Contemporary luxury in Cristiano {room}
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Contemporary luxury in Cristiano {room}

Mon 03 Apr 2017 3:00 PM

It’s Friday morning in Cristiano’s via Maggio atelier and he’s just taken a moment to wipe off his hands after stepping up from the workbench. Setting down his pliers, the goldsmith points to a glass display case propping up a lacelike ring. “Once that’s sold, it won’t exist anymore,” he says authoritatively.

The literal translation is a little misleading. He means, of course, that it’ll be taken off the market—and will take on a life of its own. No duplicate will be produced, no matter how many compliments or “che bello’s” the original gets, and the person who wears it will know exactly who made it, where it came from and how much work was involved.

That, for Cristiano, is the real definition of luxury. “I often have clients come in who’ve been buying from luxury commercial brands for years… but when they make a purchase here, they sense that this is something different, something special,” he says. “It’s a new sensation for them.” Big-brand status symbols may require an investment, but they aren’t hard to come by and can feel impersonal. A Cristiano creation, on the other hand, is a statement piece—not just in terms of its aesthetic quality, but in the artistic heritage and long creative process that it represents.

Each of the pieces begins on his small, tool-laden work table, never on a computer screen—often after a month or so of rumination on the design. Another month will usually be spent on its actual creation, perhaps longer in cases of bespoke or custom jewelry.

Cristiano comes from an established family of goldsmiths, but would never call himself a traditionalist: the launch of Cristiano {room} in via Maggio was a decisive break from staid, closed-off approaches to fine jewelry making. With his hybrid workspace-shop on the Oltrarno street—long a hotbed of antiques vendors and art galleries—he aims to make luxury accessible, not by underpricing his designs, but by putting the whole process on display for passersby and potential customers.

Visiting Cristiano {room}  isn’t all that different from exploring one of its neighboring art galleries. Architecturally, the space is sleek and contemporary, and glass boxes on the wall showcase an array of rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings, each seemingly more intricate than the last.

Unlike most traditional artisan workspaces, however, Cristiano’s supplies aren’t stowed in the back, but are front and center, a mere step from the finished merchandise itself. “I wanted to create a space with a certain liveability, where it’s not just the jewelry that’s the star, but the creative process itself,” he says. Direct contact with the product and a very 21st-century sense of approachability are fundamental to the operation.

People see Cristiano’s elegant designs from the street and sense—correctly—that these are one-of-a-kind, price-upon-request kinds of pieces. But the prestige of the jewelry shouldn’t shroud the production steps in secrecy. Quite regularly, travellers or residents timidly watch him from the shop windows, assuming that entering is off-limits. But he waves them in and offers a warm welcome—because, in Cristiano’s view, real artistry doesn’t have to be aloof.

Cristiano offers private courses for those who want to learn or hone his art. Email for more information.

Cristiano {room} 
Via Maggio 76r, Florence

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