The large windows that run right along the western wall enable you to do two things. Admire the beauty of the scenery in the Dolomites and let in a spectacularly bright light. And this is precisely the ray of light that illuminates the work bench of Gionatan Prota, making everything even more magical. We are in the prototyping office of De Rigo where every day he, and all his colleagues, breathe life into the thoughts produced by the company’s designers.
“Succeeding in transforming the designer’s idea into something physical”: this is how Gionatan describes what he does. A young man, with jet black hair and a tidy beard that wraps itself around his face. But the most striking thing about him is his smile. It is a genuine smile. A clear sign that he loves what he does. The Americans would see him as an example of someone in the good zone, that dimension of life where you have achieved a balance between the professional and personal aspects of your existence. But his smile is much likelier to simply be the sign of a young man who is aware that when he works, he is doing something important. And perhaps this is the realisation that allows us to do things well, with the pride of being active players in the process and a sense of humility that continuously encourages us to improve and never to stop learning.
“It’s not a job, it’s a trade” exclaims Gionatan, speaking about what he does. A slight nuance. A huge difference. Seeing him at work, you get a better idea of what he means. His manual skill, the sensitivity with which he uses his tools, his ability to make something raw into a finished piece: all elements that epitomise the concept of a new craft, an industrial craft, where diversity lies not so much in what you make, but in how you make it. Is there a way of learning this craft? Practice makes perfect, trying to master the ability over and over again is the best form of training. Then, of course, you have to have a gift for what you do. Meet experienced people who are capable of transferring their know-how (rather like long ago when workshops would have an apprentice), then someone who spots these skills in you, believes in you and becomes the activator of your talent This kind of person exists in the De Rigo prototyping office. His name is Massimo Calderini and some (in fact quite a lot) of the credit for Gionatan’s development goes to him.
Simplifying. Resolving problems at the origin. Establishing a dialogue with the designers. Implementing the right technical solutions. These are the actions that enable the first physical model of an idea to be generated so that it can be evaluated. To do all that, you need talent and a strong passion, elements that Gionatan knows extremely well. Elements that characterise what he does. In his work and in his music too. Indeed, because Gionatan is also a singer. With a long history of music studies under his belt. Many auditions. A few disappointments in musical talent shows and a great deal of satisfaction gained from performing on stage. But that’s another story.