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Updated: Oct 5

Ceramic is an art that has slowly entered the everyday life of Villa Elisa, the family villa near Caserta, in Campania, Italy and today for the Luca Larenza brand a new story has just begun.



What makes ceramic so magical?


The word ceramic comes from the Greek word κέραμος (keramos) used to describe potter's clay, tile or pottery.


Pottery is one of the most durable forms of art. It is impossibile not to think about all the fragments found from almost all time periods and civilizations throughout the world.

Compared to other artifacts created by hand with less durable materials, ceramic objects last much longer and therefore have the magic of helping to preserve the memory of the present. Even if you don't have the specific desire to leave a mark on this world at the moment of creating the object, seeing the object created in its final form is still a reminder of your accomplishments, ex pressing yourself in some way and increasing your optimistic outlook.



While spinning clay, your mind and body are in natural synergy. A lot of focus is required while you’re making pottery and so you are immersed in what psychologists call a flow state. This activity also open up your mind and relieve you of outside worries.

This is something very healty for your mind because being able to fully focus something will help you focus in other areas of life as well.


Last but not least, the human factor makes each piece unique. Even if you want to create pieces in series, there will always be differentiations on the shape, the glaze and the pattern. This is why every single piece is special.



The Ceramic Workshop


I was very lucky to be born into a family that has always had a great passion for art and craftsmanship and has passed it on to me since I was a child.


Furthermore, I was born and raised in Campania, famous for the colorful ceramics of Vietri sul Mare or Amalfi. And it is precisely in Campania, near Caserta, that Villa Elisa is located.


It is the family Villa where when I can I take refuge to rest or design new creations in peace.



The real creator of the Ceramic Workshop and deux ex machina is called Immacolata and she is my Aunt. She is an architect and in addition to having an impeccable aesthetic taste, she has always had great manual skills.


At the beginning in the Villa there was only a lathe and an oven used to create the ceramics for the villa as well as the small table for our Perfume Workshop, dishes and various objects to be used in the kitchen or in other rooms.


Today there is a real Workshop. It is a place of creativity where people come together to work and exchange ideas.



The objects born from our Workshop (for sale in our online Shop) are all handmade and they are all colorful and elegant at the same time.


In the Shop you will find Multicolored Chestnuts hand-painted large ceramic platter and ceramic vase, a refined candlestick holder, a set of four hand-painted ceramic tea mugs and a small selection of ceramic vases, pomegranates and jars.



#Campania #Ceramics #News

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Today I will tell you about the most important journey I’ve ever done, an unscheduled journey that changed my life.



It was 2019, I was in Dubai for work and I had a free week ahead of me.

I decided to take the first flight to India, which was only a two-hour flight away, and precisely to go to Jaipur, the capital of the Indian state of Rajasthan, better known by the poetic name of the Pink City of Rajasthan.

I immediately chose Jaipur because it is a city to which I have always been attracted and which for various reasons has a lot in common with my work and my production as fashion designer.


In addition to being an extremely fascinating city for its colors and its history, it is home to important Indian textile artisan realities such as Block Print.


The first impact with Jaipur is actually anything but poetic.

Arriving there, the first impression was a shock. On the way from the airport to the hotel it was like taking a leap back into the past.

Jaipur is a city populated by more than three million inhabitants, chaotic and full of contradictions. At the edge of the streets or on the few free pavements we find the pariahs camped, hundreds of elderly people, adults and children who lead a life in very poor conditions.



I remember very clearly the scene of a barber in the middle of the street cutting his hair in front of a piece of glass.


Nothing really prepares you for India. It is a place that bothers you, that forces you to leave your comfort zone and when you least expect it, it calls you back to itself.


Jaipur is a very particular place, colorful and fascinating, with the elegant palaces, its pink buildings and the majestic forts perched on top of the hills, the scents and colors.


The hotel I had chosen was the Rambagh Palace.



It is a grand luxury Hotel with rooms and suites which were the chambers of the former Maharaja. The palace is extravagantly decorated with hand-carved marble 'jalis' or latticework, sandstone balustrades, cupolas and 'chattris' or cenotaphs, and elaborate Mughal Gardens.



From the hotel I moved to visit the flower market, other markets and buildings.

I have never felt in danger and the thing that immediately struck me was that people are always smiling. The men in the markets wear their turbans and long dresses and in their extreme simplicity they are always extremely well cared for. They have an innate elegance and a very proud gaze, as well as being extremely friendly and helpful and well disposed towards foreigners.



One of the first things I wanted to visit after the markets are the fabric warehouses where they did Block Print, where the colors are fixed in the sun and 100% natural.

It is a technique that requires commitment, precision and a lot of calm.

The process is very long, but also extremely fascinating. The fabrics are bought in the markets and then immersed in water for 48 hours, in order to remove the starch contained in the fibers. Usually the fabrics are washed in rivers and then beaten on the stones, to make them soft and ready to dry in the sun.



In addition to the fabric, another indispensable tool is the matrix, the block of wood carved with precision and refinement, which will be the main tool of printing. The peculiarity of these blocks is that each color must have a separate one, and the details are usually always left at the end of the engraving. If you make even a small carving mistake, often the block is to be thrown away, so the concentration of the craftsmen is truly maximum.


The same state of mind is necessary in the printing phase: the fabrics are spread on long tables, the blocks dipped in color and hand-printed on the fabrics, making them coincide and repeat almost perfectly, without ever making mistakes.

If the print requires two colors, the first is usually done, left to dry, and then the second block is applied.


Once the printing is complete, the fabrics are dried and then cut and sewn as needed. Each fabric is unique, and small defects make these products of great value.


One of the main attractions of Jaipur that I have visited is the City Palace, located in the heart of the old city.



The City Palace is the official residence of the Maharajah of Jaipur, a grandiose complex of gardens, courtyards, buildings with inlaid doors and finely decorated rooms that are worth a thorough visit of approximately 2 hours. Don't forget the peacock courtyard with its beautiful door, the most photographed corner of the entire structure.


Inside the City Palace there is also the Mubarak Mahal, a museum with weapons, clothes, gold and silver sedans, manuscripts and other objects that belonged to Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II, precious testimony to the majesty of the history of India.


Another landmark of Jaipur is Hawa Mahal, an impressive 5-storey building.

Built in 1799, it was formerly the residence of the Maharajah's wives, who could observe the daily life of Jaipur without being visited. The facade of the building is in fact made up of small decorated windows that resemble the cells of a beehive.



The building is better known as the Palace of Winds: its particular structure was designed so that the channeled air of the tiny windows circulates inside the building and refreshes the different rooms.

The Hawa Mahal was built in pink and red sandstone like all the buildings in the historic center and to understand the reason we need to take a few steps back in history.


It was 1786 when Prince Albert, the future king of England, visited India. The city had to be repainted to welcome the noble guest with all honors, but apparently the only color available at that time in large quantities was pink - terracotta, another color symbol of welcome and hospitality.

The result was so pleasing to the favorite wife of Maharaja Sawai Ram Singh II that she was able to persuade him to issue an edict forbidding the painting of the buildings of the city in another color.

The law passed in 1877 still applies today, the inhabitants of Jaipur are proud of this tradition and this is how all the buildings in the old city are painted pink, and certainly this helps to mask the pollution and dirt that reigns in the city.


Another place that is in my heart is the Jal Mahal, better known as the Water Palace.



The palace is located 5 km from Jaipur and emerges imposing and majestic from the waters of an artificial lake called Man Sagar Lake, the artificial lake where the palace seems to float. It was the summer residence of the Maharaja, a place for partying and duck hunting.

The structure is quite unique: there are no rooms used for accommodation, but only a large garden terrace where the Maharaja loved to walk.

The Water Palce actually consists of five floors, but only the upper floor is clearly visible all year round.


The experience of eating in restaurants was also very positive, Indian food is truly delicious.



I remember very well a dinner at Jobner Bagh, a relaxing retreat from the busy city. It also has a tranquil roof terrace with the views of the Aravalli Hills.

India is a place to be experienced, with its contrasts and wonders.



An outfit inspired by my journey to Jaipur


KNITTED SINGLE-BUTTONED JACQUARD COTTON POLO SHIRT


STRIPED KNEE-LENGHT COTTON AND LINEN SHORTS




#India #Jaipur #Diary

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Updated: Jan 26

Luca Larenza presents the Fall Winter 2021/22 Collection creating a connection with the Campania region by giving life to a Social Responsibility project to restore value to a place, synonymous with excellence in the world.


The shots are set at a UNESCO heritage site: the Real Belvedere in San Leucio.

The historic site was born in 1779 from King Ferdinand's dream of giving life to an autonomous community, founded on the production of the finest silk, now well known throughout the world for its refinement and elegance. The monumental complex contains among its many rooms a small jewel of industrial archeology, a large room with perfectly functioning wooden looms for the production and processing of silk.



The general and important starting point of Luca Larenza's work is precisely the selection of excellent quality raw materials, which are the perfect blank canvas on which Luca Larenza can let his creativity explode, with the creation of garments that never cease to amaze and acquire value over time.

It is also from this specific connecting element that the choice fell on the silk museum, which in addition to representing a piece of Italian culture emphasizes the qualities of the raw materials, an expression of Italian excellence.


According to Luca Larenza, the site is “an extradordinary historical-manufacturing reality on the National scene” and the idea to celebrate it through this project was born during the first lockdown. A break that prompted Larenza to return home, to its origins and to rediscover the artisanal and artistic heritage of Campania.


“After so many years I visited San Leucio and I was fascinated by it. Enthusiastic”.

It was a revealing walk that laid the foundations for experimenting with new possibilities.



After a dialogue with the Officials of the Municipality of Caserta Luca Larenza decided to combine the photographic set with a concrete action. A Social Responsibility project was born, and in agreement with the headquarters of the Fine Arts, Luca Larenza took part in the restoration of the prestigious Silk-Looms dating back to the 19th century, devoured by moths and lack of maintenance, kept inside the Silk Museum.

The works, which began in early December, ended during the first days of 2021.Today, thanks to this intervention these Looms have a new life, they have returned to shine again and continue with pride to perpetrate their historical testimony.

It is a beautiful example of a creative project that finds maximum expression by embracing the concept of sustainability in an unprecedented way, through the enhancement of history, to continue a story that deserves to be heard by those who will come.



The designer has tried to respectfully measure himself with the cultural heritage of San Leucio. San Leucio is therefore a territory that led Luca Larenza to question the past, the secrets of techniques and knowledge that are perhaps obsolete. Therefore, he has personally invested in the restoration of some frames.



Luca Larenza said: “For me it was natural to enhance a piece of my land. I could not turn away. We were able to restore the functionality of the looms and without the experience of expert weavers and carpenters this would have been impossible. One of the most complicated aspects was precisely that of being able to find workers capable of operating on ancient machinery". This is why those professions, now rare, should be defended.



The Silk Museum


The Silk Museum is located in via del setificio, 5, Real Belvedere di Caserta. It is made up of several sections: the industrial archeology section, namely the ancient Silk Factory, the Historic Apartment and the Royal Gardens.


The tour, enriched by multimedia devices that help the understanding of the enormous work behind each silk product, develops over two floors and winds through the nine hand looms that produce brocades, lampas, damasks and the famous "Leucian blanket"; the two enormous twisters and the water wheel that gives them movement; and then the so-called “Bagno di Maria Carolina”, a real indoor swimming pool, the work of the first court painter P. Hackert, and then the rooms painted by F. Fischetti, G.Cammarano; finally, the panoramic terraces of the Royal Gardens.


The history of the Belvedere of San Leucio di Caserta is very fascinating.


It all began in 1773 when the young King Ferdinand IV of Bourbon, who loved to participate in hunting trips, had the wood fenced around the rich Renaissance residence of the Acquaviva princes: the Belvedere in San Leucio.

Ferdinand had the first free Italian compulsory school established here and then introduced a raw silk factory to provide those boys and girls a job once they were educated.


Thus the major specialists in the art of silk came from afar to teach them how to work, build machines and manage production. Many young people left San Leucio for the first internships abroad, returning rich in knowledge to share. Ferdinand encouraged the cultivation of mulberry trees and sericulture for the production of silkworms, thus creating the entire production cycle.

The manufacture of silk made it possible to employ female and male workers at the same time. For this reason the King gave each family a loom to be placed in the center of the house so that each family could love and pass on the art of silk. The houses for the workers were designed keeping in mind all the urban planning rules of the time, to ensure that they lasted over time, and in fact they are still inhabited today.


In 1789 the Royal Manufacture became an autonomous entity through the promulgation of a specific code of laws inspired by the Enlightenment-style social renewal program. There was no difference between individuals, whatever the work they did, men and women enjoyed total equality in a system that hinged exclusively on meritocracy. Private property was abolished, assistance to the elderly and infirm was guaranteed, and the value of brotherhood was exalted.

Ferdinand IV of Bourbon thought of a utopian project to build a large city called Fernandopoli, and construction began with the help of Francesco Collecini, first aide to the much more famous Luigi Vanvitelli.


Following the Restoration, the project of the new city was set aside and subsequently the special community regime was abolished, but tradition and quality in the production of silk fabrics have remained until today.






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