CULTURE

Luxury objects for everyday use

The contemporary taste for convenience and functionality is seldom paired with old-time elegance and luxury, but in the case of the Ghiso line of jewelry and luxury objects these typically contradictory concepts are harmoniously combined in an unusual range of products that are addressed to a specialized and sophisticated public. Launched in 2000 by Dolmen, a Milan-based design, manufacturing and distributing firm of luxury objects, the line which has just become available to Greece across selected stores includes a surprisingly varied gamut. Leather notepads and telephone books, jewelry and a variety of cases – in fact, one of the line’s trademarks – for things as diverse as (Ghiso-designed) cufflinks, travel sets, champagne glasses to carry on the plane, a metal glove and other equipment for cleaning oysters, as well as tarot cards and other games are just some of the Ghiso signature pieces that express the line’s concept of bringing old-world luxury into contemporary living. An art deco aesthetic, the resonance of luxury traveling on ocean liners and the taste for unusual materials all recall the 1920s and ’30s, which is when Jean-Jacques Ghiso, whom the line is named after, enjoyed his greatest success. Ghiso was a reputable jewelry and luxury objects designer whose custom-made designs were sought after by an exclusive Parisian clientele, especially during the ’20s. The son of an Italian father who specialized in metalwork and a French mother, he lived in a cosmopolitan, multilingual environment and spent most of his life in Argentina and Paris. Ghiso had no offspring, which is why there were no heirs to claim the artistic rights to his name. Moreover, his original designs are rare in the market. «You can hardly find an original Ghiso piece of the ’20s or ’40s, although there is always a theoretical chance that you may happen to find one at a Sotheby’s or Christie’s auction,» Marco Sgoifo, general manager of the Milan-based company that designs and distributes Ghiso, told Kathimerini English Edition on the occasion of the line’s presentation in Greece by «Golden Times SA,» representatives of the Ghiso line in Greece. The rarity of the original pieces in the market means that the contemporary line does not consist of reproductions but free interpretations of an art deco aesthetic mixed with modern, sleek lines. «What the present Ghiso collections have in common with Jean Jacques Ghiso’s creations are some basic elements, like sobriety and pure design, a consistent research of beauty and timeless shapes that do not follow the fashion trends,» said Sgoifo. Moreover, although the line’s emphasis on the cases reflects Ghiso’s original taste for them, others, like the leather goods, are purely contemporary additions to the original Ghiso pieces. Luxurious finishing and the use of natural materials is another attribute of the line: Examples include different kinds of wood (ebony, Makassar ebony, zebrano, maple, and koko bolo, which comes from coconut), mammoth fossil, buffalo bones and English calf leather processed to an ultra-soft, velvety finish. Jewelry pieces are made of pink or white gold combined with mammoth fossil or ebony and, in certain cases, with diamonds. A preference for black, dark brown and a yellowish natural color expresses a taste for a minimalist, earthy palette. One of the objectives of the Ghiso products is to fill in what the company believes to be a lack in the market of specialized luxury products for men. «We mainly think of men when we project our new lines of products: Our opinion is that there are always the same ordinary things out there in the market of gift items for men. So travel, games, accessories to wear, and cigar accessories are just some of the themes we are developing at present,» Sgoifo said. He also said that until now, the line has met with success in Russia, Italy and Japan. «Ghiso design has its own personality that is normally appreciated by a very niche segment of the market that doesn’t look for a brand itself because they don’t like showing off, but just to give somebody or themselves precious and unique feelings,» Sgoifo said. Not the best choice for a flashy effect, the Ghiso line has a certain exclusivity about it. But it also has an unusual range of products to fit different occasions as well as daily needs, turning them into a luxurious treat. Info: Golden Times: 210.331.0601.