Mario Lombardi with his brother Renzo founded Lombardi Mario & Fratello in 1951, initially in Via Cavour and then in Viale Padova. In 1955 Mario Lombardi decided to promote the internationalization of his products by founding the Vendorafa brand together with other companies, including Gatti & Panelli and Garavelli & Bozzo, which remained associated with the brand until the 1980s. In the '60s Mario Lombardi actively participated in national and international trade fairs of this sector (Milan, Vicenza). His innovative approach is also reflected in the fact that, in 1969, architect Ignazio Gardella was entrusted with the project for a new headquarters in Via XII Settembre (with subsequent expansion in 2001 by Jacopo Gardella).
The Vendorafa Lombardi thus became the first Italian example of a workshop designed for goldsmith production, in which the executive center was located in the center while the production departments were exposed on the sides and illuminated by natural light. Since the '70s the production of Vendorafa Lombardi resumed the artisan work of embossed gold, hammered gold and engravings, which still characterize their creations. In particular, hammered gold jewelry with no stone and embossed by hand created since the mid 70s represented a revolution for the time and still characterize the company's production today.
Since 1980, two souls coexist in the company: Vendorafa, a brand with which jewels are signed to mark large smooth surfaces, decorated with contemporary designs; and Lombardi, partner of the most exclusive international brands, which makes use of its creativity and craftsmanship that are synonymous of the most appreciated Made in Italy. Since the nineties Vendorafa Lombardi has acquired certifications aimed at attesting the quality of the product, the raw materials used and the respect of responsible practices from an ethical, social and environmental point of view.
In the eighties a second generation joined the company: Daniela Lombardi with her husband Augusto Ungarelli, today Sole Director, both architects committed to exploring new design paths and new production strategies, and Raffaella, head of the administrative and financial area. Vendorafa Lombardi is able to combine traditional manufacturing techniques with the most modern ones, using high technology machinery, CAD-CAM computer systems, rapid prototyping, and 3D surface modeling.
Many international awards and participation in exhibitions, including the Triennale di Milano (2016) and the exhibition at the Poldi Pezzoli Museum "Il gioiello italiano del XX° secolo" (2016).
Archivio LOMBARDI VENDORAFA collects the records produced by the homonymous company since the '50s. The material is kept in different rooms and has been divided into some typological series, according to the production and business needs. In particular, the following series are preserved:
Working papers/model catalogs (1951-1999 in paper format; since 2000 in digital format); Production chips (1970-2000 in paper format; since 2000 in digital format); Drawings notebooks (1950-2000 in paper format; since 2000 in digital format); Plaster casts (1955-1975); Photographs of the creations (1960-2016); Photos, posters and newspapers (from the '70s to the present); Historical photos of the company (from the '60s to the '70s).
There is no consultation tool.
W. Fochesato, R. Massola, Gioielli su carta. Ricchezze dorate fra disegni e cartoline: da Valenza all'Italia, Interlinea, Novara 2018, drawing reproduced on page 61
L. Lenti, Gioielli e gioiellieri di Valenza. Arte e storia 1825-1975, Allemandi Turin 1994. Descriptive item on pp. 417, 435-436; table XXXVII, LXXXI; ill. 136, 235, 243, 261, 369, 679, 713, 715, 728, 771, 777, 778, 812.
L. Lenti- M. C. Bergesio, Dizionario del gioiello italiano del XIX° e XX secolo°, Allemandi Turin 2005. Descriptive entry on pp. 159-161 with images.
Valenza ou la joaillerie italienne, exhibition catalog edited by Lia Lenti, Paris, Petit Palais 8-28 February 2010, Nuvole, Sardigliano, 2010, images at pp. 132-133."