Upcoming Artists | Skaters

Hello guys, where are you now?
We are home in New York right now, making our album cover.

Where are you from? Who are the guys behind Skaters?
We are kind of a multi-nation band. Josh is from Hull England and the rest of us are originally from Boston. We are just a bunch of transplants in New York City, making rock records.

What have you done before playing together?
We’ve all been playing in different bands for years. It’s not our first rodeo.

Your “Schemers” EP was released in February 2012. Next month, in February, your “Manhattan” album comes out. How many things have changed in one year?
We’ve signed a record deal, had 3 different guitar players, recorded at Electric Lady Studios and played a lot more, both locally and abroad.

You live in New York, has this city influenced your “Manhattan” album in any way, obviously beyond the name?
Yes. The record is like a scrapbook of stuff that happened to us or things we witnessed in New York during our first year as a band. The whole record is about our lifestyle in New York and the evolving nature of the city.

The Skaters project goes beyond the music. Explain to us what “Yonks” is.
Yonks is a zine we started, to showcase our friends work. It was an excuse to throw a big party, introduce all our friends to each other and build a strong community of artists. It’s led to a lot of collaborations.

Can you recommend us some new bands?
The Drowners are our buddies here in NY, and they are about to blow up. You should also check out this dude from Brooklyn called Porches: pretty great stuff!

In 2014, new album! In addition to that, shall we also expect a tour? Maybe in Europe? Maybe in Italy?
I’d love to come to Italy! We’ve never been there and we are big pizza fans! We’ll be going to UK in February, so hopefully the rest of Europe soon after.

Enrico Chinellato 
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Touring Peter Zumthor’s world

Despite his starchitect status, Peter Zumthor was once defined reclusive mountain-dwelling architectural hermit. Just like himself, unless you live in Switzerland, his projects are difficult to stumble upon. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for a snowy architectural adventure, touring Zumthor’s buildings might be just the right tour to end the year with style. Even though the photographer Felipe Camus has toured Zumthor’s buildings in a 60 km. radius, we suggest a more ample tour, starting in Austria and ending with a relaxing day at one of the most famous spa’s in the world, Thermal Baths in Vals.

The first stop of this architectural tour, thus, should be Kunsthaus in Bregenz, Austria. Completed in 1997 the museum is in a constant state of flux, changing its exhibition spaces to accommodate international contemporary art, where Zumthor’s minimalist design adapts its spaces to the art that is showcased. Zumthor himself compares the building to a lamp: “It absorbs the changing light of the sky, the haze of the lake, it reflects light and colour and gives an intimation of its inner life according to the angle of vision, the daylight and the weather”.

If you are looking for a full immersion in Zumthor’s work, thought and life, you can’t but book his vacation homes in Leis, near Vals. The two houses were both made of timber and could almost be described as an enclosed viewing platform, with breathtaking views on the mountain landscape. From there, you should take a short trip to Sumtvig, where in 1998 Zumthor completed the Saint Benedict chapel, to Chur for the protective housing for Roman excavations, or even to Haldenstein, the beautiful studio of the architect himself.

And for an extremely glorious ending of this tour, both for the amazing architecture as well as the experience itself, you should visit the Thermal Baths in Vals. If you’d like to know what to expect, you’d better read what the author himself has to say: “Mountain, stone, water – building in the stone, building with stone, into the mountain, building out of the mountain, being inside the mountain – how can the implications and the sensuality in the association of these words be interpreted, architecturally? The whole concept was designed by following up these questions; so that it all took form step by step”.

Rujana Rebernjak 
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Interviewing Arnold Goron

His eclectic works remind us of DIY aesthetics, but they do not share the same youth-obsessed, underground look & feel. His favourite materials are generally low cost, but they dialogue with great luxury brands, enriching their spontaneity and their artistic coté. Arnold Goron, designer based in Paris, tells us something about his approach to work and what, day by day, keeps his multi-faced creations so prolific.

Set designer, illustrator, sculptor: does your educational background explain your eclecticism?
Yes. I have studied almost all the disciplines, from graphic design to illustration, photography, art direction, volume, etc. But I always had a real passion for sculpture.

In a time of digital hegemony, do you prefer to express yourself through manual work? Generally speaking, is nowadays hand labour in advertising and communication underrated?
The thing I understood after years of working in graphic design and others, is that in fact I am a manual. I just love to make things by myself, to make a physical effort, and to look at something real at the end of the day. Advertising must touch too many people to be done by hand. And I think it’s great that hand labour and handcraft are still a little exception in our computer world. Some brands understood that it can be great for them to communicate less but with a bigger impact.

On the other hand, has your handcraft experience changed your work as a digital graphic designer?
Yes, because when I was art director, I really liked to make straight and light graphic design. Now I make all the illustrations for Isabel Marant, in handwriting because in a way it looks less pretentious, it’s lighter with this kind of stupid message in a bad French / English sentences. It can be weird, but it takes me quiet a long time to make them. And it looks like the windows in a way, sometimes a little wobbly.

Isabel Marant is your longest collaboration: what makes your artistic relationship so special?
She trusts me. And that’s the best way to make great things.

You spent four days to assemble thousands of matches to re-design the logo of The New York Times‘ style publication T magazine: is patience another virtue we tend to underestimate?
Oh yes! I have always been very patient and oddly. I love to do things very quickly in a way, I want the final creation to look very easy and spontaneous. But I learned, from the window display for Isabel Marant, to find a real pleasure making the same things for weeks. You have to love spending time doing repetitive tasks. I am lucky to have found an assistant who understood that. Otherwise you get crazy.

Is there a work you are particularly proud of? And which is the one you’re more attached to?
I hope it will continue to be the last one I have finished! I just finished three big mobiles sculptures for Le Printemps at the Caroussel du Louvre. The one I am more attached to is Le clown, a very small sculpture.

Besides your assignments, do you still find the time to work on your personal experiments?
Yes, because in fact I try not to make any difference besides commissioned artwork and personal sculptures. I have this chance.

Giulia Zappa 
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Tony Conigliaro – the Alchemist

Mr. Tony Conigliaro is far from a mainstream bartender. Recognized as one of the most important mixologists in the world, he works in his laboratory to create cocktails that will take you through an experience that you’ve never lived before. We went to London to visit him in his bar at 69 Colebrooke Row.

In a way you are a creative. Where do the ideas for your cocktails and their creation come from?
The inspiration can come from anywhere, from different places. It can come from something that I taste, from something that I find, from a concept, also from a film, or even while smelling a perfume or from a piece of music. Everything is out there. Then I work on those ideas, both by using flavours or trying to make flavours work together.

I got to know that you have a laboratory, where you experiment with those ideas.
Yes, it’s called The Drink Factory. It’s in the old Pink Floyd Recording Studios, not far from 69 Colebrooke Row! It’s kind of a flavour library where we also have the kitchen. There we test everything, try new ideas out and create the ingredients for the bar.

In Italy, food has always been a primary concern but in this period, we have a food craze: food is everywhere. Is there any influence from food in the drink culture and in your own experiments?
Well, I think it’s a cultural thing. The world is really paying attention to this return to the flavour. They want to go back to a concept in which food is not just food, but something that communicates. I grew up in a house in which food is a family thing, and it’s also something typically Italian. Italian people talk about food more than anyone else on the planet. That culture has always been part of my culture as well. And now it is also part of the culture of the Drink Factory, where all the conversations are about food. All day long! Linking that to the outside, we’re into the food loop and we’re constantly aware of what’s going on, thanks to the communication we have with local people. We are part of the community.

As you said, food is becoming very visible and mainstream. The most visible part of that are TV programs and reality shows such as Masterchef. Do you think that something similar may happen soon with bartenders?
Well, I think there are some important differences between the culture of food and the culture of drinking, in the sense that food is nutrition while drinking is not. You also have to see a reflex in the idea of the fear, how the drink culture is perceived and its danger. People are becoming more aware that it’s not just the culture of getting drunk.

I recently read an article about Mezcal. What do you think is a spirit category or an ingredient that deserves more attention?
I find it really interesting reading about this kind of artists bringing out new spirits and people like Ron Cooper are doing great things. Bartenders take it on board and it becomes their own and then it’s passed on to the customers and then to the wider public. I think it’s a very important thing that we appropriate these things and broadcast them, because without the bartenders a lot of these drinks wouldn’t be around. Of course, in the end the public is responsible for making a “movement” start.

Are you going to embrace any specific category or are you just experimenting at this moment?
We are constantly moving in different ranges, looking for something that is new, fresh and exciting, so that we are not just repeating or walking down the same path.

Vintage drinks, mad-men-era cocktails, speakeasies… Like in fashion we’ve been looking at the past as a source of inspiration for quite some time.
I think that in the past two or three years the movement of speakeasies, Milk & Honey, with Sasha Petraske, started. Fashion has been moving in a certain direction, then second hand clothing has always been there. It feels like with the development of speakeasies, people became more interested in those things. It’s not strange imagining that it had an influence on a wilder culture.

In your opinion, which country or city has the best bar scene?
I think there are lots of great bar scenes. I think that London has a very, very strong one, because it’s been going a lot longer for cocktails. Seventeen or eighteen years ago we’ve been the first people to really have barmen. Though, there is a lot of nice places that are abroad. I think it is the people changing things. They are making the whole global community interested in this. Other cities are doing interesting things, such as Milan or even Japan. Each scene is different and each one appraises the whole scene, that is what’s important. I think it’s not about just one city or one country. It’s all about people. Something similar to what the cocktail is.

Have you ever had a great drink-related experience in Italy?
Yes of course. I was in Milan recently – we went to great bars and had a lot of fun. I think there are lots of great things happening in Italy, because things are moving now. It’s an exciting period and Italy is changing.

Do you think that Italy has a ‘signature’ when it comes to drinks?
What’s really interesting about what’s happening in Italy is that there are boundaries between what came before and the more modern movements. I think it’s fascinating how they are meeting in between. Bartenders from the old school are now trying new ways of doing things. It’s a mix between the past and the future.

Can you tell us something about a project you are currently working on?
One of the most interesting projects we’ve been working on, for the past two years, is the Terroir project. Basically it means blending three distillations of flint stone, clay and reindeer moss. So, we distill vodka and then blend it. It was released in 2012 and that project is continuing. Now we are working to create a Champagne Terroir, studying the air and atmosphere!

Special Holiday Drink by Tony Conigliaro

As soon as the winter months draw closer our craving for Panettone increases. The combination of dried raisins and citrus peels with the sweet vanilla notes of the bread transports us to a world of Italian tradition and indulgence. Combining these aromatic notes with Prosecco, our Panettone Bellini is a pure delight for the winter months.


- 50ml Panettone puree

- 100ml Prosecco

Interview by Simone Oltolina – Image courtesy of Luca Campri 
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Upcoming Artists | Love the Unicorn

The project was born in Saragossa and took form in Rome. Can you tell us how did things go?
Yes, the project was born in Saragossa, where Emiliano and Riccardo (guitarists) were doing their Erasmus. Back in Rome, they involved me, Marco (vocals), in the project. After several changes, also Francesco (drummer) and Raffaele (bassist and synth), became permanent members of the band.

Love The Unicorn is a pretty unusual name for a man band, don’t you think?
For some people, it is a little bit ambiguous. But until now it has been quite successful.

Your first EP, Back to 98, has been released in 2011. What was it about? Has it been an important year for you or was it just a nice title for the EP?
I haven’t talked about Back to 98 for a long time. In the beginning, Bt98 was not supposed to be an official release. It was just an early experiment in a recording studio, a small workout that, when Raffaele arrived, drove us to the birth of Sports. Instead, this EP helped us to leave Rome, also due to some good reviews that we received. Bt98 talks about everyday life stories: the ’98 is just an excuse to say that if these stories would have happened in a different year, lacking of important events, it would have been easier to deal with problems and cultivate feelings.

From your self-produced EP to “Sports”, the WWNBB collective appeared. How did it happen?
Sports is an EP divided into 6 pieces. It represents our maturation, our debut! After having talked to Enzo Baruffaldi, member of WWNBB, and having sent him two of our new demo tracks, the collaboration started. We were very happy to work with them, also because all our Italian music references came from WWNBB. Their professionalism and all of their knowledge in the music field, especially in this genre, helped us a lot.

How was Sports born? And how did you create the artwork of the album?
Sports is the result of an effort that lasted more than a year. We were already playing some of the songs and the great thing was seeing our songs grow and mature with us. We wanted to start in an honest and fresh way. Sports is a collection of honest songs. In this case, once again, all the lyrics talk about real life stories, more or less common to everyone. They talk about things that should make people feel better. Sports manages to sum everything up in just a single word. It is not something that you just do as an habit, but something that makes you feel good. The artwork has entirely been handled by Federico Antonini.

What about the idea for the video of Toulouse?
The idea of the video was closely linked to the one of the song. Toulouse is only an ideal location, a symbol of peace; the place where you can escape to with your mind, as Disneyland for a child. Hence the idea of collecting videos that date back to the early years of Disneyland in California. It has been edited by Francesca Erba.

You have opened the concert of the Swim Deep and the Splashh in Rome. How did it go?
Both of them went well. For us it is always a pleasure to share the stage with foreign bands that we admire. You always make new friends, receive new compliments and criticisms and sometimes even advices. A date that we will always remember with a lot of pleasure is the one that we shared with Holograms in Milan. They are hilarious and we have created a beautiful relationship with them. We hope to meet them soon.

Is there any band that has inspired your sound?
Each of us has different musical influences, that are really useful when we create a new song. Sometimes we are compared with big international names. We feel like we don’t belong to it.

Is there any band’s concert you would like to open or viceversa? Which band would you like to open one of your lives? You can shoot high.
There would be too many. Sometimes it’s better not to think about these things. We would love to share the stage with Mac DeMarco and his band. At least, we are sure it will not be bored.

Your sound is particularly summery or at least for me it is. Do you agree with this or do you think that an album like Sports is also suitable for a month like December?
We fully agree, but it is also true that winter can bring back a summertime nostalgia. We think this is an album for every season.

Can you live off music or is it just a passion at the moment?
Let’s say that for now our music career is self-perpetuating. For the moment, we are not losing money despite all the expenses that an artist has. This also allows us to invest in new projects, and it’s not a trivial matter.

What’s coming up in 2014?
We will end up promoting Sports for a few last dates. Then we will lock ourselves in the studio to work on new things. We cannot wait to come out with a new album but at the same time we don’t want to do things in a hurry.

Will there be any dates abroad? I have noticed that there is a great interest in you in other countries.
We have received many proposals from other countries, particularly from England, but it has been difficult to finish everything. We can say that we didn’t want to do it too early. In the end we consider ourselves a relatively ‘new’ band, we still have to mature in many aspects and in any case it will better to go abroad when we have a real album. However, the interest is very high. Despite the release with the English Dufflecoat Records, which is still working well, Sports came out also in France and Japan on some online stores. When someone asks us on Facebook when are we going to play in France, Holland or even in Mexico, we are incredibly pleased. We hope to make them happy one day!

Have you ever played Robot Unicorn Attack – Heavy metal? I highly recommend it to you.
It’s one of the essential applications on our i-Phones!

Enrico Chinellato 
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In conversation with Jana Sterbak

It’s 12 o’clock of a cold winter morning when we arrive to the Raffaella Cortese Gallery, to interview Ms. Jana Sterbak (b. 1955, Prague), the Canadian artist, that has just opened an exhibition with the emblematic title Human condition: the limits of our freedom. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed. We feel at ease. The conversation starts.

You have constantly analyzed the human condition, in all its emotions. In most of your works we can see people under restraints. Proto-Sisyphus (1990) and Remote control (1989) are just some examples/metaphors of players unable to act freely, so let’s start from the title of this show, which are the limits of our freedom?
Well, I think there are many things in our lives that we don’t choose, but we just have to do them. We have to accept the situation in which we are born, the location and the familiar circumstances, that will somehow affect our lives. But you are not asked if you want them or not. It is something that you have to accept and handle. This is one of the conditions of our freedom that we have to deal with.

How do you react when you feel impotent or caged?
You know, I’ve been lucky. I mean, I feel luckier than many other people, because I have a lot of freedom. The reason why I can reflect on these issues is that I have all this freedom. Many people who have their time occupied by daily work, family and children do not have the freedom to even think about all these things: they just have to go them through. I think the role of artists is to sit and think about what they see and then analyze it.

You often show the perishability of human bodies and their vulnerability. In Catacombs (1992) we see parts of a human body, the same with Golem (1982), a kind of dismembering ritual with a strong and primary aptitude that seems to tend to death. What does the body fragmentation and the process of degeneration mean to you?
I think that it’s the same thing for everyone. It means that we are not going to be here forever and that we have to do our best to take care of ourselves and stay around longer, to learn what life is about, because if you die too young you will not have the opportunity of discovering a lot of things. It is also about the fact that we all have to die and the soonest we can make it real, the better is for us as human beings.

But why do you choose such a strong way to express it?
Because I consider it a direct and clear way. It is a strong issue, you know, it is an important reality a lot of people want to ignore, but we all have to die, one day or another. It’s useful to be prepared.

What do you think about the current, somehow desperate, fighting against the process of time?
Well, I think it’s just a matter of extension of certain things, but it’s not a solution. It’s just like building a sand castle next to the sea… the sea will sweep it away, so it is the same situation. It isn’t a cure.

Today women are described as fragile, scared, abused, underestimate, but also as independent, aggressive and courageous. To which kind of woman do you feel closer?
This is hard to say, I can only be myself. I don’t have children and as you see my life is fairly free. It is difficult for me to give you an answer. However, there are certain biological phenomena that make women age quicker and be more vulnerable because of their reproductive system. These are biological facts, but we also have a cultural history in which we are placed. I think that nature is still unfair to women because until recently, without medicines or contraception, the sexual act was potentially dangerous. Only since the Sixties’, the sexuality has become equal between men and women. But we still have two different kind of sexualities and I think it is a matter of both biology and cultural condition, that affect all women’s lives.

Fighting against patriarchy is a key factor that always rules the work of another artist of this Gallery, Kiki Smith. But while for Louise Bourgeois this approach was focused on men’s destruction, Smith drives her attention to women’s diverse forms of mourning. What’s your position?
I think that we have to accept it, because there is nothing we can do about it. There are always going to be various degrees, but it won’t completely change. I think it is better to be aware and conscious of it. If people have daughters, they should let them know earlier how life is, because it is something that we can’t completely eradicate.

Don’t you believe that women are able to “evolve”, transforming themselves in a kind of Hecate, embodying the maiden well aware of her nature and power, and able to move between objective and unconscious reality?
Oh yes, it’s possible, but again, I think it’s not available for everybody. Certain good conditions, like the ones of birth, physical or beauty maybe, certain intellectual properties and confidence are required. It’s a conjunction of many issues; temperament also… These are those kind of things that you have to be born with. Of course you can create them: your creation is part of it, but what is given at birth is fundamental.

Creating art can be seen as the result of a post-traumatic experience, a kind of exorcism or an emotional release. What does “making art” mean for you? And, how would you describe your process of creation?
Not for me. For me it’s a matter of transforming ideas into forms, because having ideas is always very nice, but it’s not demanding, while transforming ideas into physical realities is something challenging and for me it’s a way of being in the world, of learning and getting new stimulations. So, depending on the different things that I produce, I need help and information. The research is the most interesting part. For me, creating is a learning process. Ideas evolve through the necessity to make them concrete, giving them substance and a shape. This informs me about issues that are not necessarily formal issues.

What do you do when you are not creating?
I read a lot. It makes me relax.

Many young artists seem to take inspiration from a period that you have lived intensely – the 70’s -, but for some or most of them it is just a matter of aesthetic, since the 70’s and its issues are gone. What do you think about it?
It’s hard for me to comment that in general, because I don’t teach. But let’s take the example of this exhibition in Venice, When attitudes become form: the fact that people want to recreate something that existed in those years is already a signal that we are leaving in a society with a lot of nostalgia, a lot of “looking at the past”, and this could be very dangerous itself; but on the other hand, those years were incredibly fruitful, giving rise to a lot of thinking and art making that we have not processed yet. I guess this is the reason why they are constantly coming back. Of course, I think that we have to do new contributions, but not everybody can do them. I think we can get information from the past and apply it to the future. It is very important for all the artists, for all the people who make creations, to know what happened in the past and to be very aware of what’s happening now. In that way we can create things that are going to be useful in the future. I don’t know if people are doing it right now, because I live in my own universe, but I think that being young now is more difficult; there are less opportunities, everything is more expensive, so many things have already been done, so it’s hard for me to judge.

When you created Vanitas: Flesh Dress for an Albino Anorectic (1987), did you expect such a strong effect on the audience?
No, not at all. It was something that interested me and I thought it was a good idea. When I created the flesh dress, I was more worried about the practical things. I think I create with the same strength, perhaps less spectacular, but when the scandal came up in Canada I was very surprised, even if it didn’t touch me so much. The fact that people still talk about it and that it has been copied by Lady Gaga really surprise me, because that piece is the same age as this girl. I think that she would have meant something else. Anyway, I guess I should be happy to see that this work, which is historical by now, is getting a new life.

Are there any events that you consider the most important in your life?

Perhaps the facts that I was born in another country and that my parents moved to Canada when I was a teenager. Arriving in a different place at a very young age made me realize the relativity of values, customs, you know, being in a country where everything was different made me reflect on what was important and what I really liked.

Do you feel Canadian now?
I couldn’t live in the Czech Republic anymore, but I don’t feel Canadian. The European values that I inherited are not 100% compatible with the Canadian ones, but living there is easy, I feel fortunate of having landed in Canada, because it is a very supportive place for artists. The society is accepting people’s differences and it is simple to be free.

My last question, a personal curiosity. You are an intimate artist, have you ever kept a diary to write and draw your thoughts?
Not really, I keep a kind of recorder of ideas, when I do not have time to execute. There are periods in which I have a lot of ideas, so I just make notations and sketches and I go back to them later, when I have more time to develop them. But it’s not really a diary about what I do. I used to keep a diary with all the films that I’ve seen and all the books that I’ve read, but I stopped doing it. I don’t now why…

Time goes by very fast and, even if we could have talked to Jana for hours, we don’t want to take advantage of her kindness. Just the time for a guided visit of the show talking about the positive and negative aspects of the cyclicality of life, the symbols of power, the contemporary tendency to uniformity and commercialization and the issues related to gender. Thank you and good bye, Jana.

The exhibition will run until February 8th 2014, if you are around don’t miss it!

Monica Lombardi – Image courtesy of Raffaella Cortese Gallery 
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Upcoming Artists | JAWS

Hello, how are you and what have you done today?
Hey! Today I have been shopping in Birmingham. It was cold.

Who are the JAWS and how was the band born?
The JAWS are Eddy the drummer, Huddy the guitarist, Jake the bassist and me, Connor. We all met at the Halesowen College and shortly after decided to create the band!

Tell us about your musical background.
We’ve all been in and out of bands, before JAWS. Eddy and I used to play the drums in metal bands and Jake was a drummer in a pop punk band. Can’t go wrong with 3 drummers, right?

Has Birmingham influenced your music? If so, in which way?
I don’t know, I guess it has influenced my music somehow… A lot of things that happened in my life, happened in Birmingham. That’s the reason why I write songs about it.

What do you think about the B-Town?
No one from Birmingham actually says B-Town! In terms of scene it’s pretty great and the shows are always full of familiar faces and friends.

Is this music scene something real or is it just a kind of hype created by the media?
It’s real.

How was the experience of taking part in the Reading & Leeds festival? Was it your first time at a crowded festival? Were you scared?
It was something else! We didn’t expect the reactions that we got and I think that’s what made it all even better. It was our first time at Reading & Leeds so we were all really nervous. To me a bigger crowd is easier to play for, so when I saw how many people it turned out to be, it became such an easy show to play and a really fun one.

How has the tour in the UK been?
Now that it’s over I realize that it has been so much fun. The London show has been a crazy one. I can’t wait to go back on 2014.

You guys really take care of the graphic aspects of your videos, album covers and merchandising in general, isn’t it? Is it just one person taking care of it, or is it the whole band?
A little bit of both. Sometimes it’s me coming up with the ideas, but if the rest of the band doesn’t like them, then we don’t develop them. In the end, it’s always the whole band coming to a decision.

What are the JAWS preparing for 2014?
We are preparing a tour and hopefully we’ll present our debut album, so fingers crossed!

Enrico Chinellato 
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Guest interview n°51: Guido Biondi

President’s is one of the most innovative contemporary Italian brands. In an era of fast culture and even faster fashion, its creative director Guido Biondi has decided to take things slow. Made of essential, but meticulously designed pieces, each President’s collection is an ode to quality Italian manufacture, timeless elegance and bold style. We have sat together with Guido for a pleasant chat, discussing President’s past, present and future.

Could you explain the concept that guides President’s collections? Do you have a ‘recipe’ to follow when you create each collection?
If we were to sum up the silent guidelines we follow for each President’s collection we should say that the inspiration comes mainly from items of the past. What could be understood as timeless pieces is brought together and translated in a unique collection, contaminated by various cultures and styles with a strong contemporary twist. President’s style is raw, authentic and elegant, while it also pays an ode to the supremely Italian sartorial tradition fused together with continuous research of quality fabrics.

Do you feel the weight of Italian fashion heritage? How do you feel President’s fits in this heritage?
President’s brand was first registered in 1957 by my grandfather, but it was never used until three years ago. I have decided to add the “Crafted in Tuscany” phrase to the brand’s name in order to make people understand my passion and dedication to Italian textile tradition, as well as the country’s crafts in general. The reference to tradition and heritage is one of the fundamental qualities of President’s collections, and we continually seek to develop new collaborations with artisans and local manufacturers.

You stress the importance of quality materials. Could you tell us something about the materials you use, how and where are they produced, how and why you choose them for your collections?
When we source new materials, I am always interested in knowing where does the raw material come from. Whether it is cotton, linen or wool, I always try to find out how the yarn is produced, if the farms or plantations are sustainable and top-notch quality. This is the reason why we choose to produce all of our collections in Italy, mainly in Tuscany.

The summer and autumn collections seem very different yet somewhat similar at the same time, where did the inspiration come from for both of them?
The summer and winter collections are brought together by core values of the brand: offering a unique, exceptional product in a contemporary interpretation of classic menswear pieces. The winter collection draws inspiration from the military world, interpreted in a neat, sartorial key. The summer collection, on the other hand, plays with 60s Puerto Rican Americans’ style, interpreted in a lighter tone.

What kind of man do you envision would wear your collections? Do you think that contemporary clients value and know how to recognize the quality manufacture in an era of fast production and consumption of low-cost brands?
A President’s man is a globe-trotter, with a variety of interests from art and culture, to underground movements. He loves and appreciates beauty and quality craftsmanship and chooses our clothes because he knows they will last for a lifetime. I think that our ideal clients understand and appreciate the quality manufacture and precious detailing of our clothes. You cannot notice the handmade quality of our products, especially in a world made of low-cost fashion.

How would you like to see the brand develop in the future?
In the future, I hope to be able to develop products that are even more smart, neat and well-finished. In particular, my biggest aspiration is to open a series of President’s boutiques, developed with a new concept, offering a unique shell for our products. Hopefully the future will bring new challenges and exciting new projects.

Rujana Rebernjak 
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Guest interview n°50: Giorgia Zanellato

Giorgia Zanellato is a storyteller. Her projects tell stories about our history, our relationship with objects that surround us, how they should be used, looked at and loved. Her projects teach us about beauty, honesty and diversity. Giorgia was born in Venice not so long ago, and this makes us appreciate her work even more. In a country that doesn’t offer much to younger generations, more so if they happen to be industrial designers, Giorgia has managed to find her spot under the sun through dedication, passion and unconditional love for her work.

Where did you study and how has this influenced your work?
I studied Industrial Design at IUAV University, in Venice, and later did a master in Product Design at ECAL, Lausanne. Both schools have taught me fundamentally different things: at IUAV I have learned more about design history, how design should be functional and formally ‘appropriate’, following the traditional notion of “form follows function”. On the other hand, ECAL was more about getting my hands dirty, making stuff and learning how to effectively communicate it. Combined, both approaches gave me the basis for developing my current design process.

If you hadn’t studied design, what do you think you’d be doing today?
I always say that if, for any reason, I should quit working as a designer, I would love to open a flower shop. That is, if I should ever be able to wake up that early in the morning.

What would you say is the most important characteristic of your work?
I am not sure what is the most important characteristic. I do know that I always try to give shape to a story, not only an object. I love to experiment with unconventional materials and finishings, with the idea of creating associations that can tell a story about the object itself, not only about how it should be used.

How would you describe your design process? Is there a ‘recipe’ you always follow?
My inspiration often changes – I can start from images, materials or stories which guide the creation of a narrative, further developed through extensive research. Only at this point I start working on the actual form, a process which could basically last forever, so I really have to find a compromise and learn when and where to stop. The material is a really important part of my process and I never choose it at the end. It is what guides the design process, but I wouldn’t say I always follow the same recipe.

Which one of your projects do you like the most and which one the least and why?
The project I like the most is Stock Collection, developed thanks to Luisa Delle Piane, who invited me to create a collection to exhibit in her gallery during Salone del Mobile 2013. I was totally free and I could experiment with unconventional colours and materials. Luisa gave me the freedom to try something risky and at the same time to be able to use precious materials (such as marble) that I have never used before. The first time I saw the collection was during the opening of the exhibition and I remember that was one of the happiest moments in my work so far. The one I like the least is a project I did before developing Narciso, my collection of mirror vases. It’s called Useful Ornaments and it has the same starting point as Narciso: creating a series of functional vases. I was trying to work with Murano glass blower without knowing exactly what I wanted to obtain so the result was a disaster. But without that project I could never have done Narciso.

You are currently working at Fabrica, could you tell us a bit more about the design studio there, what projects are you working on?
Fabrica Design studio, which is now called “Design Dialogues” is a team of around 12 young designers, coming from different countries, from Japan to Portugal, that work together under the art direction of French designer Sam Baron. I am working there as a consultant and the best part for my work is to constantly have the possibility to share ideas with so many different perspectives and cultures.

What would be your dream project that you haven’t yet had the chance to design?
More than creating a project for someone, it would be creating it with someone. My dream would have been to work with Ettore Sottsass. To work with a ‘master’ would surely be a dream come true, as I consider it the best way to continue learning. I strongly believe in confrontation between people as the best way to improve one’s work.

How do you envision the future development of design? What do you think is the role of design and designers in today’s society?
Design is much wider than only industrial design and design is currently being developed in so many different ways. Smaller companies are being born and designers are also working not only on creating objects, but also on developing new kinds of needs and new kinds of users. Design is becoming much more accessible. I wish there would be a more productive collaboration between companies and young designers where smaller companies would believe more in the role of a designer, especially in Italy.

What is your favourite and what is your least favourite book?
One of my favourite books is “Q” by Luther Blissett, but I also love “Little Prince“, I still like to read it a lot. I don’t actually have a least favourite book, cause if I don’t like a book, I am not able to read it until the end.

Rujana Rebernjak 
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Upcoming Artists | Green Like July

Hello guys, how are you?
Fine, thank you.

Who do I have the pleasure of speaking with today?
You are speaking with Andrea. I play the guitar, sing and dance in the band Green Like July.

Where are you from?
We come from different parts of Italy, but we all are curretnly living in Milan. I was born and grew up in Alessandria, Paolo is from Voghera, while Marco and Roberto are from Lama dei Peligni, in Abruzzo.

You were born as a band in November 2003, but your name is Green Like July, why?
The reason is purely phonetic. It could have been the E Street Band, Hawkwind or Judas Priest, but those names had already been taken.

Three hashtags to describe Green Like July.
# Rock #and #roll

On September 17th, your latest album, Build a Fire, has been released. Do you like it? I mean, was your goal creating an album like this or you imagined it in a different way?
We are very happy with the way that it sounds and we are proud of the work that we have done. We were certainly conscious of the potential of our songs. Build a Fire was conceived after three long years, in which we managed to define the structure of each song and we worked very hard to give the right sound to the album. Then, the contribution of A.J. Mogis and Enrico Gabrielli has been essential. We imagined an album like this, but then things went better than what we expected.

Build a Fire arrives two years after Four – Legged Fortune. Why so long? What did it happen in the meanwhile?
I am a very picky musician and I need the time to write. Sometimes the creative process evolves immediately and in an spontaneous way, but other times it means days of effort and hard work.

The album has been recorded at the Arc Studios in Omaha, Nebraska. Something unusual for an Italian band. Why did you decide to do it there?
At that time, we were working with A.J. Mogis in the recording of Four – Legged Fortune. In that moment we realized the potential of ARC Studios. The choice to return in Omaha has been essentially driven by the fact of working again with AJ. He is a person with a great sensitivity, wisdom and patience. He is not only a musician with a boundless talent, but a great sound engineer.

Do you think you have been influenced by Omaha in the recording of this album?
The place where you record an album, influences significantly the creative process. Now, I can not tell you exactly how much of Omaha and Nebraska is in Build a Fire. Writing an album takes months or even years, but the recording process usually takes a shorter period of time. If i think about the places linked to Build a Fire, Park Slope, Viale Argonne surrounded by the fog or Torino-Piacenza highway come straight through my mind.

Did you read a lot during that period?
When we were recording Build a Fire, the books that were on my bedside table were The conspiracy of doves, by Vincenzo Latronico and The New York Trilogy, by Paul Auster.

How did you meet Mike Mogis, from Bright Eyes?
We have been living together in his house!

Olimpia Zagnoli is the responsible of translating the Green Like July into images. How did you have the idea for the video and the artworks?
I tried to transmit Olimpia the ideas, images and colours of Build a Fire. Olimpia has patiently developed and tidied them all, giving it a shape to my somehow confusing suggestions.

One last question. Why are you always so serious in the pictures?
As Tom Waits said, “sane, sane, they’re all insane, the fireman’s blind, the conductor’s lame, in Cincinatti jacket and a sack luck dame, hanging out the window with a bottle full of rain”.

Enrico Chinellato. Image courtesy of Claudia Zalla 
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