The Milanese ARSUTORIA school contacted him in July 1993, after having been a student of the Saturday Course some time before, in 1986.
After working for about three years in the family factory as a pattern maker assistant, Paolo Marenghi, at the age of 22, chooses Milan to deepen his studies. After graduation he worked in the factory as an assistant to the designer and was responsible for the creation of collections for some French and German clients. He learns to choose leathers, to select components for prototypes and a little later he also deals with the design of some junior lines in the Tino Ferrario collections for Salamander France. After a few years he followed the creation of new client collections in Spain and Portugal until, twenty-five years ago, he left everything and became part of the ARSUTORIA family.
The legendary Adriano Lunati guided him in his new adventure as a teacher:
I asked to be put to the test – says Paolo – because I was honoured by the offer, but not sure to live up to that. Since then I have never stopped teaching and at the same time being the pattern maker that since I was a child I had been dreaming of becoming. I have been realising for many years now models of sneakers, athletic and performance shoes, which represent for me the challenge and technical development in its pure state. A new impulse for my growth, also encouraged by collaborations with technicians of major brands. And even if I now deal with several training activities, at least once a month I absolutely have to make prototypes…
By hand or CAD, I have to cut them and make footwear prototypes. I need to see my ideas become a product.
Which memories do you like to keep in mind?
“I well remember the moment when Lunati was convinced that he could count on me 100% and entrusted me with a class for the entire duration of the three-month course. It was an unforgettable satisfaction.
I remember the recommendations, again of Professor Lunati, about having to keep high the name of the school both in Italy and abroad, or about the good use I had to make of his book on the modeling technique, ‘The Designer’.
And I will never forget the totally unexpected gratitude that students have always shown me during these 25 years. It is wonderful to realise that the teachings I have transmitted to them have formed real professionals”.
What attitude do you consider indispensable as an instructor?
“Our work as instructors must always be renewed. We must be very curious, attracted by what is new, even if apparently it is not easy to apply to our field. We must strive to understand how processes, concepts and materials of other sectors, even under experimentation, can be adopted in our field. Without forgetting the tradition and the obligation to train people for the industry”.
How do you think the footwear and bags sector will evolve?
“The great innovation is represented by 2D, 3D or Virtual Reality software applied to the technical realisation of bags and shoes models.
They are already helping us and we have been teaching for some time how to use them, but they will become more and more powerful and pervasive: we absolutely must not be skeptical about them. Never close yourself in your comfort zone.
Another aspect to consider for future training courses: helping students understand new materials. Leather will be used less and less and many people do know very little about new materials. Creating new products, with materials one does not know the features of or the technology needed to handle them, is very difficult. Knowing more extends the possibility of being innovative”.
What do you always repeat to yourself before entering the classroom?
“I repeat that I am a teacher and that my students expect to learn something from me. And I try to remember to never lose patience and to be aware that each of them can teach me something. At a certain point I will no longer be one of their teachers anymore and one day I might become their pupil, because they will most likely develop something – design, technique, products or production processes – in which they will be specialists. At that moment it’s them who will make me grow”.
What they say about him
ARSUTORIA school director
I met Paolo for the first time in 1994 but I started working with him in 2003. His constant desire to improve himself has always impressed me. Obsessed with details, Paolo places a maniacal attention not only on the preparation of contents, but also on the choice of how to communicate with the course participants, and on the deepening of foreign languages, for which he has a particular gift.
In the footwear sector he is considered an extraordinary technician and teacher, not only by young students attending courses in Milan, but also by highly experienced professionals, together with whom he manages courses within companies.
It is impossible to describe the human and professional value of Paolo only by listing the many projects developed in these years, but I would like to mention two results that the ARSUTORIA school achieved thanks to him: courses in the United States, where in almost 10 years 800 professionals have been trained, and in-house courses for extraordinary companies such as Nike, Adidas, Bata, Aldo, Wolverine, Nine West, Brown Shoe and many other leading companies in the sector.
Director Innovation Concept Creation Center at Nike
Paolo is an extraordinary person, with whom it is inevitable to make a friendship; his positive attitude and the continuous search for personal, social and professional excellence have always inspired me.
In the course of the years I got to know his excellent qualities as ‘Maestro’: the way he manages to clearly communicate complex concepts and his ability to engage and maintain the attention of the classes are difficult to match.
His footwear experience and his skills as a teacher led me to involve Paolo in my work. As a director of the Nike WHQ Concept Creation Center, staff training is one of my main responsibilities. I have been involving Paolo and Arsutoria for 7 years in this important program where professionalism, experience and creativity are fundamental.
Working with Paolo is “FUN” and its positivity is contagious!
VP Design and Development at EASY SPIRIT BRAND
I have known Paolo the ‘Professore’ for over 10 years as a colleague, teacher and friend. I learned so much from a patient, kind and generous person like him. He always shares his passion, competence and knowledge of the shoemaking world with all of us, and many colleagues, all over the world, are better at making their shoes thanks to him.
I consider myself very fortunate to have met him, to be able to work together… and to be his friend.
Director of Product Development at Timberland
I consider myself lucky to have shared incredible experiences with this fantastic teacher, mentor and friend. Paolo is a unique combination: a designer, a developer and an engineer with deep experience, skills, knowledge and talent. Oh… and he loves to teach!
He transmits all his passion in every course, in every design challenge he accepts to solve, in every conversation with colleagues or students! Paolo inspires passion in all of us with every drawing he realises (like what he did for me 10 years ago), with every last he imagines or scores of his pattern knife. He teaches as he works. He guides us carefully through every detail and possible scenario, without ever getting tired of starting from the basics, especially with those of us who will never even come close to his knowledge level.
I will never know how much knowledge this man has transmitted to me, but my career and my life are proof to how his passion has influenced the way I create shoes.
Technical Manager at Apego
I have the privilege of being part of the ARSUTORIA school family and its team during international courses, so I met Paolo closely and saw him in action. In addition to making my warmest congratulations on this important stage of his career, I thank him because today I apply in my daily work what he has wisely, but with marked humility and passion, illustrated and taught during the countless training courses around the world!
His extraordinary expertise, combined with his innate communication skills, have allowed generations of people – technicians, designers, developers, pattern makers and all those who deal with the wonderful footwear world – to fall in love with a never predictable product which, today, is more and more innovative. He has directed the career of many of us in a decisive way.
Thanks pro… phet! Keep climbing higher.