“Making. Knowing how to make. Knowing how to get making and, recently, through social media, make people know.” Massimo Torassa, soul, heart, and owner of the “Consell” saddlery, the most ancient in Torino, summarizes in these words his multifaceted activity, that starting from fixing vintage cars seats, has brought him to the realization of a collection of handbags, unique creations in fabric and car components, and of some peculiar furniture pieces, also thought according to the recycling theory. “When I try to explain what I make people look at me a little funny”, he tells us and smiles. Actually, just step inside his store-workshop in via Valprato 16, and you will ‘be welcomed’ by a cheerful disorder: among car seats, reels of leather you can see, on the mezzanine, a chest realized with an ancient 500 front, and some colored stools made with old oil drums.
This workshop story comes from afar in time. It was founded in 1920, “by Pinin, my father-in-law’s father, born in 1870, who, after working for a period at Pininfarina, quit and opened up the Consell, at the very beginning in Corso Francia”. An enterprise that has been in business for three generations and that, it is said, had had among its clients also the English Royal Family, when Pinin, the founder, was asked to make the upholstery for the chariot of the Queen Mother.
“In 1982 – Massimo Torassa narrates – I started training in this workshop with my future father-in-law”. The activity kept on going, even after his father-in-law died, but Massimo Torassa little by little was widening the rage of his business: “I have begun producing coaches with some pieces of the ‘Maggiolone’, the ‘500’ and over time I have introduced a bit of art and creativity in my work”. Thence the brand ‘auto-mobili’, that produced, indeed, pieces of furniture, recycling car parts.
The path for recycling was traced, but the very turn overcame on March 12, 2012, when “Rebelt” came to life. That’s the creations of bags made with recycled car upholstery. “The idea – he explains – came from a Mondrian’s painting: I was fascinated and inspired by the colors and their composition on the canvas. One of the strangest coincidences in life: only later I discovered that Mondrian and I were born on the same day, March 7.”. “Through ‘Rebelt’ I became aware of a certain artistic flair of mine, even if I couldn’t find a correct definition for my professionality. Until I read a word on the pages of a book dealing with recycling and re-use. I am an eco-designer, a person who wants to give a second life to objects. And the bags I create urge sharing this message: a city, Torino, that is renewing, drawing from its industrial past.
Rebelt was needed in order to reduce the environmental impact”. Though Massimo Torassa never stops inventing, and during this pandemic, he has had some new ideas. “I don’t drink alcoholics, I don’t smoke, but while I’m handmaking, I feel young. If you have lived in poverty, and I did – he says – you will always carry with you its smell and you will always try to find an alternative to your work, even if you don’t really need it. That’s why, maybe, I want to keep on challenging myself with new creations”.
Therefore, what shall we expect in the future? “I noticed that catering is now the favorite choice for marriages or conventions. Thence the idea of realizing chairs and tables using the frontal of Dante Giacosa’s 500 to be rented for such events”. The project is already in late-stage and in a few months it will be probably realized. Torassa the eco-designer never stands still!
Via Valprato 16 – 10155 Torino