Last week we had the pleasure of being invited on a trip to the iGuzzini Headquarters on the Adriatic Coast in Italy. (Being a lighting designer has its perks!) Colleagues, who’ve attended this trip before, told tales of grand scenic views, plenty of fantastic food and wine, and a look at where it all (the glare-free magic) happens: the iGuzzini factory in Recanati. Needless to say, the two of us eagerly packed our bags and off we went with the highest of expectations.
We arrived in Ancona bright and early and everyone was ready to pull out their sun shades and soak up the glorious Italian sun, and get that well-needed dose of Vitamin D. Slightly disappointed that we were instead met with fog and cooler temperatures, we kept our London weather gear firmly in place. But, what made up for it (and beyond) was the fantastic experience that followed…
Let’s start with the important stuff. At this point we have to mention that we were warned several times about the amount of courses to expect at meals, so we had to strategically plan how much to eat and when to stop. If you’ve tried this, you’ll know that one fails miserably in view of all the great dishes being served during a three hour long feast, and you guessed it…ends up overeating.
Among the fantastic restaurants we were taken to our favourite was the seafood restaurant “La Torre” in Numana, a beautiful place hanging over the cliff with the harbour below. Sure it was nighttime, but the small towns along the coast glittered in the distance while we enjoyed our seafood feast. There’s little that needs to be said about how amazing it was!
The Frasassi Caves in Genga: the visit here truly symbolises the power of Mother Nature. A great underground cave developed over millions of years out of sight of any humans until the 1970s. Rich in water, the cave system is particularly well endowed with stalactites and stalagmites. Absolutely breathtakingly beautiful and unfortunately no photos could do them any justice, but below will give you a rough idea.
Basilica della Santa Casa: the Basilica, containing the house in which the Virgin Mary lived, stood grand in the little town of Loreto and is a Catholic place of pilgrimage (since at least the 14th Century). The opulent interiors include the works of only the best artists in Italy sent over by the Pope throughout the centuries. It was magnificent.
Lastly, we can’t forget about why we were there in the first place. Our visit to the iGuzzini headquarters in Recanati started off with a brief introduction of the company and a few of their recently completed projects. This was followed by the iGuzzini “Light Experience”, a showcasing of their product range, where we got to see and have a feel of the different things on offer. Despite having already seen it recently at Light & Building 2016 in Frankfurt, it still thoroughly captivated us all.
The visit was completed with a tour through the factory where we saw the entire life cycle of a product from start to finish. Having seen the product being brought to life brings about an emotional connection, not just with seeing the process but also with the brand. The immaculate factory further strengthened the perception of the brand and its ethos, as it was clear that every element down to the staff, layout and processes were carefully planned. The use of colour painted on the factory walls was a symbol of this – it was to help stimulate the mind of workers and trigger innovation. A great touch.
After sunset we returned to HQ to complete the tour with a presentation of the outdoor product range. On this occasion the misty weather couldn’t have been any more favourable, as it allowed us to examine the precise light distributions. The highlight of the night was the demonstration of the smart street lighting solution, where light levels of individual fittings can be activated and increased by approaching vehicles.
So, we might not have been greeted with Italian sunshine, but that was soon forgotten. Our high expectations were definitely met, excelled even, so we’d like to say a BIG thanks to iGuzzini for hosting us and giving us the opportunity to see where it all happens. And now, unfortunately, it’s back to real life and a plain Marks & Spencer sandwich for lunch.
Blog post and images by Caroline Jonsson & Laura Voss