Bloomberg: The Demise of Europe’s Finest Artistry?

There are still some things robots can’t do, and one organization wants it to stay that way.

Venice has been turned into the site of a 4,000 square-meter exhibition that highlights human craftsmanship this month, inviting artisans from around Europe to demonstrate their skills, from art restoration and watchmaking to glass-blowing and fine porcelain.

The event, dubbed Homo Faber, was organized by the Michelangelo Foundation, formed by Richemont Chairman Johann Rupert and former Cartier executive Franco Cologni. Their goal is to promote the disappearing arts. Last year, Rupert said he envisions a future in which humans are displaced by robots in the workplace, and that technological advances are set to fuel demand for cultural experiences.

More than 13,000 visitors have attended the exhibition to meet creators and observe their skills. They can also attend workshops to try their hand at the art of embroidery, or watch demonstrations in leather-making and weaving. The expo also showcases an array of objects including engraved crystals, bespoke eyewear and porcelain skulls. It also gives artists and designers across Europe an opportunity to network and gain visibility.

The show runs from Sept. 14 to Sept. 30.

Photographs by Alberto Bernasconi/Bloomberg

Embroiderers work on a large scale map of Venice at the Maison Lesage workshop. The world famous company-which has carried the name Lesage since 1924-is an atelier d’art under Chanel’s artisan heritage subsidiary, Paraffection.

French, family-run Maison Bonnet Lunetier has hand-crafted glasses for such luminaries as Le Corbusier, Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. 


The lightweight Konner helicopter K1 in the 'Workshop Exclusives' space. Italian company Konner Srl has produced an ultralight helicopter with a 250 SHP turboshaft engine, a world-leading power-to-weight ratio design.


Montblanc’s flagship Meisterstuck fountain pens carry precision engineered gold nibs, stamped with the number ‘4810,’ a nod to the famous Alpine mountain’s altitude in meters.

Italian experts of cutlery and homeware Lorenzi Milano combine traditional materials such as wood, horn and leather with modern technology to create unique designs, often for custom-made projects. The foldable leather case, right, holds a barbecue tool set in stainless steel with grips in deer antler.

Since the 18th century Nymphenburg has handcrafted fine porcelain figures and objects in just one location, the Nördliches Schlossrondell in Nymphenburg, Germany. Taking inspiration from the medieval latin 'Memento mori' – remember that you are mortal, Nymphenburg creates limited edition skulls with a contemporary interpretation each year.

Intricate engraving for timepieces at the Vacheron Constantin workshop. The Swiss manufacturer of prestige watches and a brand of the Richemont group has, for over 260 years, created a limited number of pieces for an exclusive circle of clients. The watch, right, dates from 1824 and features a yellow gold casing exquisitely decorated with a map of Italy in blue champlevé enamels. 


  By Corinne Gretler and Chris Miller - Bloomberg


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