MILAN–Painting plates was a hobby for Costanza Paravicini, until she realized that her steady hand and immense patience was one-of-a-kind. Since setting up shop in a dimly lit courtyard on Milan’s Via Nerino in the 1990s, her Laboratorio Paravicini is now the go-to shop for affluent Milanese families, who believe every newly married couple needs a personalized set of fine dinner wear. It is also a hidden stop in Milan’s upscale 5Vie district for the fashion-forward crowd — those who admire Paravicini’s exquisite, yet endearing style.
“People want to have something personal. They want something envisaged by an artisan but at the same time reflects their taste,” said Costanza Paravicini in her studio stacked with plates and scattered with paint brushes and porcelain dust.
Not much has changed in terms of the process of plate decorating, since it became an art about 1000 years ago in Imperial China — but Laboratorio Paravicini is satisfying global requests with its modern, abstract motifs like the Macula animal-patterned plates that are sold exclusively on Yoox.
Costanza, along with her daughter Benedetta, also paint or stencil nostalgic motifs like hot air balloons and circus performers or traditional ones that bear monogrammed initials or family crests.
Laboratorio prides itself on its hand painted designs or hand applied stencils that are coated with a non-toxic glaze, so that the colors will never fade. Painting directly on the biscuit, they say, is very difficult and it is a technique that is employed by very few.
AVERAGE PRICE: EUR30 to EUR150/plate
WHERE TO BUY: Via Nerino 8, Milano, +39 02 72021006 by appointment, YOOX
IN THIS ISSUE: 5 Vie: Da Vinci’s Neighborhood Today, Laboratorio Paravicini’s Fashion Plates, Angela Florio of DecorAzione, Italy’s Largest Collection of Da Vinci’s Works , 5Vie: The Art of Restoration Endures, BACO STYLE: Lidia Pellecchia’s Sartorial Style, BACO STYLE: Uberta Zambeletti of Wait and See, Al Pascia': Pipes to Leather Goods , Fabio Crippa: The Ancient Art of Stone Cutting, Lorenzo Borghi: Old School Milliner