Laura Polinoro (LPWK) invited Antonio to design a little collection of souvenirs for Italy, connected to the idea of food and Italian traditions. Antonio designed three small hand-painted ceramic figurines. Inspired by the Italian tradition of handmade porcelain souvenirs, these figurines are currently sold and were displayed during Milan Expo 2015 by the Italian design brand, Alessi.
One of the souvenirs is a typical iconic figure of the Calabrese tradition, the ‘Bagnarota’: a girl walking in the streets of Bagnara, a village located by the Mediterranean Sea, with a big basket on her head, bringing back some fruit and food to the family. This 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 fgurine; 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 ‘figure’ of the collection was born from this typical Calabrese souvenir, and has been expanded to the regions of Sicily and Veneto.
Italy has always been culturally 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 approaching 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. These little and lovely products create a nice collection – adorable companions that you can collect.”
photo © a.aricò