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Philosophy

“Love of knowledge echoes in
our hearts and nourishes great thoughts”

SOCRATES

Humanist Enterprise


"I HAVE ALWAYS DREAMED OF CREATING USEFUL WORK
FOR AN IMPORTANT OBJECTIVE"

Humanist Enterprise

In the medieval village of Solomeo, where the
peacefulness of the Umbrian countryside and the
wind still evoke the ora et labora (pray and work) ethic
of Saint Benedict of Nursia and the mysticism of
Saint Francis of Assisi, Brunello Cucinelli launched
a new kind of business in 1985. “Making work more
human, with people at its core”: is the dream of this
Umbrian entrepreneur now famous around the world
for his colorful cashmere collections. Scholars and
journalists have written of the profound affinity
linking Brunello to ancient Masters of the Soul such
as Socrates, Seneca and Saint Francis of Assisi: and
that is why they refer to Cucinelli's corporate philosophy
as “ethical capitalism” and a “Humanist enterprise”.
“I have always dreamed of creating useful work for an
important objective. I felt that profit for profit's sake was
not enough, and that there had to be a higher, collective
purpose. I understood that alongside economic well-being
there has to be personal well-being, and that the former
means nothing without the latter.”It is a courageous theory
summarized in what Brunello Cucinelli calls “supreme good”,
which is centered on people: “giving business a meaning that
goes beyond profit and reinvesting to improve the lives of
workers, to enhance and restore the beauty of the world”.

Beauty


"OUR TOTAL QUALITY IS THE RESULT
OF THE INTERNAL QUALITIES OF EVERY EMPLOYEE."

Beauty

Convinced that the tranquil and beautiful setting would
enhance creativity and build a community where workers
follow a scale of shared values, Brunello Cucinelli made
the 14th century hamlet of Solomeo home to his Humanist
enterprise. The offices and workshops were set up in the
medieval fortress with its wooden beams, stone fireplaces,
frescoed walls and brick floors, while the old farmhouse was
converted into a company canteen preparing the best traditional
Umbrian food. There is profound harmony here, “Because,”
says Brunello, "whoever works with us is a part of the company's life,
no matter what job they do: everyone knows that their work is a key
part of a greater whole. Our “Total Quality” is the result of the inner
qualities of every employee”. Combining ancient and modern, company
objectives and human needs is the secret behind a company whose
innovativeapproach has attracted widespread interest: it has become
an example of modern economics studied by prestigious universities.






Supreme Good


"MONEY HAS REAL VALUE ONLY WHEN IT IS SPENT
TO IMPROVE THE LIFE AND GROWTH OF PEOPLE."

Supreme Good

"Work as an expression of human worth is also a part of
spirituality, and pursues the higher purpose of Supreme Good,”
Brunello Cucinelli likes to remark. Born and raised in Umbria,
he experienced the Franciscan philosophy and took on the message
of the Pauper of Assisi: apply the higher purpose of goodness to all
that you do. Yet how can that be reconciled with a cutting-edge
capitalist business? “Making a profit is part and parcel of business,"
points out Cucinelli, "but for me it's not the be all and end all.
I wouldn't want to live in a world where the sole purpose was to make
a profit. Money has real value only when it is spent to improve the life
and development of people, and that is our goal”. As a result of this
profound conviction, a considerable portion of profits is reinvested
in the company, and part goes towards restoring and renovating
the hamlet. A new cultural system called “Forum of the Arts” has been
created here and includes the theatre, the amphitheatre and the
philosophers garden (where concerts and events are held).
This is what Brunello Cucinelli means when he talks about elements
and structures that improve people's lives.




Ethics


"A DAY WILL COME WHEN
PHILOSOPHERS WILL BE NEEDED TO RULE THE WORLD."

Ethics

“A day will come when philosophers will be needed
to rule the world." I've always been fascinated by
Socrates' dream. A Humanist enterprise, ethics and production...
It became increasingly hard for me to abandon an interpretation
of labor and human action that was not founded upon a positive
outlook and trust in the future. ” Today it is apparent that
international politics, great monotheistic religions and philosophical
thought confirm the need for a return to Ethics in every activity.
In fact, the new economic approach aims at employee development
and enhancement as a way to improve a company and to give it a sense
that is not limited to mere profit: this is what Brunello Cucinelli
calls “Supreme Good”. He is therefore an innovator
or, more succinctly, a businessman who successfully anticipated a
global trend. At the Humanist enterprise of Solomeo, employees pursue
a common goal, but one mainly senses a scale of non-material values
that are considered a part of the entire company.






The company follows its own ethical code: inside, through
interpersonal relations, and outside as well, it always places
people first. Thus, each person is responsible for his or her job.
There is no need for heavy-handed regulations, and no
one's individualism is penalized. Freedom is encouraged and,
as Brunello Cucinelli points out: “This creates a united group
where each person has a specific role to play for the good of all.”















My Creed

"I believe in a humanist enterprise: business should
comply in the noblest manner with all the rules of
ethics that man has devised over the centuries.
I dream about a form of modern capitalism with strong
ancient roots, where profit is made without harm or
offence to anyone, and part of it is set aside for
initiatives that really make a difference in
people's lives: services, schools, places of worship
and cultural heritage. In my organization the focal point
is the common good, which is the guiding force in
pursuing prudent and courageous actions. In my business,
people are at the very center of every production process,
because I am convinced that human dignity is restored solely
through rediscovery of the conscience. Work elevates human
dignity and the emotional ties that derive from it. On my daily
path I heed the words of giants from the past, from Socrates
and Seneca to Marcus Aurelius and Alexander the Great.

 

Corroborated by this spiritual communion and
following the power, simplicity and beauty of this
place steeped in history and charm, I have undertaken
and completed the restoration of the medieval hamlet
of Solomeo over the course of 25 years. My company
is now based here and stays faithful to the precepts
that men such as Leon Battista Alberti, Palladio and
Serlio drew from the classical teachings of Vitruvius.
I believe in the quality and beauty of craftsmanship;
I don't think you can have quality without humanity.
I love the mysticism of Umbria, a mysticism that also
belonged to Saint Francis of Assisi, who loved beauty
and simplicity. I am proud of being from this region,
proud of my passion for philosophy and restoration
and for everything that helps restore beauty and dignity
to the things buried under the dust of time."

Brunello Cucinelli

Biography

Biography

Brunello Cucinelli was born into a peasant family in Castel Rigone,
province of Perugia, in 1953. After obtaining a diploma as building surveyor,
he enrolled in the faculty of Engineering but then dropped out.
In 1978 he set up a small company and captivated the market with
his idea of dying cashmere.
Since when he was a boy, he witnessed his father working in an
unwelcoming environment and became a close observer of the world,
thus developing his dream to promote a concept of work that ensured
respect for “the human being’s moral and economic” dignity. This is a
key element to understand his personality and the success of his business,
which Brunello considers not only as a wealth-generating entity, but also
as a framework to develop and nurture his dream of a capitalism that
enhances the human being.
His knowledge of the great figures of the past has always fed his dreams
and ideals, but he is always looking ahead towards the distant future,
and each action and accomplishment of his is designed to last over the centuries.
In 1982, after marrying Federica Benda, Brunello moved to “Solomeo”,
which became the venue to make his dreams come true and a great
workshop to build his success as an entrepreneur and humanist.



The increasingly international market welcomed his quality products
warmly and enabled him to implement his ideals. In 1985 he purchased
the fourteenth-century tumbledown castle in the hamlet and made it into
his corporate headquarters; in 2000, with a view to meet the market’s growing
demand with adequate production facilities, he acquired and refurbished
an existing plant at the foot of the Solomeo hill instead of building new facilities.
The “Forum of the Art”, including the Aurelian Library, the Gymnasium,
the Amphitheatre and the Theatre, was built in 2008 and became the ideal venue
for culture and art.
The desire to list the company in the Milan Stock Exchange was born around
this time and became reality in 2012. This move, too, was not driven by
financial reasons alone, as Brunello saw a wider participation in his business
activity as an opportunity to spread his ideals of a new capitalism, a truly
“humanistic capitalism”. The experience of the Forum of the Arts, built
exclusively by Umbrian master craftsmen, spawned the idea of the
“Solomeo School of Arts and Crafts”, which was established in 2013.
Brunello’s vision entails that the memory of an important humanistic
factor such as craftsmanship is preserved and passed on to future generations;
therefore the school is the workshop where this aspiration becomes reality.



In 2014, the “Project for Beauty” was presented in Milan, an initiative
supported by the Brunello and Federica Cucinelli Foundation; the project
entails the creation of three huge parks at the foot of the Solomeo hill
(the Agricultural Park, the Secular Youth Club Park and the Industry Park)
recovering part of the property occupied by old abandoned factories and
using it to grow trees, orchards and lawns. This initiative symbolizes the crucial
value of earth, “from which all things are”, as Xenophon put it. With this project
Brunello highlights the duty to restore the “dignity of the land” and he shows
that “Beauty will save the world” whenever the world will in turn save Beauty.
The Brunello Cucinelli S.p.A. currently employs 1300 people and cooperates
with around 3500 subcontractors. Nobody clocks in or out.
The working time is from 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. with a long lunch break. It is forbidden
to work after 5.30 p.m..
Over the years Brunello has been acknowledged a staggering number of national
and international rewards for his “neohumanistic capitalism”; the recognitions
that most mirror his human accomplishments are his appointment as Cavaliere
del Lavoro (Knight of Industry) assigned by the President of Italian Republic
and his honorary degree in Philosophy and Ethics of Human Relations,
assigned by the University of Perugia.



Honors and Awards

Honors and Awards

In 1998 he was awarded the title of Academic by the Istituto di
Belle Arti “Pietro Vannucci” in Perugia; in 2003 he received the
acknowledgement of “Homo Faber Homo Poeticus”, by the Accademia
“Biella Cultura” and in the same year in US he was presented with
the “Best of the Best”, a valuable prize that is only awarded to
the best companies worldwide. In 2004, during the 60th edition
of Pitti Uomo, the most prestigious trade fair for menswear
worldwide, he was bestowed with the “Pitti Immagine Uomo” prize
for his “creative talent and the quality of his collections
combined with his extraordinary ability to enhance the value of
the Italian productive fabric”. In the same year the prestigious
magazine “Robb Report” presented the Brunello Cucinelli company
with the “Best of the Best” prize for the second year in a row,
on the following grounds: “Best and most sophisticated fashion
designer in the world in the Cashmere Sportswear sector”.
In 2009 he was acknowledged the “Imprenditore Olivettiano” prize,
the “Best of the Best” by the US magazine “Robb Report” as
“New guide for men’s sportswear”, the Ernst&Young prize for
“Italian Entrepreneur of the Year”, the “Leonardo Qualità Italia”
prize; in 2010 he received the “Confindustria Awards for Excellence
Andrea Pininfarina”, the “Forum Prize Textilwirtschaft”, he was
appointed Knight of the Italian Republic by the Italian President
Giorgio Napolitano at the Quirinale palace, and he received the

honorary degree in Philosophy and Ethics of Human Relations from
the Perugia University. In May 2011 he was awarded the “Premio
Guido Carli” prize for standing out as an entrepreneur/philosopher
who has based his business on the fundamental value of respect for
the people and the environment. In the same month he was presented
with the MF Creatori di Valore prize. In October 2014 in New York
the Fashion Group International awarded him with the Fashion Star
Honoree Award, an acknowledgement that is presented to the greatest
fashion designers in the world.













 

Lectio Doctoralis


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