I do what I am

Editorial by Stefano Lavorini. Take an afternoon of the penultimate day of interpack: sitting in the company of Simona Michelotti at the fine stand of “her” SIT, devised and put together with uncommon enthusiasm and participation for the Duesseldorf fair, I take advantage of a rare moment of calm to sum up the situation together.
As often occurs, inevitably, we end up by speaking of the paths of rationality and emotivity that snake between the need for equilibrium, the capacity to surprise oneself, openness to others and dialogue with the world.


Subjects that appear to clash with all that is going on around us, with the watchwords that tell of business opportunity, technological innovation, the tally of visitors, neglecting that all at any rate goes back to interaction between individuals, or that is “the script that we continue to write and rewrite through our multiple experiences”.
Simona Michelotti has always borne witness to an innate maniacal care for her company, that seems a sort of raw substance from which to extract a delicate and intimate quintessence; a sensitive material that she uses for drawing up projects of a rare energy and strength, that derive from a basic conviction: «The entrepreneur is the first to have to make sacrifices: in the family, as well as in the factory, it has been my sense of responsibility that has always guided me».
I provoke her gently, asking her if in her life she has felt herself truly free to make the choices she made. She does not hesitate. «In terms of work yes: I have always done what I considered right and I never subjected myself to anything or anyone…”’d rather eat bread and onions”, she said, but I won’t bow down, no! In my actual life things were more difficult.
I would have liked to have gone to Rome to work as a parliamentary interpreter, and yet at 22 years of age I had to take over the company founded by my father. When I started out things were not going well and thus I sought and found help from a sensitive and intelligent person, who was my business partner up until 1996. Meeting that person was a great stroke of luck, it allowed me to understand at once that you don’t trade off your integrity for money or by failing to share in a common project».

Having made SIT one of the leading companies in printing flexible packaging, today becomes an invitation to set out on a path to help show how things will turn out in the future. A tale that starts from the elusive truths of ones childhood, one goes where ones imagination takes one, one clambers over hyperbolic and unexpected obstacles…like those, only apparently secondary, of designing and implementing the stand for interpack.
«What you see around you - she tells me - is the result of a plan that is born out of the suffering for a relationship with a dear person, who was close to me for many years and that now seems finished. Despite the difficulties though, we found a common inspiration in our discovering the Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra and his wonderful sensitivity for colors.
The artist transforms things, he makes them beautiful, but Kobra not only colors what he does, he expresses a sentiment that enters inside you. During the Olympics he made a mural of 3 thousand square meters, also making the port of Rio de Janeiro splendid.
In the end we do the same things with material: we make them go from “insignificant” to attractive and capable of speaking to many. We are not capable of doing things with our hands, we use machines… Hence, for us, it’s not just a matter of “printing”, but of attaining excellence».

It is easy to understand the reasons of “color”, but insisting, I ask how the theme of the work reproduced on the stand, or that is that of a mother who protects her child, and a child who feels protected by her, was chosen. A subject that could be transferred, made to refer to safety, also to customer - supplier relations.
«To overcome the reticence of the street artist we placed all our sentiment in describing the space at the fair as a home, where he would be able to work freely. We have also commissioned him to do a mural for our new works in San Marino: 1000 metres of external wall, no windows.
Kobra chose the theme of the mother (probably after having seen the photos of Simona Michelootti and her daughter Neni Rossini, Ed.), immediately declaring that he didn’t want any kind of impositions. Then there was the painful experience that the presentation of the work concurred with the death of my mother, and thus Kobra’s mothers became a homage full of affection and tenderness to her».

I listen to this fine story of sentiment, hardship and endurance, that illustrates the feelings of a woman, her doing business according to the rules, as ever seeking something that goes beyond that of the pure commercial object.
I seem to hear the echoes of a past in which money, as Umberto Galimberti* would say, had still not been erected as a symbolic generator of all the values, and hence also of personal value.
A story many years old, that continues to look towards the future.

«Today you have to play things by ear, it’s difficult to imagine how the world will change. This is why I want to place the company in a condition to tackle any challenge. You need to be brave.
At my age I feel I have one sole, great responsibility: guarantee the continuity of a company that for 550 people is a raison d’être. Guarantee a future for them and their families (that perhaps came into being thanks to us). There, that is what involves me the most from an emotional point of view. This is why for some time I have been working on the reorganisation of the company, using my judgement and facing the difficulties involved in accomplishing the task of inserting new managers and new professional figures. By now almost everything in the company is done by others, but we will still need two to three years in order to achieve this transformation».
And so, until we meet again, dear Simona.

* Wellknown Italian, journalist, scholar and man of letters.

 

07/19/2017