Wine and Design: let's drink to life together with Giorgio & Luca Bonato

The beauty of transparency is absolute purity: there’s nothing, but everything at the same time and which does not allow tricks. You can see all the smallest imperfections. You cannot cheat.

This is the story of an average venetian family: former workmen who tried their luck and succeeded. In particular, it came in contact with a pioneer in the production of an innovative type of plastic made up of methyl methacrylate polymers, better known as plexiglass.

Father Giancarlo, who comes from the engineering field, established the Fusina company and specialized in the production of hard-to-find, thick plexiglass moulds. In the Seventies, together with a few friends in the design field, he discovered a new application for this fascinating material: instead of creating objects for practical use, he leverages the light spread and its refractive power and focuses on their aesthetic value. His new sculptural-objects are created, unique pieces of international scope that he started to export to the United States and led him to work with top-level designers and architects such as Angelo Mangiarotti and Bruno Munari.

After Giancarlo passed away, his sons took over. The two brothers have different talents: Giorgio is more technical, Luca is more creative. The results are the FusinaLab and the HangarFusina.

“My dad was a purist, he worked only transparent material”, says Luca; “We introduced the colour and directed the business towards new industries: we received a few requests for display objects from retailers (eyewear first, then jewellery and wine). Considering the high-level of design and execution, they are all companies from the luxury sector”.

According to Giorgio, the plexiglas is no longer an exclusivity: “It’s no longer enough for HangarFusina, so we also use wood and light-alloy metals crafted with modern technologies, such as laser. The two companies keep working together: we produce semi-finished products that Luca refines and finishes”.

How do you stay true to your roots while looking beyond the borders?

L: This place is where everything started. I travelled the world but always came back. I found the inspiration abroad, but I want to put into practice here.

G: I don’t see myself away from here. Perhaps, it’s my limit. Sometimes I thought about moving to the UK or New Zealand, great places for people who love to fly. But once you are abroad it’s easy to see how much appreciated is the made-in-italy. I feel lucky to be here.

Flying is a big passion of yours.

G: I’ve got both the pilot and helicopter license (the glider). I build and restore airplanes; moreover, I’ve been working on reconstructing the Ansaldo SVA biplan for years. Until 1920, the aircraft has been a critical player in many expeditions, such as Gabriele D’Annunzio’s flight to Vienna or the Rome-Tokyo raid of Arturo Ferrarin and Guido Masiero in 1919. For their 100th anniversary I would have loved to fly backwards, from Tokyo to Rome, but it takes a whole team to organise such a trip. Five or six years ago begun the reconstruction and the project arouse a great interest from Japan. The Italian embassy in Japan asked me to fly next year, for the Olympic Games; if I don’t get to have the SVA biplan ready, I will still bring a non-flying statue.

Quality, design and innovation. How much do they weigh in your job?

G: Innovation is critical in both our sectors. Quality is a must, although Luca’s quality is more artistic.

L: Agree, our production is not industrial, we always start from the client’s needs. All our pieces are custom-made.

When you love your job, it never becomes too tiring. What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

L: It’s the design phase. I’d stop there, if I could. But then there’s everything else.

G: I wish I could do only what I like. If our client is happy we are happy too; most of the times they don’t know what they want, but they still ask for our support.

Can you tell me about the beauty of transparency?

G: It’s absolute purity: there’s nothing, but everything at the same time. It’s purity and perfection.

L: Beauty which does not allow tricks. You can see all the smallest imperfections. You cannot cheat, in a metaphorical sense too.

Which project or success gave you the most satisfaction? which one would you like to raise a glass to?

G: I have beautiful memories of a specific project, a countertop for Guerlain in Paris; it was designed by Peter Marino, the architect from New York.

L: Next year we’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Fusina company. We are proud: our parents built a solid foundation and they passed it on to us.

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