Gentucca Bini opens the doors to its home for us: the former Superga factory
What exactly does Gentucca Bini do? “I’m not doing anything,” she replies with a smile that lights up. “I do my job, the designer at 360 °It does not seem easy to define. But instead it is: she is a creative tout court. Educated architect, stylist, designer, communicator, pathophysicist (specifically Doctor maxima cum laude af Spirordenen), she is someone who uses imagination and curiosity as life tools, and therefore it does not matter to have a brand, Gentucca is there and finds herself in every project she creates. From the first works with Karl Lagerfeld to the art direction of Romeo Gigli and then his namesake brand, with the unmistakable overalls transformed into wonderful fashion clothes or Pussy Bag, whose proceeds from the sale go to support female victims of violence; but also the spectacular architectural installations with Alcantara or the ceramics of Bitossi, among the various entrances into the design world. An intelligent irony is the common thread that binds Gentucca’s actions. Who was born in creativity.
Grandmother stylist, father architect, spent her childhood in a large house in the heart of Milan, a kind of Italian factory open to relatives and friends (many pataphysics), including Lucio Fontana, Enrico Baj, Vittorio Gassman, Franca Rame and Dario Fo, whom she called grandfather. Right in the former theater in Fo, Bini had a home for years. Today, Gentucca has found its factory. In the courtyard of a palace in Milan he foundfrom the factory of Superga shoe brand, a 1930s four-story building that stole her heart and which she bought and renovated to make it a place to live and work. “Over the years, the various tenants had changed the decor, I as an architect worked on restoring the original elements as much as possible, I treated the place like a factory. Maintenance of period details, glass and fixtures and even some “wrong” items added over time because they are functional to create some spaces. And where I could not restore it, I covered the faults of others with a generous coat of white paint, ”says Gentucca. And here it is: Bini Factory. Never a name was more appropriate. In the basement a showroom, on the ground floor the showroom, on the first floor studio and on the last house with terrace. Decorating the home – an open space where the only door is the bathroom – was not an interior design work, but rather a combination, with taste and affection, of the things that characterize Gentucca’s personality. Wonderful things.
When one sees a large work by Mario Schifano on the wall, the eye falls on a small sheet that hangs next to it: it is pierced with the tip of a ballpoint pen and bears a small signature on the corner. “My father kept this piece of paper folded in four in his jacket pocket for years. It was a gift from his friend Lucio Fontana. When I found it, I decided to frame it,” she says. There is no shouting in this house, but everything speaks.On the walls, the history of contemporary art, from Piero Manzoni to Lucio Del Pezzo, from Arman to Enrico Baj.On the ground, a table by the Castiglioni brothers, a prototype armchair given by Joe Colombo to Gentucca’s father, a coffee table made with a top of Tulip table of the Saarine found in the basement, a hanger by Bottoni. Many pieces come from the family, they are object-bindings, as well as the billiard table made for the grandfather of the famous Fratelli Della Chiesa in the early 1900s, or the precious Venetian bedside table from the 18th century. And then there are the friends. Edra’s chair donated one evening to dinner by designer Jacopo Foggini, dishes (and invitations to parties) received by Barnaba Fornasetti, the stairs to Dario Fo’s theater, which the master – and the Nobel Prize in Literature – used to create the scenery and direct the shows. And then, as always, Gentucca creates: some tables and shelves, strictly white, she designed and made with the workers from Fos theater set.
You come in and feel good here. The light, full-bodied, but never intrusive, the silence, the total white in half of the apartment, which creates a kind of oasis of calm in contrast to the cheerful rumor about elements in the other half of the room. And then you get off and start working. And then the white becomes absolute, and the colors and shapes created by Gentucca emerge. It is as if the air itself smells of creative freedom. “Here they are really zero kilometers. I wake up and find almost everything I need to do, from sewing machines to them to prototyping. I can get dirty and dirty. The communication to promote my works and sales also takes place here – but this month I am also launching e-commerce. This structure is a pretext to give life to a complete work cycle, to keep the archive of my twenty years of career, to make new projects, to host creative housing ». Over the course of a lifetime, there are some places, people, or decisions that you do not choose, sooner or later they come and they just react to you and you recognize them. So that seems to have happened for Gentucca. This building was the department of the Superga factory in Turin. One often imagines walking around the house, the women at work, who most likely made and prepared the well-known Italian tennis shoes here for distribution. “Here is all the planning, from the place to the many activities it welcomes. Here I am finally 100% independent. And I would like to carry out and welcome projects according to this philosophy », the hostess continues.
And, as fate would have it, here, today, another women’s project comes to life. On the occasion of Milan Design Week, Fabbrica Bini is actually the host Mistakes, the punk and feminist project by Swedish designers conceived by Paola Bjäringer, who becomes a traveler and has Milan as her first stop. Each city will have collaborations with creative locals who will participate with their own project. The goal is to highlight the female universe in crafts and art. At Fabbrica Bini, curated by Federica Sala, the collective will exhibit its projects together with Nelcya Chamszadeh, artist and founder of the carpet brand cc-tapis as a guest, Alisée Matta as patron and Gentucca Bini as ambassador. «As the first important event at Fabbrica Bini, I like to start with a women’s project. My world is in line with theirs, even though we have very different aesthetics. I’m interested in that this place represents an independent job opportunity, outside the logic of the system, but more tailored to people. I decided to have the courage to take a place and make it an alternative to what is happening outside, which is unsafe and not up to you. And to welcome, ”he says. Welcome to Fabbrica Bini.