My encounter with Cesare Verona, during an event at the Milan Triennale, was characterised by irony.
He didn’t have a pen with him so I lent him my Montblanc. You can easily imagine the guffaw of laughter that followed when he introduced himself as the President and CEO of Aurora, the timehonoured company of writing instruments.
Founded at Turin in 1919 by Isaia Levi, Aurora came into being as a sign of a new rebirth (hence the name Aurora, Italian for ‘dawn’) after the gloomy years of the Great War.
When you think of fountain pens, one inevitably connects to a world of reflection, of “meditated communication”, but aboveall of style and distinction.
Yes, that’s right, distinction.
Today, indeed, in the technological era, where communication via mail, twitter, sms, whatapp has to be speedy and, aboveall, uniformed in abbreviations, emoticons and so on, being able to write something by hand, in the appropriate handwriting, stands as an undoubted distinguishing feature.
Personally, when I receive a hand addressed envelope containing the invitation to an event, I hardly ever turn the invitation down and the reason is simple: the person who writes an invitation by hand dedicates more time, more attention to his or her guest. And attention calls for a response of the same attention.
Despite the fact that writing evokes moments of slowness, Cesare Verona is a man continuously on the move both physically and mentally. His passion for his work, that makes him feel privileged, leads him to travel in order to let people know about the pleasures of writing instruments and, aboveall, the longevity of writing. Interesting his observation: “We are not capable of knowing whether in fifty years time computer writing, the databases that we know today will still be legible in the future. We are certain though that the manuscripts of centuries ago are still legible and consultable today”.
To my ritual question as to what luxury is for him he answers me thus: “Being able to cut out ones own ‘mental time’. Perhaps that time that enables you to use a pen to collect your thoughts.