest things appear complex and confusing. I have tried keeping in touch with nature and we try to present the philosophy of “art for a lifestyle of natural luxury” to our clients so they understand what is behind Pianegonda, which I feel is one of the most important attributes to our growth.
Which is you preferred country?
Believe it or not, it’s Italy, not because I’m Italian, but because Italy has so much natural beauty, culture, creativity and variety that you are spoiled for choice. You can never get bored in Italy. We have the mountains, the lakes, the coastline. We have beautiful cities like Rome, Florence, Venice and Naples, but also hundreds of small towns that all have something very special in terms of culture and history. The variety is immense. I’m still fascinated by Italy, and I’d find it difficult to name another country that has so much to offer the curious traveller.
What advice would you give to a tourist visiting Italy?
If you are visiting Italy, you have to visit the beautiful cities such as Rome, Venice, Florence, Naples and Milan, which has a great deal to offer. However, if you have a little time to spare, hire a car and get adventurous. Just drive on the B roads until you reach a village you like. While driving you will appreciate the natural beauty of the country and will discover things for yourself that you wont find in any guide that will remain with you forever. Be willing to experiment with the cuisine too, Italy is second to non for its quality and variety of cuisine and the very best and most traditional dishes can only be found in some of the smaller towns.
A special thank you from me to Franco Pianegonda who certainly left me with a unique, positive feeling about life and made me realise that brands with passion and the right values can and do have a positive effect in making this world a better place.
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