RINASCIMENTO - An interview with Bart M.

Mariner What are the plans for the new Renaissance inspired collection you are preparing to launch this year? We are very excited with the Rinascimento project. It was born in the United States, and has been designed with the American taste in mind. Granda has been serving the United States market for 15 years now. What we have seen in those years is an increasing number of communities longing for "churches that look like churches" - places for dignified worship and not theaters or gathering spaces. We cannot change buildings built according to a specific criteria - maybe Duncan (Stroik) can – but, we can certainly help order and even transform their focal point - the sanctuary with a beautiful tabernacle and other appropriate appointments that will complement and inspire rather than distract. With the Rinascimento Series, is Granda targeting Renaissance-style churches? The classicism of the design allows the Rinascimento Series to work with almost any style church in the United States or elsewhere. In contrast, other artistic styles like the Romanesque, Gothic or Baroque demand a more specific architecture. The classic ideals of the Ancient Greek and Roman canons incorporated in the Rinascimento design make the Series universal and timeless. Duncan Stroik also refrained from the exuberance of later Renaissance work so that the collection would not require a specific style of architecture to be a good match. Does Granda usually work that way, I mean with architects? For Granda, this collaboration marks the first time we have worked with someone outside our design team, where we systematically approach a Series 'from the tabernacle to the candlesnuffer.” All Granda art begins as a commission for custom work. And from all the pieces that are first designed for a given customer, we find that some of them may be attractive to other communities, and so we make them available to other people through our catalogue. Some of these designs originate in the Granda studio; other ones are inspired by masterpieces from the past.

The Rinascimento Series has been designed with a broad view in mind, that is, to accommodate an important general demand in the United States rather than one specific client. How did you team up with Duncan Stroik? We met Duncan Stroik over a decade ago and through the years have collaborated on a number of different projects. Our most valued Duncan Stroik commission to date is the beautiful chapel of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, which is a part of the Thomas Aquinas College campus in California. From the very beginning of our professional relationship, we discovered that both Duncan Stroik and Granda were committed to the same level of excellence and shared the same love for sacred art, and that’s how the romance started. Granda is based in Europe, cradle of the Renaissance movement. Why did you turn to an American architect? I would say that as strange as it may seem, there are not many good designers in Europe that are masters of the classic style for liturgical use. You can find plenty that are working in modernist or experimental styles. In many cases, they stir away from traditional works for inspiration and would be embarrassed if someone were to characterize their work as 'classic.’ These designers are indifferent or even inimical towards ideals like proportion, symmetry, timelessness and harmony. They are more focused on the artistically extravagant, intent to elicit strong reactions and working radically independent of the influence of historic architecture, ultimately seeking projects that can be placed on the cover of an architecture magazine. The United States, on the other hand, is currently the leader in a renewal movement in the area of ecclesiastical architecture, with a different kind of motive. Architects and designers who are the engine of this movement prefer to look towards very specific sources of inspiration: Tradition and Scripture, or the Temple on the Mount and the Heavenly Jerusalem, as models. Duncan Stroik, through his excellent professional practice and his teaching at the University of Notre Dame, is certainly among the top leaders of that movement.

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