Taste of Life is excited to debut the Artisan Gallery, a regular feature that will provide glimpses into the stories and passions of artisans from all over the world. We’ll enter their workshops in far-flung, romantic regions — from high atop the Tibetan Plateau to the remote mountains of Taiwan, to a castle in Italy.
Some are a legacy in the making, while others continue generations of tradition and refinement. All of them will come to Vancouver, B.C., for our Luxury Home & Design Show on May 3–6. The show is not only about the finest bespoke services and craftsmanship, but also about the heart, hopes, and journeys of the artisans.
In the coming months, we look forward to sharing the beauty and treasure of the Pacific Northwest’s only globally curated luxury show.
Gilroy Stained Glass
A light cast through the centuries
Few stained-glass artists have inherited their knowledge through a chain of master-apprentice relationships extending back generations. John and Laura Gilroy have had this privilege. They were the last artists to learn in one of England’s oldest studios, founded in 1788, before it closed down.
They have kept alive many of the traditional, medieval techniques, which add more depth and complexity than modern techniques. They paint every detail by hand, using the point of a needle for extremely fine work. They use pointillism — a technique of painting with small, distinct dots — to create a depth and contrast that accentuates the inherent jewel-like quality of antique, mouth-blown glass.
Working from their studio in Vancouver, they create bespoke stained-glass windows in both traditional and contemporary styles.
A passion for perfection
Stefano Bemer started by repairing shoes, attending workshops, and experimenting with different shoemaking techniques and materials. His goal was to create the perfect Italian shoe, and indeed his shoes have become world renowned.
His pursuit of perfection attracted actor Daniel Day Lewis, who had the same approach to his art. Lewis became an apprentice to Bemer. When Bemer passed away in 2012, Tommaso Melani took over guidance of the brand and its artisans.
A coincidence seemed to confirm that Melani was the perfect fit to carry forth Bemer’s vision: Melani chose an old chapel to house Stefano Bemer’s operations. It turned out that Bemer himself had tried to make an agreement for the same building a few years earlier.
All Photos Courtesy of Stefano Bemer
Linens fit for royalty
Frette’s linens have a rich history. Since 1860, they have been featured in such places as the sacred altar of St. Peter’s Basilica and the dining car of the Oriental Express. They have been favoured in the palaces of more than 500 royal families and in the world’s most prestigious hotels.
To use bed and bath linens made of the finest material and with the greatest care — this is a touch of luxury and refinement in one’s daily life. Whether it’s silk jacquard or crisp poplin, finished with macramé or Sicilian lace, Frette’s linens stay true to its heritage. It all started when Jean Baptiste Edmond Frette decided to pair the finest materials with the best artisans and create linens like no other.
All Photos Courtesy of Frette
Bespoke metalworks and illumination
The artisans at Karice pride themselves on being able to turn the most imaginative and far-fetched ideas into tangible works of art.
One customer wanted a huge lighting fixture with industrial appeal. Karice created an 11-by-45-foot chandelier including faux piping and elegant, yet cage-like metal light coverings.
Karice’s artisans have made glowing rings that appear to float in thin air, illuminating 360 degrees. They’ve crafted an artistic replica of a famous ancient tree in Vancouver’s Stanley Park, using ingenuity to make aluminum do things they weren’t sure were possible.
All Photos by Jordan N. Dery
Three generations of innovation and cherished traditions
Three generations of the Savio family have imbued this brand’s handcrafted furniture with a personal history. It started in 1941 with Firmino Savio’s workshop in the historic centre of Florence. His descendants, including his son Guido, carried forth a mission to spread the values of Italian and Florentine tradition internationally.
When Guido’s granddaughter, Viola, was born, he created the Collezione Notte Fatata. This collection brings Renaissance beauty into the nursery. The soft innocence of baby Viola inspired the collection, which has enriched the homes of celebrities such as George Clooney.
As the company has continued to grow with the Savio family, new ideas from the third generation — such as sponsoring and producing films — have accentuated its core traditions.