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Alvino Bagni

Italy (1919 – 2009)

Alvino Bagni was born in Lastra a Signa, Italy, in 1919, and from a young age he began to take an inter­est in ceram­ics, which was an impor­tant indus­try at the time in the area around Signa, Lastra a Signa and Montelupo (Florence).

Thanks to the teach­ings of an elderly artist, Torello Santini, he got a job in the work­shop of Arnaldo Pugi’s ceram­ics factory in Ponte a Signa. After the Second World War, Pugi gave Bagni the finan­cial support to help him open his own work­shop. And with 3,500 plates bearing the slogan I like Ike” (produced for the elec­toral campaign of Dwight D. Eisen­hower, who became 34th US pres­i­dent in 1953) the story of Ceramiche Bagni began. Alvino took several family members with him, first and fore­most his wife Gina, who accom­pa­nied him through­out his career. The fifties and sixties were funda­men­tally impor­tant for the Bagni company, which succeeded in estab­lish­ing priv­i­leged rela­tions with a number of impor­tant names in Amer­i­can design and busi­ness, includ­ing Raymor (N.Y.) and Rosen­thal, for whom he created extremely modern items for that time.

In 1970 the company moved to a larger, more modern factory, where it was able to take the busi­ness up a gear. Here Alvino surrounded himself with highly-skilled collab­o­ra­tors and artists, such as E. Borgini, M. Mannori, R. Buti, M. Santonoc­ito, and many others, with whom he achieved a perfect balance between mate­r­ial, tech­nique, and aesthet­ics. By 1980 the factory had as many as 100 employ­ees and was renowned for its high-quality artis­tic produc­tion, elegant objects and its use of new and exper­i­men­tal tech­niques. As the working world changed, becom­ing increas­ingly glob­al­ized and open to new compe­ti­tion, the company found itself in diffi­culty. Tied as it was to its arti­sanal” approach, it strug­gled to with­stand the exces­sive drop in prices… despite all his efforts to save his employ­ees and his factory, in 1990 it closed for good. Alvino died in 2009 at the age of 90. His career was a fasci­nat­ing journey filled with modesty, tech­ni­cal skills, passion, and creativity.

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