You may be a fan of Davines skin care and hair products, we certainly are, that’s why we sell them. As owner Davide Bollati says, “Davines is aiming to be the most beautiful, ethical company in the world”. That’s another reason why we love Davines, because we share the same values at D&V.
So, we have just been in Parma, Italy for the Parma 2018 World Wide Hair Show. The whole experience has been incredibly inspiring, it kicked off with a tour of the Davines Eco Village, and we just had to share our adventure with you…
Just to set the scene a little. We’re getting on the train to Parma from Milan, and we bumped into some of our Davines NZ crew, Ricci from Auckland and Caleb from in Christchurch, what are the chances! The wonderful Ryland met us all at our Hotel "Palazzo Della Rosa Prati" which is set in a grand 13th-century palace and divided up into chic apartments. The whole NZ crew are staying here - great for our bonding!
We checked in and got straight on the bus to the brand spanking new Davines Eco Village on the outskirts of town. Wow! What an amazing complex! We walked through the salons set up for testing new eco-friendly products in development, beauty rooms for the body and face products, and the laboratories for the development of the products themselves.
All of these are state-of-the-art facilities fitted out with the latest technology for extracting the best from the on-site grown plants and herbs which are used in all Davines skincare and haircare products. Not only state of the art but these spaces are incredibly stylish and beautiful to be in, true Italian style!
The offices and staff workspaces are all full of light and air, and there are purpose-built courtyards for meetings, conferences or just to contemplate - all of which are planted out with herbs and plants to tantalise the senses. The "big picture" gardens which will eventually supply a large part of Davines test product ingredients are still in the planning stages but will be an integral part of the Village when completed.
In the centre of the complex is the "Greenhouse", an atrium-style building that will be the restaurant/cafe serving organic, healthy meals to staff. The business end of the tour was the manufacturing plant which houses giant stainless-steel vats to mix the products in before being bottled and packaged and a huge warehouse for storage.
All up this is a stunning example of sustainability and sustainable principles in action. The buildings are positioned to use the heat of the day in colder weather and draw coolness from below ground in the summer heat (did I mention how hot it is here at the moment? 29°C, we're all dying!). I would love to return in a year or two to see the growth and changes as this project evolves.
After a healthy bite to eat and refreshing drink, we were on our way back to town to do a quick tour of the art exhibition and then to finish the evening on a high note with an amazing team NZ dinner at a restaurant across the piazza - incredible food and wine, four courses of deliciousness!
The arts festival in the town centre was in full swing until midnight with light shows on castles, aerial acrobats and moving dance troupes on every corner. There were literally thousands of people jamming the alleys and piazzas creating a cool festival vibe. It was a very late night but jam-packed with beauty and inspiration!
And then came the icing on the cake…
After a good night’s sleep, we were all off to have lunch at Davide Bollati's private house as a special treat. This was for the NZ team only - we were so spoilt and honoured to be fed & watered by the man himself!
His house is perched atop a hill up a long winding driveway a few kilometres out of town and of course, has panoramic views of the countryside. It is a relatively new build, with classic Italian style, but completely modern. It’s also energy independent, using UV to keep the pool water clean (no chlorine or salt at all, just pure clean water). An underground basement houses solar energy batteries, and state-of-the-art technology keeps the house cool & warm while staying completely off the grid. Davide definitely lives and breathes his beliefs and philosophies in leaving a minimal footprint on our planet.
This was no ordinary lunch either I might add, as with all things Davide does, lunch was to the highest standard, several courses accompanied with a massive block of local parmigiano reggiano and a local organic red wine, finished with locally made gelato - I'm in heaven!
Once again it was scorching hot, so of course, after joking with Davide about how many swimsuits he has, he ducked inside and returned with an armful of boardies and towels. You only had to ask us kiwi's once, and we were in the pool cooling off pronto!
In between swims, we lazed on the lawn, sitting and chatting with Davide about his village, gardens, products and ideas for the future of his brand. An amazing man who remembered having lunch with Eric & I 2 years ago in Hamilton. He even enquired about how our son was - who happened to be waiting on our table that day! Picking his brain for ideas is a must, and he clearly enjoys sharing all this with us. So, we all leave with something we have learnt that we can all put into practice in our own beauty and hair salons to the betterment of our clients and the planet.