Fake in Italy

Paolo Cardini and Simone Muscolino combine Italian excellence with global culture stereotypes, altering the value and meaning of the “made in” system. 

Paolo Cardini, Simone Muscolinio, Fake in Italy, 2016
Paolo Cardini – Associate Professor in Industrial Design at Rhode Island School of Design – and Simone Muscolino – Director of the Art Foundation Department at VCUQatar – showcase a new paradigm on cultural hybrid and products identity. Italian products are among the most copied and counterfeit worldwide. In Italy this phenomenon takes the dimension of a real parallel economy able to move capitals equal to few billions euros every year.
Paolo Cardini, Simone Muscolino, Fake in Italy, 2016
Paolo Cardini, Simone Muscolino, Il Tagin, Nordafrican dish (Tajine), Fake in Italy, 2016
Fake in Italy is a project about cultural appropriation and objects’ identity. It takes the shape of a collection of experimental objects based on the mix between global stereotypes and typical Italian production excellence. Each object refers to specific habits or traditions, belonging to different cultures, but is produced in Italy, with Italian raw materials and know-how.
Paolo Cardini, Simone Muscolino, Fake in Italy, 2016
Paolo Cardini, Simone Muscolino, Gli Zoccoli, Japanese shoes (Geta), Fake in Italy, 2016
The business strategy is quite articulated and can vary within multiple intricate imports- export alternatives. Pirated goods are produced, distributed and bought both abroad and in Italy, merging incredibly well global and local market.
Paolo Cardini, Simone Muscolino, Fake in Italy, 2016
Paolo Cardini, Simone Muscolino, Il Mate, South-American tea cup, Fake in Italy, 2016
The “fake” model is based on different strategies and they can be summarized in three main categories: Copies where a product is accurately replicated and it responds to precise brands’ specifications, Reproductions where the use of a particular material or process is directly related to Italy, and Inspirations where what is reproduced is a general sense of belonging to the Italian culture. Inspirations are the most interesting, they involve a certain grade of creativity and, because they’re not limited to aesthetic and functional constrains, they reveal the full potential of new hybrid products.
Paolo Cardini, Simone Muscolino, Fake in Italy, 2016
Paolo Cardini, Simone Muscolino, Le Bacchette, Asiatic tablewear, Fake in Italy, 2016
Fake in Italy plays with the triptyque of ideas, material and process inviting marble and leather to open a dialogue with discursive design (which primary goal is to make the user think). Marble and leather are two of the most renowned materials belonging to the Italian tradition but, at the same time, they embody a certain identity conundrum. The famous Carrara Marble, for example, is extracted just above the Town of Carrara and for this reason, strongly connected with that location; at the same time, nowadays, the marble blocks are sculpt with modern robots, making possible a total de-localization of the production phase. For the leather what is happening is almost the opposite. The leather is still double-chained to a very local and typical Italian process that transforms row material into beautiful objects but the leather itself doesn’t derive from Italian cows at all (mostly from France, South America or east Europe). In this new perspective is quite hard to define the elements that make a product belonging to a certain place, or “made in ...”.
Fake in Italy wants to reverse the parameters of the equation, questioning value and meaning of the “made in” system, comparing local manufacturing with global stereotypes and reflecting on the hybrid nature of today’s products. Fake in Italy points at systems like Italy, but not limited to it, in which we often observe that a great effort is spent in building giant protective wall and little attention is dedicated to critically analyze new global identities and unavoidable cultural hybridity.

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