“It doesn’t happen often that we have the privilege of combining our work with our dreams, joining the responsibilities we have towards our company with the deep, shared joy a new project brings. It happened this time, and we at Il Bisonte are incredibly happy to officially launch our collaboration with Giacomo Salizzoni and his Orti Dipinti.”
Luigi Ceccon, CEO of Il Bisonte, the Florentine high quality artisan brand, talks about the brand’s collaboration with Orti Dipinti, a social and environmental sustainability project that has been quietly cultivated for months and makes its public debut at Pitti Uomo 102, in Florence from 14 to 17 June 2022.
“For years in our website’s Journal we’ve been telling stories of heroes all over the world who are fighting to change the future of the planet and its people, – explains Ceccon – and now we’ve discovered that one of them is actually quite nearby, so we’ve decided to share his story and also, simply, to be a part of it.”
Orti Dipinti is the only urban garden situated in a UNESCO-protected area. It’s located at Borgo Pinti 76, in the heart of Florence’s historic center, just a few hundred meters from where Il Bisonte was born fifty years ago and is still based today. Its story stems from a void: an athletics track had been abandoned for decades and was discovered using Google Maps. Ten years ago at that track Giacomo Salizzoni, a young architect (originally from Bologna, but now a naturalized Florentine) sought to stitch together these pockets of space that existed between the greenery and the city’s built-up areas; he gathered wood, earth, seeds, rare plants, trees, vegetables, children, families and the elderly and gave them all something to do. Within a few months, his team of guerrilla gardeners performed miracles and that garden became an extraordinary permanent laboratory of good environmental practices. Giacomo is there every morning, ready to tell anyone interested the story of a revived lemon tree, the surprising properties of erba della Madonna, the miracles of earthworms in compost, the beauty of edible flowers, the efficiency of African Zeer pot refrigeration and terracotta amphorae for subterranean irrigation, how a tire can ingeniously become a swing and a metal hanger can morph into a beautiful sculpture.
The environment, circular economy, teaching, and sharing are the seeds that thrive in this unparalleled garden and are also the foundation of shared intentions that led Il Bisonte to support and participate in this project.
“Il Bisonte with Orti Dipinti – explains Giacomo Salizzoni – came about from an elective affinity: from my first meeting with Luigi Ceccon and his team, I understood that what I do at Orti Dipinti and what Il Bisonte does with its own short supply chain are incredibly similar. Which is why we didn’t call the project “Il Bisonte for Orti Dipinti,” but rather “Il Bisonte with Orti Dipinti”. We are working and will continue to work together for a long time, pouring into the garden and the company’s shared philosophies and ideas of social and environmental sustainability. This is why the first people involved were Il Bisonte employees.”
On the occasion of Pitti Uomo the doors of the garden will be opened wide to all of the brand’s international guests: “Orti Dipinti is a space that fosters freedom, where we’ve chosen to create the future that we’d like to nurture together. We have chosen to be ‘contagious’ – explains Luigi Ceccon – and to set a good example to those who support Giacomo’s work. Our secret place is now an experience to be shared.”
In addition to a significant financial investment, the partnership provides for a vital exchange of skills which will allow Orti Dipinti to equip itself with self-management tools as well as give Il Bisonte new impetus to its natural vocation for sustainability. “The first step – says Giacomo Salizzoni – is to construct a large greenhouse that will allow us to carry out educational activities for children and adults even when the weather is bad, which will ensure continuity in our work that so far we haven’t been able to count on. The rest will come by itself, through discussion. There are already so many ideas at play, we’ll have plenty of opportunities to do great things together.”
For the first time since it was founded, Orti Dipinti will host a Pitti event on June 15th where Il Bisonte will present its new collection of bags and leather accessories, all designed to maintain their beauty over the years and all created using sustainable raw materials such as the iconic vegetable-tanned cowhide, the new bio-tanned cowhide leather which is recyclable and compostable, cotton yarns, two-tone raffia and waterproof nylon. “And who knows? the next innovation might just come from here,” smiles Ceccon.
All information about Il Bisonte’s project on environmental, social and consumption sustainability is available at this link.