Montegrappa Elmo Ambiente
Montegrappa has been manufacturing the world’s most magical pens in the same artisanal factory for more than a century. Combining luxurious materials, high craftsmanship and unrivalled writing pleasure, the independent maker’s quality and individualist flair make it a firm favourite of dignitaries, creatives and collectors.
From his boardroom overlooking the Brenta River, Giuseppe Aquila appreciates more than ever the sheltered location of his family’s century-old company. Located in the heart of the northern Italian state of Veneto, Aquila’s staff were among the first in Europe to confront the onset of Covid-19. As the region gradually recovers, it’s evident that the experience has already created a terrain for new ideas.
“We’ve always been steadfastly committed to artisanal, handmade production.” For the C.E.O./Creative Director of Montegrappa, this philosophy is more than a matter of preserving tradition: “It’s a way for Venetians to compete in the world: by continually evolving crafts perfected over centuries.”
Montegrappa has never made a disposable pen, On the contrary, its products are made to last for generations. But its latest release considers the lifecycle of raw materials beyond the product. The Elmo Ambiente has been carved from recycled resin, and represents the company’s first foray into artisanal plastics. Production of the new model commences as the company’s workforce recovers from the anguish of recent months.
To create the Elmo Ambiente, Montegrappa has collaborated with Smile Plastics, a studio specialising in innovative architectural surfaces – whose client list includes many of the leading names in conscious design and fashion.
Two colour ways are being made using a resin made from recycled packaging. “Ocean” celebrates marine beauty, while “Charcoal” is a wistful alternative to the anonymity of black-body writing instruments. Each features a translucency that offers a view onto the pen’s internal mechanisms and a reflection on its origins.
“We were drawn by Smile’s resourcefulness and the raw honesty they bring to their products,” explains Aquila. As an enterprise founded by artisans, the Welsh studio has the kind of profile that Montegrappa looks for throughout its supply chain. Most of its collaborations are conducted with local Venetian businesses and span industries ranging from jewellery, marquetry, gastronomy and art.
For the Elmo Ambiente, Montegrappa has also commissioned a suite of desk accessories from a local artisanal stationery supplier. Located only eight kilometres from Bassano, Arbos helped create products from reconstituted leather, textiles and paper – items that expand Montegrappa’s exploration of more sustainable production methods.
“Notions of beauty and craftsmanship are constantly changing, and our role is to continually merge values of the present with those of the past,” Aquila explains. For many, fountain pens are little more than relics of a pre-digital era, but Aquila sees the growing popularity of his pens as part of a groundswell movement: “We are noticing a revival of intimacy, a need to slow things down and make every purchase count for something.”
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