Some month ago I was asked to design a carpet for the Italian Pavillion at Biennale Architettura 2018, Venice. It is a part of a project of five selected by Mario Cucinella, the italian curator for the present edition. Here you can see the realized carpet (by Mariantonia Urru) and the project, showing the title “Arcipelago Italia”, in colour, and “Biennale Venezia” in black letters.
[ Alcuni mesi fa mi è stato chiesto di progettare un tappeto per il Padiglione Italia alla Biennale Architettura di Venezia 2018. Eccolo: è parte di uno dei cinque progetti selezionati da Mario Cucinella, il curatore del padiglione. Qui si può vedere il tappeto realizzato (da Mariantonia Urru) e il progetto, nel quale sono leggibili le scritte “Arcipelago Italia”, colorata, e Biennale Venezia, in nero. ]
“The Centro interdisciplinare di ricerca sul paesaggio contemporaneo has launched an appeal to artists and visual designers of international renown intent upon gathering their viewpoints on a phenomenon currently plain for all to see: the migration of men and women fleeing war, misery, overwhelming strife… The result is the great poster collective exhibition Freedom Manifesto / Humanity on the move whose objective is to raise awareness about, and urge, new perceptions concerning a topical theme of great importance: immigration…” The exhibition is now up at Centrale Montemartini, in Rome. I designed this poster, where the symbol of migration, the foot, faces its alternative meaning of freedom, and shows the pain of a mother and her children. Nobody knows if they are leaving home or waiting for someone coming back home, but it is not important. The sadness for something missing is the same.
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.
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.
For Asili&Boassa I designed the exhibition catalog “Cerdeña Indescifrable – El Signo grabado”, dedicated to the Sardinian engravers of the twentieth and twenty-first century. The exhibition, curated by Casa Falconieri, was held in Bilbao at the end of 2013.
Rashomon is a 1950 Japanese period drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa. The film is known for a plot device which involves various characters providing alternative, self-serving and contradictory versions of the same incident. Rosanna Rossi is a famous artist from Cagliari, who in 2012 organized a series of simultaneous exhibitions, showing similar but slightly different works and installations. In this project I have tried to reflect that philosophy, with titles and graphics following the triangular grid arranged in similar but different ways for each of the exhibition sites.
After Milano and Madrid (2007), Istanbul (2010), Beijing and Nantou (2010), Bilbao and San Francisco (2013), the exhibit “The New Italian Design”, organized by La Triennale di Milano Design Museum under the supervision of Silvana Annicchiarico, is at present at Centro Cultural La Moneda in Santiago de Chile. From december 6th 2013 to march 30th 2014, the exhibit shows the works of 133 italian designers (among them, about 20 graphic designers), who represent the status of italian design today. I was honoured to be selected in 2007 (thanks again to Mario Piazza), and to be still among them (even if I’m now 50, and so it’s a little bit strange to talk about the “new” italian design…). And I was very happy and a slightly proud to find the name of Cagliari among the emerging spots in mediterranean design: a small gift that now I can give back to my beloved town.
During the last week of September and the first of October, I was in Marrakech (Morocco) with Roberta Morittu, a celebrate sardinian and international designer involved in studying and designing mediterranean handicrafts since many years, and some of my best students at Cagliari University (Alessandro Congiu, Claudio Rossi and Francesca Savona). Nicolò Ceccarelli, Marco Sironi and Carlo Turri of Sassari/Alghero University were with us with a group of their students and realized some fo the objects together with Cagliari collegues. We had to create also the identity for an exhibit at Dar Bellarj, one of the most charming place inside the Medina. Handicrafts of moroccan tradition were re-designed and interpreted by the students from Cagliari, Sassari/Alghero, Florence and Milan Universities and from Esav, an important local school of design. They made their project working together the moroccan artisans. The University of Sassari/Alghero also realized an amazing video which could be seen here. The Autonomous Region of Sardinia sponsorized the whole mission. We concentrated on the figure of the storks (Dar Bellarj is also known as The Stork Hospital), stylizing them in several patterns composed with figures similar to the pieces of the the moroccan mosaics, using the same colors of the place: sand, red, black, white.
During the last year, the University of Cagliari re-discovered an important collection of engravings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, the venetian visionary architect of XVII century whose influence on artists and works lasts still nowadays. The collection has been forgotten for many years into some lost room, so that even its memory was difficult to find among university teachers, librarians or employees. We organized an exhibit to present to the citizens this public treasure, showing some of the over 1100 printings into the space of Il Ghetto, an exhibit centre in the ancient heart of Cagliari, called the Castello quarter. Together with architect Paolo Sanjust we looked after the graphic and exhibit design. A modern art exhibit inspired by Piranesi’s works, has also been organized near there, at the ancient City Hall.