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20.12.2018 | fondazione zegna

It’s still night out there, just before dawn

Under this winter sky as the year is closing, the most vivid memory is of the illuminated expressions of the numerous young people who’ve inspired Fondazione Zegna’s projects

Intense blue sky and lots of tiny lights. Here in the mountains, the stars dominate the darkness: the force of light pierces the dark. In the year that’s closing behind this winter sky, the most vivid memory is of the illuminated expressions of so many girls and boys, women and men, who have inspired our Fondazione Zegna projects.

Like Giulia, whose eyes have regained their light after the years spent in the San Patrignano rehabilitation community, weaving to find her way again. With pride, tenacity, curiosity and strength of mind she has just completed a 6-month internship in darning at the Zegna Wool Mill under the attentive and loving supervision of Monica and Samantha.

Or Leonardo, a young musician from the Scuola di Alto Perfezionamento in Saluzzo, specially invited by the conductor Gianandrea Noseda. With his violoncello and his gaze fixed on the infinity of the sky, he plays his music on the factory roof in Trivero on FAI Panorama Day, and the notes reach out, sounding through the forests of pine trees, octogenarian by now, dreamt of and planted by grandfather Ermenegildo.

And Adele, whose sparkling gaze captures you as she tells us, with Ruggero, about the astonishment of the kids in the Montessori workshops at Casa Zegna, entwining and weaving threads of soft and colored wool on a toy loom to magically produce a fabric.

And Chiara, one of over 150 young people, almost adult now, the pride and hope of our country, who after doing post-graduate studies abroad on an Ermenegildo Zegna Founder’s Scholarship, has now come back to Italy with her ideas, her excellence, her vital energy and passion. Yes, here, in a country where it seems there are no opportunities for young people like her, but where in fact, if listened to, guided, trained and supported, they blossom like well cultivated flowers.

This year there are also lots of young people from Reshape, a project in the Biella area that’s helping them find their way, start studying again or find work…

I remember the light in the eyes of Elisa when she talks – with loving pride – of the elderly folk she’s accompanied through their seemingly empty, pointless days in small day-to-day activities that might otherwise, in solitude, prove insuperable obstacles.

The light in the eyes of Roberta, who in the last few years, with tenacity and passion, has been accompanying those whom our society defines “diversely able” simply because they don’t fall within the parameters of so-called normality. What is normality and sense today, in a society so frenetic, thoughtless, detached, amidst people who never look in one another’s eyes except to provoke fear and lamentation?

I find that sense again in the light in people’s eyes, that divine spark dwelling in them that with patience, bit by bit, helps us through shared vision to look inside ourselves.

Grandfather Ermenegildo taught us to look beyond the horizon, to have vision and share a dream, a project, whose only sense is in building a community, together.

Anna Zegna