Interview with Maurizio Leo Placuzzi, President of SICIS
What inspires you?
I get constant inspiration by nature, by history, by travelling; by fashion ! We are so lucky to live in a country that’s so rich both culturally and historically, and in nature diversity.
I’m good at…
Thinking differently. Generally people go one direction, I like trying to go to the opposite direction. So far that has always worked for me.
I�m bad at…
I hate to think of what I’m bad at – I can say I have no patience. I’m very fast… which is not so bad after all.
What are the highlights of your career thus far? What are your goals for the next 5 years?
I started making mosaic when mosaic was really not popular, people had a very limited view of mosaic usage, Sicis was able to change this view and we are proud of this. Starting from glass mosaic we were able, just in a few years, to be the partners of the best hospitality and residential projects worldwide, and this gave us the fuel to enter other industries such as the decoration/furniture business, by producing our own exclusive lines of high-end furniture. Then we moved on to making prestigious jewels and watches limited edition, made of gold, diamonds, pearls and micromosaic, a very ancient technique which we were able to revitalize. And we are always evolving in this sense.
SICIS works all over the world, we have showrooms in Milan, Paris, Tokyo, New York, Dubai, Istanbul, Hong Kong, Rome, New Delhi, Bruxelles, Madrid, and so on. We’ll be in Beijing soon.
We work in different sectors such as contract, hospitality and residential. Some of our most prestigious works include the Plaza Hotel in NY, Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas, Burji Al Arab in Dubai, Mandarin Hotel in NY and Hong Kong, and so on.
In the near future we see ourselves even more present in those markets that are florid, usually by having our own physical presence with a concept store, a beautiful showroom that reflects Sicis spirit combined with the style and philosophy of the market we decide to work in.
What do you enjoy most about working in the interior design industry?
We have the freedom to create something special, unique and impossible to imitate, this is fun. Designing and creating mosaic, in which every single tessera is cut and placed by hand following Sicis typical artistic technique which made us famous worldwide, or creating interior design objects in a limited edition, from a physical point of view of the materials used, ensures you a quality and a complete product. From a more intangible aspect, we encourage the client to communicate their own personality and life style, through our products.
How did the name ‘SICIS’ come about?
Sicis means Sic Immensos Clarosque Inceptos Somniavi, a Latin expression for “So I dreamt of gigantic and famous endeavours”.
How did you develop the concept for SICIS? Can you explain how SICIS was started and what your role entails?
For us, mosaic is like a versatile tool of communication: mosaic is the ink to write our story and our future.
Mosaics, in our philosophy, come to life in every form; they even become furnishing accessories, combining art with the age-old technique of mosaic.
SICIS is drawing inspiration from trends, fashion and contemporary tastes, combining decorative arts through modern idioms with the craftsmanship of mosaic art, focusing on know-how as well as the quality and exclusiveness of its products.
What has been the most exciting collaboration you’ve worked on so far?
Our collaborations are always challenging and fun at the same time. Since we like to think differently, we like to collaborate with different partners in a very creative way. For instance, amongst the many designers and architects that have collaborated with us, we find Roger Thomas (designer of Wynn Las Vegas), who designed a collection of watches and jewels, Gal Nauer (Plaza Hotel, NY), Khuan Chew (Burji Al Arab, showroom SICIS Hong Kong), Patricia Urquiola, Piero Dorazio, one of the main contemporary artist in the world, HBA (Hirsch bender Associates), leaders in hospitality design, Mr. Christian Lacroix, who designed a furniture collection for SICIS Next Art, and Italian architects Massimiliano and Doriana Fuksas, who designed a collection of precious jewels for our Sicis jewels division. Therefore, as you can see, usually we don’t ask jewelry designers to design jewels or furniture designers to design interior design objects, but we involve artists, fashion designers and architects to step in and design objects normally belonging to a different field.
Are there any areas that are particularly difficult or challenging? What do you believe sets you and SICIS apart from your competitors?
SICIS is an Italian company which, through the years, has become the icon of luxury mosaic, not only in Italy, but worldwide. I’m saying luxury mosaic because, unlike other companies in the sector, we are exclusively dealing with artistic mosaic. What is challenging and our distinctive aspect at the same time is the fact that our production is an interesting mix of craftsmanship and technology/know how. This is also our secret for success. We chose to keep all of our production processes in Italy, in Ravenna, this is a key factor to succeed in delivering a quality and unique product to the market.Today Sicis is the sole mosaic manufacturer producing by real in Europe in our in-house Ravenna Factory.
The production process for our mosaic tiles is a perfect balance between a company’s current technology and mastery of traditional craftsmanship. A symbiosis between antique recipes for glass followed even today by a master glassmaker and a highly technical and accurate production process. It should suffice to consider that as of today, we are among the few businesses in the world to possess a complete production line; from the raw materials to the finished product, everything occurs in one place.
The subtle difference that enables such a sophisticated production process to maintain its balance is respect for raw materials, for the products, and for the quality that we strive to reach every day.
What are you working on at the moment?
Loads of projects. We are about to open a brand new showroom in China, in Beijing. We are expanding our Paris showroom which, as of now, is the only Sicis showroom in the world which displays also our precious Sicis Jewels and Sicis O’Clock collections. We are expanding our mosaic collections as well as our furniture lines, two of which were just launched at the latest Salone del Mobile. And these are just few of the many projects we are working on.
Do you have any words of wisdom that you would like to pass on?
Think outside the box. Always.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is your must-have item for next season?
One of our one-of-a-kind Watches handcrafted in nano-mosaic and precious stones. Every time I see a new watch by our Sicis O’Clock division I immediately want to own it.
Your favourite location?
So hard to choose just one favourite location, I have to admit I truly love Hong Kong and New York, the cities that don’t sleep at all.
In a nutshell, your philosophy is…
The sky is the limit.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
Who’s your favourite Style Icon? Most inspirational person you have met?
Describe yourself in a 5 words.
Fast, energetic, open-minded, dreamer, consistency.