What is a fashion show? It is an event, a showcase, a neurosis, alienation. It is collective exaltation, mania, and obsession. It is a phobia, or it is simply nothing. One thing is sure: it reflects our being. Like Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy, a fashion show tells about an inner search, a journey, an enterprise: a path towards what shines deep within us.
Like Virgil, semiologist Claudio Calò – known for his role as Global Communication Director for the Armani Group, among others – guided us and placed us in front of every aspect of it, showing us every piece, every lie, and every truth.
The reason for this encounter was his brand-new book La sfilata di moda come opera d’arte [The Fashion Show as a Work of Art], published by Einaudi (Turin, 2022).

by Giorgio Scarpellini. Cover Image: Illustration by Wenjie Dong for I′M Firenze Digest.

I’MF: Was this book an urgency or a necessity?

CC: The genesis of this book is not so obvious. It was a bump on the road. Through one of my teachers and mentors who writes for Einaudi, I learned they were relaunching the “Gli Struzzi” series. They wanted to make a book not so much about fashion but more about the fashion show concept. So this friend of mine put me in touch with the publisher.
They were interested in my experience in different fashion and communication houses. So, at the end of an hour-and-a-half chat during the first lockdown, they asked me: “but why don’t you write these interesting things down?”. I found myself with a job to do during the pandemic, which happened to be quite favourable. I had so much time and less to do back then, so I started studying.
I am not a fashion journalist, I studied semiotics and marketing communication, but I have always worked in fashion, focusing on communication and business. The publisher asked me to provide an external or non-journalist perspective. They wanted someone who knew the industry, but up to a certain point, with a broader view of the runway as a social, cultural and artistic phenomenon. The only thing that was clear, right from the start, was the title.

I’MF: So if it was neither a necessity nor an urgency, who do you think could be your ideal readers?

CC: Is there an identikit? Yes. There was a clear ideal reader right from the start. We wanted to write for an audience that knows about fashion, loves it and studies it. But that wasn’t too academic, too specialised, or only for insiders. We wanted it to be also for those who have never seen or heard of a fashion show. But, above all, the idea was to make it clear how fashion and fashion shows are an expressive pinnacle, which feeds on and gives back to the culture and the way we communicate and perform today.
The idea, in the end, was to explain how vital such a trivial, frivolous, and superficial thing as a fashion show is and to show how much it actually mirrors our culture.

Illustration by Wenjie Dong for I′M Firenze Digest.

Through the voices of the people I interviewed (about thirty people), you can see what lies behind the construction of a fashion show, the concept, production, and all the players involved. This, I think, emerges above all from direct interviews.

I’MF: In your book, you pinpoint three different ways of doing a fashion show. How did you trace the state in which, in your opinion, the fashion show has arrived?

CC: We live in a time where fashion shows and many other things have been questioned. I liked to conclude my book with some possible answers to the question: “And now, how do you do a fashion show in post-pandemic 2022?”. My will was not to answer with my first-hand account and opinions. But to put together, like a conductor, a bit of all the voices wondering about it. This is because stylists, producers, or even directors work on it, so it was an attempt to understand their point of view.
I don’t want to spoil it for anyone, but, in reality, there is no actual conclusion. There are many possibilities. There is still so much good to do.

Claudio Calò. La sfilata di moda come opera d’arte [The Fashion Show as a Work of Art], Einaudi (Turin, 2022).

I’MF: Are there any fashion shows you would recommend to our students to study?

CC: I asked the interviewees the same question, and none of them could answer me. It was as if they had to choose their favourite child. Impossible. However, if I have to choose one, I believe that the whole [Alexander] McQueen corpus is absolutely essential.
McQueen said, “I don’t want people to come to my fashion shows, applaud and leave happy, I want them to go out and vomit. They have to have such a visceral reaction because they’ve heard about important things.” He is a character with a tragic story and a tragic ending, and you can see this in his fashion shows. He distils these moments in all his shows with consistency, culture, and incredible wisdom. So yes, if someone were to make a lifelong stylist’s choice, I think he’s a must.

Illustration by Wenjie Dong for I′M Firenze Digest.

Then, my three favourite fashion shows for the brands I worked for are Ralph Lauren’s fortieth, S/S 2008, where the designer himself comes out of a tent set up in New York’s Central Park. The second is for Pucci, where I first saw Naomi walk in the S/S14 collection. It was a moment of complete transmutation of human genders. The third is Giorgio Armani’s fortieth, celebrated in 2015, with a forty-minute parade that all of Hollywood was there to see.

I’MF: What do you hope to feel and see in the fashion shows yet to come?

CC: I hope to be amazed. I hope to see more episodes of The Simpsons like Balenciaga did. I hope to see more fashion shows like Prada dismembering the fashion show and the split, and why not, triples it, with variations on the theme of diversity. We can get back to travelling, or not. I hope there will be more cross-pollination, with more references to the past and future technologies.

Claudio Calò is a Communications Director and Writer. At Istituto Marangoni Firenze he has been teaching Strategic Management of Communication Projects and Creative Direction for the course Fashion Promotion, Communication and Digital Media.
Giorgio Scarpellini is a Fashion Styling and Creative Direction undergraduate student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
Wenjie Dong is a Fashion Design postgraduate student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.

New technologies meet nostalgia and craftsmanship in a new museum destination in the heart of Florence. HZERO is ready to transport visitors in the world of trains, promising a journey that engages all senses.
The immersive experience results from the magic created by multimedia design studio Karmachina, sound studio Tempo Reale and light designer Angelo Linzata, a team that bring innovation to cultural communication. With a combination of visual images, lights, and sounds, the museum is a dynamic playground designed to engage visitors of all ages.

By Maria Teresa Morano. Cover image: Photograph by Karmachina. Courtesy of HZERO.

A SMALL UNIVERSE

The universe of trains holds a poetic quality that awakens a sense of nostalgia for a world that has never been our own. While, in current times, we are travelling at the speed of light toward new virtual realities, it could be comforting to get lost in a dimension of dreams.
Perhaps a big dream inspired Giuseppe Paternò Castello di San Giuliano to start collecting electric trains in 1972. More than just a dream, he had an ambitious plan that – after over forty years – has seen the light of day in the heart of Florence.
HZERO is the new Florentine destination devoted to the universe of trains, home to the impressive San Giuliano’s model railway. One of the largest in Europe, with a 280 m2 surface, the model railway is a journey in a world of fantasy and beauty. The work of Giuseppe di San Giuliano is striking for the meticulous attention to detail and the realistic setting that transport the viewer from the streets of Berlin to the mountains of Cortina d’Ampezzo.

MULTIDISCIPLINARY STORYTELLING

Beyond the impressive dedication, this large-sized model is, more importantly, an exceptional example of craftsmanship and engineering. After years in the making, HZERO presents this sophisticated work in a setting that emphasises its artisanal value with ultra-modern technology.
The model’s fabulous landscape acquires dimension thanks to a well-thought system of video projections created by Milan-based design studio Karmachina. Combining design, storytelling, and a multidisciplinary approach, Karmachina gives life to “highly suggestive immersive environments, alternative worlds where wonder and emotion reign,” as they explained to I’M Firenze Digest.
For HZERO, however, Karmachina’s team already had a solid story to start with as they “enhanced an already existing fantastic universe: the huge San Giuliano model railway with all its landscapes, characters, and stories.’’
As a result, the studio decided to project some of these settings and scenes on the walls, constructing “an immersive narration that guides the visitor on a captivating journey through the unique miniature railway’’.

Photograph by Karmachina. Courtesy of HZERO.

The animations, developed in dialogue with curator Alberto Salvadori, use “the language of illustration and motion graphics,” they continue to explain. “The meticulous work that took months was carried out by a team of illustrators and animators using digital tools.’’
This solution perfectly reconciles the museum’s artisanal soul with the use of new technologies to communicate cultural content. As stressed by Karmachina, this attitude toward innovation sees new technologies as “a vehicle that gives voice to tangible and intangible cultural heritage, foster the public’s emotional connection by encouraging active participation and a willingness to learn and discover’’.

SOUNDSCAPE

The multifaceted landscape acquires another layer of perception thanks to the sound component curated by Tempo Reale, a Centre for Research, Production and Music Education founded by Italian composer Luciano Berio. In collaboration with Mediacare AV, Tempo Reale created, in their own words, “an ultra-modern system based on advanced technologies of sound spatialisation. More than fifty speakers structure a narrative of space that, on the one hand, abstractly highlights the geometry of the space and, on the other, follows the visual path created by Karmachina.’’

Photograph by Gianluca Moggi. Courtesy of HZERO.

With sounds, the experience is complete, totalising, and “visitors find themselves immersed in a soundscape that offers an entirely different perspective according to their movements and surroundings’’. Sounds also introduce an emotional quality, “suggesting an interpretation of the model railway that recalls the feeling of travel.’’
At HZERO, new technologies work in tandem with the model railway to create an experience that involves all the senses working at different levels of perception. In a world saturated with visual stimuli, the work of Tempo Reale emphasises the importance of sounds in audiovisual products. As they continue to explain to I’M Firenze Digest, “the role of sound as an effective means of expression, either mixed with visual elements or autonomously, is growing increasingly and in multiple contexts’’.

Aside from the fabulous world of trains, it’s inevitable to think about all the universes still to discover, especially virtual ones. Although sounds are not centre stage in the digital world, according to Tempo Reale, things are about to change in the Metaverse. “While we’re experiencing a decrease in electroacoustic conditions online, this issue can be solved by high-tech miniaturised audio systems in the future’’.
New technologies are revolutionising everything, even how we experience art and culture, opening new possibilities for creativity and storytelling.

Maria Teresa Morano is an Istituto Marangoni Firenze Alumna. She completed her Master’s in Fashion Promotion, Communication and Digital Media in 2020.

On the opening of the new FENDI Factory outside of Florence, during the event of Les Journées Particulières, an interdisciplinary group of alumni and students from different areas of Istituto Marangoni Firenze will showcase the result of Dis-cycling: the seductive allure of creativity in sustainability, a project under the mentorship of artist and I’M Mentor Sarah Coleman.
Inside the rich environment of FENDI Factory, Istituto Marangoni students will display the results of their past few months of hard work, reusing and upcycling FENDI discarded materials and fabrics to give life to a new phygital installation.

By Giulia Piceni. Cover image: © Léa Colombier and Chiara Muracciole, 2022.

SPECIAL DAYS AWAIT US

Seeing the participation of 57 Maisons under the aegis of the French conglomerate LVMH and its CEO Bernard Arnault, Les Journées Particulières are the perfect occasion to bridge the gap between consumers, viewers, and the makers behind luxury products. By giving free access to ateliers, wine cellars, outstanding villas, exclusive private mansions, and boutiques filled with history, this variety of enterprises worldwide will host events that aim to showcase the savoir-faire and craftsmanship belonging to LVMH’s DNA.
The initiative will take place on October 14 to 16: for three days a year, the unreachable world of luxury holds out a hand to those familiar with its inaccessible dimension through the glossy pages of magazines and allows them to dream a little. It’s like Cinderella going to the ball but then leaving at midnight: you have the privilege to experience something out of your reach, knowing that once it’s ended, you’ll go back to your daily life with just a memory.
The only difference between a story we loved as children and the LVMH event is the educational purpose: the experts and artisans inhabiting the venues that will open for Les Journées Particulières are species at risk of extinction. The collective act of valuing their noble skills is a way to ensure their heritage and knowledge won’t be forgotten.

THE SEDUCTIVE ALLURE OF REDUCING WASTE BY CREATING ART

But why is the presence of Istituto Marangoni Firenze‘s students not only requested but even strongly required? FENDI is one of the big brands under the French influence of the Arnault family, and guess what? The Florentine venue happens to have partaken in a project titled Dis-cycling: the seductive allure of creativity in sustainability with the collaboration of New York-based artist Sarah Coleman.

Video by Tommaso Tancredi, 2022.

Their joint forces have led to a multi-sensory phygital installation. It consists of a cocoon covered in woven quilts created by Amaya Garcia (Master in Fashion, Art & Textile Innovation) and Anna Illiskina (Master in Art Management), crochet pieces by Giulia Piceni (Arts Curating) and Francesco Agazio (Multimedia Arts), kitted strings by Meghana Kiran (Alumna in Fashion Design Menswear), a leather patchwork carefully assembled by Jessica García Corral (Multimedia Arts), plastic assemblages conceived by Nofar Kirshenzaft (Fashion Design Intensive) and braided nappa threads realised as a collective work by Marinieves Tejeda Vazquez and Agata Osóbka-Morawska (both from the Fashion, Art & Textile Innovation Master’s Programme).

Bingmo Zhang (Fashion, Art & Textile Innovation Master’s programme) and Lorenzo La Commare (Fashion Design) developed the physical structure of this interdisciplinary cocoon to host a 3D video produced by Multimedia Arts Alumnae Léa Colombier and Chiara Muracciole.

From FENDI discarded material, reused and reinterpreted by selected Istituto Marangoni Firenze students and alumni, the result of the project will be on display at the new FENDI Factory in Capannuccia, right outside the city centre of Florence. This modern venue is beautifully nestled in the sweet Tuscan hills. It features optimised energy efficiency and huge glass windows letting in natural light to enhance the work and creativity of the artisans inside.

INFORMATION

Les Journées Particulières
From October 14 to 16, 2022

FENDI Factory
Via di Tizzano 173 A, Capannuccia
50012 Bagno a Ripoli, FI, Italy
Friday: 10:00-11:00 & 14:00-17:00
Saturday & Sunday: 10:00-12:00 & 14:00-17:00

Free entry upon booking
To program & book your visit: https://www.lesjourneesparticulieres.it/2022/i-luoghi/fendi-fendi-factory
For groups and special requests, please use the following contacts:
+39 3384500415 / + 39 3389171936
e-mail: exhibition@fendi.com

For more information, please visit: https://www.lesjourneesparticulieres.it/2022/

Giulia Piceni is an Undergraduate student in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.

To consider a businessperson without contemplating the journey that took them to success would be a big omission and may lead to wrong conclusions.
In his latest book la traiettoria (Mondadori, 2022), the investor and sportsman Alessandro Benetton aims to spotlight the most personal aspects of his life by creating an inspiring narration mixed with self-analysis.
On October 11, Istituto Marangoni Firenze will host a special conversation with Alessandro Benetton.

By Giulia Piceni.

Having a propulsive force is the only way to prevent failure and reach a status of personal fulfillment. Still, without our roots in mind, the basis for a bright future wouldn’t otherwise be solid enough to sustain our progress.
That’s a lesson that Alessandro Benetton, founder and Managing Partner of 21 Invest, holding President of Edizione, and ex-president of Benetton Formula 1, has learnt in concomitance of his 50th birthday, day in which he met after a long time the familiar faces of his childhood and adolescence.
For the first time, after spending years and years looking ahead like a vector on a Cartesian plane, he glimpsed at the decades behind as some self-examination and to make a summa.
Fate accidentally gave him an opportunity for this nostalgic rewinding of time when he got his hands on his first writings dating to when he was around 10. While looking at the yellowish paper of the foolscap, the pleasure of translating emotions through words reemerged in his memory alongside a feeling of belonging, as if that rebellious child’s soul had never left his body.
This impetuous reminiscence gave him the input to write a book about his straight-forwarded life: la traiettoria. After the beginning of Benetton’s social media activity, he eventually concluded that a written summary of his life could be inspiring for many.

The Talk

On October 11, Istituto Marangoni Firenze is glad to host a special talk with Alessandro Benetton, moderated by the Corriere Fiorentino’s journalist Laura Antonini.
During the event, the successful businessman will go over the episodes narrated in his already-bestseller book, including the relationship with his father “Signor Luciano” and his caring mother, Maria Teresa, the value of the personal relationships in his life, seen as opportunities for growth.
To explain the presence of private events alongside successful moments in his career, he states, “Behind every businessman, there’s a person, and behind a person, there are multiple things, so many characteristics dictated by feelings. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to reading what’s in the curriculum.”

INFORMATION

Paving New Trajectories
In conversation with Alessandro Benetton

11.10.2022
11:45 am

CLICK HERE TO JOIN THE EVENT ONLINE

Giulia Piceni is an undergraduate student in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.

I’M Firenze Digest and Istituto Marangoni Firenze are thrilled to announce that the Echoes collection by Alumnus Nicola De Piano was displayed during the Milano Moda Graduate fashion show at ADI Museum on September 20th.
The young talent, who spent three years studying at Istituto Marangoni Firenze following the educational path of Fashion Design, crowned a tremendous personal achievement. 

By Giulia Piceni. Photographs courtesy Milano Moda Graduate, 2022.

Following the rhythm of Flashing Lights by Kanye West, the MFW started with a renovated vow: to enhance young talent. And what better occasion to spot new creatives than an entire event exclusively for those coming from fashion schools all over Italy? That’s how Milano Moda Graduate originated, an event that saw the exclusive partnership between CNMI (Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana) and YKK Italia this year.1
Starting in April, an international jury had to choose only the best octet from a multitude of candidates. After this first selection, the finalists had the opportunity to showcase their collections on September 20 on one of Milan’s most prestigious catwalks at ADI Museum.
During the event dedicated to the Women’s Collections for Spring/Summer 2023, the keen eye of watchful Vogue Italia editors observed the result of their hard work. It became the subject of debate for merciless journalistic pens but also an object of admiration in the Instagram stories of numerous rappers and influencers who sat in the diverse crowd.
Among the young designers at the show, one, in particular, caught the audience’s attention. With the great pleasure of Istituto Marangoni Firenze, Nicola De Piano, a brilliant Fashion Design Alumnus, participated in the event with his Echoes collection.
Intending to give life to a countercurrent style through garments that would s the wearer apart, the young designer created his graduation collection – already shown during the End of the Year Fashion Show at Museo Marino Marini – by following his instinct. The process was inspired by a desire to reshape already established silhouettes, giving new life and meaning to familiar shapes. This intention was in line with his experiences, feelings and emotions, as stated by Nicola. He said that Echoes was titled following the idea that many styles surround us, but they make less noise than we do: the real noise is the echo of the things inside us.

Nicola De Piano. Photograph courtesy Milano Moda Graduate, 2022.

On the catwalk, it was possible to admire a tribute of materials that together looked like a paradox: a detachable black lamb leather corset accompanied by wide-leg satin trousers, a white pleated shirt paired with a black crossbody backpack reminiscent of workwear. Nicola De Piano’s Echoes references his sources of inspiration, such as the violent but super cool teddy boys, the myth of Echo and Narcissus and the androgynous allure of the male subjects of Caravaggio’s paintings. 

Furthermore, De Piano’s avant-garde aesthetic fused with romanticism and the structuring typical of tailoring wants to reflect the ideal that uniqueness can also be achieved with minimal pieces, as long as there is a story behind them.
The Milano Moda Graduate event is an excellent springboard for the young designer, but it should also tell anyone wishing to enter the industry that, sometimes, doing what you love most and genuinely believing in it can make your dreams come true.

Nicola De Piano is an Istituto Marangoni Firenze Alumnus. He graduated in Fashion Design & Accessories in 2022.
Giulia Piceni is an undergraduate student in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze

1. Japanese brand YKK is a global leader in fastening accessories and zippers.

Salvatore Ferragamo, like many of us, was a great dreamer. His ambition and ability to think big helped him build an entire fashion empire.
Ferragamo’s life and achievements were recently portrayed in Luca Guadagnino’s Salvatore: Shoemaker Of Dreams (2021).
While the Italian director just presented to the world his latest movie, Bones and all (2022) at Biennale Cinema, the Venice Film Festival, Viktoriia Stanieva, writer and editor at I’M Firenze Digest, reminisces her experience with Guardagnino’s previous star-packed documentary film, featuring Manolo Blahnik, Martin Scorsese, Christian Louboutin and Grace Coddington, among others, an intimate narration with rich inside stories and archival footage.

by Viktoriia Stanieva. Cover image: Wenjie Dong for I’M Firenze Digest, 2022.

TIMELINES

I was lucky enough to find out the night before the premiere that the film Salvatore: Shoemaker Of Dreams was running here in Florence. As soon as I took my seat, I instantly immersed myself in his life adventures, experienced his growing up, achieving his goals and developing his character, and understood his path to such success. I feel fortunate because I had never experienced such positive energy and inspiration from anyone, especially from the other side of the screen.
Luca Guadagnino is a fiction director, recently famous for his work behind my favourite film, Call Me by Your Name (2017). His ongoing passion for the sentimental also shapes his particular style, often going into the detailed exploration of characters while presenting the viewer with beautiful sceneries, mainly focusing on big love and pride for his motherland Italy. All elements combined can be successfully translated into a documentary film about an Italian historical figure.
In 2019, Luca Guadagnino announced this unique project after reading Ferragamo’s autobiography. He quickly contacted his family members and the director of the Museo Salvatore Ferragamo in Florence to gather materials for the film’s production.
Ferragamo’s family happily gave him access to the family files to add to the footage and the already recorded chapters of that autobiography narrated by Salvatore Ferragamo himself.
The designer’s famous friends and fans, such as Manolo Blahnik, Martin Scorsese, Christian Louboutin, Grace Coddington and many others, willingly gave interviews telling their impressions of Salvatore Ferragamo’s life.
In particular, Martin Scorsese’s astonishment got stuck in my mind; the American director was impressed at how Ferragamo became an entrepreneur at the age of 12.

Wenjie Dong for I’M Firenze Digest, 2022.


I was especially fascinated by the personal footage of Florence from Salvatore Ferragamo when Salvatore and his family stood there almost a century ago. Via de’ Tornabuoni, which we casually walk down daily to get to the Istituto Marangoni Firenze campus, was less crowded and dotted with luxury shops. This creates a great contrast between past and present in Italy’s lifestyle and fashion, but it’s still amazing how Ferragamo’s vision can still be connected to both timelines.

FROM BONITO TO HOLLYWOOD

Salvatore Ferragamo was born in the small town of Bonito, in the Campania region, to a family of fourteen children, where, ironically, they could not afford shoes for him.
At a very young age, he was already making small milestones on the road to his future success: he worked extensively as a shoemaker’s apprentice to gain experience in shoemaking. We witnessed the real American dream we read about in the books: the guy who left everything behind and penniless crossed the ocean to reach another continent, to the land of opportunities, the United States.
Soon, he felt the firm foothold. At the beginning of the 1920s, Hollywood was just beginning to become its treasure trove of luxury living and a magnet for all movie idols.
It was exciting to see Guadagnino’s visual narration of archive sketches of famous shoe styles the brand still uses today or drawings of the “perfect fit” – Salvatore Ferragamo’s vision of creating the most comfortable heel and instep for women’s delicate feet.
Guadagnino put Salvatore Ferragamo on a pedestal as a “Leonardo da Vinci” of the shoe industry. Ferragamo worked with more advanced machinery for shoemaking while also studying foot anatomy to find the best fit. Later, he opened his first shoe store. Film studios noticed his unique approach to shoemaking. Like in the fairy tale of Cinderella, Salvatore created dreamshoes, individually approaching each client, adjusting his perfect fit to the most influential celebrities of the time like Joan Crawford, Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Lola Todd, Judy Garland and many more.

Illustration by Pietro Chiari for I’M Firenze Digest, 2022.

BLESSED AND CURSED

If Bonito was his starting point and then Hollywood was the birthplace of his success, then Florence was the landmark of his brand. After becoming one of the most sought-after designers, he could finally return to Italy to meet his wife, Wanda Miletti, build a strong family and establish his namesake Maison. Transferring all his knowledge to Italy, Ferragamo revolutionised the shoe industry. This incredible journey through hardships to the stars and a strong commitment made Salvatore.
In the tough post-war times, he was one of those who contributed to making Italian fashion recognised worldwide for its quality and design. In particular, Guadagnino highlighted Salvatore’s positive approach towards difficulties, which he always faced with a smile. The director also showed a typically Italian sense of unity and family as the designer’s family talks about Salvatore with great pride and respect and continues to carry the house’s legacy.
In one of the interviews, Luca Guadanino shared his perspective on becoming a successful director, just like Ferragamo did with his brand. He advised expanding the vision by watching movies and learning from mistakes, even if the result might not be satisfying initially. Guadagnino highlights the importance of surrounding yourself with a group of kind people who can create a shape around what you want to do.
I am proud to walk the same streets as Ferragamo, and I hope that one day I will walk the same path of self-development: “I have been blessed – or cursed, depending on how you look at it – with an incurably restless, probing mind and an inordinate capacity for hard work.”1

Viktoriia Stanieva is an undergraduate student in Fashion Styling and Creative Direction at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
Pietro Chiari and Wenjie Dong are students in Fashion Design Intensive at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.

1. Ferragamo, S. (2021) Shoemaker of Dreams. Milano: Electa.

Palazzo Portinari Salviati surprises and opens its doors to a new concept: Chic Nonna.
With a long career in Italian haute cuisine, Chef Vito Mollica stepped into one of the city’s iconic palaces. He told us what it is like to live with the ghost of Beatrice Portinari and Cosimo I de’ Medici.
Beatrice, Dante Alighieri’s angel woman, resided in the building, her birthplace, later succeeded by Cosimo I, the second and last duke of the Florentine Republic. The location is privileged: adjacent to the Duomo, with triple overlooks on the most central streets of Florence, the architecture, the frescoes that follow one another on the walls of the Palace, an enchanting place to slip into the chef’s gourmet proposal.
A multi-sensory, culturally rich journey where you can relax and let go, through art and food, with chef Vito Mollica, who we had the opportunity to interview.

By Gherardo Ulivi. Photos courtesy of Chic Nonna.

The secret of this encounter is dialogue, preserving such a great legacy, circulating it and connecting with it. The Prato-based architectural firm B-Arch of Sabrina Bignami and Alessandro Capellaro flirts with breathtaking interiors and makes purposeful design choices around an authoritative statue of Cosimo I, offering a worldly experience of trans-historical caresses.
Yesterday and today blend into grand vaulted arches, capitonné velvet seating and lush floral arrangements shattering thick blocks of light.

I’MF: Chic Nonna sees its home in Palazzo Portinari Salviati, among the most historic in Florence. How does such an ancient and celebrated past translate into our contemporary?

VM: The great thing about managing the entire food & beverage offering of a unique place like Palazzo Portinari Salviati is to be able to adapt the project to the specific identity of each space, from the cafe to the cocktail bar, through to Sala Beatrice, for private events, and the gourmet restaurant. Each of these environments has its personality, from the oldest to the most contemporary, to which we have tried to pair the most suitable food proposal consistently.

I’MF: The environment has a distinct architecture. How does your business interact with this space?

VM: The Prato-based architecture firm B-Arch of Sabrina Bignami and Alessandro Capellaro had the delicate task of renovating the dining spaces of a place steeped in history but which did not want to be a museum. Here, where the original frescoes and floors are the real protagonists, lighting played a crucial role in creating an intimate, welcoming atmosphere in every room. Together with our food proposal and service, this is one of the essential elements of my idea of fine dining.

Ristorante Chic Nonna

I’MF: What does it mean for you, given your long experience, to be in Florence, in contact with one of the city’s symbols?

VM: It is an honour to work in the city that adopted me many years ago. Welcoming guests from all over the world to this fabulous location is always a source of great excitement, which I have the pleasure of sharing daily with my incredible team.

I’MF: What makes the international offering?

VM: Chic Nonna was born to bring traditional cuisine and, more generally, Italian style to some of the most important tourist locations in Italy and abroad. In addition to its opening in Florence, opening a second Chic Nonnawithin the financial district in Dubai is highly anticipated, confirming an idea that meets a truly international taste.

Ristorante Chic Nonna

I’MF: A new food and wine proposal embracing art for a complete experience. How do you think these two factors can evolve in the future?

VM: Mine & Yours Group, the group that oversees the offering, of which I am a part as Director of Culinary, is a company specialising in luxury hospitality. It constantly scouts new venues standing out for their uniqueness and beauty, sometimes related to art, design, or a privileged location. This was the case with the Florence and Dubai projects, and will continue to be so in the future.

Gherardo Ulivi is an Alumnus from Istituto Marangoni Firenze. He graduated in Fashion Styling & Creative Direction in 2021.

On June 27, in the freshly opened MEET Digital Culture Center in Milan, a conversation took place between Maria Grazia Mattei, MEET Founder and President, Francesca Giulia Tavanti, former Art Programme Leader and current Director of Education at Istituto Marangoni Firenze, and Andy Picci, artist and I’M Mentor.
They discussed the current state of digital technology and its application to the art world and new educational models.
The main topics shared between the three speakers were the technological revolution currently influencing the world of art and the role of schools and mentors in shaping tomorrow’s creative minds.
Arts Curating student Giulia Piceni recounts the key moments of the talk for the readers of I’M Firenze Digest.

By Giulia Piceni. Cover image: Andy Picci, Never assume the obvious is true, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

THE VENUE

The conference The Digital Side of Art took place in the brand-new MEET venue in the Porta Venezia district in Milan. The founder and president, Maria Grazia Mattei opened the talk by describing the venue and the Immersive Room in particular, where the event took place: a 250-square-metre space that uses multiple projectors to display 4K images, 270 degrees on the walls, in line with the project philosophy.
The cultural centre took several years to be designed and created. It was eventually opened one year and a half ago, thanks to the essential help of Fondazione Cariplo. The concept initially came to the curator’s mind around nine years ago: the keyword behind the project is indeed the adjective “immersive.” Mattei didn’t simply want to create an exhibition space but a “house of culture” where people could breathe art, and dedicate an area to emerging digital art; a venue where we could finally experience the intangible digital world even through our bodies.

DIGITAL RENAISSANCE AT ISTITUTO MARANGONI FIRENZE

With Francesca Giulia Tavanti, Director of Education at Istituto Marangoni Firenze, the audience was brought to the meeting’s core concept. As she explained, we are experiencing a new world, a post-pandemic dimension in which people feel the urge to rethink and reimagine the world around them after the physical and mental immobility experienced during lockdowns.

MEET Digital Cultural Center, Milan. Photo: Mairo Cinquetti

In this sense, the art world is responding through a series of new ways of experiencing exhibitions and works in more immersive and engaging ways.
As Tavanti stated, “perspective itself was a tool for immersion” when Filippo Brunelleschi first theorised it in Florence during the early stages of the Renaissance.
Creating a vanishing point in any composition was an attempt to capture and control reality, the world around the artist and the spectator.

In this sense – she added – being Florence the capital of the 15th-century Renaissance, the city is also a valid candidate to be the perfect venue for today’s artistic revolutions.
Not by chance, a new attempt at immersing the spectator in a unique experience while reshaping the Renaissance city, has been (digitally) materialised through a recent educational project in collaboration with artist Andy Picci.

ANDY PICCI: MENTOR AND ARTIST

With the project Re:Mixing the city (might delete later), Andy Picci supported the second-year students in Multimedia Arts at Istituto Marangoni Firenze in creating a series of Instagram filters. The objective was to “reshape” key historical locations in Florence with the added layers of augmented reality. An innovative application of virtuality, a new way of interpreting the city of the Italian Renaissance through a new digital lens.

The artist declared that using a widespread platform such as Instagram was not an accidental choice. Not only do artists have the chance to display their artworks to a large-scale audience, but they are also making a big statement: an artist doesn’t need the physical limitation of a gallery to be exhibited.
For this educational project, Andy Picci’s contribution has been essential, considering that his young and talented pupils had only a few months to get accustomed to professional 3D design software.

In Picci’s opinion, this has been a chance for them to reconsider their artistic approach and the research process behind any artwork: skills and artistic sensitivity have been equally challenged during this special project.
Andy Picci stressed the importance of emphasising artistic investigation, as he underlined during the conversation that young artists tend to spend more time caring about graphics than the concept itself. As the artist stressed, our world needs new ideas and innovative perspectives, and education is key to building them.

RENAISSANCE

Even for Andy Picci, the art of the past is a primary source of inspiration. As he explained, we are exposed to more than 3000 images per day and looking back at other eras, getting to know the Old Masters is a perfect way to reset the mind and start creating.

Andy Picci, Digital Renaissance, 2020. Courtesy of the artist

The moderator Maria Grazia Mattei took this opportunity to create a perfect conclusion to the conversation by projecting a site-specific artwork by digital artist Refik Anadol: Renaissance Dreams (2021). The images of various artworks from the 15th century went on the screen and melted into each other, creating unique patterns that covered the walls of the Immersive Room at MEET.
As all the speakers explained, we can’t create our future without looking back at the past. We would be lost.

Giulia Piceni is an Arts Curating undergraduate student at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.

“MoCDA Digital Summer Show 2022” is a group show featuring 30 works by emerging creatives on the Decentraland Metaverse.
Organised by MoCDA (Museum of Contemporary Digital Art) in collaboration with international art schools and universities, the exhibition celebrates the diversity and energy of talented artists from all over the world while promoting new perspectives on digital creativity.
Amidst the selected artists, the show will feature the works of three students and alumni from Istituto Marangoni Firenze Multimedia Arts course.
The exhibition is scheduled to open its digital doors on Saturday, July 9th, at 4:00 PM CET.

by I’M Firenze Digest News Desk.

THE SELECTION PROCESS

After meeting 20 classes between March and April, the curatorial team received over 200 submissions from more than 120 students in May. The final selection reflects the many approaches to the process of creating digital art while offering an insight into a new generation of artists, featuring hand-drawn illustrations, 3D VR models, paintings, and digital illustrations.
From Istituto Marangoni Firenze, the curatorial team selected the works of ADAN (LOOK MOM I CAN FLY, 2022), Léa Colombier (ARTEFACT, 2019) and Sofie Engelschiøn (Enjoy the Silence, 2022), all students from Multimedia Arts courses.

THE EXPERIENCE

The “MoCDA Digital Summer Show 2022” is scheduled to open its digital door starting tomorrow, Saturday, July 9th, at the MoCDA building in Decentraland. To access the exhibition, use the following link (from 9th July, 4:00 PM CET), https://bit.ly/3nBnVXU

MoCDA building in Decentraland. Courtesy: MoCDA

THE MOCDA

Established in 2019, the Museum of Contemporary Digital Art is a museum platform that seeks to support the digital art category by documenting, collecting and advancing the position of digital art in a global context through unique curatorial insight and education. MoCDA is presented by a team of experienced curators who share the ambition of exhibiting a comprehensive selection of the most representative artworks of the digital art genre, from the pioneers of the mid-20th century to the contemporary digital artists that continue to evolve and adapt alongside new technological developments.

Léa Colombier, still from Artefact, 2019, HD video, color and sound, 4’48’’.

LECTURES, WORKSHOPS, AND PUBLICATION

Between June and July, MoCDA hosted dedicated events for the selected students, including lectures, curatorial group sessions and hands-on workshops. The program is aimed at offering insights in the theory and practice of displaying art in virtual spaces.
The lecturers include: Snow Yunxue Fu (New Media artist, curator, and assistant Arts Professor at NYU Tisch School of the Arts), Eden Mitsenmacher (Theory and Practice Tutor at Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam), Martina Menegon (Media artist, programmer and lecturer of VR and Interactive Arts at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna), Garrett Lynch IRL (artist, curator, theorist and lecturer at Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University), and Sasha Stiles (poet, artist, AI researcher and innovation strategist).

ADAN, still from Look Mom I Can Fly, 2022. 3D animation, 4k colour, and sound video on loop, 3’15”. 

A catalogue will accompany the exhibition, including an introduction by Serena Tabacchi, director and co-founder of MoCDA, and a text by Filippo Lorenzin, MoCDA Artistic Director, followed by special presentations written by the artists that offer an insightful view on the works featured in the show.

INFORMATION

MoCDA Digital Summer Show 2022
9th July – 25th September 2022
MoCDA building in Decentraland
To access the exhibition (from Saturday, July 9th, 4:00 PM CET): https://bit.ly/3nBnVXU

ADAN and Sofie Engelschiøn are undergraduate students in Multimedia Arts at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
Léa Colombier is an Istituto Marangoni Firenze Alumna. She graduated in Multimedia Arts in 2021.

Everywhere, Here, Nowhere is the Fashion & Art show for the graduating class of 2022 at Istituto Marangoni Firenze, displaying the works of the best Multimedia Arts and Fashion Design students together at Museo Marino Marini.
Located in the historic centre of Florence, the former 9th-century church of San Pancrazio hosts the exclusive event at 9 pm CET on June 15th 2022.
Though the physical event is by invitation only, a live stream will be available online for a broader audience starting at 9:30 pm CET on Instagram or Facebook.
The following is a complete description of the event to be used as a guide and documentation.

by Pia Diamandis & Elena Tortelli. Cover image: © Monogrid, 2022.

INFORMATION

Everywhere, Here, Nowhere is glad to welcome you in its in-between space, physically by invitation only at Museo Marino Marini Firenze at 9 pm CET or online with the live stream at 9.30 pm CET on Instagram or Facebook.

ART & FASHION: IN-BETWEEN EVERYWHERE AND NOWHERE

Being the Fashion & Art show for the graduating class of 2022, Everywhere, Here, Nowhere is the first time the two events take place together, exploring the space between digital and physical that connects art and fashion, a way to enhance the synergy between the artworks and the fashion collections of the School’s best upcoming artists and designers.
The interdisciplinary approach of Istituto Marangoni Firenze, the School of Fashion & Art, takes the attendants on a spatial journey from here to there and nowhere, through an art and a fashion show happening at the same time.
The hosting venue, Museo Marino Marini, embodies the event’s concept of liminality, with Everywhere, Here, Nowhere being a space that transitions between borders and boundaries. Museo Marino Marini was initially a Renaissance church, later converted into an art museum that hosts an event including art and fashion, spatially between virtual and physical reality.
The event is also a journey through the different floors of the museum, with the art show occupying the museum’s basement and the catwalk on the floor above it.

INDEX


You can use the following index to go directly to the preferred section of the event guide:

ART SHOW
THE ARTWORKS
FASHION SHOW
THE COLLECTIONS

ART SHOW

The art exhibition features a lineup of works by the year’s Best students graduating in Multimedia Arts. The show uses animation to discuss current issues that range from personal to societal discourses, everything from a sense of wonder, to queer identities, to being neurodivergent, and a reflection of our post-truth society.
The artworks emphasise the role of animated digital art, which, as visual culture researchers Esther Leslie and Joel McKim claim, has become “the dominant contemporary media”1.
Animation as a medium today brings machine mediation to a new level, having its own agency in influencing our creative freedom – think AI generated artworks or 3D graphics with distinct and easily recognisable volition. Society’s familiarity couples this ongoing proliferation of computerised graphics with machine-mediated visual culture, problematising the relationship between humans and machines as we experience reality through our smartphones, tablets, and more.
The featured works also call attention to our increasing acceptance of animation as a documentation of our reality that is not only physical but also virtual and the in-between, the phy-gital. The exhibition reflects how, during a three-year programme, the students have learned to use different phy-gital tools to translate their realities, whether virtual or not, onto a medium that is equally Everywhere, Here, Nowhere, at the same time.
Displayed in the crypt of Museo Marino Marini, the atmosphere of the physical space plays an essential role in the experience of Everywhere, Here, Nowhere. Low natural illumination and the event’s evening schedule brings out the resulting digital spaces, an immersive reality parallel to our own, one that is dark yet intimate.

THE ARTWORKS

All the artworks in Everywhere, Here, Nowhere are strictly tied to our use of technology and invite the audience to reflect on our relationship with it in different digital, physical, and phy-vital spaces, the cosmos, our bedroom, our mind, and our body.

01. NOEMI MESSINA, Spectacle, 2022. 3D video animation, original sound, 1’05’’ loop, beach chairs.

Particles dancing in the void, take viewers on a wondrous journey to the night of San Lorenzo. An Italian celebration of a night of shooting stars occurs on August 10, where people gather together in open-air spaces to sit back, celebrate life, and wish upon the stars. A spectacle of reality as a perpetual machine wheel that keeps turning without stopping.

02. MARCELLA OLIVIERI, The Keeper of Secrets, 2022. 3D video animation, 4’49”.

Guided by a figure named ‘The Keeper of Secrets’, we move through neatly kept secrets in a bedroom, an idealised safe space where you could take a breath. The film is a metaphoric animation of the ‘coming out’ moment, a decision that queer people make when they openly declare their sexuality to the world. The animation transforms the metaphor into a digital space, exposing the deepest secrets of someone still discovering their own identity while keeping it from a cold, unaccepting world.

03. MARCELLA OLIVIERI, Like The Lesbian Monkeys, 2022. Illustrated book, 21 x 29,7 cm, 50 pages.

Like the Lesbian Monkeys is an illustrated book with twenty coming out stories from queer people. The title alludes to how natural queer sexuality is, as other species such as monkeys, penguins, deers, and many more are also in queer relationships. The book resembles a children’s storybook without intending to be read by children, exploring the contrasts between sexuality discourse and being palatable for society.
The book features illustrations by Amane Aoyama, Ana Paz, Andrea Lainez, Carla Gomez, Daniela Cerna, Marcela Escalona, Sarah Valladares, and Marcella Olivieri herself.

04. AMANE AOYAMA, The Brightest Colour, 2022. VR 3D animation,1’47” loop.

The Brightest Colour, is a VR translation of the synesthesia that the artist, a person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), experiences when listening to Claude Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1. The work invites audiences to step in the shoes of a person within the Spectrum by wearing the VR headpiece to share the sublime moments.

05. AMANE AOYAMA, Samsa, 2022. 3D animation on video footage, 2’45”.

Aoyama’s second piece expresses a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)’s struggles with masking through 3D animation on real video footage. Represented as a chameleon on video, masking is a defence mechanism for neurodivergent individuals where they mimic neurotypical behaviour to avert conflict. The work provokes an uncomfortable feeling in its viewers to simulate what ASD patients feel when masking away the constant disturbances they encounter from seemingly mundane things such as riding the train or grocery shopping.

06. ADAN, A Tall White Fountain Plays, 2022. 3D animation, film footage, 4K colour, and sound video, 8’00”.

A Tall White Fountain Plays is a short film that intertwines a documentary on black holes with the recording of a podcast on misinformation. Featuring original 3D animation works, the piece touches on the overwhelming polarisation of information, and the uncertainty felt when intaking information on current events in a post-truth digital age, where believability holds key over the truth.

07. ADAN, Look Mom I Can Fly, 2022. 3D animation, 4K colour, and sound video on loop, 3’15”.

The immersive video captures the architectural beauty of the human body, focusing only on his back. Inspired by a back accident suffered by the artist, the piece uses 3D software to create an MRI-like effect that invites the viewer to look at the back as separate from the body and focus on its aesthetic composition. The piece’s colour palette and sound design further alienate the subject from its usual context.

FASHION SHOW

The fashion show starts at 9:30 pm CET, on the first floor of Museo Marino Marini while streaming live on Instagram or Facebook.
The fashion show showcases collections by the best students graduating in Fashion Design in 2022, chosen by an international jury: Urtè Ilginyté, XingXing Su, Montserrat Macias Cervello, Lydia Schneider, Ahjin Shim, Sana Krishna, Laetitia Wen, Nicola De Piano, Lucrezia Veltroni and Alejandra Martine De Castro.

The brand new creations are shown amidst Marino Marini’s sculptures and a series of AI-generated projections created by Monogrid mapping the walls of the museum. There, nature and art images reassembled through machine learning interact with the room and the attendees, highlighting the technological mediation we perceive in today’s visual culture.
Finally, this phy-gital enviroment features sound design by Emiliano Zelada, artist and Tutor at Istituto Marangoni Firenze. His work emulates AI, translating inputs and stimuli into sound sequences.

THE COLLECTIONS

Here, in their own words, you can find the designers’ statements and descriptions of their own collections, following the running order of the fashion show.

Best Fashion Design Students Fitting at Istituto Marangoni Firenze, 2022. Photo: Virginia Niccolucci

Urtè Ilignitè, THE WIND WILL CARRY US, 2021-2022 

Kite surfing is like flying – a feeling of freedom, lightness, and calmness. Like therapy or meditation, it is a way to distance oneself from reality. Being in nature, seeing water, sand, sun and becoming part of it.

Xingxing Su, LE GIVRE, 2021-2022 

The collection is a connection between me, the artist Katharine Morning and her pottery. The simplicity, the white monochromia, the flowers, the dew, and the magic world of Nature give us a unique and impacting visual party.

Best Fashion Design Students Fitting at Istituto Marangoni Firenze, 2022. Photo: Virginia Niccolucci

Montserrat Macias Cervello, REALISTIC MANIFESTO, 2021-2022 

Recalibration towards the exploration of different constructions. Expecting more expression of personal identity, and establishing it in the role of Art. Realization of our perception of the world in the forms of space, time, color, dimension, and thought.

Lydia Schneider, GRÜNALGE, 2021-2022 

Incorporating shapes, structures, materials, and light from Medieval armors, the collection desires to evoke contrasts echoing the appearance of insects’ sharp bodies. Colors and volumes are manipulated to create a different silhouette volume.

Best Fashion Design Students Fitting at Istituto Marangoni Firenze, 2022. Photo: Virginia Niccolucci

Ahjin Shin, FREE DIV’IN, 2021-2022 

Attracting things is often harmful. Toxic things are addictive. Bad habits are just learned. Nature is addicted by us, we are harmful.

Sana Krishna, THE DICHOTOMY OF WRINKLES, 2021-2022 

Several years ago on a flight, I looked out of the window, and I saw a beautiful sight. The beauty of the mountains and their shapes, the perfection and imperfection, the symmetry, and the asymmetrical details… It defined for me what true perfection is, it has to be imperfect.

Best Fashion Design Students Fitting at Istituto Marangoni Firenze, 2022. Photo: Virginia Niccolucci

Laetitia Wen, FLAIR IS FOUL, 2021-2022 

It’s a paradox, a mirage, a contradictory moral conundrum between appearance and reality. Things aren’t always what they seem. Appearances are often deceptive.

Nicola De Piano, ECHOES, 2021-2022 

It is an indefinite form, a multiplicity of deformations, the building of an emotion, a feeling, a relationship, an experience. It is the shape of a non-shape. By layering volumes an idea is built: the softness becomes stiffness, and the armor creates a link between your ego and the outside world. It is an idea, the ability to consolidate deformation.

Best Fashion Design Students Fitting at Istituto Marangoni Firenze, 2022. Photo: Virginia Niccolucci

Lucrezia Veltroni, MERCURIAL, 2021-2022 

The DNA of the collection reflect a social inadequacy and, at the same time, the need for self-expression. Life is a game, and we have to try to win. This can happen only if you feel the freedom to express yourself.

Alejandra Martine De Castro, JUXTAPOSITION, 2021-2022

The concept of Juxtaposition has always been a constant throughout my life. It is a bridge between sculptures and fashion, shapes, and silhouettes to provide a definition of wearable art.

ADAN, Amane Aoyama, Noemi Messina and Marcella Olivieri are undergraduate students in Multimedia Arts at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
Pia Diamandis and Elena Tortelli are undergraduate students in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.
Laetitia Wen, Lucrezia Veltroni, Nicola De Piano, XingXing Su, Urtè Ilginyté, Alejandra Martine De Castro, Sana Kirshna, Montserrat Macias Cervello, Lydia Schneider and Ahjin Shim are undergraduate students in Fashion Design & Accessories at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.

1. Leslie, E., McKim, J. (2017) “Life Remade: Critical Animation in the Digital Age”, in animation: an interdisciplianary journal, vol. 12(3), pp. 207-213.

DIS-CYCLING • The seductive allure of creativity in sustainability is the project presented by Istituto Marangoni Firenze in collaboration with the Maison FENDI.
It is planned to start in May 2022 and will involve, under the creative direction of New York artist Sarah Coleman, a number of students from the Florentine school in a process of recovering materials previously used in the brand’s window installations.

by IMF News Desk. Cover image courtesy of Sarah Coleman.

A selection of students from the courses of Fashion Design, Multimedia Arts and Textile Innovation will closely work with Sarah Coleman, internationally renowned for making the upcycling of luxury accessories the philosophy of her work and who has joined the prestigious I’M Mentors of Istituto Marangoni Firenze this year.
The project places the material at the centre of the creative process, thinking about how a discarded material coming from window installations in FENDI boutiques can be deconstructed to find new life in a completely new context and in the form of a work of art, also thanks to the collaboration with Pardgroup, the historic Italian brand that handles the window changeout operations of all the brand’s European flagship stores.
A creative and interdisciplinary project that includes online and in-person meetings with FENDI managers and Tutors from the Florence school, who will support the young talents in all the stages leading to the creation of an art installation that will bring matter and digital together.
Mentor Sarah Coleman will work alongside the students, accompanying them through the processes of conception, development, and final execution of their work, which will be showcased in autumn within the exhibition space at FENDI Factory in Capannuccia (Bagno a Ripoli, FI) and will be the symbol and at the same time the result of an increasingly integrated approach to the theme of sustainability.

Multimedia Arts students from Istituto Marangoni Firenze are working on an upcoming project on the city of Florence and its fashion history. The artistic director is digital artist Andy Picci, Mentor at Istituto Marangoni Firenze for the academic year 2021-2022. His project review and workshop with students in Florence was an opportunity for the I’M Firenze Digest Editorial staff to interview him. 

By Sofie Engelschiøn and Giulia Piceni. Cover image photo Virginia Niccolucci.

Since his first appearance as Pete Doherty’s doppelganger on the cover of Le Parisien in 2015, Andy Picci has never stopped provoking public opinion through his multifaceted artistic expression that went from poetry to digital art. His artistic practice mainly focuses on the definition of identity; in recent years, he started to create a series of Instagram filters to manipulate reality and our everyday perceptions and appearance.
Under his guidance, Istituto Marangoni Firenze students in Multimedia Arts are working on a large-scale project that will cover the historical city centre of Florence, enhancing multiple locations linked to the city’s rich fashion history through AR and Instagram filters. The project will be unveiled in June on this website. For now, we asked Andy Picci for further details on the project and his mentorship experience.

I’MF: To start, can you introduce yourself?

AP: My name is Andy Picci. I’m a conceptual artist, and I like to reflect on the construction of identity in the age of the hyper-digitised society. 

I’MF: How has todays review been?

AP: It was exhausting for me, and my students, I guess, [laughs] but also very interesting. It’s crucial for me to see how students explore many of the tools I analysed in the past, to see how they use them in different ways. It’s interesting to see what fresh and creative minds come up with from something I’ve been using for such a long time. 

I’MF: What is a mentor for you?

AP: A mentor, I guess, is someone who will find a way to enhance the creativity of others, each student depending on their vision. It’s not someone to look up to, but mostly someone that will be able to help the students bloom.

Andy Picci and Multimedia Arts students at Istituto Marangoni Firenze. Photo: Virginia Niccolucci.

I’MF: How can people experience the project? What are they going to find? 

AP: At the beginning of June, there will be an outdoor-virtual exhibition. People will be able to experience it through their smartphones across the city, using Instagram as a platform to discover each student’s work and iconic places in Florence playfully and interactively. It’s Florence under a fresh eye!

I’MF: What was the inspiration behind the Re:mixing the City project?

AP: I guess working with augmented reality and allowing the students to reinterpret the city was the central aspect of this project. It was a way to enable students who usually don’t have many exhibiting opportunities to share their vision of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

I’MF: For you, what is the relationship between public space and AR?

AP: At the moment, there’s some ambivalence in the audience’s eyes towards virtuality. But I believe that this is bound to change. The traditional way we differentiate reality from virtuality today is coming to an end. More and more interactivity will lead our daily life.
I think that using virtuality to enhance our experience of reality is just a logical step into augmented life. We’ve been doing this with all other inventions over time: making our lives easier and more performant. To make the best of what’s around us. This is what augmented reality is about: bringing the new layer of interpretation to something that we’d experienced in a very static way until now. 

Andy Picci
Andy Picci and Multimedia Arts students at Istituto Marangoni Firenze. Photo: Virginia Niccolucci.

Giulia Piceni is an undergraduate student in Arts Curating at Istituto Marangoni Firenze.

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