Massimo Torassa, An Eco-Designer Dreams, And Products

“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