Martino di Napoli Rampolla tells us more about the idea, as well as his plans for Numeroventi’s future.
Q: Why did you start Numeroventi?
A: I worked as a graphic designer in Belgium and Barcelona but felt torn whenever I returned to Florence. It can be too entrenched in the past yet I wanted to express my creativity at home. After an Openhouse magazine event I asked the co-founder, Andrew Trotter, to help transform this empty palazzo. To what purpose, at first, I wasn’t sure. We opened it to the public and hosted the odd artist and exhibition. But five months ago we arranged a 12-artist show and realised the power of collaboration.
Q: What’s the premise of the residency?
A: Artists apply to work and live here, joining our programme; in return some of them leave a creation, which we exhibit in the palazzo. I was touched to see creative minds so quickly engage with one another.
Q: Who are some of the recent artists to have stayed?
A: Colombian jeweller Natalia Criado (pictured, left) and Florentine furniture designer Duccio Maria Gambi.
Q: What’s the plan for the future?
A: To better help the artists and open other residencies. We already offer assistance with marketing and branding, and soon there will be a retreat in Chianti, where the artists can enjoy a different environment.
Q: Does Florence lend something special to Numeroventi?
A: The historic setting contrasts wonderfully with our contemporary work.
Drawing on the artistic heritage of his home city, Florentine Martino di Napoli Rampolla created an environment where modern craftsmanship and art could truly flourish: Numeroventi. With friend Alessandro Modestino Ricciardelli he converted the 16th-century Palazzo Galli Tassi into an artists’ residency. From Japanese sculptors to Spanish film directors, up to 12 auteurs live, work and collaborate in this space, where Anglepoise lamps sit alongside ancient statues and, of course, chefs-d’oeuvre by the artists themselves.
Craftsmanship takes many forms – from paintings to precision engineering – but the principles of craft remain the same. As Numeroventi rejuvenates Florence’s artistic heritage in a modern light, A. Lange & Söhne re-examines the traditions of watchmaking, bringing them into the present by binding superlative technology and centuries of savoir-faire. Going beyond mere timekeeping, it’s an expression of the timeless and takes singular shape in A. Lange & Söhne’s new Blue Series.
Deep-blue, solid-silver dials echo the rare and precious pigment lapis lazuli, an icon of Renaissance art, and the later Prussian blue: a man-made dye that is synonymous with artistic innovation. It was Vused by the likes of Picasso and Van Gogh as a shade of blue that is irreproducible by nature.
A. Lange & Söhne: a brief history
In 1845, German watchmaker Ferdinand Adolph Lange laid the foundations of Saxony’s precision watchmaking industry, creating some of the world’s most coveted timepieces that were nothing less than revolutionary. A century later the company was expropriated following the Second World War and the A. Lange & Söhne name almost vanished. But in 1990, Ferdinand’s great-grandson Walter Lange had the courage to revive the brand, establishing a company that both embraced its heritage and looked to the future. Today A. Lange & Söhne crafts only a few thousand gold-and-platinum wristwatches a year at its workshop in Glashütte, Saxony. The sumptuously decorated timepieces are endowed with movement mechanics unique to the firm and remain engineering masterpieces to this day.