…for those who have never been in a lanificio (wool mill) you are missing out. I know this one pretty well. The wool mill for Ermenegildo Zegna has stood in the mountains of Trivero now for 100 years. I came here on and off for nearly three years as i was designing a museum and its contents for Fondazione Zegna in a building in the same compound. Today we brought the UNIDEE residents here to show them the workings of a wool mill, so much part of the past and present but probably not future of this particular corner of Italy.

Only in Italy…a “madonna nera” between 2 notice boards…FYI lots of the madonnas round these parts are black in reference to the v famous Madonna Nera of Oropa – a nearby famous (if you are a devout virgin worshipping catholic that is) holy sanctuary…

Extraordinary fluctuations in temperature and humidity, hypnotic machinery, a cacophony of sounds, the smell of boiled wool (horrible at first but eventually it becomes familiar and eventually kind of pleasant)…

These women are incredibly skilled. It takes them about 3 years of training to be able to spot even the minutest of errors in the woven cloth. They then mend by hand following the warp and weft of the textile so that the mend is completely invisible…

they also decorate their machines with kittens and bunnies…


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