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Visconti Forbidden City HRH

Visconti Forbidden City HRH
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Visconti Forbidden City HRH Limited Edition Fountain Pen

The Forbidden City in Beijing, China, was the legendary home to the Chinese imperial family for more thatn 500 years, and it is so named because it was closed toall but the royal family and those in their service. Today, the elaborate complex of palaces and gardens - one of the greatest achivements in Chinese architecture and culture - is open to provide inspiration for all, which lately includes more than one penmaker. One of these tributes to the Forbidden City, by Italian Visconti, turns conventional overlay inside out.

Designed by Visconti president Dante Del Vecchio and designer M. Carla Benedetti, the Visconti Forbidden City was seven years in development, and Del Vecchio reveals, "The final result has almost nothing to do with the initial drafts, discussions and prototypes."

The most unusual feature of the pen is its resin overlay. Rather than a typical metal overlay on resin, Del Vecchio instead turned things inside out with resin overlaying a finely engraved metal base. The design grid of the resin overlay recalls the layout of the Forbidden City as seen from above. The design creates "cages," which are also symbolic of the sense of isolation connected to the site, even today. The cages house mythical beings prominent in Chinese culture. The tiny figures are created with the lost wax process in sterling vermeil. The original concept was based on Del Vecchio's idea for the miniature sculptures, recreating figures from the Forbidden City. Benedetti then gave life to his ideas in drawings. Says Del Vecchio, "Through the cage, we see the gods - the dragon, phoenix, and lion - reproduced in ways that correspond to images in the Forbidden City."


New ideas, such as a different type of overlay, present new challenges - something embraced by Visconti since its establishments in 1988. Visconti likes to offer its customers new and interesting technical solutions and is the only company to offer four different filling systems: power filler, crescent filler, piston filler and convertor. This technical expertise has a long history in Del Vecchio's family. Dante Del Vecchio I was an artist involved in iron works, winning international prizes in Paris in 1928 and Rome in 1935. Dante II was trained by his father, Cesare, in this art. Luigi Poli, sales and marketing manager, design consultant and co-founder of Visconti, also has family history in the business. His father, Gugliemo, worked for Pelikan Italy for 35 years. Together, Del Vecchio and Poli, themselves collectors of fountain pens for many years, set up their company to produce and market celluloid fountain pens.