CEDES Milan

Those who have been following my Special Projects Series understands my appreciation of CEDES. Based in Milan, CEDES is the latest incarnation of a family legacy that has been producing some of the most fantastic handcrafted accessory items known to the world. CEDES and their products represent Italian craftsmanship at the highest level and their objects border sculpture.

I am a big proponent of surrounding oneself with thoughtfully-crafted items of quality. The more we interact with a certain object, the more I think one should invest in something thoughtful. For those of us who enjoy a certain aesthetic appreciation, the objects of daily use are an often-missed opportunity to interact with art and embellish our lifestyles. A Waterman pen, silvertip badger brush, high-quality shaving cream, linen bed sheets. These are the types of items that over the course of a decade, one spends an incredible amount of time with. Why not make these interactions fantastic.

CEDES has been crafting natural objects of unmatched beauty, such as horn, bamboo, wood, tusks, stag, mother of pearl, into everyday yet original and absolutely unique objects. Mauro Lorenzi and his craftsmen are masters, capable of leveraging both traditional craftsmanship and new technology to create incredible, one-of-a-kind objects.

A caviar serving set created from Australian mother of pearl. My personal favorite material, Springbok.

I have actually been trying to carry their line since I started my business. However, like most great things, the opportunity eluded me. Then one day this January, I received an email from Francesco Maglia, of the renowned umbrella company, introducing me to Mauro Lorenzi of CEDES. It was fantastic. I jumped at the opportunity to offer these products to Hanger Project customers and quickly organized a “Special Project” to do so.

On my last trip to Italy, organizing an opportunity to visit the CEDES workshop was at the top of my list and the first thing that I did while in Milan.

Upon first entering CEDES offices, the first thing that I was struck by was how small it in fact is. Serving as both a showroom, office, and workshop, it is remarkably small. However, after learning more about their production methods, it makes total sense: since all of their products are handmade, only a very few machines are actually required for their production.

A cigar desk set crafted from Zebu horn set next to it’s raw material in various stages. Mauro Lorenzi and his most senior craftsman, who has been working with him for 15 years. As you can see, the workshop is quite small, yet this is where everything is produced.

Mauro has a passion for natural material. But more importantly than his passion is his respect of their natural characteristics (more on this later) and creativity. At his core, Mauro is an innovator, an artist, as evidenced by his capacity to imagine, design, and then produce such incredible pieces.

Mauro sources his raw materials from all over the world. A few of the materials commonly used in production are leather, crocodile, mother of pearl, Makassar ebony, rosewood, stag antlers, tusks, horns, and bamboo. The materials are then precisely cut to construct the basic shape of the object being produced.

Raw material is stored in wooden bins ready for use in making a wide array of items. Here CEDE’s senior craftsman is sanding a piece of antler to make a round cigar desk set.

The piece then has to be constructed. Because of the natural variation of the raw material, each piece is hand-selected and then formed. There is no scale here. To make 10 of a certain item takes 10 times as long as it does one piece. It is true, bespoke craftsmanship.

Each panel required to construct this cigar desk set is hand-traced and formed. Here you can see the final product.

But only through such attention to detail can truly remarkable pieces be created.

Another absolutely fantastic example of the level of craftsmanship at CEDES is what they are able to do to water buffalo horn. The below piece is going to become a completely one-off cigar ash tray for a customer. The piece will be designed to hang off of the table. The amount of work that it takes to craft what is a very unattractive raw material into something one would proudly display in their house is incredible. All of this must be done while still respecting and maintaining the natural beauty of the natural object. Copper is then hammered to create the ash tray while maintaining a texture consistent with the object. The work is incredible.

For Mauro, respecting the natural beauty of the raw material is essential to do so requires patience, precision, and artistry. Below is an example of African Springbok. The one on the right shows Springbok that was polished in Africa; the one on the left polished in the CEDES workshop. This is a great illustration of the care that is taken in the workshop to respect and maintain the natural beauty of the material they are using. Here, special care is taken to not over polish, which would erase the natural veins of the horn. The Springbok on the right, polished in Africa, is completely devoid of any natural character. The true beauty of the material is removed. It might as well be a plastic object.

The Springbok on the left was polished in the CEDES workshop, while the one on the right was polished in Africa. The difference is pronounced. A Mach3 Springbok razor next to the piece polished in Africa.

The people at CEDES are master craftsman and represent the best of what Italy has to offer. Their pieces are one-of-a-kind and take painstaking time and energy to create. They are true luxury objects and exactly the type of products I get excited about being able to offer Hanger Project customers. I invite you to browse our catalog of products from CEDES. We stock as many of these items as possible, but their entire catalog is available by special order. And, of course, anything is possible. If you have an idea for a product that you would like to commission, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

 

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