Visconti: Style and Innovation
There is something rather special about an Italian fountain pen, known for their elegant and often unusual styling alongside their flagrant use of precious materials, Italy knows how to create a luxury pen!
In the grand history of Italian pen making, Visconti is relatively youthful, having been established in 1988. Irrespective of age, Visconti is up there with brands with over a century of history - and for good reason!
The Building of a Brand
Visconti rapidly gained a reputation for beautiful and unique writing equipment featuring bold designs and the incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail known and loved by all aficionados of Italian made writing instruments as well as watches and luxury leather goods.
Established in Florence, Visconti arose in a city famed for its art and culture, as well as being home to Italy’s largest industrial quarter for luxury goods and fashion. The company was started by close friends Luigi Poli and Dante del Vecchio in October of 1988 with the aim to draw upon their combined love of writing instruments to create a business which would not only be successful but would also promote their love of combining style with practical and high quality products.
In just a short space of time, Visconti’s designs gained iconic status which exemplified the values of luxury, quality, innovation, craftsmanship, creativity and high level design. Perhaps one explanation for their swift rise in the industry relates to the boldness of their design work and their confidence to jump straight in with a limited edition less than a year after starting-up. The limited edition launched in 1989 was the ‘Urushi’ which was released in a limited run of 100, formed from ebonite and adorned in the complex yet beautiful Japanese Urushi lacquer-work technique. The Urushi sold out quickly which helped establish Visconti as a key player in the pen industry.
Fine Italian Design
Visconti’s range of pens are distinctly Italian with a wonderful balance of classic and contemporary styles on offer. Visconti present their own take on the popular Cigar shaped profile for many of their pens, referring to their take on the shape as ‘squaring the circle’. With a combination of swirled resins, unique limited editions, unusual materials and combination of bright colours and classic elegance, each writing instrument created by Visconti is both quintessentially Italian yet instantly recognisable as a Visconti creation.
Many of their designs are inspired by key figures and events through history, with influences taken from art, culture, architecture, philosophy and history Visconti products are more than just beautiful items to treasure. Although Visconti is probably best known for their extravagant limited edition and premium items, they also provide collections which are far more accessible in terms of financial investment. The Breeze, Van Gogh, Michalangelo and Rembrant collections cost from around £90 up to £170 on average - meaning that a slice of Italian luxury is attainable for all.
One element which can be spotted across most of their designs is the curved clip which is inspired by ancient Roman bridge designs. This signature detail is not only a delightful style choice but, according to Dante del Vecchio, is representative of the values of the brand, to bring people together through the experience of writing, the bridge in this instance represents the unification of people and places.
As mentioned, Visconti utilises the classic cigar silhouette in many of their designs but their twist on it ‘squaring the circle’ is truly a signature style for the brand. Upon closer inspection, what appears to be a circular barrel is in fact a series of smaller flat edges, not entirely circular and yet not entirely faceted. This features aids in reducing the roll of the pen as well as demonstrating their dedication to precision engineering in the design process. This brings us on to our main event - their latest foray into the limited edition.
Visconti Il Magnifico
Il Magnifico limited editions are a tribute to Lorenzo di Medici, also known as Il Magnifico by his peers. Il Magnifico is known for his enthusiastic patronage of the Italian Renaissance. Using his wealth and influence, he sponsored the arts and culture, notably Botticelli, Da Vinci and Michelangelo. This collection of special editions are each designed to embody the essence of the Renaissance period. Previously released in red and green marble interpretations, this latest edition is beyond striking!
Lapis Lazuli - Il Magnifico
With 188 pens released worldwide, the Lapis Lazuli is a deep blue stone which was highly regarded in Florence during the renaissance. It is almost reminiscent of stars just beginning to glistening in the early evening sky. The Medici court held a spectacular collection of Lapis Lazuli objects so it seems a fitting tribute to Il Magnifico.
Combined with the gorgeous blue stone, the Il Magnifico Lapis Lazuli presents an elegant golden vermeil finish on the cap and section. The nib itself is 18ct gold which is available in 4 sizes and although a weighty piece at 48g uncapped, the entire pen is exceptionally well balanced - not just a pretty face.
Lorenzo di Medici was an intriguing man, ruler, poet, businessman, politician and eclectic, the pen created in his honour represents all these things beautifully, whilst engineered to promote an excruciatingly brilliant writing experience. Truly a piece of art to be collected, enjoyed, used and passed down through the generations.