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INOXRIV 1941 | 2021

INOXRIV 1941 | 2021

Every beginning 

is only a sequel, after all, 

and the book of events 

is always open halfway through. 

(Wislawa Szymborska)


With the images of Luca Campigotto and the words of Andrea Valcalda, we wanted to mark a milestone in our company path, which is now eighty years old. 

We have chosen to do so by offering us a wider space than the economic context, a view made up of art and thought, which embraces a humanism within which lies our history of people who do business. 

Changing in a changing world while remaining faithful to one’s identity and values, realizing one’s potential with coherence, constantly facing new choices, is a daily exercise that needs trust, enthusiasm and vision of the future. 

We at Inoxriv want to have them for many more years... 


Aurora Rivadossi 

Inoxriv spa CEO

Photographs | Luca Campigotto

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Rostfrei | Andrea Valcalda

In me the past is not dead. It’s here, 

it works me. 

(Massimo Morasso,The work in red)


I know I have lived a large part of my life absently. A sin, I fear, unforgivable. It is repeated, because no matter how hard I try, I am unable to pay adequate attention to what is happening, nor to put enough into the things I do. With the aggravating circumstance that today I am aware of, thus finding myself in the, truly miserable, state of the repeat offender. 

For this, and much more, the Angel of Justice, if ever I met him, would incinerate me at first glance. Yet, I tell myself, it is not too late to attempt once again the uncertain, yet decisive step, which leads from self-indulgence to the transformation, even minimal, of oneself. 

It’s not too late. I recently read a page on the “times of life” in the Sufi mysticism: four periods of twenty-eight years, divided in turn into four cycles of seven. At my age, for example, I would be about to leave the “Time of Stability”, a time that I should have devoted to pursuing a harmonious realization in the different fields of life, to enter the “Time of Prosperity”, from which,inshallah, proceed towards the fourth and final “Time of Wisdom”, which goes from eighty-four to one hundred and twelve years! 

I don’t mind the prosperous inclination of a period usually associated with an incipient decline. I discover, then, that the time awaiting me would bring a growing desire for life and spiritual development, together with the need to exercise, eat better... In short, an aspiration and a concrete possibility to give a new and, perhaps, better direction to my own existence. 

Unfortunately, I am not a Sufi, I know nothing about Sufism and I cannot seriously think that all this may concern me. However, nothing prevents me from looking with sympathy, and why not, with hope, to a perspective that, after all, still persuades me despite all my joking about it. And not only because the septenary cycles recur in the foundation of other systems, from Steiner’s anthroposophy to the theory that the whole organism is renewed, through cell replacement, in a period of about seven years; but also because it seems to me that, as I approach this prosperous time, something in my attitudes and behaviors is changing, or is ready to change, and not for the worse. 

Nothing transcendental, I must admit. A little more continuity, discipline, in actions and thinking; less dispersion, greater intensity and immediacy. 

Again: the awareness has grown in me of how much, with due disposition, “doing” is almost always better than “not doing”, although sages of every time and country have said exactly the opposite. 

I no longer take certain circumstances for granted, or inevitable; I am disturbed by clichés and lazy beliefs, born from inertia of thought and judgment. A trivial statement like “good things don’t last” gives me a lot to think about today, compared to a time when I could have welcomed it without too much thought, or listened to it absentmindedly. 

There are beautiful things that last. Indeed, we make them beautiful precisely so that they last. There are those who can perceive the beauty of past things, in their ghostly survival; those who aspire to the beauty of what will be, and even those who feel nostalgia for the beauty of things that never were. 

But it is ondurationthat I would like to focus here more than on all things concerning beauty. On the duration in which the essence of things manifests, as if time was their real substance. And, on the other hand, the world we seek and that is represented as constant change; greedy for “experiences” and instants sought and lived as absolute, self-sufficient, “free”, in a time that drags us in its pure passing of fragmentation and loss.

“We live in the age of change”. And it is always a “radical”, “pervasive”, “exponential”, “unprecedented” change;clichésthat I have heard repeated for at least thirty years in corporate jargon and journalistic chit-chat, byproducts of an idea of linear history and progress. 

The constant demand and rhetoric of change are of little interest to me. Instead, I am interested intransformation, made up of minimal and imperceptible changes, uncertain steps, doubts, impulses, resistances, returns, small conquests, small defeats: our daily experiences. Or rather, mine, the only one I can talk about. So, it seems to me, we are formed, we become ourselves: a little different from what we were and what we would have expected to become, very different from what others expected or saw in us. Over time we accomplish feats, weave bonds, build something, make it grow, or bring it to ruin; while around us, even very far from us, with an intensity of which we are (guiltily? luckily?) unaware, our “spiritual limbs” act, the forces and effects of our words, our actions, our choices, our creations. And they will continue to act even after we are gone, while we, through them, will continue to transform, first in remembrance, then in memory, then as phantoms in the gestures, attitudes, thoughts of other people, under, and within, other semblances. 

Becoming what we truly are. Doing justice to our life, another way to identify the most important task to dedicate ourselves to; an awareness that I still cannot associate with an equally clear mental map. I try to read and to learn from the greats, I look for ideas and inspirations knowing that, as in all fundamental things, there is no magic formula to learn here, and even little to share in a sensible way, as there is no other way than a continuous, personal apprenticeship.

If I talked about the map, however, it is because I feel the need to direct my steps, having identified a horizon, that ofreunification, towards which to move.

First of all, to reunite myself, seeking that unified man who should be the prerequisite for every action worthy of the name, rather than a goal. But this is not the case. There are rare moments when I feel I am acting with total integrity: when I take a position naturally, I act resolutely, I say the right words and listen to myself in amazement, as if I were not speaking. Moments that I would like to be more frequent, as stages of an inner growth that occurs only through the relationship, in tension between sensitivity and detachment, between openness to others and self-intensification.

Reuniting then has a second, perhaps more important, meaning. As I understand it, it means welcoming what happens with continuous, renewed amazement, not as a fragment, but as what is presented to us in the only due, necessary and unrepeatable way, and reunites us with the world, with the worlds among which we move. And so we can go back, re-establish the ties with our origins, with what was experienced before us to recompose and creatively imagine the design of our existence, inserted like a thread between the warp and the weft of an oriental carpet.

One of the greats here-above comes to my aid now. “He holds the uniqueness of the event in the highest esteem: and above all things he places the single being, the single act, because in each of them he admires the conferring of a thousand threads that from the depth of infinity come to meet and in no other place, no other time, will be allowed to meetlike thatagain”. Thus Hofmannsthal speaks of the artist, of the poet and therefore of us, of humanity to which, as it has been said, the poet is a compendium.

Man is a tool-using animal; man is an animal which uses tools. The words of Thomas Carlyle sound better in the original text, quoted by David Jones inArt and Democracy, an essay in which he supports the apparently harmless thesis that only mendo things, thus distinguishing themselves from beasts (and angels) as creative animals, and for this, necessarily, men-artists, where the term “artist” is used in its fundamental sense and not in the modern, more restricted one. In this sense, “all men are created equal” becomes the “evident truth” established by the first article of the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America: all creators created equally.

The fact that the human being, and the human being alone, is a doer of things seems, at first glance, a harmless concept; instead it stimulates reflections, problems and unsolved dilemmas even in the fire of a brilliant mind like that of Jones. But let’s not be discouraged, especially since he himself invited everyone to do their own reconnaissance, estimating each partial contribution as extremely necessary.

“We are what we do”, for example, of presumed Aristotelian derivation, is a trench, Jones would say, from which we could start. Let’s forget about the trivial saying that only facts matter, and not intentions. And let us also forget, not because it does not deserve attention, on the contrary, but because it would take us dramatically off-track, a radical and antithetical thought according to which it is not our deeds that make us right, but we make the deeds right. Let’s go back to the things we produce, our tools, our artifacts. Brodskij, in front of the red bricks emerging from the walls of Venice, reflected on how, in the likeness of the Almighty, humans do things in their own image, so that a wall, a fireplace, anything becomes an elementary self-portrait of our species. Hence, perhaps, the charm of abandoned buildings and spaces, places that speak of us more than we would be able to.

Aristotle meant, probably, another thing yet, namely that we are capable, by nature, of welcoming virtue, and we perfect ourselves with habit, doing things repeatedly and doing them well. So for the arts, for all the builders and for all makers: by building well you become good builders; by building badly, bad builders. And here we are approaching, by sideways, what Jones called a “first-rate problem”.

The works of the man-artist, he writes, are distinguished from what is produced by other animals (nests, dens, dams, cobwebs, hives, even of extraordinary perfection and beauty) by the fact that they cannot, strictly speaking, be ordered entirely and exclusively to mere “utility”. In every field of human production there has always been a surplus of “extra-useful”, a gratuity that inevitably brings things towards the world of “signs”; and from here, following the extension of his reasoning, towards the sacrament. And this is the nature of things that conform to the normal, just and fundamental desires of all men, of Man fully understood. In this sense, a literary, visual, musical, “artistic” work in the strictest sense cannot be distinguished from a vase, a building, a cake, a dress, even from an iron handle, as even this is produced by employing materials andprogressively perfecting the processuntil a new formis suitably createdand enters the world expressing, beyond its mere function of use, the essence of its own “handle-ness”.

How is it possible then that the present technocracy, wrote Jones in the middle of the last century, produces works so poor, mediocre, deceptive, “sub-human”, even if they are produced by the same man-artist,homo faberin his fullness? If we deny that the man is a man-artist, we deny his existence, his integral nature; if we continue to believe in the existence of that man, it is difficult to account for the purely utilitarian quality of his current works.

Let’s then continue our reconnaissance on another front. If I look around me as I write these lines, I see the apartment where I have been living for about three years. I am in Rome, nearvia Nomentana,not far fromVilla Torlonia, on the third floor of a house built almost a hundred years ago, as testified by the inscriptionAnno DominiMCMXXX engraved above the entrance door, under a niche containing a bust of the Madonna with Child. The owner, an elderly linguistics professor who lives next door, an expert in Etruscan inscriptions, told me that the building was designed and built by a family member, an architect of Genoese origin, who undoubtedly enjoyed enriching it with “extra-useful” elements: from the stuccos that adorn the ceiling above my head, to the floral-style frescoes that I peeked at walking past other apartments and that decorate the exterior, the entrance and the facades. Among these, one, very particular, on the side of the door, which depicts a scene from Sem Benelli’sThe Jesters’ supperand sports, in Gothic characters, the joke then made popular by the film version interpreted by Amedeo Nazzari: “Who does not drink with me, plague take him!”.

In recent years, especially in recent months, I have appreciated the importance of living in a “well-made” house or, if you like, “as it was once done”: with thick walls and therefore silent, well oriented and distributed, bright, aesthetically beautiful, functional and perfectly sensible. The building was certainly conceived and built with noble ambitions, but also the popular housing of that time, and there are magnificent examples in Rome in different neighborhoods, had a very high architectural and constructive quality. Likewise, the first examples of functionalism and rationalist architecture, while completely innovative in style, spoke the same qualitative language. Then something changed in the following years, those in which Jones elaborated his reflections: it was the period of post-war reconstruction, followed by the so-called “building boom”.

To advance in the reconnaissance I then turned to my father, who at the time had a small construction company with which he built a dozen houses in Genoa and Liguria, including the one where I was born and in which I lived my first years, in Sestri Ponente. So, from a direct source, I collected confirmations and details on what I partly knew, partly imagined.

Urbanization, economic growth and demographic development led to a great demand for new housing from a clientele represented, in his case, by cooperatives set up by workers, employees of big companies, or teachers, interested in acquiring the ownership of a first home and encouraged by mortgages and state grants disbursed at particularly advantageous conditions, which also benefited speculators, “building owners” and casual investors. Speed of construction, high population density and low costs were therefore the priority criteria. The projects were entrusted to architects or engineers who, in the absence of specific indications or binding regulatory plans, proposed elementary and standardized solutions, while the quality was, in fact, left to the responsibility and conscientiousness of the builder: prescriptions lacking or not applied, purely formal and almost non-existent controls, use of poor quality materials and outright scams were widespread practices. Obviously, even in that context it was still possible to build more or less well: in the best cases, according to mainly economic and functional principles, in the worst, without a minimum qualitative criterion, buildings that of the “house” had the name but no longer the meaning and often not even the full functionality. “As long as it stands, and it doesn’t leak”: the damages have been seen and will be seen, unfortunately, still many years later.

However, I have ventured too far and now I come back with some first-hand information from a field that is, otherwise, widely explored. The case, however, seems to me to be pertinent, even from a historical point of view, with respect to the problem we are examining and it leads me to make some considerations.

I don’t think that the nature of man has changed, nor that it can change. We live immersed in a world of “signs”, we continuously produce them and the pure utility of what surrounds us does not satisfy our needs. Indeed, the consumerist society, of which Jones saw the prodromes, is based precisely on the ability to exploit and pervert this natural need to induce superfluous needs and load the objects of our desires with “extra-useful” values.

I therefore do not believe it possible, returning to Jones images and vocabulary, a mass desertion fromArs’army, nor do I see a general and irreversible process of deterioration of our creations; each of us can experience it, in various fields. On the contrary, I see, optimistically, some signs in the opposite direction. However, particular attention is needed: the phenomena are recent, it is easy to generalize accidental circumstances or, on the contrary, to quarrel about abstract concepts, which is like saying around nothing.

So, I say very simply: do things right. This is where loyalty to oneself passes, the fulfillment of our destiny.

Making sense of the things we do and of the process by which we bring them to light, avoiding shortcuts and expedients; responding to real and not misleading needs; therefore creating good, beautiful and useful things. These are essential concepts that apply to every human activity, from our words to our daily job, whatever it is, to what we produce for pleasure and to “works of art”.

I know a person capable of dedicating whole days, hours and hours of continuous toiling, beyond any reasonable effort, to the creation of perfectexcel files, “beautiful” according to her (but Jones would agree), made to analyze and manage complex phenomena. The quality of thesefilesalways goes beyond the requirements and expectations, to the point that they are, hardly never, fully or even adequately appreciated by bosses or clients who, according to her, would not have deserved the effort in the first place. But this is not the point. “Nobody understands me”, I have often heard her say. I too did not understand, until now.

“I would have so many things to write to you. I have many thoughts and feelings, but I have neither the time nor the strength to write them down. Here is one thing I cannot but write: get used to, and educate yourself to doing everything perfectly, with care and precision; so that your actions are never imprecise; do nothing without enjoyment, nothing haphazard. Remember in approximation you can waste your whole life, while in carrying out with precision and at the right pace even things and matters of secondary importance, you can discover many aspects that later can become the very deepest source of a new creative act. (...) Those who act with approximation, also get used to speaking with approximation; and coarse, imprecise and slovenly speaking also affects thought with this indeterminacy. My dear children, do not allow yourself to think in an unrefined way. Thinking is a gift from God and requires you to take care of yourself. Being precise and clear in one’s thoughts is the token of spiritual freedom and the joy of thought”.

These are the words that Pavel Florenskij addressed to his family, in a sort of will. His most important words, addressed to those he loved most.

The same table for the forefather and the grandson

(Arsenij Tarkovskij,Life, life)


The days of my father and mother are spent, relatively quietly, on the ground floor of an old house on the heights of Pieve Ligure, between housework, gardening, television, reading, medicines, preparing and eating of meals. The kitchen, a large traditional kitchen with masonry countertops covered with tiles, is the place where they spend most of their time and where they celebrate their daily rituals.

Among the cutlery used every day there is a fork which invariably appears on the table, at noon and at seven in the evening. It is unique and different from the others in the set: it has a more streamlined and squared shape, there is an engraving,HGW - LINZ, on its handle and on the back the word ROSTFREI, a mark that identifies the stainless steel.

The history of this fork dates back to my paternal grandfather, Michele.

On June 16, 1944, my grandfather was arrested while returning, after a lunch break, to the San Giorgio factory in Sestri Ponente. With him, another seven hundred employees and workers of the factory, victims of a roundup carried out by the German troops recruiting workforce among those who, at that time, were “Italian traitors” and therefore enemies of theReich.

They were loaded onto a train and taken away. We still treasure the note that my grandfather managed to write and throw from the train in the hope that someone, as it happened, would pick it up and deliver it. Be strong, he wrote to my grandmother, I still don’t know where we will be taken, Germany, I believe. Do not lose faith, we will come back.

Instead he landed in Austria, at the Mauthausen concentration camp, where he luckily remained only a couple of weeks; he was then assigned to forced works at the Hermann Göring Werke in Linz and remained there until the end of the war.

On June 17, 1945, after a month of travel, he got off at the Acquasanta station, where my grandmother and my father had in the meantime been displaced; he entered the Sanctuary to give thanks and finally came home with a backpack containing a few things, including the Linz fork, which he then used all his life. When the time came to empty my grandparents’ apartment, my father took it with him, along with other dear objects.

Michele was a good man, I too remember him like this. From the stories following his death I understood how he would always be ready to bring peace to the family and how much my parents were fond of him.

At every meal my mother decides who among them two, may need it the most that day and will therefore use it, for reasons that both know and share, without the need for an explanation. It remains a fork, but it is no longer just a fork, nor the simple memory of a loved one: it is a sacred object.

“The kitchen is the temple of the religion of thegenos, the principle that unites the generations and by which the generations are holy to each other, forming a sacred unity. So it was, so it has been for a long series of centuries. (…) Indeed no, it was not, it still is, it is so in an immutable way, just as our nature is immutable “. Florenskij, as always, is telling the truth.

One day the Linz fork will pass onto me, and I will make my own use of it. After that I don’t know; its stainless life may continue or maybe it will be interrupted somewhere. As of now, in the meantime, it continues here, on this page.