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Craftsmanship and technology in movement: how vintage cars and supercars come to life

In the exhibition Mechanical Marvels, a new generation of artisans team up with experts and engineers to envision fresh ideas in the creation and restoration of luxury cars.

©archivio Alamy

• The hand of the artisan is paramount to the creation and restoration of exceptional automobiles

• An experience curated by vintage car expert, collector and broker Simon Kidston and artisanal innovation authority Stefano Micelli

• Visitors will observe master restorers from the Italian workshop Cremonini Classic as they breathe new life into two magnificent vintage cars

• See how artisans interact with high technology in the creation of a brand new Lamborghini


This September at Homo Faber visitors will have a close-up look at how the skills of European master artisans contribute to the automotive world in Mechanical Marvels.

Craftsmanship does not express itself merely in the creative transformation of matter: it also requires a technical competence that allows techniques, styles and ideas to evolve, thus finding solutions that can enrich industrial production itself. The world of cutting-edge mechanics represents without a doubt the meeting point of two souls of fine craftsmanship in a generative way.

On the one hand, we witness the role of artisans in vintage car restoration. For decades the most prestigious cars of the past have grown to become real collectible works of art. These vehicles were often made by highly skilled artisans and inspired by principles of design and technical excellence, which have enabled a whole production sector to develop on an industrial scale. Today, they require exceptional restorers in order to be admired, used and preserved. These skills and expertise are rooted in the genius loci of specific territories, and are passed on from generation to generation through a one-to-one training in the workshops, an element that relies on attracting the younger generations, to whom Homo Faber is foremostly addressed.

The restoration of vintage cars is always carried out with philological rigour using cutting-edge technical tools. Working on extraordinary models, the master artisans who are capable of breathing new life into vehicles of the past are often unknown to the general public, and can interpret the desires of the most discerning collectors.

On the other hand, the most state-of-the-art car of the future often requires the competences of artisans: 4.0 manufacturing is far removed from sterile standardisation which many prophesise. In fact, when it involves manufacturing excellence it can skilfully integrate the manual and interpretative competences of master artisans. Even the manufacturing of tomorrow’s supercars, always unique and customised to the most cutting-edge standards, will integrate the manual intelligence of the next generations of artisans, thus giving proof of the dynamic balance between technology and craftsmanship in the service of excellence.

The exhibition Mechanical Marvels will compare these two components.


Artisan from Cremonini Classic - Remi Dargegen©Cremonini Classic In order to narrate the knowledge and skills of restorers, British curator Simon Kidston (broker, collector and vintage car expert) has chosen to present Cremonini Classic, an Italian mechanics workshop located in the Motor Valley, close to the city of Modena. Since 1984, it has been the perfect example of a technical and competent craftsmanship that can communicate with the past, in order to give new life to legendary automobiles. Their work will be spotlighted through live demonstrations on two really exceptional cars: the three-seat Ferrari 365 P, which belonged to Giovanni Agnelli, with its wooden dummy by Pinifarina, and a Lamborghini Miura SV.

The Lamborghini car will be the protagonist of the section dedicated to the car of the future. Curated by Stefano Micelli, Professor at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice and dynamic advocate of next-generation craftsmanship, this section will stage the creation of an avant-garde car through the example of the Aventador. More than a car, this vehicle is a masterpiece of design and cutting-edge mechanics, which integrates, simultaneously with the most extreme technological innovation, artisan skills that still have to be discovered and promoted.

Through this heritage of fine craftsmanship, Kidston and Micelli will demonstrate how technique, technology and design (past and present) represent the necessary productive and cultural substratum to create bespoke excellence. Cremonini Classic and Lamborghini are two emblematic cases, which represent an entire world of creators, researchers, artisans and inventors.


Simon Kidston Curator - Laila Pozzo©Michelangelo Foundation The setting is curated by Venetian architect Alessandro Pedron, who, while respecting the strong character of the cars on show, establishes a dialogue between these two worlds, evoking the energy of a mechanical workshop, of the crafts and of the tools (which in turn are often one-offs) which the artisans handle with dexterity and carefully safeguard.

Fine craftsmanship is work. Hard work. Eligible work. A work that no robot will be able to replace completely, when it is used to give life to objects that exceed their expectations and become symbols of a “mechanical beauty” envisioned by the futurists, and loved by collectors.


Stefano Micelli - Laila Pozzo©Michelangelo Foundation “We find it hard to associate fine craftsmanship with cutting-edge products, especially in sectors like that of automobiles. The features that characterise many individual realities of excellence in this field contradict many commonplace ideas. The production of a car like the Lamborghini, especially when it is made in limited series, requires a savoir-faire and a passion for work that make these objects unique and contribute to the continued exploration of the potential of new technologies.” – Stefano Micelli

“I hope that the visitor will emerge knowing that there is a bright future for craftsmanship in all of its forms. Craftspeople are the ones who ensure that what we love will be preserved as after all it should last far longer than any of us.”- Simon Kidston

Mechanical Marvels is set in the Palladian Refectory at Fondazione Giorgio Cini. It is one of 17 exhibitions that comprise Homo Faber, organised by the Michelangelo Foundation.


Notes for editors
Homo Faber
Crafting a more human future
Fondazione Giorgio Cini, San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice
Register for tickets at homofaberevent.com


Homo Faber is the main event organised by the Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, an international non-profit organisation based in Geneva, Switzerland, which was set up to celebrate and preserve master craftsmanship around the world and strengthen its connection to design. Rooted in a tradition of culture and excellence and in the realities and challenges of today’s global economy, the foundation aims to support those who dedicate themselves to the pursuit of master craftsmanship and to foster a new cultural movement built around the values that are essential for their work. The Foundation focuses on Europe as a starting point for its activities, in recognition that craftsmanship has been a vital part of the economic and cultural fabric of the region for centuries, providing both a rich heritage and a competitive advantage in a global world. michelangelofoundation.org


Simon Kidston
Based in Geneva, Switzerland, Simon Kidston is a world expert on cars. He began his career in the car auction department at Coys in London, before co-founding Brooks (now Bonhams) Europe in Geneva, spending the next decade staging high-profile car sale events. In 2006, he set up an independent consultancy for motor car collectors around the world. He has been involved in several heritage events for historic cars including Cartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance at Goodwood, UK, and the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa Este in Italy. He also writes a monthly column for Classic Cars magazine.

Stefano Micelli
An authority on Italian artisanal craft, Stefano Micelli is Professor of Business Economics and Management at the University of Venice, Ca’ Foscari. Since 1999, he has served as the director of TeDIS – Venice International University’s research centre focusing on innovation in small to medium sized industrial companies. His academic work has centred on the evolution of Italian artisanal craft and its future manufacturing potential. In 2012, he received the ADI Design Index prize for his authoritative analysis of Italian artisanal craft, Futuro Artigiano.

Architetti Pedron / La Tegola
Apml Architecture studio was founded in 2009 in Venice by Alessandro Pedron and Maria La Tegola. Both graduated in architecture at the Università Iuav in Venice and started their professional activities in 1996. The city’s rich historical beginnings gave them the chance to focus their attention on the history and context behind the projects, enhancing their capacities thanks to the initial collaboration in the restoration of historical buildings. The professional experience of the studio and the constant search for original design solutions is utilised in different projects including heritage ones, new buildings, exhibition design projects, and interior design.


Collaborating on Homo Faber with the Michelangelo Foundation are partner organisations that share its vision including: the Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte, the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, and The Japan Foundation.

Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte
The Fondazione Cologni dei Mestieri d’Arte is a private, non-profit institution founded in 1995. Based in Milan, it promotes cultural, scientific and educational initiatives for the protection and diffusion of artistic crafts. The Fondazione Cologni’s mission is to inspire a “new Renaissance” of the artistic crafts and rescue them from the threat of extinction. Many of its initiatives focus on young people and training future generations of artisans. fondazionecologni.it

Fondazione Giorgio Cini
The Fondazione Giorgio Cini is a non-profit cultural institution based in Venice, Italy. Established by Vittorio Cini in 1951 with the aim of creating an international cultural centre re-integrating the San Giorgio Maggiore Island into the life of Venice and the region, today it is an important centre of humanistic studies and encourages the creation and development of educational, social, cultural and artistic institutions in the surrounding territory. cini.it

The Japan Foundation
The Japan Foundation, established in 1972, in Tokyo develops international cultural exchange programmes globally. The foundation’s aim is to promote Japanese culture to the world through programmes and activities in the following categories: art, cultural exchange, Japanese-language education and Japanese studies. The foundation has a global network, with 25 overseas branches in 24 countries. As part of their cultural programme, the foundation offers successful applicants support in the form of grants, research scholarships and training opportunities. jpf.go.jp

Interview_Simon Kidston_Stefano Micelli_Curators_Emanuele Zamponi©Michelangelo Foundation Artisan from Cremonini Classic_Remi Dargegen©Cremonini Classic Artisan from Cremonini Classic_Remi Dargegen©Cremonini Classic Artisan from Cremonini Classic_Remi Dargegen©Cremonini Classic Aventador Line Lamborghini_Umberto Guizzardi©Lamborghini Ferrari©archivio Alamy Simon Kidston Curator_Laila Pozzo©Michelangelo Foundation Stefano Micelli Curator_Laila Pozzo©Michelangelo Foundation