AZAR Legno di Giuseppe Panetta

            I’m terribly sorry if you don’t feel like reading this long presentation right now. If you really don’t, don’t worry: you can skip it and go straight to see my woodwork. Actually I find it is a right and proper thing to say something about the history of my workshop and my ancestors. The name Azar legno (Azar Wood) was first coined by my father, Antonino Panetta. Az stands for Azienda (Business) and Ar for artigiana (handicraft).
The complete name used to be Azar Legno of Maria Luisa Ferraro Panetta, based in Calabria.
Maria Luisa is my mother’s name. Her father, Francesco Nicola Ferraro, a cultivated, skilful and intelligent person was a carpenter, sculptor, inlayer, cabinet-maker, wood turner.
My father, charmed by the great personality of his father-in-law, enlarged the business and gave it its present name where the word Handicraft (Ar) stood for quality, creativeness, fancy, research, innovation and human working conditions according to which workers were seen as members of the same family and even called “disciples”.
My grandfather was called “sumastro” which means “Sommo Maestro” (Supreme Master) as the numerous disciples (about one hundred) - who were made “masters” by my grandfather when the time was right- acknowledged him to be their “Sumastro.
Lots of people came from other villages, learnt woodwork and opened their own shops with my grandfather’s best wishes usually uttered on real ceremonies.

            Today, there is indeed a high concentration of carpenter’s shops in my town and in the neighbourhood.

            My father intended to create a brand of quality which would gather all the carpenters’ shops, though each standing independent from the others, and also wanted to submit to the competent authorities the proposal of making it official and legal what my grandfather unofficially was already doing, that is the creation of a real school where not only woodwork would be taught but man could be educated as well. After the lower secondary school (scuola media) pupils could attend a five-year high school course where besides the ordinary subjects usually taught in schools they would have to study wood technology.
He found it simply ridiculous that Italy, though owning 75% of the world’s artistic heritage, did not have any school of that kind yet.
Still today there are only substitutes: restoration courses or similar courses, usually organised by municipalities, which do not focus on the individual as a whole. Unfortunately my father’s death in November 1979 stopped all these projects and many others.
At that time I was studying at Florence University and working as well- I could but take the lead of the business and after working five years in Calabria, I moved the business to Campi Bisenzio, north of Florence.

            I have been working in this nice town since July 1984. I worked on my own, then with some apprentices, then on my own again and then I got my own disciples as well. Now I have three workers : Salvatore who’s been working with me for one year, Valentin for six months, and Nico who now works full-time after working part-time for three years.
Throughout these years I have experimented with various working solutions: I have changed machinery several times, and particularly in the last three years I have bought new machinery that has enabled me to create a working milieu, nearest to my ideal one, made up of efficiency and human relationships.

            Today my shop is still called “Azar legno” of Giuseppe Panetta, but to underline its continuity with my ancestors’ activity I added a symbolic tree with its branches, leaves and wood and a scholar coming close to it. The latter is a symbol of culture and is there to remind you that you cannot split culture from practice if you really want to make art. The Latin words “non solus” (not only) on a fluttering banner means not only woodwork but also art, research, tradition and innovation, solid wood furniture made to measure, modern or futurist furniture. Human relationships are very important too: roles are exchanged, so that anyone can know anything also thanks to the books of art, architecture and design that I circulate among my workers. I strongly believe that an efficient business does not need to have firm roles or keep distances from its workers by reducing them to numbers as the general modern trend seems to be. So I can fulfil any furniture needs: from the restoration of antique furniture, the creation of modern, classical, antique furniture with bas-reliefs and inlays, futurist furniture up to the particular windows of the line called “Alessandra”, doors, front-doors, frames and custom-made furnishing items (bookcases, wardrobes, beds, kitchens, etc.), furniture for interiors and shops, with even the possibility of our working abroad.
You can obviously submit to us your own proposals or avail yourself of our design as well as of the cooperation of other craftsmen in order to have “keys in hand” works.
All the furniture we sell is our own production.
As for security doors we buy the steel frame and fit it according to your personal needs.
We also deal in security front-doors and industrial doors.
I represent the 5th generation of carpenters in my family. I have learnt it through the papers of my ancestors and from the tales of my grandfather who used to tell me about his grandfather, a carpenter too, and the way he was able to obviate with brilliant solutions the lack of machinery that my grandfather himself did not have.

            Nico, that I have already introduced, is so young that he could be my son, I named him the heir of my carpenter’s shop… so the 5th and the 6th generations are working together to continue the Italian artistic tradition.

            I am sorry about my long presentation but I could not avoid it from being so long as I like being fully clear and honest with my potential customers who I think should always be treated with the care they deserve.

            To the subliminal messages of modern advertising I prefer clearness.



Giuseppe Panetta