By Rebecca Ceccatelli.
In the world of luxury, creativity knows no bounds. This is especially true when it comes to an extraordinary collaboration between two prestigious campuses for the launch of a project for Acqua Panna, the legendary water brand rooted in Italian art and history. And how do you unlock the boundaries of creativity? Acqua Panna knew exactly what it wanted to achieve when it decided to collaborate with our school in Florence. When a popular brand reaches out to an institution like ours, we can only respond with new, innovative, but still coherent ideas.
The collaboration began with Istituto Marangoni Shanghai with the aim of offering the luxury water brand to the Eastern audience, especially in China. Later, the project expanded to Istituto Marangoni Firenze, recognising the clear connection between the city and the Tuscan brand and involving the first-year arts department.
That is how today I am happy to share with you what I have learned from this experience, both professionally and personally. Here is a list of the top 5 things I’ve (l)earned from the collaboration with Acqua Panna!
1. Listening is the key
When it comes to collaborating with an established brand like Acqua Panna, it is crucial to prioritise listening right from the start. Understanding is the key to success. One thing was clear: an authentic Tuscan essence for the campaign launch could not be sidelined. It was essential to analyse the brand’s concept, mission, colour palette, and corporate image while also seeking inspiration from nearby sources that could be adapted to the project.
2. Heritage as eternal inspiration for the future
It was no coincidence that we found the spark to bring the production to life at Palazzo Pitti. As a Medici palace, it was hosting an exhibition about Eleonora di Toledo, a member of the renowned Medici family, famous for her dedication to developing green spaces in the city of Florence.
The company itself shares the same devotion as the Medici family to the development of natural ecosystems by promoting studies in biodiversity inside the Panna estate, where water flows naturally, near Scarperia, about 40 km north of Florence. As the company made the old Medici residence, now known as Villa Panna, its main headquarters, the connection between past and present became clear: Eleonora di Toledo would have been the ambassador of our project, as an example of passion for work and devotion to one’s causes. With research and insight, she inspired the whole Acqua Panna project.
3. Teamwork makes 90% of the work itself
When the creative work began, the intercultural collaboration between Florence and Shanghai proved to be of paramount importance. It was fascinating to see two different scenarios collaborating in synergy with the right cultural bridges.
Surprisingly, many liasons connected our two distinct worlds, each rich in its own artistic and cultural heritage, to create a unique and powerful narrative.
Florence, steeped in centuries of art and history, provided a series of designs for silk headscarves with the elegance and authenticity that Acqua Panna aspired to embody.
On the other hand, Shanghai, a hub of innovation and modernity, brought a fresh perspective and contemporary sensibility to the creation of a bag to be associated with the iconic bottle of water and the headscarves. Everything was connected through the use of recurrent elements coming from the fauna and flora of the Panna Estate, but also depictions of Eleonora di Toledo and materials used for her clothing. This fusion of East and West, tradition and innovation, allowed the campaign to resonate with a global audience, celebrating human creativity at large.
4. Art is a business tool too
It comes as no surprise that art has a powerful impact, as confirmed by this interdisciplinary project. The assignment required not only a deep understanding of culture but also the ability to create visually appealing content to sell the sponsored product.
Despite their apparent differences, art and business have proven to be a successful combination. Art can infuse creativity and unique perspectives into the business world, making it more memorable, captivating and fresh.
In doing that, the designs created by our artists may have conveyed messages in a way that traditional marketing techniques often cannot. They establish a visual language that transcends cultural and linguistic boundaries, allowing for a broader and more inclusive reach.
5. Working with realities: it is definitely possible!
Last but not least, as a local student in Florence, it was an incredible experience for me to work with Acqua Panna, a water brand that has been part of my life since childhood. Our school has proved again that established companies can rely on students, too. The younger generation is relatively new to the working world but eager to take on challenges with a fresh perspective and youthful enthusiasm.
Working with entities that have tangible interactions with an audience and receive real feedback is much more stimulating for us newcomers than working solely with imaginary scenarios for educational learning.