The word territory encompasses a rich mixture of ideas linking an object to its maker and to the geophysical and social environment that shapes them both. Territory is important because it is the source of raw materials and home to a community of people who transform local natural and cultural resources into beautiful objects. In doing so, they build meaningful businesses that rely on collective knowledge and exchange and reflect the specific taste, style, identity and heritage of a place.

Marco Kesseler © Michelangelo Foundation 2017

The kaolin that was extracted from the Meissen quarry was – and still is – of the best possible quality, which made Meissen porcelain the finest in Europe. The traditional recipe for porcelain is still a secret, and likewise the colours that are used for the paint, which are known to no more than a handful of people working at the manufactory.

Elke Dannenber
Porcelain Decorator

Elke Dannenberg is a porcelain decorator at the renowned Meissen factory. She began her training at 16, before being chosen to learn directly from renowned decorator Professor Heinz Werner. Twenty-five years on, she reproduces and reinterprets his designs, using tools and techniques that date back more than three centuries.

T. Bertelsen ©Michelangelo Foundation 2016
T. Bertelsen ©Michelangelo Foundation 2016

Geographical origins are very important in this business, especially for antique instruments, and the antique Italian violin is the best seller of them all. Training and exchanges with colleagues determine an Italian style that is internationally recognizable. After 10 to 15 years practicing this craft, this is something that you will have absorbed, that will always remain with you.

Lorenzo Rossi
Violin Maker

After studying with international masters, Lorenzo Rossi started his own business in 2003. He makes each instrument by hand, personally selecting the wood and hand-mixing glues and amber-based oil varnishes according to ancient recipes. He has won medals in several national and international competitions and sees the fine-tuning as the most delicate part of his work: a synergy between maker and musician.

© italia-sumisura.it – Dario Garofalo
© italia-sumisura.it – Dario Garofalo

A watch has to work in different climates or positions, in water or in the absence of gravity. But you can be creative in the shape of the movements, and I am inspired by the culture in which I grew up, and the movements that were made in the Vallée de Joux between 1900 and 1920.

Philippe Dufour
Independent Watchmaker

Philippe Dufour is a third-generation watchmaker from the Vallée de Joux, nestled in the Jura mountains of Switzerland where watches have been made for centuries. He set up his own atelier to restore antique watches, and now makes his own designs. His sophisticated complications can take a year or more to complete, and are sought by collectors all over the world.

© Philippe Dufour