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Others about us. An article in PREMIUM Lifestyle

Others about us. An article in PREMIUM Lifestyle

 

 

 

 

What connects the outrageously brave Felix Baumgartner (who jumped off the edge of space, if you remember), the chess genius Anatoly Karpov, Bill Clinton, Vladimir Putin, the aforementioned Angelina Jolie, and even St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican?

 

A family of Bulgarian masters of fine silver and gold pieces of art.

 

The fact is strange, but also a great reason for national pride. And what is even more strange, most Bulgarians do not know the answer to the above question. Let me introduce them to you personally. This is how I met them in their studio in the mountains near Sofia.

 

Nikolay and Titsiana Zografovi founded the family business 'Zografov & Co.' in 1991 and, after graduating from the Art Academy in 2008, their son Lyubomir joined them.

 

Nikolay's great-grandfather (and Lyubomir's great-great-grandfather) Bozhin-Emmanoil Stimeniy Zograf was a painter of icons who lived mostly in the 19th century and died in the 1920s. Stories are told about him in the family, and for a good reason: his icons are in our country, in Macedonia, Greece, and even in St. Peter’s in the heart of Rome. Interest in fine arts skipped two generations, but at one point the modern Zografovs decided to dig more actively and look for his portrait. They found the only one in existence and now it hangs in their studio.

 

'That's where our name comes from and it's important for us to know our history. And it gives us strength when we know that creativity is in our blood. That we come to this world with our name, so to speak,' said Lubomir.

 

OK, but what exactly do they do?

 

 

 

 

Artfully crafted, including according to the client's requirements, exciting presents from noble materials, copper and exotic wood. Cups and jugs, fruit bowls, cutlery, accessories for cigars and pipes, business presents, imitations of Thracian treasure, even interior ideas such as 24K gold stair rail...

 

Given the fact that Zografov & Son's luxury pieces are of very high quality, I am curious to know what their clients have to say about their work.

 

'Rich people buy gifts for the feeling of buying, no matter whether for themselves or for someone else. For them, the pleasure, not the need, is the driving force.'

 

I add to Lyubomir's words that in that case, they are in the role of a pleasure-multiplier. He agrees with me. I'm thinking that there is a way that my ritual of opening a nice bottle of wine after a long day at work could bring me even more satisfaction. The moment is enhanced if my cup is like no one else’s. A cup made by an experienced craftsman with whom you have discussed the smallest detail: where it will be kept, whether it will match your interior, and even how it will best suit your taste in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyubomir is ahead of me by two laps. At home, he has a rakiya cup, one of the first items they ever made, as well as a gold-rimmed wooden whiskey cup (the whiskey model turned out to be their most popular one). To say they are his favourite ones would be an understatement. 'It's the emotion we're talking about here.'

 

‘People buy for themselves, for a loved one, for an anniversary or wedding, or for a colleague who is celebrating,’ Titsiana informs me and adds that their clients are also attracted by the fact that each gift is different, unique and can be personalised. I do not think there is anything that is impossible for them. I realised this as I looked around the neatly arranged studio.

 

 

 

 

I realised this as I looked around the neatly arranged studio.

Their clients are mostly returning ones. There is even a case of a person who was so pleased with his purchase, that... 20 years later he came back to them! They are not short of compliments and praise.

 

‘There is an interesting incident that my parents avoid mentioning out of modesty, but I think it's nice,’ Lyubomir told me, much to the discomfort of his mother, who was sitting next to him,

 

'When Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha's son, Kubrat, got married, he received a hand-engraved set from my parents as a wedding present. The parcel reached its recipient, and the tsar sent a personal letter to my father with thanks and a signed photo.'

 

 

 

 

That happened back in 1993, two years after the start of the family business, but there was something that seemed puzzling to me. How exactly did they send a gift to Kubrat Saxe-Coburg-Gotha?! By ordinary mail. To an address they found. They sent handmade items of extraordinary value (and not just financial value) by ordinary mail to someone they didn't know and whose security was supposed to be very tight. Obviously, times are changing.

 

As soon as the topic of popular personalities is opened, the two generations have differences in perception, the younger generation being more open on the topic. They avoid mentioning their famous clients because it is a manifestation of bad taste, but a few cases are known: for the 'Centre for Global Dialogue and Cooperation’ foundation of President Petar Stoyanov (1997-2002), statuettes made by 'Zografov & Son' were presented to Bill Clinton, Angelina Jolie, Gen. Wesley Clark and chess champion Anatoly Karpov.

 

 

 

 

On other occasions, works by Bulgarian masters were presented to Felix Baumgartner, to ambassadors, and to heads of state, including Vladimir Putin, twice.

 

'I am most proud that our 'Made by Zografov & Son' stamp, which we put on every item, is sitting in these people's homes,' said Lyubomir.

 

And he has a lot to be proud of.

 

 The article was written for the following magazine: PREMIUM Lifestyle

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