After completing her bachelor’s degree in fashion design in Buenos Aires, Agustina Bottoni moved to Milan to pursue a graduate degree in design. She quickly learned Italian, (“it’s not that different than Spanish,” she tells me) and then earned a master’s degree from Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti.
A year later she decided to start her own studio, “it was a huge risk and such a big decision. There just weren’t many other opportunities out there, so I felt like it was my responsibility to make a space for myself. I had some savings and took on freelance jobs to support myself at first. To be honest, it was tough. As a foreigner [in Italy] I didn’t have a family support and it was hard to understand how things work here in Italy; the tax law is complicated, and I had to do a lot of research. But it’s a great place to be a designer. There’s always something happening here and there’s a long standing culture of craftsmanship.”
Agustina continued to build opportunities for herself through her inventive and refined designs. After a very positive response to a prototyped glassware collection named Calici Milanesi—a martini glass, champagne coupe, and wine glass inspired by the famous Villa Necchi—she began building a network of local artisans that could produce the work by hand for her. “I work mainly with smaller artists and workshops, they’re all made individually by hand. There is a weight of tradition here, sometimes people are used to doing things only in one way. But for me, I look at everything as a South American person, I can navigate the traditions on my own and have my own perspective.”