I was recently in Rome where I toured the artistic creations of the 173-year-old marble floor company, Ditta Medici.
Located on Via dei Papareschi not far from the Tiber, Ditta Medici has been designing and restoring marble floors for some of the most discriminating clients on the globe since 1838. Clients have included the Vatican, Westminster Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the Getty Museum, several Bulgari stores, and hundreds of private clients.
Priscilla Grazioli Medici is the latest family member to run the oldest marble workshop in Rome, who gave me a tour of her factory. She showed me some beautiful and unique marbles, which I have not seen in the States — some of which have not been quarried for two thousand years.
Ditta Medici has a number of floor designs which they can customize to your floor, or they can work with you to design a completely one-of-a-kind floor using the rarest of marbles.
You clearly pay a premium for custom and unique. It’s always been this way. Yet, what is a relatively new phenomenon in today’s flatter world is less emphasis on creativity and design, and more on instant gratification, low cost and sameness.
Today, you can buy the same designer label dress or suit in London, Tampa, Minneapolis or Beijing. Is this ubiquity a bad thing? Yes, if it means that many small, individual designers are pushed to the curb in the process.
Have you happened to stroll through the storied neighborhood streets of Greenwich Village in Manhattan in the last two years? Gone are many of the decades-old, sole proprietor shops where you could find rare books, clothing, art, and household items. They have been replaced by global designer brand stores that drive up the rent for everyone else, and in turn, drive out the eclectic and the exceptional.
Unfortunately, a similar fate may await Ditta Medici of Rome and many exclusive and creative shops around the globe.
But I’m not counting out the creative class just yet.
All of us should do what we can to celebrate the artisans and innovators still among us, and those young artists and designers who aspire to make a career in the creative arts.
I’m still convinced that the most creative businesses will not only succeed, but will far outlast the competition. Much like the lasting beauty of a fine Italian marble floor.