Through his understanding of the importance of overarching brand themes across all its categories, Marco Tomasetta has effortlessly taken the helm at Montblanc. He was appointed as the German luxury brand’s new creative director, to help accelerate the brand’s move toward being a “luxury business-lifestyle Maison”, according to Nicolas Baretzki, Montblanc’s CEO.
The Kurator sits down with Tomasetta for an exclusive interview during his visit to Dubai, to learn more about his creative leadership and vision, as well as getting a sneak peek at the first collection he has designed for the Maison.
The Kurator: What is different to you about Montblanc as a brand, and how does it resonate with you as a designer?
Marco Tomasetta: What distinguishes Montblanc from other brands, beside its intrinsic depth, are its heritage and influence in writing culture. Writing is absolutely essential to every artist, creative director and designer as a means to capture and convey creative ideas. That’s why, when I embarked on my own creative journey at Montblanc, I started with the Maison’s 115-year-old writing heritage. There are few things more iconic than the Meisterstück, an enduring symbol of the power of writing, and a precious tool that lasts well beyond its owner’s lifetime.
When you look back through history, so many influential authors, poets, artists, designers, and even great leaders have used this timeless icon as an instrumental tool for their legacy. The impressive Montblanc archive has an abundance of inspiration, but we will explore the new generation of Montblanc customers.
While they may be more comfortable with a keyboard than a pen, they are discovering the value of writing by hand as a means of self-expression and creativity, and recognising that in today’s world, digital and analogue are complementary forms of communication and expression.
TK: How will your experience as a leather goods designer help transform Montblanc’s leather products?
Marco Tomasetta: This brings me back to Italian craftsmanship and the very roots of leather in Florence, with its unique texture and crafting methods. I hope to bring modernised formats and functional pieces to the Montblanc offering, with elements that attract millennial and emerging luxury customers. I plan to travel there to incorporate the nuances of the local culture in the capsules I design.
I want to build on the Montblanc tradition of intimate customer relationships, whether offline or online, so the Montblanc boutiques will be important for providing a bespoke experience in both writing instruments and leather. Montblanc has an incredible colour palette that I want to bring back for local capsule collections,
surprising customers at every turn with inspiring designs. I recently visited Dubai and I was fascinated by the energy of the city, and the exceptional knowledge customers have of the contemporary luxury market.
TK: Montblanc has expanded product categories, including smartwatches, headphones; is this a new challenge for you?
Marco Tomasetta: Montblanc truly understands its present-day customer’s lifestyle, and the tools they need to help them achieve their individual path to success. Smartwatches, headphones and other emerging technologies are part of that experience, so I am excited to challenge myself in these categories, and to explore new designs and products that support Montblanc’s mission.
My objective is to redesign each category, creating revolutionary products imbued with iconic details inspired by the Meisterstück, which in 1924 was an incredible revolution in writing technology, and its design continues to captivate today. We must ensure that every product is unique, timeless, and unmistakeably Montblanc.
We will keep up with the fast-evolving lifestyles of both men and women, so the Montblanc customer can make the products part of their routine: you can listen to music as you write, check the time, and travel with your accessories safely stored. We are also making products targeted at different age groups and genders to be more inclusive.
TK: Montblanc’s CEO says he expects a more global creative vision for the brand, rather than a category approach. How do you relate to this?
Marco Tomasetta: I am already implementing this vision, by identifying the red thread between categories and collections. Each category across the Montblanc universe should connect with the next, and we are developing a unified message for all our external communications. Our brand ethos, ‘What Moves You, Makes You’, inspires people to do what truly gives them passion and purpose, accompanied by Montblanc pieces that matter. From the leather bags to the watch, to the writing instrument, to the sunglasses or headphones, Montblanc should be there every step of the way. That universal, everyday approach differentiates us from other luxury brands.
TK: What is the inspiration behind your first collection and how does it break boundaries whilst maintaining brand identity?
Marco Tomasetta: A lot of work went into exploring the rich archive of the Maison. My goal is to design pieces that, like our timeless writing instruments, resonate with audiences from today to decades in the future.