Today was the first company visit and our first time leaving Milan. In the morning, we travelled on a coach bus to Como. Our first stop was at Mantero, a silk producer. Our tour started in a design room, where designers were creating new projects and splitting completed projects into individual color channels for printing with screens. The tour moved on to the archives, where hundreds of books contained design sketches and swatches of silk with previous patterns. The next part of the tour was the factory. Workers carefully printed test pieces and final products with large machinery. It was relatively empty today, but it was still loud because of the machinery. The tour passed several smaller rooms of groups working collaboratively to find out the combination of colors needed to achieve an identical result on different fabrics, leathers, and anything else the design would be printed on. The color designers also worked to ensure that the colors matched the design approved by the client. The most interesting thing that I noticed was the lack of handmade prints. I expected a company that produces luxury goods to have at least some handmade pieces. It makes sense, though, to rely on machines and digital printing because mass printing is needed for clients like Chanel and Louis Vuitton. They did not explicitly discuss sustainability, though the factory section was very modern, safe, and easy to navigate. From that perspective, Matero must value sustainability.
We boarded the bus again and travelled to the heart of Como. The main square has a unique blend of modern shops, a massive cathedral, and historic homes from the 15th century. I had a margherita pizza with pepper flakes for lunch and an espresso, which was much more bitter than American coffee, after. We started a walking tour of Como after lunch, but the rain was a constant problem. We continued to the edge of Lake Como for a boat tour. The homes were gorgeous, and the fog created an eerie contrast from bright-colored homes on the mountainside to the bland white sky. The front of the boat was covered, but going outside meant getting the best pictures, even if you got a little wet. Some of those pictures will definitely be a desktop background or lock screen.