For Sebastian Herkner, the chance to observe a craftsman who does something really, really well is a rare thing. Happily, his visit to Lucio Doro’s studio is just such a chance. He and Doro are collaborating on a pair of lacquered screens. First, Doro shows Herkner the well-lit lacquering room. The back wall is pierced with hundreds of ventilation holes, while the rest of the room is lined with protective tarps. A spray gun is mounted high and retracts from a long coil. “I knew some lacquering technique from Japan and China, but this is really special,” says Herkner, when he learns that they spray seven times to get a reflective, deep colour. “If there’s a scratch you will see it. So there can be no dust when they apply each layer.” Doro is pleased to collaborate with Herkner, whose design work he admires.
“Our studio has been very much linked to Art Deco motifs,” he says. “This is an opportunity for us to approach the world of contemporary design.” They discuss the materials, the process of shaping the three panels for each screen, and how to connect them. The studio’s brass expert will create special hinges. Weeks later, when the project is finished, both are pleased with the result. “It took three or four working days just to prepare the boards,” says Doro. “But the colours we chose, together with the rounded edges, give the screen a soft touch.” Says Herkner: “You can have a vision but you need people with huge expertise. My heroes are the craftsmen.” He pauses: “That’s why I like this project, because it is really about craft.”