We started off Day 4 with our first official business shadow of the Mantero Silk Factory. Walking through the plant, it was very interesting to see behind the scenes of one of the most established silk plants in the world. In my opinion, Mantero did a great job of displaying the cohesion between the business and engineering zones within the company. First entering the plant we saw what looked like a typical office setting likely dealing with the business and management side of things. Then we traveled through a door that took us into the production side of things. It was crazy to see all the huge machines and engineering required to produce a piece of silk. I think that the blend of engineering and business evident through the company really serves to show the purpose of this trip in bringing both engineering and business majors together. Along with these two spheres, there was a strong emphasis on creativity and design within the company as well. We were able to see the archives where Mantero keeps rows upon rows of their past designs. Artistically, being able to pull and expand on past ideas and successes is crucial, especially for a company like Mantero with such a rich history and high reputation to uphold.
One point that the guide brought up that really stuck with me was the trade-offs between silk production by hand, and using computers. Although the technology is there to produce near perfect pieces of silk using computers, there is still a high demand for more artisan silk and the by-hand quality it entails. For that reason, Mantero still produces silk pieces by hand despite the greater cost and time it takes.
Lake Como was probably the location I was most excited to see. All my friends and relatives were constantly berating me about how beautiful it was prior to leaving. Even with the less than ideal weather, it was still stunning and did not disappoint. The boat ride on the lake was awesome seeing the alps and the elaborate villas lining them. I will definitely make it a goal of mine to return to Lake Como in the future, hopefully on a day with a little better weather though.