The pen has propelled history, having empowered human-kind to document and communicate every idea under the sun. The humblest of tools, pens have helped express the dreams of artists, the hopes of nations and the power of presidents.
The team at Swiss pen manufacturer Prodir, aware of the writing instrument’s important place in business and culture, puts a considerable amount of time, research, collaboration and marketing into every detail of its products.
“Our guiding principle is that Prodir must be different,” says Raffaele Laurenti, Prodir’s country manager for France, Italy and the Americas.
Founded in 1975 by Giorgio Pagani, Prodir started out producing pen parts for other brands. Pagani saw an opportunity to collaborate with leading designers and introduce a brand that capitalized on Switzerland’s reputation for elegant, high-quality goods, like precise watches and delectable chocolates.
“We invest a lot in maintaining what we call a medium- high-level image,” Laurenti says.
To ensure that its products meet its exacting function and style standards, Prodir thinks differently, presenting a tightly curated collection of pens — around 10 styles each year, Laurenti says — in its annual catalogue.
“Every year, we try to create a new idea, focusing on one design element that sets us apart,” Laurenti says, “like a large cartridge refill that allows up to three miles of writing without the ink drying out.”
Prodir also produces its own ink in order to control quality and adhere to Switzerland’s strict environmental standards.
“It’s the Swiss mentality and culture,” Laurenti says.
“We respect the environment from production to the field — and confirm this through certifications — even though consumers might not see what’s behind every Prodir pen.”
Pens have become collectors’ items and status symbols, and Prodir makes the case to its clients that its pricier, design-forward instruments are more than mere writing utensils.
“This gadget is a vehicle that will allow you to promote your brand, linking your logo with the unique design of the pen,” Laurenti says. “Even in a high-tech world, people continue to believe in the pen because they use it for communication and to express their style.”
“You find people who are crazy for pens,” he adds. “We always need to give the pen that much more power.”
In Context Sidebar
Raffaele Laurenti says his home region of Ticino, Switzerland, is the place to be for a higher standard of living, seeing and doing. The small canton of about 352,000 sits atop Lake Lugano in southern Switzerland near the Italian border, and it’s surrounded by the majestic Swiss Alps and dotted with medieval castles.
Tell us about the local culture.
We are not far from Milan, which is big and fashionable. We are a small community in the middle of the forest with a strong culture.
Why visit Ticino?
Here, you can get everywhere easily. We have charming small towns, mountains and beautiful lakes. You can swim in the lake in the summer and go skiing in the winter — there’s a lot to discover.
What are the best bites?
The Italian kitchen is strong here, but we have our own food, too. Try raclette, which is often melted like cheese fondue, in the wintertime. In the summertime, spend the afternoon at a typical Ticinese grotto — a place where you can eat outside.