Milan. July. Heat and fervor. Villa Mozart, built by the architects Piero Portaluppi and Aldo Andreani in the 1930s on the street of the same name, is only a few minutes’ walk from the quarter of fashion boutiques. Despite the proximity of tourist routes, it is quiet and deserted, and in the shade of private residences and gardens it is very comfortable to hide from the scorching sun. The headquarters of Giampiero Bodino is in the house at number 9 — it is impossible to miss this five-floored ivy-covered building.
At the entrance to the interior, you will first find yourself in a small round hall with showcases and a varnish table, from which you move into a cozy living room with a wonderful library and a charming view of the garden. The private office of the maestro and the tiny workshop are located in the neighborhood. It is here, where in silence and seclusion, he takes orders and meets with clients.
Giampiero Bodino is deprived of pathos and snobbery — he is immediate and open, and radiates kindness and love — to business and people, art and home country:
GB: Bongiorno! — he shouts as he smiles, poking his head into the living room between the curtains, before breaking them open and walking towards us with an easy gait. — Welcome to the villa Mozart! I hope you enjoy being here.
MR: It is very cozy and beautiful. And you have a magnificent library!
GB: Thank you! I really love books! In fact, only a small part of them is here. The rest are in my office.
MR: Do you find inspiration in them?
GB: Not really. I like reading them and learning new things. But in my work I use the library more often to show or explain something.
MR: Then where do you get your inspiration from?
GB: From everywhere! Architecture in the greater degree, nature, works of art… I like to notice different details, and after collecting them in one piece, I like to make things technically complicated, but visually simple enough. All of them have lots of colors.
MR: You always emphasize that you find inspiration in Italy…
GB: I’m Italian, and I really love my country. But it’s not the only source of inspiration. There can be any other place in the world.
MR: Then can we expect a collection dedicated to Russia?
GB: I’ve never been to Russia, but I really want to go there. In fact, Italians and Russians have a lot in common — we have similar religions, we love art, history… eventually even the mentality is similar. I admire the Russian heritage. And I think that by visiting this country, I can capture its beauty in my jewelry.
MR: How is the design of Giampiero Bodino jewelry born; from a specific idea or just a stone?
GB: It differs. Everything depends on the specific situation.
MR: What kinds of stone do you like most?
GB: It may sound trivial, but the diamond is my favorite one. It has a beauty, brilliance, and play. And it never goes out of fashion. The diamond is eternal.
MR: But if you give the diamond first place, why are there almost no monochrome designs in the collections of the brand?
GB: It’s boring! And very banal! I’m not interested in customers who buy jewelry solely in order to demonstrate their welfare. Classic necklaces and earrings with the purest diamonds, Colombian emeralds and pigeon blood rubies are beautiful and expensive, but they attract a fleeting attention; no more. I’m interested in the creative side of the item — an unusual design, a combination of colors, the use of new, or the revival of old techniques. Very often I mix materials of completely different merits. I love the emerald, tourmaline Paraiba and turquoise — although the latter has nothing in common with precious stones. Also corals, chrysoprase… that have a color and brightness. At the same time, I am indifferent to the ruby.
MR: Do you believe that stones carry a special energy that can change the life of their owner?
GB: I do. That’s why I buy all the materials by myself. Sometimes, the mineral is very beautiful, but there is something repulsive about it – so I will never buy it. And, as it happens, on the contrary, it seems to be nothing special, but you are not able to release a stone from your hands. For example, a diamond in my ring is far from perfection, but it brings about good luck. It seems to me that jewelry is a very personal thing. It is created for a specific person, rather than for being admired by others. For this reason, I can wear something not on my finger, but, for example, keep it in the pocket.
MR: Like a talisman?
GB: Exactly. But the fact that you started to talk about the energy of stones is really interesting and important. I believe that jewelry should not just be beautiful, but also comfortable to wear — both on the physical and… — a short pause. — Let’s call it the energy level.
MR: Last week in Paris the «Mediterranea», your new Haute Joaillerie collection, was presented, in which quite unexpectedly the emphasis was shifted to small, and to some extent, commercial pieces. In comparison with previous collections, there were practically no baroque works in it, but there appeared sea shells, sea horses and exotic fishes. What motivated you to experiment?
GB: I never try to please this or that markets. Otherwise, I will lose myself. Thus, «Mediterranea» is not a commercial story at all. Yes, it is inspired by summer and sea, but just because I’m in love with the water element and its inhabitants.
MR: Does this mean that «Mediterranea» will have a continuation?
GB: Undoubtedly! And very soon!
MR: For many years you have created the design of jewelry and watches for famous houses. What do you like to work with more — watches or jewelry?
GB: I think, with jewelry. It gives more opportunities to express your vision, feelings and emotions. The watch area is a little more complicated.
MR: OK, but how easy is it for you to work with private orders? For example, one of my friends flatly refuses any individual projects, since it is believed that he loses himself in them. It’s for this reason that this person just offers the client to choose something from the already-manufactured ones.
GB: Private orders are born in the dialogue with the client. First I come up with a concept, get an idea, draw it, and then the client makes the changes until the final sketch is approved. Of course, for me it’s important to preserve the identity and DNA of the brand, but I’m not afraid to work with individual projects. On the contrary, we are aimed at them. After all, I initially did not set a goal to open boutiques and loudly declare myself in the media. Giampiero Bodino is a very private brand where everything is aimed at comfort and relaxation. We strive to revive the old traditions of the jewelry business and to accept customers the same; just as our predecessors did several centuries ago. And it seems to me that we have succeeded in this.