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“Those who choose our work do so because they have a certain kind of sensibility and expectations. A desire to stand out and surround themselves with beautiful things that are good for the heart. We produce the useless, but since it is good for the soul, then it becomes useful,” is how Debora Gambino tells Ocra Rossa, the business she started with her partner Maurizio almost 15 years ago.
They are the protagonists of CNA Storie of February and they accompanied us to their atelier, in Settimo Torinese. She’s a painter and decorator, he’s a mosaicist. Couple in private and errand boys by profession, one serving the other, and vice versa, as they jokingly say. The atelier is their kingdom: artwork, mosaics, paintings and work tools stored in a formerly abandoned space, now returned to the city.
It was home to the old Ferrero steel industry mills, decommissioned about 30-40 years ago. Vandalized for years, today it is a virtuous case of urban transformation.
The inspiring space
“I was looking for a new space to use as a studio,” says Debora. They took us to see this one, which was for sale. My business partner and I-so she jokingly calls Maurizio-were won over and decided to invest. ” She looks around enraptured, just as if it was her first time there: “It is a special gallery, full of positive energy. Sometimes we even hold dinners with friends: it’s our world. These windows that go to the sky are absolutely artistically inspired,” she tells.
In Torino, in the quadrilateral, there is their store. One way to make themselves known, but it’s all about word of mouth.
“We are approached by private individuals who want to make environments pleasant and personalized; architects, to fine-tune their ideas in an artistic way; construction companies and municipal administrations. We are the ones who take over at the end for the finishing touches, the goodies.”
The evolution of art in Debora’s story
It is a privileged vantage point that Debora has had the opportunity to learn about the evolution of taste and aesthetics in her 30 years in the business. To say, “there was a time when trompe-l’oeil was all the rage. It has faded away, but there are still people who ask for it. With modernity, more whimsical things are being done. They ask us for murals, particular cuts in black and white, monochromatic, textural walls, using materials from the building industry. When you work on the abstract it’s much more difficult, you have to get the client’s taste right.”
The meeting with CNA
More than twenty years ago, the meeting with the Confederation: “CNA has been fundamental for us to grow and let grow,” says Debora. In fact, we have also accompanied many young people. “Why should an artisan join CNA? “Because it gives you a chance to be seen and gives you all the channels as far as events and contacts to network with other artisans like you,” says Debora.
CNA gives you the opportunity to be seen and to network with other artisans like you
Couple in life and complementary in work
Debora and Maurizio are couple in life and complementary in work when it comes to creating or reviving a space from top to bottom. Maurizio studies geometries, Debora smells colours, feels shapes. Ocra Rossa was born from a special meeting in a club in 1998. Debora was already working as a painter, Maurizio was studying psychology and coaching minibasketball. They fell in love and rented a space of their own. “We also began working as painters for some construction companies. Then he left his psychology studies and started school for artisans and restorers here in Torino. He chose the mosaic sector and we started working together, he as craftsman, myself as freelance. We formed Ocra Rossa and have been working like hell ever since!” smiles Debora. “We jump from construction site to another: we moved to Sicily, France and Germany. In 2007 we gave birth to our first masterpiece, Melissa. In 2009 came the second, in order of appearance but not importance: Emanuele. We are four raving lunatics!”