João Amaro, from Fundibronze, talks about the craft of bronze work and the challenges he currently faces.
How did your relationship with bronze first start?
Fundibronze is a family business, I am the second generation, together with my brother. Managing the company was actually never part of my plan, it just happened. If it weren’t for the family influence, I think I would have been an architect, a designer or a sculptor – something in that vein. I’m drawn to the creative process, and to making things. I love to explore different possibilities.
Why did you embrace this collaboration with Made in Situ?
I like challenges! I’ve always liked design and sculpture, as I said, and I thought the project was very interesting. I liked the pieces and the people. Also, I knew we had the know-how to do it.
We have worked on many different projects over the years. Traditionally, we have always been linked to the maritime industry, and today it represents the majority of our business, around 80 per cent. But back in the ’90s it wasn’t so: for a period we diversified our production, and our work for the maritime industry was half of what it is now. We did all kinds of things, small and large pieces alike.
The truth is we don’t have the big advantage of repeating pieces to exhaustion. The sand moulds we use to create the pieces can be used only once – the sand gets burned in contact with the liquid bronze, it’s impossible to reuse it.
The only gain we have with scale is a logistical advantage, the craftsmen know what to expect with each piece, to the extent that this is possible with bronze casting, which is a process prone to surprises. But this is not significant in the overall production cost.
So we have always been open to producing different things, though now it is more difficult, considering how much the market has changed.