A splendid article by Piera Mazzone depicting our future.

Guidi srl turns 50, celebrating the milestone with an exhibition of children’s drawings depicting the future, entitled “What I’m going to be when I grow up. At 50 I’m going to be a famous…”

The sea of Grignasco: Guidi srl is a long-established name in the local area. Founded in 1968 by Bruno Guidi, who remains at the helm today, assisted by his sons Daniele and Alessandro, the company produces accessories for the nautical industry, and has consolidated its position at international level, partly thanks to its regular attendance at the most important trade shows worldwide.

The impressive monograph in celebration of the company’s 50th birthday tells a story of high technology, sophisticated equipment, innovative projects testified to by 13 patents, the latest of which – for the Alex non-stick valve – dates to 2013, all developed by Bruno Guidi with a view to providing increasingly customised products to respond to customers’ closely monitored needs.

In the local area, Guidi also provides sponsorship for artistic activities aimed at diverse, original subjects: from Rest Home guests engaged by the photographer Enrica Pastore in a number of workshops that have yielded photographs printed and displayed in a travelling exhibition in the area, to the children who were given a kit with colouring material and paper to unleash their creativity and show us how they imagine their future. “What I’m going to be when I grow up. At 50 I’m going to be a famous…” is an exhibition organised by Guidi srl and sponsored by the Municipal Council of Grignasco, hosted in the town’s old church of Santa Maria delle Grazie di Grignasco (named old church), and prompted by a desire to grow and a love of art, projected towards the future.

The inauguration, on Saturday 9 June, was attended by the Mayor, Roberto Beatrice and his deputy Katia Bui, who introduced this new initiative that allowed the old church to be opened to the public once more and above all was organised to celebrate an important anniversary:

The first 50 years of a manufacturing business that is the pride of Grignasco offer an authentic demonstration of how technical and entrepreneurial skills, together with constant commitment and enthusiasm, can obtain important results, without merely considering the market and economics, but also promoting art, social issues and environmental sustainability. The Guidi family proposes and shares a simple, honest lifestyle, illustrated in the exhibition through the children’s drawings. The exhibition was devised and curated by the photographer Enrica Pastore, who was able to take on board the suggestions of the children, who are able to teach us that the world is painted in many colours, just like the future they illustrated, with dreams that Guidi can help come true.

Many children – aged from just a few months up to eleven – sent in their drawings, along with an explanation in words of their dreams, and the founder of the company, Bruno Guidi, was then asked what he’s going to do when he “grows up”:

Every day I discover things to carry forward, new products to improve: the nautical sector needs new things all the time, things able to improve safety. So I plan to accompany my sons towards the future, because I’d be no good at being a pensioner, and I can’t wait to get to the factory every morning. This is why I’m happy to have involved children in this project, because they represent the future.

The Mayor highlighted the importance of Guidi on the international scene, having had the chance to observe what happens after the trade shows, and expressed his pleasure at the forthcoming expansion of the factory, the company’s 50th birthday gift to itself.


Bruno Guidi’s roots are in Goro (Ferrara), where the River Po spreads out into a large delta; his family left the town at the height of the recession, in 1929. Bruno was born in Borgosesia, and after completing a technical education, he started a small business making fittings in Bettole, in 1968. Ten years later, Guidi expanded its range of nautical items and began producing its first water intakes, and over the following decade continued to extend its range of nautical products, presenting them at trade shows in the sector and continuing to invest in new machinery and research. From services to fishing boats and working boats, the company’s activity expended into the pleasure boat sector, always teaming function and duration with elegance.

As was remarked upon, Guidi is also particularly attentive to the question of environmental sustainability, and has adopted forests in the Amazon, Nepal, Haiti and Senegal, to maintain the planet’s green lung; the company has also taken part in cleaning the oceans, with a close eye on the future and in the awareness that the earth is merely on loan to us for a time, and must be preserved for future generations.

The company today employees thirty people, who are like a second family for the founder:

It’s thanks to this splendid team that I’ve been able to achieve what I have, and the harmony and growth of the company are the result of the scrupulous, precise approach adopted by everyone.

In 2008, on the occasion of the company’s 40th birthday, a photographic book by the American artist Jill Mathis saw Guidi embark upon a new process of modern-day philanthropy: #Guidi4all was created to promote the corporate brand in an alternative way, obtaining tangible results both in terms of the works produced by the artists and in the human appreciation they have prompted:

Art, of any kind, can help us understand the world better and improve our quality of life.

The company works with numerous artists from Italy and abroad, and the blend of the nautical sector and Guidi products with sculpture, design, photography and art is able to create occasions of striking communicative impact.

In 2011, Guidi organised the photographic exhibition by Jill Mathis, entitled Industria, at Palazzo Ducale in Genoa, and 2012 saw the beginning of a collaboration with the artist Alessandro Ciffo, who creates evanescent shapes using silicon; the Sala delle Colonne, in Palazzo della Meridiana in Genoa hosted the display of Tavolo del Mediterraneo. Love difference, a Città dell’arte project by Fondazione Michelangelo Pistoletto, while the Boat Show saw the presentation of the work Red Net, by the Argentinian artist Elizabeth Aro, who returned this year to the Versilia Yachting Rendez-Vous in Viareggio with Rami di corallo. In 2013, the new exhibition project in the Palazzo Ducale faced the twofold challenge of, on the one hand, rediscovering the company’s roots, with a 100% cardboard reproduction of the historic yacht made by the Camuffo shipyards, crafted by Chris Gilmour, one of the most original and best-known English sculptors of this generation, who creates life-size works using recycled cardboard and glue, and on the other, offering a close, affectionate look at the human resources of Guidi srl, in the form of photographs of the hands of the workers and craftsmen at work taken by the Texan photographer Jill Mathis.

In 2014, the new challenge regarded the ability to draw up an identikit of the future, based on the present, and the articles currently produced by Guidi srl were the object of the shots by Jill Mathis, while Marco Lodola, an Italian artist who has chosen light as his main expressive medium, was entrusted with creating a work able to project the dynamic vocation of the company created by Bruno Guidi, imagining a motorboat of the future, a vehicle of light that appears to speed through the waves like a potent electrical current.

The sculptor Valerio Tedeschi reproduced Guidi valves in white Carrara marble. In 2017, Guidi srl was one of the sponsors of the exhibition Barnils, Capogrossi, Perilli, Pijuan Alfabeto segnico, curated by Alberto Fiz, in Palazzo delle Stelline in Milan, and also sponsored Alessandro Ciffo’s silicon amphorae from the collection Murano 5.0, on show at Palazzo Michiel in Venice

This unique collection of contemporary art is not jealously guarded in a vault; it is made available for exhibitions, and travels around the world, taking with it a message of beauty and creativity, promoted by an Italian company.

A separate chapter in this story is represented by the images of the photographer Enrica Pastore in the project La natura esagera, depicting a year-long walk, first shown in a calendar and then organised into a travelling exhibition, which was followed by the exhibition Vanitas – The time, the silence and the ephemeral featuring photographs inspired by a love of Dutch painting from the 17th century, the golden age of Holland, Republic of the Seven United Netherlands, in which still-life painting returned to the fore. In the splendid catalogue of the exhibition, the texts and photographs are enhanced by previously unpublished quotes from seventeenth-century Dutch poets, ambassadors and composers.

Text by Piera Mazzone