Ferruccio Padoa, born in 1944, learned the craft from his father Carlo, who founded the workshop specializing in brass working in 1930. Out of this hothouse have come some fundamental works for the street furniture of Milan: the lamps that still illuminate the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele, the lanterns of the courtyard, the big lantern and the staircase landing of Palazzo Marino, the bronze and copper baptismal font in the basilica of Sant’Ambrogio and the silver mask that covers the face of St Charles Borromeo under the high altar of the cathedral.
Ferruccio entered the workshop as soon as he had finished secondary school: in the evening he attended the Scuola Superiore d’Arte Applicata at the Castello Sforzesco, in particular the course in the design and striking of medals, while in the daytime he helped out his father in the workshop.
He started to work for his father’s company officially in 1958 and now, after more than sixty years, still runs it with his wife Giovanna and sons Andrea and Carlo, collaborating with architecture studios and making pieces of furniture to design and to measure, ranging from lamps to coffee tables and from balustrades to more specific architectural elements. Padoa and his artisans chiefly work brass, but also copper, iron and bronze, doing everything from cutting to welding, from turning to chasing.
Among their more recent projects, the one for the display racks of Stella McCartney’s shop in Via Santo Spirito in Milan and an enormous domed skylight for a private home in London. A classic of the workshop’s production is the ‘Tina Turner’ model of curtain loop, given this name because it was first made for the famous singer’s house in Switzerland.
Working along traditional lines does not prevent this historic firm from adopting technological innovations, but without ever violating the artisanal spirit of its production.
Ferruccio Padoa still works with great enthusiasm, practicing a hard but gratifying craft in which manual skill and technique are combined with creativity and the ability to always find new solutions.