Gianfranco Barban received a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 1994 from the Politecnico di Milano. Yet he first started exploring the world of research and design years earlier. Gianfranco Barban grew up watching and helping out master craftsmen in his family’s custom carpentry workshop. He learned about materials and their principal characteristics. This curiosity and enthusiasm remains and has prompted his continual research into innovative design. In much of his work, Gianfranco Barban explores new ways of envisioning crystal. Inspired by nature, science and technology, he seeks to blend art and design into extraordinary objects. Even though he was trained as an architect, he employs an artisan’s approach and distinctive style. Research into materials and their use is at the heart of every project. As a result, the esthetic is continually evolving in surprising, captivating ways.
What influences your work?
Nature and science have always played an important role in my work. But, above all, the concept of time inspires me. The fourth dimension has been present in all my projects, from a wide variety of flowing surfaces to the continual, fascinating movements of a pendulum clock’s gears. I am interested in objects that experience and shape time, that are enhanced when immersed in its never-ending march forward.
Which design project was the most challenging?
Without a doubt, the Takto Timepieces collection, our pendulum clocks. That’s because clockmaking is an art that combines knowledge, experience based on longstanding traditions and avant-garde technology. It’s a field in which quality, excellence and perfection are incredibly important. With Takto, we have tried to refashion time’s esthetic, and thanks to exemplary craftsmanship, we’ve been able to convey our passion and spirit in products which will be handed down from one generation to the next.
What innovations resulted from this project?
We wanted to restore time’s essence, represented by its movements. This led us to eliminate the clock’s traditional external structure and replace it with a precious crystal case through which the gears’ movements are visible. Assembling such a precision instrument required us to research and develop specialized equipment that would make it possible to manufacturer new, original timepieces.