"Su Misura". A talk with Angelo Fanfarillo


It's a strange time in Italy; the climate stopped at the most depressing autumn, that grey "November rain" sung by Guns and Roses but without that magical touch of Slash's guitar solo in the desert. Everything seems still, static and we can't help but think that summer deserves more. More light, more colour, more joy.
But where can we start? We think of cheerful tables, those which, in addition to presenting a dish, communicate an idea, a special energy to us and, inevitably, Angelo Fanfarillo comes to mind with his energy, his contagious cheerfulness. We therefore decide to give him a phone call and find out together how the idea was born which, little by little, has become a brand that has 350 Michelin stars in 25 countries. Not bad!


A: Hi Angelo, tell us a little about your background and how Su Misura was born.

Angelo: Su Misura was born ten years ago in 2014 when I felt tired of seeing porcelain from all over Europe in popular restaurants. The northern countries had one style, France had another style and so on, and there were very little Italian brands except for a few historic companies that were a bit older in terms of type of production and styles. As you know, we were born as producer of cooking items, therefore a type of porcelain destined to end up in the oven. In two years of tests and research I substantially converted all the production also because the challenge was to have staff who knew the raw material but who had never produced artisanal dishes. Furthermore, it was necessary to find a suitable type of restaurant, one or two Michelin stars or prestigious and internationally renowned hotels.

A: This is how Su Misura was born. What happened next?

Angelo: We find the raw material, we convert the production, and we start with a project that marked the beginning of our career from this point of view, of our success, with La Triennale Milan.
The chef Stefano Cerveni who has a Michelin star in Borgonato di Corte Franca in Franciacorta is called to follow the cuisine of the Triennale terrace and therefore we create some types of dishes and containers tailor-made and hand-made for him which in 2016 with the inauguration of the Terrazza Triennale end up in one of the most recognized places at a European level. So, from the "marriage between Stefano and the terrace" our manufacturing was also born.
The initial idea of ​​Su Misura was to create an object on request; then we registered the trademark and limited the choice of items because otherwise it would be impossible to satisfy every single request.

A: How important is for a chef to have the right "stage", the right dish, for his creations? For example, we all know that to reach Michelin stars, you need not only to master the ingredients, but also have an impeccable service and a perfect table. Plates and glasses, therefore, become necessary tools to give value to a dish.

Angelo: It's very important for a restaurateur and a chef to also pay attention to the table. We can say that the more the restaurant aspires to elevate itself, the more we are called to work. Lately we have noticed a great deal of attention to everything, I'm not just talking about the big names in catering which obviously are the point of reference and the example for medium catering; I'm speaking in general, that is, the attention to detail has increased: the glass, changing the cutlery at each course and obviously the plate, which means building a menu on the plate.

It is very satisfying for us because you feel the project is even more yours because that restaurant, that chef, has built his own thought, his own recipe, thanks also to your support, to your container.


A: At Host last year, you presented some new lines (Vivo), some very fun (I'm thinking of the headphones or the joystick). In a certain sense, therefore, the table also transforms into a stage where commonly used objects such as headphones become containers for oil and vinegar, something I had never seen before! How did that come to your mind?

Angelo: So VIVO is the idea of ​​one of our marketing departments who wanted to create a contrast with operations by moving towards something strong; in fact it is called VIVO precisely because these corners are very angular and sharp and our idea was to create an extreme work in production which is very difficult to achieve because every curve and every corner must be meticulously finished otherwise it would almost be a weapon.
The idea of ​​the joystick control pad, like the idea of ​​the headphones, was essentially born in our production and it is inspired by the youngest generations. In the production line we joke a bit that we are not very young and acting like young people created this product. The most imaginative or young chefs and the chefs who are passionate about music or PlayStation have found themselves very much in this concept which is obviously another provocation to make people understand how far we can go.

A: Let's talk about made in Italy. Su Misura is entirely produced in Italy by local artisans. What is the process to train a craftsman? How long does it take?

Angelo: I confirm that 100% of the production is done by us in Como. Obviously, the only thing we don't do at home is the raw material which is extracted in France, Italy, Germany and England using our production technique and then everything else up to boxing is made in Italy.
It is very difficult to find staff as in all craft jobs, I will repeat it endlessly, there is no longer the desire and ability to learn these jobs just as you cannot find plumbers, you cannot find electricians, you cannot find construction workers, it is even more difficult to find people who love, have the passion for a niche like porcelain.
Lately we have been making use of art schools or hobbyists, but we are looking for staff with the right age for professional development to let them grow with us. 
In any case, it takes about two years of training.

A: How important is it to communicate that Made in Italy, the real one, is an added value? How important are communication and marketing for your sector? (also to have the right collaborations, photos etc etc...).

Angelo: We are a factory therefore, in spite of many who present themselves with a strong brand but do not have internal production capacity behind, for Marketing we try through videos and photos to demonstrate who we are, what we do, demonstrate how we get our hands dirty. Then I think that communication, the most important strategy for us is that of extremely high quality which ends up on the tables of the most important restaurants in the world. Chefs or restaurants who aspire to reach a certain level and see our porcelain, our product, on the table... there is no better advertising than this.

A: Let's change the subject! How much has catering changed in recent years?
And, consequently, how much has the table changed? How do you think catering will evolve in the near future? What are the countries where increasingly high-level catering is developing?

Angelo: catering today is very fast, especially in some countries, I'll take the European ones as an example, Spain first of all, Italy, France, the northern countries are fast, then Holland, Belgium, Norway, Finland, UK, all the countries where catering and fine dining is important. In any case, in my opinion we have reached an exasperation that today needs a bit of calm. I often listen to customers, friends and restaurant managers who say that we have reached a point of no return and therefore the point of no return forces us to go back to our origins, to more simplicity and substance. Obviously, we will be there in both cases, we must be there both with those who want to go to the moon and with those who prefer their own backyard.

We notice this return to tradition a little bit. At the table we notice that there is a lot of focus on the small element, therefore a greater commitment to service, the small appetizer, the aperitif brought on 5-6 different complements.


A: A secret dream?

Angelo: a dream is to see the company stable over time but I believe for us it is truly a challenge every day because we are a small family, compared to other brands that mass-produce many pieces per day, we have a small factory that has to overcome a challenge every day.
We have a four, five times bigger demand, greater than our internal production capacity. What I hope is to continue on this path also because if a product is not made with quality, it has a short life.
Then it is normal that the great demand for your product would sometimes push you to increase the capacity because it is always bad to say no or miss an opportunity but on the other hand it is one of the prerogatives that I absolutely do not want to give up, that is to always take care of every single detail meticulously and carefully. I can say that there has never been a complaint linked to the manufacturing of our product, always remembering that we are talking about an article made 90% entirely by hand.

A: Ritual question: how do you see the future of your company? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

Angelo: I won't reveal anything to you about upcoming projects because I don't release spoilers!! I'm joking, in reality we have no idea for now and so we enjoy the successes of our lines and wait. Usually, the ideas come to us at the end of the year. Let's wait for the November period to start thinking about something new!

We say goodbye to Angelo and let him go on his mini holiday in the mountains and we can't wait for the end of the year to check new ideas, new shapes and new "Made to Measure" concepts for the table which in the end will be the most traditional and ancient thing of the world, but it is constantly moving and evolving. Like us anyway.

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