July 17, 2014
Video: See Where (and How) the World Cup Trophy Is Made
A look inside the small Italian factory responsible for sculpting soccer’s top prize
GDE Bertoni, a company of craftsmen in Milan, has a nearly 100-year history in designing trophies, medals, and decorative plaques. And while they may be a small enterprise, you’ve probably seen their work—maybe even recently. The World Cup, anyone?
The company is responsible for the Fifa World Cup Trophy, which it first produced in 1974 according to a design by artist Silvio Gazzaniga. (Germany, like past winning squads, took home a bronze replica.) Though the diminuitive, 36.8-centimeter-tall cup is certainly their crown jewel—it’s made of solid 18-carat gold—Bertoni’s repertoire boasts work for a small but high-profile range of clients, including organiztions like UEFA and tournaments like the Gup Cup. (Of the latter, one craftsman calls it the “only beautiful trophy” after the World Cup. With more gold than any other trophy in the world, it better be.) All work is produced with a range of cutting edge and traditional materials, allowing them to achieve an aesthetic that is highly detailed as well as modern.
A recent Bonsai TV feature, obviously capitalising on the now-extinguished World Cup fever, follows some of the craftsmen at work. It’s less of an ode to the jogo bonito than a love story to the artisans who toil away in anonymity. That’s because each cup, regardless of its respective pedigree, is treated with the same incomparable care. As another veteran trophy-maker eloquently puts it: “You may think that working on them every year you eventually get used to them. Instead, you have to realize that when you work on beautiful things you have to respect them every day and give your best to make these cups shine even more.”