The Percossi Papi Family
Bij Fior News
How did Percossi Papi begin?
Diego: I finished classical studies at 19 years old, and I started university in the Faculty of Architecture, where among other things, I started to encounter a variety of characters - friends who were in the arts. It all took place around Piazza Navona in Rome it was 1986, and for the first time here in Rome artists were meeting each other and they were learning on the streets and the public, and not just by studying art galleries - his was not normal in London and Paris. These studies of Architecture had a huge effect on my work because there’s a strong connection between architecture and jewellery.
What is the inspiration for your jewellery?
Diego: Comes straight from what I call “Il Genius Loci.” What does this mean? It means things we see in our daily lives, our cultural horizons, surroundings, architecture. I always saw Baroque in the center of Rome. It’s the Rome of Alessandro 7th Bernini and Borromini and I obviously absorb these graphic signs and ornaments every day. And something really important; Baroque is passion, Baroque in this way is Dialectic. It’s about symmetry with light and shadows and colours, which is most important in this cultural period. And I work with colour. For this principal characteristic I use enamel and precious stones. These colours create strong emotions. They’re a way of expressing our passions. And most of all there’s a connection with the senses. So, this is how a piece of jewellery is born. Jewellery for me is born from emotion.
Valeria: Sometimes the inspiration can come from a material or object, from working with a stone, a miniature, or a cameo. And sometimes, looking at these materials, it’s almost as if they want to tell you their story. They want to let it all and the designer becomes simply the interpreter. The materials are the story and the designers are just those who tell their story.
How would you describe your design process?
Diego: My creative method starts with colour, I think of a colour and straight away there’s a harmony which follows. The process is an evolution, let me give an example. So, this is where I start to outline the object and the form gradually starts to take shape, but I have a slight idea what the object will be, but along the way I’m looking for balance and so very gradually the equilibrium we’re searching for develops, so here we have a first sketch, which gives an idea of how the object will be laid out. Always keeping the finished piece in mind, this is extremely important.
Giuliano: Every element of the image gets reproduced by using various work tools and then afterwards it all gets welded together, after welding it, there is fretwork, which means removing all the excess parts. Then after doing this fretwork, you set the stones in position, encased by enamel.
Diego: Symbolism is extremely important in our work. The objects we make in this way always represent us, but they don’t just represent us as an atelier, but also the person who wears them or who gets joy from using them. So, the precious nature of an object doesn’t just come from its intrinsic value, but also its symbolic value.
Bij Fior asks the Percossi Papi family questions about their jewellery business; how it began, their inspirations, and design process.
Diego, father and designer of Percossi Papi, says jewellery for him is born from emotion, that his inspiration comes from ‘Il Genius Loci’ (meaning the atmosphere and spirit of places) and that his architectural studies have a huge influence on his jewellery work.
Watch the full video for more insights and to hear from his daughter and son, Valeria and Giuliano.