Laura Polinoro (LPWK) invited Antonio to design some little souvenirs of Italy, connected to the idea of food and Italian traditions. Antonio designed three little hand-painted ceramic figurines. Inspired by the Italian tradition of little handmade porcelain souvenirs, these figurines will be sold and displayed during Milan Expo 2015 by the Italian design brand, Alessi.

One of them is a typical iconic figure of the Calabrese tradition, the “Bagnarota”: a girl walking in the streets of Bagnara, a village located on the Mediterranean Sea, with a big basket on her head, bringing back some fih and food to the family. That feminine icon was the starting point of his project: designing little ceramic statues with food on their heads. While researching, Antonio found a typical souvenir from Calabria with a big red pepper on the head of the fiurine; he then connected the spicy and fun humour of this beautiful red vegetable directly to the Alessi brand. That gave him the idea of investigating this theme of “character” and “disproportions” using caricatures. The ‘fi rouge’ of the collection was born from this typical Calabrese souvenir, and has been expanded to the regions of Sicily and Veneto.

Italy has always culturally been connected to the idea of Mediterranean beauty and health, so the food was a direct connection to the idea of feminine grace.

Antonio explains: ‘Working with Laura has been a nice challenge, her experience of more than 25 years at Alessi guided me through important decisions. She’s charismatic, full of energy and someone with whom I share the same way of doing design – the Italian way.’ He adds : ‘The idea was to create a cute little emotional ‘memoire’ of Italy, a collectible souvenir for people coming to visit Italy during the Milan Expo. Little and lovely products creating a nice collection - adorable companions that you can collect.’

photo © a.aricò