Small events, great opportunities
Let me explain what it is like to make craft tech items in 2019
Soultech - making of
May 2019, I am in Chengdu, China, and Angelo Bucci (outstanding architect) sends me a message to invite me to participate as a designer in the exhibition organized by the Exhibition of Artistic Craftmanship in Abruzzo which over the years has become a confirmation to discover and deepen craft production of my native territory. It is beautiful because it hosts only local excellences and, although we tend to underestimate these events from the outside, we do not realize that the grandeur of our country depends for the most part on the qualities of these men and women who, knowingly or not, do search for excellence.
I caught with great enthusiasm the invitation to participate as a designer in the Design Loci section, the exhibition corner coordinated by Angelo, because I feel part of a enhancement process of the territory.
Back in Italy I set at work to understand what to do.
I am not doing self-produced design for now, and logically I should have done something to show my job muscles. I could exhibit tables and chairs and do my job as a studio bringing home the best result.
But it seemed limiting to me.
There I was sorrounded by craftmanship and I found it restrictive to bring a piece of furniture, I wanted to create a more sincere connection with the area covered and somehow launch a message with the designer's tools and sensitivity.
While I was trying to figure out what to do, I started to think about the use of the light bulb in the world of craftsmanship during the years.
Making a lamp is by now an established and rather simple thing. A ceramist, a carpenter, a blacksmith (etc etc) can wasily face the realization of a luminous shape starting from a common lamp holder and creating a lampshade.
But if we think in a more analytical way, the light bulb is a technology, a very advanced one back in time, which is now in everyone's hands and perfectly manageable. The world goes on and, as has it happened with the light bulb, there are many other technological supports that satisfy needs in a more linked way to the contemporary, easy to find and to install.
Then I said to myself that, as you can manage a lamp holder, you can also manage a speaker or a bluetooth sensor, creating an envelope to make a sound box.
Obviously I am telling you like it is super easy, in reality it is a process with its complications but, as the English say, "it's not rocket science".
From there, finding other available accessories was not difficult and I added an induction smartphone charger and a touch screen pen to the collection.
The role of the craftsman then is to do the case and that should be valorized too.
To make my drawings I went to the best artisan I know: Daniele Paoletti, a blacksmith who I call the "welding surgeon", also very good at creating finishes on metal with acid etching. And it is precisely the acid-etched technique that make the products look always different and very artisan, despite the fact that they host modern technologies inside.
The speaker, in metal and glass, is etched by spray, one with a dark finish and the other on orange in corten style. The fabric covering the case is colored by hand by my sister Beatrice, designer and theatrical costume designer.
The wireless charger is made of Sapelli mahogany and ash wood, lovingly turned by Oswaldo Filipponi, one of my trusted prototypers, who usually make my chairs.
The surface finishes this time are sacid-etched, but with supports, such as brushes and sponges that guarantee a product totally at the mercy of the inspiration of those who apply the acid-etching, as if it were the canvas of a painter.
The touch screen pen was instead the product that came most naturally to us, simple to make, which consists of a turned hexagonal rod, as if it were a pencil, and immersed in acid-etching.
It has 3 different shades, the longer a surface is exposed to acid, the darker it becomes.
In the end the result is technological, artisanal and extemporaneous objects at the same time.
WHY I CREATED A NEW WEBSITE
After many years I have finally decided to create a new website.
The first version came out around 2013 followed by a restyling in 2015 through a simple wordpress theme.
I was pretty satisfied, so the website remained unchanged for a long time. Later I started to analize the statistics concerning the behavior of the users on my web pages and I realized that the mobile traffic was almost null. At first I thought that my audience probably browsers designers' sites by desktop computers and not by phone.
I never surf on marioalessiani.com, except to update it. So when a year ago I was with an interior designer who was consulting it right on his smatphone I realized that the user experience sucked.
In that moment I decided it was time to put it away, but I wanted a new design with no usage of themes, following my rules.
First I stopped being behind the scenes. The studio bears my name and from now on I would like to make it clear to those who surf that they are browsing on the website of a designer and not of a design agency, bigger and more plural than my reality.
The design for navigation is obviously cut to the bone (who knows me knows why), with a classic projects section (in which I deleted what no longer represents me), a sincere manifesto (which I will further integrate later in the future), a blog where I tell a little about what I do (like today), a press section (on the advice of a friend of mine) and a contact form.
If you are reading via desktop I suggest you to try mobile. Let me know what you think by sending me an email, we accept advice and compliments.
Next week I will upload one of my last summer projects, a research on the relationship between craftsmanship and tech.
GRAZIE ! THANK YOU ! MERCY !
It has been a while since "Tra il Sole e la Luna" in Montone took place, I had few days of vacation and now I am back to my desk writing to you.
This is an email to say thank you for coming by, curious about that design exhibit in that unusual place.
I was very impressed in seeing your wonder, but I am super grateful for all your compliments for a job that I do everyday with a lot of dedition.
Explaining design is not that easy, talking with people around me I figured out that it seems to be a creative expedient to make "nice things".
But there is more.
There are processes, studies, failtures and a lot of people that make these ideas come to life.
Very special thanks to Natascia Innamorati, Marco Di Marcantonio and all Proloco Montone staff that wanted to showcase such a strange job.
Follow me on Instagram - Facebook - Pinterest - Linkedin - Behance.
Spoiler: Renma and I are working on my new website to be launched in September ;-)
SOUL_TECH collection will be exhibited during the 49th Mostra dell'Artigianato Artistico Abruzzese, hosted by Design Loci.
The exhibition will be from 1st to 25th August 2019 in Guardiagrele (Chieti, Italy) at Ente Mostra Abruzzese in Via Roma 28.