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Here it is, finally: my first typographic rugs. It is the completion of a research work of years, as evidenced by the pages of this site. The experimental test. I have baptized them with “Tavoletti” because they have something to pay to Eugenio Tavolara and Alighiero Boetti (and because of the sardinian term “tauleddas”, tavolette in italian, which designates the small Sardinian tapestries). They maintain the geometric rigor, the recursive counterpoint typical of the Sardinian textile tradition, but add to the typographical element, which introduces a further level of reading, surprise and customization. They are the product of an algebra in which element matrices are subjected to inversion, rotation, symmetry, overlay, etc. to form the ornament. A graphic that can be used in its serial abstraction and, at the same time, a typography that can be read and understood.

They were made by Maria Antonia Urru for two couples, Luisella and Michele, Riccardo and Annalisa (highlighted in yellow and magenta in the third picture), to whom they were given by my friend architect Marco Tradori, who commissioned me. In the first one, Luisella / Michele, the composition is perfectly symmetrical, on two orthogonal axes. In the second, Annalisa / Riccardo, there is also an overlapping of the two names, which generates new geometric motifs. For the moment they are almost monochromatic, but the next (which will be realized shortly) will play with colors and size scale.

[ Eccoli, finalmente: i miei primi tappeti tipografici. È il coronamento di un lavoro di ricerca di anni, testimoniato dalle pagine di questo sito. L’evidenza sperimentale. Li ho battezzati Tavoletti, perché devono qualcosa sia a Eugenio Tavolara che ad Alighiero Boetti (e per assonanza con il termine “tauleddas”, tavolette, che designa i piccoli arazzi sardi). Mantengono il rigore geometrico, il contrappunto ricorsivo tipico della tradizione tessile della Sardegna, ma aggiungono l’elemento tipografico, che introduce un ulteriore livello di lettura, sorpresa e personalizzazione. Sono il prodotto di un’algebra in cui le matrici degli elementi vengono sottoposte a processi di inversione, rotazione, simmetria, sovrapposizione, etc. che vanno a formare l’ornamento. Una grafica fruibile nella sua astrazione seriale e, allo stesso tempo, una tipografia che può essere compresa e letta.

Sono stati realizzati da Maria Antonia Urru per due coppie, Luisella e Michele (evidenziati nella terza immagine), Riccardo e Annalisa, a cui sono stati regalati dall’amico architetto Marco Tradori, che me li ha commissionati. Nel primo la composizione è perfettamente simmetrica, su due assi. Nella seconda c’è anche una fascia di sovrapposizione dei due nomi, che genera nuovi motivi geometrici. Per il momento sono quasi monocromatici, ma i prossimi (che verranno realizzati a breve) giocheranno con i colori e con i passaggi di scala. ]

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I could not sleep and counting sheep. Counting them I realized something. I realized that the sheep is the real Great Mother of Sardinia. She fed the island for millennia. We have 3 million, double the Sardinians. And I thought of the Great Mothers by Antine Nivola, inspired by prehistoric mothers. How to put together these two concepts? It was easy. The Great Mothers of Nivola have almost the same shape of a large sheep, with a long and narrow head. I’m still working on it, but already imagine big white sheeps immersed in the sunny countryside of the island, such as totems, such as the large black Osborne bulls in Spain. A perfect symbol for Sardinia. They deserve it, the sheep. We owe her a lot. (photo by Beata Lenkiewicz Photography).

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During Expo 2015 in Milan it was also presented an application that I developed with CRS4 (Samuel Iacolina, Pietro Zanarini, Carlino Casari). CRS4 finally makes interactive my digital typographic rugs, as I had imagined when I designed them. This app, named Sardinia Typestry (you can try it here) has become the digital gadget for Sardinia. It proposes, with a simple touch, an infinite combination of colours, randomly alternating upper and lower case of Battoro and PB1. Everyone can enter his name and the application returns infinite tapestries, vertically readable. Here are shown some combinations made digiting my name on the app.

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During the Expo Milano 2015, two groups from DADU Alghero (coordinated by Nicolò Ceccarelli, with Marco Sironi and Attilio Baghino) and DICAAR Cagliari (coordinated by me) have developed the exhibit design of the Autonomous Region of Sardinia pavilion during the week dedicated to the island. We meet very strong constraints: everything had to be assembled and dismantled in six hours, had to be reusable, must coexist with many fixed and unchangeable parts. Sardinia Dingbats are used in a stencil version for a specially designed shelter entrance, for backlight walls and to drill stools, inside which essences were inserted. On the walls, a horizontal slot contained a smelling Helichrysum. The rectangular module guided the conceptualization of the sea, through a suspended installation inspired by Calder’s mobiles. The central video wall formed colorful tapestries, animated by the group of Alghero, who also created the movies and the music that flowed on the monitors. Daniela Ducato contributed with textural natural panels, used as artworks on the walls. A golden female note was added by Cristiana Collu, which included hundreds of elegantly serial cowbells. During the inauguration, Roberto Petza has proposed again the food carpet with great success.

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In the summer of 2015, the Autonomous Region of Sardinia asked two groups from the Departments of Architecture of the Universities of Sassari and Cagliari – the first one coordinated by Nicolò Ceccarelli, the second by me – to develop a new visual identity of the island for Expo Milano 2015. This identity will become the visual spine of the communication strategy of Sardinia in the coming years. First I designed a set of typefaces with a strong local identity. I called them Bàttoro (after the name of the traditional weaving from which they take inspiration) and PB1 (as pibione, the Sardinian word for the weaving dot). The equation pixel = pibione established the modular and serial way of the graphic research. The created fonts are decorative, good for headlines and logos or, like you can see, ricursive and intertwining patterns. It’s another way to get interesting typographic textures. Here is shown the claim “Sardegna isola senza fine” (Sardinia endless island), that I created as well. For longer texts, which need to be red without any difficulties, we used the Open Sans. In addition to the first two sets, I wanted a set of dingbats made up of figures of traditional Sardinian weaving, plus some new and imaginative, specifically designed. With my team of collaborators (Matteo Buccoli, Francesca Oggiano, Claudio Rossi), we designed a set of figures called Sardinia Dingbats, with which you can process virtual tapestries typing on the keyboard. The serialization of the compositions follows a way I had already studied for the typographical tapestries and these typefaces give to designers and craftsmen a powerful tool for creating ever new combinations.

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I designed this carpet for a friend, a very good dentist specialized in correcting the smile of children. It was handmade by weaving cooperative Su Trobasciu in Mogoro. My friend’s family has always been involved in the distribution and marketing of catch. The carpet is a kind of family coat of arms: fish bones are recognizable, while teeth have a more abstract shape (upper and lower dental arches are spread out), either in the “free” form and with the corrective coloured brace.

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For Joias I designed a sarong that revisits the traditional costume of Orgosolo. A transposition of the strong iconic tradition of inner areas of Sardinia on a typical garment of the beaches. A way to communicate identity to different and wide people, who spent their summer holidays on the Sardinian coast. Easy to carry and to pack, it can speak about our island beyond the sea of Sardinia.

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