What is a bronzesmith making? The question arises spontaneously, that’s why we come and visit the bronzesmith Luciano Lesa’s workshop in Corso San Maurizio (inherited by the father-in-law, owner since 1947). It is located in Vanchiglia borough, which luckily still hosts a number of workshops. Luciano had almost stumbled in it, when he was young, thinking it was a kind of garage, and since 1974 he has never left it. He too is a member of the Artes Association, and actually, his craft can be defined as ‘unique’: “It’s true, there are no more workshops like mine, and that’s why I’m still working. I believe I’m the only one in Piedmont, not to say in Italy”. The bronzesmith has elapsed a story parallel to that of cabinetmakers and antiquarians, creating and restoring bronzes, better said all the decorative and functional accessories of furniture (handles, legs, angle sections).
It was born together with the use of bronze especially for the external statues, but actually, the most used raw material became brass. Furniture finishes, we said, door and window handles, chandeliers and oil-lamps: all of them customized. But also, reproductions of ancient studs, friezes, or decorations for big coffers and vintage writing desks, created in accordance to the ancient procedures, always useful in order to hand-make a strict number of objects.
Moreover, there is a section dedicated to the restoration of wall lamps, brass accessories for doors and windows, beds, and lighting complement. Custom and modernity come together into a perfect mix when expertise is as high as Luciano’s and original furnishing designs can be realized. These works, as every handmade activity, require time, dedication, and skill.
That means a cost that only a few people can understand: “Yes, it’s not easy to make understand the value of our work. I make replicas, finishes, also relying on foundries. My clients are Italian and foreign privates, architects, collectors, designers. I also deal with Institutions and the Superintendency, but with them, it’s very complicated to have effective professional collaboration. I also work together with hardware stores for some adjustments. My only bitterness remains not to see any future legacy”. Youth should be aware that also these niche activities exist and they can reserve them a good professional opportunity. As a result, obvious to say, of the same passion, studies and a lot, a lot of patience.