The exhibit curated by Francesco Dondina showcases the contemporary Italian graphic design scene through the works of 24 among the country’s most interesting designers.
The mail goal of “Signs. Contemporary Italian Graphic Design” is to offer an all-round representation of the current state of Italy’s communication design scene. The exhibit is curated by Francesco Dondina and produced by h+ in collaboration with BASE Milano, and will take place inside the recently refurbished spaces of the former Ansaldo industrial complex, now a multifaceted cultural hub dedicated to cultural production, experimentation and community building.
“Signs” launches an exhibition project centered on graphic design, in its broadest sense, and aims at showcasing the results and developments of contemporary Italian graphic design through the works of 24 among the country’s most interesting designers – both established and upcoming – each accompanied by his or her unique story, culture, education, age and language.
In this exhibit, emerging talents and renowned figures stand side by side: the public will be able to admire projects fostered by Alizarina, Stefano Asili, Mauro Bubbico, Ginette Caron, Cristina Chiappini, Gianluigi Colin, Pietro Corraini, Artemio Croatto/Designwork, Studio FM, Michele Galluzzo, Italo Lupi, Gianni Latino, Leftloft, Giuseppe Mastromatteo, Armando Milani, Maurizio Milani, Òbelo, Origoni Steiner, Federico Pepe, Mario Piazza, Massimo Pitis, Luca Pitoni, Guido Scarabottolo, Leonardo Sonnoli.
The exhibit also features a tribute to graphic design master Giancarlo Iliprandi, who recently passed away: “Signs” is dedicated to him. The curator commended the coordinated image of “Signs” to a young and promising designer, Fabrizio Falcone – choice that further underlines the project’s intent to showcase the new names of Italian graphic design. The entire project is animated by a desire to not impose boundaries or specific themes that would restrict the exhibit’s content as to embrace all aspects and investigate the peculiar differences of each creative sphere. The exhibit offers a 360° perspective of contemporary Italian graphic design, ranging from corporate identity to publishing, exhibition design, advertising and packaging all the way to web and information design. “Our daily life is literally surrounded and sometimes overwhelmed by information and visual shapes that form the very landscapes of our existence”, says Francesco Dondina. “Graphic design is everywhere: in our cities, homes, offices, stores, objects and communication outlets. It has taken on a role that is no longer limited to its functionality, for it has now become a structural component in our habits, behaviors, decision making and permeates all throughout the reality we live in”.
Stemming from these considerations, the exhibit set up was conceived in a way that allows different materials and languages to have a fluid dialogue. Each one of the 24 authors involved was offered a worktable, as to give off the feeling of an open studio, a container for both signature projects and works and, in some cases, preparatory mockups, drawings, three-dimensional models and prototypes that describe the radical and fascinating meaning-making – and communication – process behind the creation and design of artifacts. This rich and many-sided variety of materials (prints, sketches, articles, posters, both original and reproduced works exclusively prepared for the exhibit) sets the stage for a very specific message, a present-day testament including some of most relevant examples of Italy’s contemporary design and visual communication scene.
To crown the end of the exhibit, a special project will take place involving all featured artists in the creation of a unique body of work especially designed for BASE Milano. Content-wise, “Signs” is further enriched by moments of discussion, education and experimentation through a varied calendar of talks and workshops on both graphic and communication design which will also feature the authors on display.