Italians in London | Italians in London Enrico Manca
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# 06

 Enrico Manca

Photo and concept by © Rob Venom 2022

I’m 42yrs old man, married with a Russian/Israeli girl, no kids (unfortunately), one brother artisan like me (fresh pasta) and parents (teacher and head teacher now retired) living in Italy, I’m in London since 2004. Born and bred in Sardinia between a small village Ballao and the main town Cagliari. I’ve studied international relationships at the University with good results but I’ve quitted one step before the degree. Small part time jobs, football referee and a lot of sport (rowing and rugby), passion for the film photography and obviously the wood.
What do you do in your life in London?
I worked on the hospitality for long time, restaurants, pubs and hotels, my last job was as General Manager in a 4* Hotel, at some point the salaries started to get worst and the workload, the responsibilities and the stress more and more, it was not worth anymore. Couple of years on the retail and as driver and at some point (see answer 4) of my life my passion for the wood became a job. Now I design, build and sell industrial furniture preferably made using old items with a previous working life and trying to preserve their soul. I work specially with old cable drums and some of my pieces became popular around the web and have been sold to the USA, Canada, Australia, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy and more
What is the reason to leave Italy and come to London?
I had two tough English language exams at the University and I wanted to go to Canada or Scandinavia (I’m from a very hot place and I like the cold), I put an advert to swap my house for an holidays and I ended up in Chelsea. Three weeks quick became three months and now more than 13 years.
What were your best and worst experiences in London.
The best is when we bought our house in Bromley, we had the keys exactly on the same day 4 years after my arrival in London. The worst when my wife had a missed miscarriage. But I like to say my best and my worst experience were when I had a very serious hearth attack ‘funnily’ called the widow maker, emergency surgery (straight from the ambulance to the theatre and I was awake all the time) and the life changed, my hobby and my passion for the wood became a job.
I asked you to choose a place in London that you like or you are tied to, what was your choice and why you made it?
Except from Bromley which is my house, an important place is the Battersea Power Station. My first proper London house was very close to it and every day I used to watch the Station dreaming one day it would have been rescued (at that time it wasn’t sure), to my eyes it was the most amazing example of industrial archeology in London and it has been an important inspiration for my passion/job.
During your early times in London, did you have any problem?
It wasn’t a real problem because there’s not a unique answer to that, it’s Learning to live during the terrorism attacks (I’ve missed one the 7/7 bombs for couple of minutes), personally my mind stopped thinking to that and it helped me keep calm during the stations evacuations and to live a normal life.
What do you think about this project?
I think it’s a tough challenge for you and for myself because I’m very introvert and I don’t like to stay in front of the camera or under the spotlights.
How do you think you could support and promote Italian culture? 
On the recent past I think people used and abused the made in Italy or the fact to be Italians and someone has lost their faith on us, I’m proud of my roots and I don’t hide it but first I like to be appreciated for my art (on the humblest meaning), my job and my passion and after for my Italianity because I don’t like to use it as key to open the doors.