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A True Original, Made In Cortina

Cortina is all about tradition and Italian hospitality. On a beautiful Tuesday morning, carpenter Massimo Lorenzi shows us how to properly celebrate these values. 

When you enter Massimo’s Falegnameria, you first experience a typical carpenter’s workshop: the smell of fresh wood, guys gluing together chipboards and owner Massimo, who most cordially welcomes us. Seeing himself more as a man of action, he almost shyly asks us what he could possibly have to tell us. 
We discover a bespoke cabinet made of fir wood. Its perfectly fitted drawers speak of Massimo’s passion for precision and geometry. Quality of the highest level: It’s no coincidence that orders for Massimo’s creations come from as far as Australia. He also works with architects such as Constantin Boym from New York. Together they created an extraordinary wooden bench made of 42 identical pieces for Cortina’s OTTOPANCHE, a competition organised by Cortina Turismo linking international designers with the town’s traditional crafts enterprises. Today, tired hikers can take a break on the bench and enjoy the Dolomite’s unrivalled panoramic views.

The workshop’s door flies open and in comes Giuseppe, Massimo’s father, who founded the enterprise in 1975. He, for one, likes to talk. Especially about his time with SG Cortina, the local ice hockey club. “A true Cortina original,” says Massimo with a twinkle in his eye. 
The door creaks once again and in comes a small, petite woman: Massimo’s mother. Smilingly she joins her two men in the workshop and we obviously missed our chance to find out what Massimo meant by the “Cortina original”, for our interpreter suddenly has to deal with three conversations simultaneously. Everyone is in high spirits, the employees set aside their tools and Massimo’s mother goes to get some Prosecco next door. Our conversation becomes a happy clutter of voices, the cordial hospitality is infectious: Che casino! This wonderful Italian expression describes an authentic, chaotic moment like this one, reminding you of a scene straight from a Fellini movie. The clock on the wall shows 11:30 as our glasses clink for a heartfelt Salute this morning. A taste of La Dolce Vita.

The door opens once more. A neighbour is stopping by as if to complete the set of a Fellini-style movie on this family business. First scene: The interaction between lively Giuseppe, the father, and laid-back Massimo, when the former was still running the workshop. It wasn’t always easy, admits the son with a grin. How could it be any different in a family business? But he learned a lot from him, he adds, all techniques and tricks needed to turn the fir and lark wood of the region into exceptional furniture and floors for the typical local Stuben (cosy, rustic parlours).

Pan shot through the workshop’s big window, out into the breathtaking mountain scenery. This view often makes it hard for Massimo to withstand the call of the snow, and so he spends a few hours on the slats before taking up work in the workshop. “I am the boss, meaning I can do what I want,” he says, laughing. When it comes to humour, he undoubtedly takes after his father. The same goes for his passion for ice hockey. Only the love for wood dates even further back in family history: Grandfather Lorenzi’s wood plane still sits on the workbench, ready for use. Living tradition. Seems like being a Cortina original means just that: Being made in Cortina.

Text: Sandra Pfeifer
Photos: David Payr //

Jan. 31, 2017

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