How did Marino Vicari meet the plastic, and what happened next?
I met the plastic a long time ago, continuing the work of my father, who started with a small Negri e Bossi press, to differentiate from the local work routine such as cleaning of the cookware and polishing. It was his flair and vision that made him choose the world of plastic molding and slowly the ever deeper knowledge of this special material has impressed me and even now it excites me.
The history of the brand Vifra is linked to a territory. What is the relationship between the Company and Invorio, the small town where it’s located?
A great relationship… I was born there. Invorio is very important, it is inside of me, with its places and its people. It is a bond that grows stronger day after day. About my job, I’ m often around the world, but the desire to get back to basics is very strong inside myself. I don’t deny that many times the option to transfer the company abroad was presented to me, but I didn’t want to, the relationship with my territory is very strong, and I really believe in what I’m doing here. Apart from that, I’ve to say that we also look abroad, but as a showcase for our products. We join many international trade fairs such as Dubai, Moscow, Saudi Arabia, Libya, just to mention some and I’m constantly abroad to visit customers, build loyalty and show new proposals. I always wanted to join business with pleasure: the passion for work with the pleasure of the journey like a way to learn about new cultures and weave new relationships in addition to learn about new markets. Not only, this travel enriches myself and my work-wise and gives me the opportunity to develop new product solutions.
Plastic is so versatile that it resist temperatures, deformation and shocks. Can it also resist to the economic crisis?
Plastic can resist to the today’s crisis if those who do business believes in a change. Many everyday objects have been revisited in a “plastic” way and many more can be made for different uses, reducing the cost! For example, we are producing a nut for taps which until recently was exclusively made of brass. We have reduced the cost of the material with a ratio of 1 to 3, innovating a product that preserves all the features of tightness and solidity which has the brass. This is called resisting the crisis. We must modernize the mentality of the factories taps, still closed around the old materials. The plastic is cheap, versatile and moldable in the most desperate shapes, nowadays is evolving by leaps and bounds, just think about the new bio-plastics, non-toxic, soluble, even edible. The plastic potential is endless and I never stop learning and finding new usages. I strongly believe to a change, to a broadmindedness to use plastic, encouraging the regrowth of economy, optimizing costs and investing on a continuous material development.
During a period like this present one, is it still possible to speak about progress?
Today it is only right to talk about welfare, not progress. Progress is only one aspect of well-being. The progress, for example, is linked to do, what companies produce. The welfare, having in itself the concepts of happiness, quality of life, respect for the environment, it is also founded on the “remake”. Which sees in the reuse of materials, recycling, and waste reduction a modern attitude that is really stretched out towards a sustainable future. We must have in mind that we can and should really safeguard our planet even with the use of plastic, a correct and conscious usage. I forwarded this thought into Vifra, sharing it with our employees, applied it in the production. Producing plastic doesn’t make me feel at fault with the environment, the strictness and the order, in which the company and departments are managed, is our key point active in environmental protection. During these years, we wanted to strengthen this concept even in the youngest, opening our fi rm to the schools. We started by inviting the Middle Schools of Invorio, with a project that has been received with interest, making a follow-up with the High Schools of Novara. The students are the future and by showing them the transformation process from the granule until the recycling, we helped to raise awareness and create the groundwork for a generation, now more and more dependent on the plastic, to a new research for wellness and progress.
Welfare and progress, an interesting theory. Many foreign countries, are already changing their political and economic structures to go in that direction. Can you say the same about Italy? Shall it be possible to make progress?
Producing today, in Italy, means that you must have courage. That’s why it is a challenge that can face up only the entrepreneurs who know to have clear ideas and who feel determined to continue on a way made of investment and innovation – ever made despite all – in order to remain competitive, optimizing waste and costs. We must believe in what one does, as the market, especially the current one, makes no discounts. It moves quickly, and to keep up with it requires a huge sacrifice, but it’s also a nice challenge for those who really loves his job too. VIFRA believes in the great potential that the molding industry can offer by investing in the development of its know-how and in the latest technology. In 2009, we renewed the supply chain with an automatic dehumidification conveyor system capable of conveying the raw material from the silos to the molding stations without loss of material and reducing energy consumption by 40%. A single investment that has brought more savings, more order and efficiency in production, and a non-negligible important secondary effect: minor physical workload for employees and much more control of every stage of the process. Another investment, which took place in 2012, were the electric molding machines that reduce noise and environmental pollution favoring the production technique.
And when he doesn’t work, what’s he doing, how do Marino Vicari relaxes himself?
(smiling) This is a good question. I’m always at work, it’s really hard to disconnect from work, but when I can, constrained or by my own will, I like to go watching basketball games, having played in my youth and now sponsoring a local team. I also like to stay with my family, visiting places and exhibitions or set up one as for “Transiti”, that took place in old Vifra’s warehouses or another event that happened at the gallery “Eventinove” dedicated to “Trash Design”. Another thing that I really love and I just can’t do without it, is to walk; walk down my Invorio in the first!