You can sense Fiore Cappelletto's excitement as he speaks. "Working for Sonus Faber is a dream," he said at the start of our conversation. "It's about music, it's about Italy, and it's about beauty -- the products, the people, and the company. I wouldn't want to do anything else right now. I also believe in the vision of Mauro Grange, our CEO. He has a clear vision of what he wants us to become that allows us to each pursue our dreams and our passions."
I met up with him on the second day of my tour at Sonus Faber. He was wearing a long-sleeve shirt and vest even though it was the summertime, Ray-Ban sunglasses the moment we went outside, and lace-up dress shoes without laces, as if they were loafers. Italians seem genetically infused with a strong sense of personal style that most North Americans woefully lack, yet he seemed more infused than most.
Whenever I tour a company, I try to cover all facets of production, but I also try to figure out what makes their products unique and focus some attention there. At Sonus Faber, it wasn’t all that hard to find a few things, but one thing really stood out: leather. It’s synonymous with the brand, and when I took a moment to think about it, I couldn’t come up with another other company that’s implemented the material so successfully and consistently in their speaker designs. As a result, it’s no surprise to find a large area of their factory’s production area just for that.
"Everything starts from the heart."
That was one of the first things Sonus Faber designer Paolo Tezzon said to me when I sat down to talk to him at the company's corporate headquarters in Vincenza, Italy, on July 21. He and fellow designer Livio Cucuzza comprise the two-man team leading all of Sonus Faber's current speaker-making efforts.
Franco Serblin founded Sonus Faber in 1983 in Italy. In the decades that followed, the company developed a large and loyal following by focusing on producing loudspeakers with a distinctive and decidedly Italian look, as well as an equally distinctive sound.
Everything was going really well on Friday, July 19, but then disaster struck at 3 p.m. Extremely large, black clouds blanketed my city, and tornado warnings were in effect. Normally I'd simply stay inside when this happens, but I was about to leave on my trip to Italy to visit Sonus Faber, so I couldn't. I had a 5:20 p.m. flight from Ottawa to Toronto to transfer to another flight to Venice. From Venice, a car would take me to Vicenza, which is where their factory is. The only thing I could think at that moment was, "This isn't good."
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