A n d r e a

B r u g i

Andrea Brugi, Montemerano

“Not only did I find the most beautiful and amazing husband, I found my soul mate, a new hobby that has turned into a business and a livelihood for our little family.

A place on earth that I love to be, and a kind of peace and inspiration I hardly knew existed. We work hard, but after 11 years I still have this strange feeling of being on holiday - on an adventure. The nature that surrounds us is stunning, so even taking the car to run an errand feels like a small holiday for my mind.

Travelling the world and seeing our work in the most beautiful stores and spaces is a pleasure and feels like an achievement. I am still trying to understand that all this could happen for us. I just feel very, very lucky”.

Samina Langholz, Montemerano Jan 2016

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Growing up in the rolling Tuscan countryside among the olive trees, my surroundings have always been nature, craftsmen, the simple life and people with passion. It might seem to you that living in a village with 350 people could be boring or uninspiring. I am not a bright lights, big city kind of guy. Nature, the smells of the past, my childhood, all the stories surrounding me inspire me. Luckily my wife too has fallen in love with life here in the countryside.

How we work together? It is simple - we just do. It feels like the most natural thing in the world. We fit. It just flows. I couldn’t imagine working without Samina. She is a huge part of the success of the brand Andrea Brugi. We are always tweaking the design of our cutting boards. Our olivewood cutting boards are made from local 400-1000 year old Tuscan olive trees and have become a bit iconic of our trademark. The trees are protected and only felled when they no longer bear fruit. We use the same olive wood for our handmade spoons, plates, salt-cellars, etc. I like to keep it simple.

I like the idea that something I make is something you use and need in your daily life. I love the fact that the more you use our pieces the more beautiful they get. Words to describe my work? – Resonance with nature, using what is there – again. Preserving the history of things, the past. I only do what the wood tells me to do. I never force a design on the wood. It is the wood that decidesthe shapes and the design, I just listen to it. Working with wood is so inspiring and each piece has to be treated with respect.

I guess my passion for wood began when I was a little boy. I grew up surrounded by olive groves. We lived on the edge of an ancient hilltop village where I used to tag along with my father, who was an electrician, when he went to help some of the old villagers. This is how I fell in love with old houses, how they were constructed, all the little quirks that came with using the materials that were to hand – also when they were repaired over the centuries.

My wife and our daughter are my inspiration.

I think our success has something to do with a kind of fusion that happens with my Danish wife. Samina definitely has a great influence on my work. Her Scandinavian sense of streamlined aesthetics together with my organic, rustic roots is our ‘secret sauce’.

I love old tools. In general I love old traditions, and objects with a story. I am also very fascinated by how older wooden pieces are constructed, by old traditions such as tongue and groove joints, which I use for my dining tables. Our latest design for the cutting boards for example is with wooden biscuits, another old technique that has inspired me to do what I am doing today.

My wife, Samina, came into my life in 2004. She came to Tuscany on a spur-of-the-moment holiday. I found her in the little piazza of my village 18 hours after she landed. A few months later she moved to Montemerano. [JLL1] She just sort of blew in from the north.

It might seem to you that living in a village with 350 people could be boring or uninspiring.

Samina has created a décor line recycling my wooden remnants into stars, trees, houses, hanging mobiles, etc. The idea came to her after a winter burning all my  wooden stumps in our fireplace. There were pieces she couldn't bring herself to burn. You could say that the wood inspires her, too.