Giada Giachino

jewellery designer

Tied Together

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The Fashion Industry has been quite silent lately on social and political issues. Of course, we heard talking about sustainability, working rights, but is this conversation represented practically in the fashion shows?

Taking a paradigm that starts from Oliviero Toscani's campaigns for Benetton, it looks like art is the main voice of this conversation. 

I have seen Usama Kise's work during the last Shift Show at the Rich Mix, the Graduate Show of the Illustration and Visual Communication Course at the University of Westminster. His collages were opening the exhibition, looking fierce.

What stands out about Usama's pieces, apart from their visual impact, is the fact that you are pushed to look into the eyes of the people portrayed in the piece of art. The medium is consciously challenging your assumption of beauty, of gender, race and role, and question your sense of belonging. Am I in the right place for judging?

This is how he introduces himself:

I'm an Artist and Illustrator originally from Nottingham. Currently based in the heartbeat of London.
My skills are principally within mixed media and digital collage combined with graffiti. I document and observe the world around us, telling the stories of lives and their journeys as they pass through this adventure. I like to focus in on emotions being expressed and manifested in different mediums.
Coming from a background of graffiti, with 8+ years’ of experience, it played a huge impact on my prolific style and has gotten me to where I am now. It’s given me the opportunity to work with other artists, musicians and travel the world.
Examples of this influence are being part of the well-recognized documentary ‘Pride, Pole and Prejudice’, shown at the infamous Regent Street cinema. The film was nominated at 2015 Santé Fe film awards in New Mexico. I have also worked with political activist, artist and poet ‘Lowkey’ and have had the privilege of my work being a part of a DVD on the history of Nottingham. This art was shown at the Nottingham Trent University.
As I’ve evolved my style has moved away from typographic letters and graffiti to a move Illustrative expression. Many have described my style as a juxtaposition of expressive, aggressive and playful. I aim to incorporate a range of different techniques within each piece making each one individual and meaningful. A balance between raw art and having a sharp point of view.
With my work, I challenge the viewer to look from different vantage points and see something you’re not accustomed to seeing. Offering the viewer with an alternate perception of the given subject.
My work is a voice for the voiceless. Allowing for the opportunity for all to have a presence and to demonstrate that we are one.
We live in a world abundant with hate and divide, whether that be race, gender, faith or other.  My work is created to challenge that divide from the very core. Allowing for a new vision to set in as we continue to journey.

Requiem for a Plastic Bottle

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Material tests

Material tests

According to Plastic Pollution, for more than 50 years, global production and consumption of plastics have continued to rise. An estimated 299 million tons of plastics were produced in 2013, representing a 4 percent increase over 2012, and confirming and upward trend over the past years. In 2008, our global plastic consumption worldwide has been estimated at 260 million tons.

It is now believed that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometre litter the deep sea. 

As Margareth Atwood states:

What should be done? First, organic and biodegradable substitutes must be found to perform the chores now done by plastics. Moulded and baked fungus, textiles made of milkweed, silicone food storage bags? All exist. Second, we need to invent methods to filter plastics out of seawater, collect them before they ever hit the ocean. Third, we then need to break them down into their component parts, rendering them harmless.

I would add, plastic hasn't been connoted with emotional features: leather, wood, ceramics, and metal (precious and not) are supposed to age, change in colour and texture, and their value grows with time and usage. Is this probably one of the weakest links and the reason why we cannot really cope with the exploitation of plastic and its impact on the environment? I think this is the great breakthrough that design has to work on in order to make plastic more sustainable.

How does the design world (the main user of plastic, by the way) inspire and rise awareness at the moment?

I have met creative duo Bob and Jordan Watson from Happenstance Workshop during Clerkenwell Design Week 2017 and Hannah Scott during the MA Art and Science Degree Show at Central Saint Martins. With two different approaches, both designer understood that recycling is not enough, that we need a story behind the shiny (but not so shiny) surface or our disposable forks.

Hannah has developed this conversation within the art context, rising awareness on the impact plastic pollution has on the marine life. She works with high and low density polymers, creating patterns and installation that talk about micro-plastics found in sediments, in the water and in the atmosphere.

Happenstance Workshop are working in a more practical way: I noticed their colourful bowls during CDW and I wanted to know a little bit more about their process. Their last collection is called STEW, a range of products made with recycled plastic.

Our STEW items are designed to build a relationship with a customer over time. This kind of closed loop system is being taken on by more and more companies, which is great, on our scale its a bit easier and our products are relatively simple (they aren't a TV or phone) but I think STEW shows a good example of how this can properly work. After all the waffle and the chat STEW products are colourful well made things, and that's a very important aspect.
Shredding phase of a milk bottle

Shredding phase of a milk bottle

Moulding phase

Moulding phase

Here what they told me about them:

Where did you start? Have you a background in art or design?

We are a 3 person Team, each of us have studied in art schools across London. Between us we have a lot of experience in making and come from that kind of experimental design back ground as well as furniture making. But in terms of STEW we have learnt most of what we know from online & book research, Youtube, Dave Hakkens, Instructables and Cradle-to-Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough are the main ones.

Where and how you supply the raw material?
We start with milk bottles made from HDPE, we started sourcing them from our own consumption then moved to our friends and eventually with demand began a relationship with a Café at a local theatre which now provides us with ample plastic. We also re-grind our own reject products, offcuts and breakages.

During the last CDW, I had the feeling that independent makers use sustainability as a design tool. Do you think this is a trend in the cluster of emerging designers? Is it related to the fact that most of them (or us) are Millennials? And how you market this feature?

You have probably hit the nail on the head there, it is inevitably used as a marketing tool because it is so emotional and yes I do believe certain people are more akin to that emotional response. Whether its specific to millennials or not I don't know. We try not to talk about sustainability specifically as a word or even eco (however it is unavoidable some times) we try to focus on the idea of the closed loop cycle. Starting with recycled material doesn't always matter as after one or two cycles it ends up in landfill anyway, thus becoming futile as a system. Our products can always come back to us direct, constantly circulating. Thats the thing that makes the difference and we think it should become a standard across design & manufacture.

Where do you see your practice n 5 years? 
We would love to have a proper physical shop which can act as a base for showing, selling and reclaiming our products. We love the idea of selling direct and that our customers can always come back to us directly to talk to us about there products.

What I really like about Happenstance Workshop is the conscious thinking of the whole life span of sustainable production:

We are all told constantly that we should be responsible in buying things whether that be food or a new TV. As designers and makers of products we think that there should be a lot of ownership on the company as well the consumer. Often we consume products and don't know what really goes on behind closed doors. I've bought items, from what I thought to be a good company, only to find out something horrible about them a year later and regret my purchase. When we set about designing STEW we designed a whole system of production (with the help of a great online community), changing our whole workshop and studio around to meet this system, and its a pretty simple one really.
We follow a cradle-to-cradle cycle, I sell you a thing, you use it, it inevitably wears with time or perhaps doesn't fit your changes in life, you bring it back directly to us, we make it into a another thing again aiming for 100% re-use, you get a discount on a new thing if you would like to buy again. 

I think the Happenstance Workshop has started understanding that the up-cycling process is not enough anymore, and we need, as designers to set up strategies for working in more conscious way.

STEW bowl (Tom Holloway & Sophie Hardcastle, 2017)  

STEW bowl (Tom Holloway & Sophie Hardcastle, 2017)

STEW pegs (Tom Holloway & Sophie Hardcastle, 2017)

STEW pegs (Tom Holloway & Sophie Hardcastle, 2017)

Light Matter

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Kind of witty and punk, Jordan Söderberg Mills is an interdisciplinary artist from Ontario, Canada. After attending the Art History at Trinity College at the University of Toronto, and Architecture at the Universidad Diego Portales, in Santiago, Chile, he work as blacksmith apprentice with master sculptor Francisco Gazitua in the foothills of the Andes. He moved later to London for the two years MA in Furniture Design at Central Saint Martins.

That's exactly were our paths crossed, I was at the first year, Jordan was a senior of my course. I will always remember his presentation to our peers (an old tradition of the course, aim to set the standards, and a perpetual anxious/competitive mood, in my case): Jordan showed a 10x25 cm table prototype made exclusively of layered sheets of glass. I don't remember his pitch, that was still not really clear, I just  remember that Jordan had a small light.

He switched it on at the end of the presentation, pointing it on the table model. The layers of the prototype refracted and reflected the light, creating a pattern within the glass. I remember I turned at my classmates, we were following that light as cats with a laser pointer, it was almost magic.

The interesting thing about Jordan's pieces (are they furniture pieces, art pieces? At this point I don't think it really matters) is that their description would always sound a little bit dull, compared to their visual impact. Giving an example, I could say that the pieces are mostly glass, acrylic, metal and lighting installations where light is used as constructive material, and therefore has its own volume, consistency, colour, etc. but this would not help.

So let's do it this way, I leave you with a really short explanation of what light is, so you can understand what is the magic behind, and then you can have a look at the images from Jordan's project and his interview.

The base of Jordan's research lies in the so-called geometrical optics- applying geometrical methods to the optics of lenses, mirrors and prisms. The most famous practitioner of geometrical optics was Ibn al-Haytham, who lived in present-day Iraq between A.D. 965 and 1039. Ibn al-Haytham identified the optical components of the human eye and correctly described vision as a process involving light rays bouncing from an object to a person's eye. The Arab scientist also invented the pinhole camera, discovered the laws of refraction and studied a number of light-based phenomena, such as rainbows and eclipses.

Refraction occurs when a ray of light passes from one transparent medium to a second transparent medium. When this happens, light changes speed and the light ray bends, either toward or away from what we call the normal line, an imaginary straight line that runs perpendicular to the surface of the object. The amount of bending, or angle of refraction, of the light wave depends on how much the material slows down the light.

Reflection happens when a ray of light hits a surface, ans it bounces in a certain way. The incoming angle, called the angle of incidence, is always equal to the angle leaving the surface, or the angle of reflection. When light hits a surface at a low angle -- like on a lake at sunset -- it bounces off at the same low angle and hits your eyes full blast, rather than obliquely as when the sun sits overhead. This is why the sun's glare during the evening and morning is so much more intense than during the rest of the day.


Shadow, 2012

Shadow, 2012

Shadow, 2012

Shadow, 2012

Eidolon, 2017

Eidolon, 2017

Eidolon, 2017

Eidolon, 2017

1. You define yourself as an “interdisciplinary artist” - your background is in architecture, art and design. How do you explore the boundaries of these different personas in your work?

This is an interesting question and one I come across often. 

As an artist, I’m driven by concept - how can I translate a digital experience into a physical object? 

I apprenticed with an artist and blacksmith Francisco Gazitua in Chile, who worked with Antony Caro, so I’m a part of that sculptural lineage. In their work, they often talked about moments of transition - how to move from one material to the next, how to get from a plane to a curve, a solid to a hollow. I try to explore this idea in a more abstract manner, looking at the moment of transition between an object and space, or an object and the viewer. I push this kind of conceptual thinking in my practice every day. 

As a (failed) architect, I am always thinking about the viewer in relation to an object and the space around it - in particular, how an object can inhabit space, and how these discrete elements can interact. My work does the most interesting things in unusual spaces, reflecting and collapsing its surroundings - I’m always trying to build weird little atmospheres, or worlds within worlds. 

As a designer, I apply design thinking to my practice - balancing research and making, iterating, exploring materials and strategizing where I see the work. I set out to be a creative entrepreneur - by finding different ways to spin out my ideas, refining them, and setting specific and achievable goals. This is a bit anathema in the art world - people like their artists poor, hungry, or dead (see: death by “exposure,”) but I manage.

2. From Shadow (2012) to your last experience during Milan Design Week with Eidolon (2017) - what have been the breakthroughs and where do you identify your leitmotif?

My grandfather recently passed away, and left me this giant glass prism that he used to keep on his desk. It sat in his front hallway, in front of a big picture window that would get flooded with sunlight. Looking back I think it must have had an effect on me - this magical thing that was precious as a self-contained object, but could also produce these amazing patterns and colours in the space around it. 

I drifted through a lot of different careers, doing most of them badly. I started and stopped university more times than I’d like to admit. My apprenticeship opened up a lot of doors when it came to making - I was exploring light and shadow on sculptural forms in steel and stone. I feel like my biggest breakthrough was picking up a prism at school again (my friend Cristobal found me some really good ones at the Science Museum gift shop.) Sticking them in the sun, and playing with these ephemeral patterns just sparked something in me, made me remember that big prism on my grandpa’s desk. It made me realise the plasticity of light, and colour as a physical thing. I discovered my medium - objects that react to light, un-weave and rebuild it, that seem almost alive. This has been a big part of my work ever since.

3. Your recent pieces made a wide impact on social media - are they made for selfies? They provide the best Instagram filters for the last 5 years. Are you doing it on purpose? Please say yes, because I think you have a market there!

When I set out to understand light and colour I didn’t realise it would have this kind of reaction. My first experiments with mirrors were really about catching light, trying togive it some depth. I was experimenting with these thick, heavy surfaces that would diffuse light in multiple layers, building a kind of low-fi hologram, or 3D printing with light.   I had this eureka moment after pulling an all-nighter, watching the sun come up in my flat, when I realised what I could do with colour and mirror, reducing the materials, and flipping them from flat surfaces to vertical mirrors. 

These are analog filters, made to create physical images with light.  I was surprised by the reaction to the work, but it makes sense: I was trying to flip between physical and digital objects and experiences, and now people make their own digital artefacts out of the work. In a way it completes the circle, or adds to the concept.  

4.  Where and how do you see the future of your practice? 

Things have been blowing up lately, it’s brilliant. I’m currently figuring out how to create sustainable growth in my studio without burning out - carefully and with purpose. I’ve been travelling a lot, with projects going on in 6 countries at the moment. I’ve begun working on a ballet, sets for music videos, collaborating with some big name musicians (all a little secret at the moment,) installations for fashion houses, and showing in art galleries. I have a collection of furniture coming out in Brazil, and a concept store I’m designing in the U.S. 

I’m working on launching a smartphone lens using some pretty rad optical filtering. It lets you shoot in 3 directions simultaneously, while overlaying spectral colour. It’s this flexible, physical filter that I love experimenting with. I’ve lent a few out to creative friends and everyone discovers completely new things to do with them. I’m moving into more serial production of design objects, which is pretty exciting - working on branding, packaging, and market research is a good way to ground the practice in reality.  

I love that I can facilitate the creativity of others, let them participate in the work and create their own images - my friend Salimah Ebrahim (founder of the arts organisation Artery) once called my work “an invitation” - I love this. I can only hope I continue to make these objects that are exploratory, creative invitations. 

Septum Spectra, 2017

Septum Spectra, 2017

Septum Spectra, 2017

Septum Spectra, 2017

Septum Spectra, 2017

Septum Spectra, 2017

Maria Gasparian, Colour Ceramic City

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by Giada Giachino

A big city like London is not always an inclusive space: the metropolis tends to absorb lives and cultures, creating an impersonal unicum.  For a city that speaks over 300 languages and hosts more than 50 non-indigenous communities, looking for a sense of identity is a painful necessity.

This is one of the starting points from where Armenia-born Architect Maria Gasparian has started her MA Ceramic Design at Central Saint Martins. She believes that architectural ceramics can make a vibrant and interesting contribution to public spaces, whilst exploring important cultural references and being a high-quality, sustainable building material.

Colour Ceramic City, her 2016 graduation project, aims to “offer an engaging and sensory experience within public urban spaces”. The work “seeks to re-invigorate empty and under-used city spaces through the medium of large scale two and three-dimensional ceramic elements. Through the use of dynamic colour, texture and form the aim of the project is to influence people on a subliminal level, breaking the routine of everyday city life.”

The main features of the projects are volume, formed by extruded clay coils, colours, aimed to impact on the user’s subliminal level, and scalability. Maria’s research “will allow the application of elements to site-specific interventions creating vibrant and enduring spaces.”

Maria Gasparian was awarded Unilever Sustainability award and MullenLowe Nova runner-up prize for design innovation and won a Winston Churchill Travelling FellowshipWinston Churchill Travelling Fellowship, through which she researched the manufacturing of architectural ceramics and their application in public spaces in the Netherlands, the USA and Hungary, in relation to the UK market.

Your project is innovative in terms of techniques and concept. Is it feasible at the moment?  “ To develop my project further, I will be working in collaboration with industry. In this sense, I know that often production processes inform design, that means that design has to work in conversation with the industrial boundaries.  I am particularly interested in the crossover between the machine/digital and hand-made, which is unusual in the ceramic field.”

Why your practice is important now in the ceramic field? “ Currently there is increasing demand for decorative and sustainable materials for the built environment that people can engage with.  At the same time, there is a lack of design expertise and manufacturing of ceramics on a large scale in the UK.”

Did your project change after this Summer research period? What is your biggest breakthrough? “ Identifying best practice abroad and seeing examples of successful application both historical and contemporary was very inspirational, this certainly affected my practice and opened new possibilities.

How do you imagine your practice in 5 years?  “ I hope to lead a cross-disciplinary designer-maker studio that will be developing designs, producing prototypes, and facilitating the production of site-specific ceramic interventions to invigorate city spaces.”  

Raf Simons makes tribute to melting pot in his beginning at Calvin Klein

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by Marco Marini

The latest edition of New York Fashion Week has officially started the new era of Calvin Klein‘s under the creative direction of Raf Simons. A debut long-awaited by all in the fashion system, especially after first changes wanted by the chief creative officer, lastly the decision of the co-ed format to bring women’s and men’s collections on the catwalk, 64 outfits through which the designer’s aesthetic vision begins to delineate itself.

Firstly they are the US brand cult: linear silhouettes, the combination between casual and functionality, the attention to the heterogeneity of apparels have been harmonized to the stylistic figure of Simons.

The woman takes the cue from male wardrobe joining the attention to tailoring, to the versatile and practical features of this last to a fine femininity conferred by accessories, transparencies, and prints. Suits in check or pinstripe patterns, overcoats, leather blousons and outerwear with a comfy fit cohabit with tapered sheath dresses, trench coats dubbed in plastic layer, ensemble embellished by floral embroideries, feathers-decor, crystals on minimalist sandals and metallic shades for the shoulder bags. A well-assorted mix that is extended also to man: the outfits marked by flowers, graphic elements, and bare effect are in fact alternated or overlapped to the classics of formalwear, to duvets, to clothes inspired to the overalls.

As Simons declared the intention was to celebrate the many ranges of those ‘métissage’ that is an integral part of Calvin Klein’s heritage and moreover of the American society: the goal was achieved and rightly emphasized during the long final applause in the end for the Belgian designer.

Bosco Sodi: Matter and Colour

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By Miriam Eleonora Barosco

Lumps of matter and colour, to which stratifications are often to follow, resulting in cracked surfaces. Red sculptural volumes, either on canvas or in the form of objects, inhabit the surrounding space with their presence.

A taste for indefiniteness characterizes Bosco Sodi‘s brand-new work, reminding of the intermediate stages throughout the elaboration of its pieces. The field is partially left blank with the desire to mediate a conversation between the material and the immaterial, the visible and the invisible.

These fine examples conform to the lexical requirements of Art Informel, recalling some Herman Nitsch‘ and recent Anish Kapoor‘s series for their usage of the painting media. Bosco Sodi’s relentless use of the pure pigment red, in combination with water, glue, and dust, powerfully traces the memory of time. Differently from his predecessors whose language assumed the appearance of blood coagula on an anatomical table, he modulated this non-representational discourse into geological forms.

Lost on the Ginza Line photogr/phy

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by Vicente Mateu

Seven years ago I decided to go alone to spend a few weeks with a Canon 20D and an Olympus Pen E-p. I was a young photographer, just arrived in London from Spain, and needed a little time for focusing on my main passion, photography.

I have always had a certain attraction for Japan, a culture I have felt made of contrasts. On one hand, a metropolis that never sleeps, businessmen on the streets of Kabukicho, students and emojis, a hectic lifestyle. On the other hand, the immobility of the rural landscape, silence, traditions and ceremonies.

Trains move between these two opposites. A mean of transport between different worlds, the Tokyo subway is used by everyone, to cover long distances: in fact, many of the students and workers reside outside of town and are normally need more than one hour one way to reach their university or the workplace.

Among the many lines I used, I got keen on the Ginza Line, which runs through Shibuya, Minato, Chuo, Chiyoda and Taitō. Built in 1923 by Noritsugu Hayakawa, after a trip to London. The Ginza is the most ancient Asian subway line and the one who daily carries the greatest number of people.

And they all sleep. I was almost concerned, the first time.

They are all transported by the soft, continuous rumbling of the train, and they get all frozen.

The pictures are in b/w, as I wanted to focus on rhythm and contrasts of the environment, without the noise of colours, degrades and saturation.

The Ginza Line Chronicles are a selection of a bigger collection, that you can see here.

Mark Laban, Digital Daiku

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by Giada Giachino

Mark Laban is a craftsman, artist, and designer.

Londoner, background in Fine Arts e Furniture Design at Central Saint Martins, Mark presented in 2016 at Decorex a furniture collection exploring the intersection between man and machine, called Digital Daiku (from Japanese, carpenter).

In a field where opposite ends co-exist, the one-off hand-made piece and the uber-industrial production in unlimited series, Digital Daiku lies in a grey area, where the man tends towards the aseptic perfection of the machine, and the machine performs the human error.

Overall, rustic and refined live together, perfectly. Inspired by Wabi Sabiaesthetics, Mark investigates the perfect/imperfect, the relationship between finite and in progress, between design and material. The maple and oak woods are first analysed to catch their essence, then cut and textured with a CNC mill, and finally sanded by hand until the contrast between patterns creates a compelling visual and tactile effect.

Mark is an example of a new post-CADCAM, 3D-whatever wave, looking for the value of human act upon the machine.

1) Your work looks very ‘practical’, it fully expresses the techniques and materials involved. What is the importance of the work behind this materiality?

I’ve always been interested in designing objects that reveal a conversation about the tools and process that made them, and I think as a result they naturally begin to communicate their own context and meaning.

The textured reliefs generated by the CNC machine are in fact technical imperfections, they are essentially a mistranslation between the virtual form generated in a CAD model and the physical realisation. Experimenting with the rough incompleteness of these surfaces carved into the wood led me to draw a visual connection with tree bark, and so I began to develop this hybrid aesthetic notion of digital-rustic.

My furniture objects are shaped through hands on interrogation and experimentation with materials and the tools of production, which eventually develops into a pragmatic and process driven outcome. For me it’s not only about expressing the techniques and materials involved, it becomes about interpreting themes and ideas through the language of these machines.

2) Why is your practice relevant now?

I think what I’m doing with my practice feeds into an ongoing broader conversation concerned with defining and exploring what craft is and can be in the digital age.

The idea of craft legitimately encompassing the use of the machine and digital technology as a tool is no longer a new phenomenon, and neither is CNC technology itself. What is relevant and exciting

now is how designers and artists are exploring these technologies and challenging them to generate new aesthetics, to draw meaningful connections, and innovate. I’m simply trying to explore this territory in my own way.

3) Has your project evolved after your experience with Decorex in terms of contacts with other designers in your field and customers?

Yes. It was an amazing opportunity to exhibit my work there and I’m extremely grateful to Corrine Julius for the work she curates the Future Heritage exhibition at Decorex. From that experience, I was able to very quickly gain a wealth of experience and exposure, but most importantly meet people that have led me to new opportunities for my work.

4) What is the future of your practice? Where do you imagine yourself in 5 years?

I’m in the process of setting up a small studio/workshop space at the moment which is really exciting. Experimentation with materials and process driven making lies at the core of my practice and is what I find most interesting and creatively fulfilling. So I am hoping that in 5 years time whether I’m producing studio pieces for commission or designing collections for commercial production, I’ll be able to keep that relationship with making at the heart of my work.

Giulia Tomasello, Future Flora

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by Giada Giachino

Giulia Tomasello‘s CV intro states that she is a Female Designer, it should not be a surprise. Material explorer, researcher and maker, Giulia explores the boundaries between science and art, between technology and the body, focusing on the female body.

Future Flora, the project presented in 2016 for the Degree Show of its course, MA Material Futures at Central Saint Martins, offers a kit for the prevention and treatment of vaginal candida. Please note, we are not talking of the last spot about intimate itching, Future Flora is a genuine project, creating a real link between body and cure.

The concept is to use microorganisms to rebalance the bacterial flora, and the medium is the research on traditional materials applied to innovative techniques.

With several active projects (an exhibition at Tetem, teaching at UCA Epsom, to name a few), several research projects on materials, Giulia continues to demonstrate great talent and determination.

1. Your project addresses the relationship between women and their body, do you think this is a contemporary taboo?
Futura Flora is addressed to females that are taking control of their own bodies as a new precious and intimate practice of self-care. As designer my aim is to raise awareness towards female social taboos, providing an alternative to our intimate treatment by nurturing the living organisms that balance the body equilibrium of our vaginal flora. Considering women as both oppressed and free from society, Simone De Beauvoir argues that a woman is not determined by her hormones or by mysterious instincts, but by the manner in which her body and her relation to the world are modified through the action of others than herself.
2. Future Flora is really innovative in terms of materials but starts from home-made healing traditions, how did you iterate this relationship?
Like many amateurs in biotechnology and innovation, I started to dive into biology and biohacking by growing living organisms in my room. Then my obsession on wearing second skin and understanding female behaviours drove me to develop a project strictly connected to both topics. Future Flora tackles the experience of growing and nurturing living organisms at home, enabling the female to become a participant in the culture and knowledge of science. Many women are already crossing the boundary between biology and self-medication, impelled by the strong desire of taking more responsibility for their own health. Practising vaginal seeding and the use of yoghurt tampon, show how much progress has been made in understanding the role of the microbiome in healthcare and wellbeing, and how much remains to be discovered.
3. Future Flora is featured by a specific visual ‘laboratory’ language, what is the importance of the narrative in your project?
Future Flora kit is composed by an inoculation loop, a spreader, a pipette with freeze-dried bacterial compound and the nutrient agar-agar recipe, plus an instruction leaflet providing the necessary steps to grow and harvest your own pad at home. In this project, I examined the possibility of these scientific tools becoming part of our everyday life, as quotidian as a makeup kit. This receptiveness to science is a trend manifested by the growing of bio-hackspaces, citizen science and DIY biology. Nevertheless, this project aims not to engineer nature but to design with existing resources. This is an important step to empower citizens with scientific knowledge on the edge of the bio-hacking revolution, where the female user is introduced in the unknown place of a laboratory. It engages the woman in the process of understanding the value of her body and the feedback that the body is constantly sending to her.
4. How do you see the future of your practice?
As Female Designer, designing for females – my focus is to continue developing innovative tools in the intersection of medical and social sciences, using materiality to question and communicate the boundaries between technology and our bodies. Aiming to raise awareness, to expose assumptions, provoke actions and to spark critical debates.

Che sulla intro del curriculum di Giulia Tomasello ci sia scritto Female Designer, non dovrebbe essere una sorpresa. Material explorer, ricercatrice e maker, Giulia esplora i confini fra scienza e arte, fra tecnologia e il corpo, concentrandosi in particolare sul corpo femminile.

Future Flora, il progetto presentato nel 2016 per il Degree Show del suo corso, MA Material Futures alla Central Saint Martins, propone un kit per il trattamento e la prevenzione della candida vaginale. Nota bene, non stiamo parlando dell’ultimo spot sul prurito intimo, Future Flora e’ un progetto genuino, nel suo creare un rapporto, reale, fra corpo e cura. 

Il concept e’ quello di utilizzare microorganismi per riequilibrare la flora batterica, e il mezzo e’ la ricerca su materiali tradizionali applicati a techniche innovative.

Con diversi progetti in attivo ( una mostra alla Tetem, l’insegnamento alla University of Creative Arts di Epsom, per dirne alcune), diversi progetti di ricerca sui materiali, Giulia continua a dimostrare grande talento e determinazione.

1. Il tuo progetto affronta il rapporto tra le donne e il loro corpo, pensi che questo sia un tabù contemporaneo? 
Futura Flora si rivolge alle donne che vogliono prendere il controllo del proprio corpo come pratica intima  per la cura di sé stesse. Come designer il mio scopo è quello di sensibilizzare l’opinione pubblica facendo luce sui tabù femminili della nostra società, fornendo un’alternativa al trattamento intimo attraverso l’utilizzo di microorganismi per bilanciare l’equilibrio della flora vaginale. Considerando la figura femminile come entità oppressa e allo stesso tempo libera dalla società, Simone De Beauvoir sostiene che la donna non sia determinata soltanto dai suoi ormoni o da suoi istinti più misteriosi, ma dal modo in cui il suo corpo e il suo rapporto con il mondo vengono modificati tramite l’azione di altri. 
2. Future Flora è in progetto innovativo in termini di materiali, ma medicamenti tradizionali fatto in casa; come hai iterato questo rapporto? 
Appassionata di biotecnologie e ricerca sull’innovazione, ho iniziato a sperimentare con le tecniche di DIY Biology e biohacking, addomesticando la biologia in casa e crescendo batteri e cellulose in camera da letto. Poi l’ossessione nel progettare ed indossare seconde pelli e la naturale propensione per temi sui comportamenti femminili, mi ha spinto a sviluppare un progetto strettamente collegato ad entrambe i temi. Future Flora propone l’esperienza di crescere e coltivare microorganismi in casa, permettendo alla donna di diventare partecipe nella cultura e conoscenza della scienza. Molte sono le donne che superano il confine tra la biologia e l’automedicazione, spinte dal forte desiderio di prendere maggiori responsabilità e cura per la propria salute. La pratica del ‘vaginal seeding’ utilizzata da diverse donne dopo un parto cesareo e l’utilizzo del tampone intimo con yogurt per curare le infezioni a livello vaginale, mostrano quanti progressi siano già stati compiuti nella comprensione della microflora in ambito sanitario, e quanto ancora ci rimane da scoprire. 
3. Future Flora è caratterizzato da una specifico linguaggio visivo, quasi ‘chimico’ direi, qual è l’importanza della narrazione nel tuo progetto? 
It engages the woman in the process of understanding the value of her body and the feedback that the body is constantly sending to her. 
Il kit di Future Flora è composto da un anello di inoculazione, una spatola, una pipetta con il composto liofilizzato batterico e la sostanza nutritiva di agar-agar, allegato ad un manuale di istruzioni che fornisce le misure necessarie per crescere il proprio medicinale e assorbente in casa. Nel progetto ho esaminato la possibilità di come questi strumenti scientifici entrino a far parte della nostra vita quotidiana, come un semplice kit da trucco. Questa apertura verso la scienza e le biotecnologie è una tendenza globale che si sta manifestando attraverso lo sviluppo di DIY Biology, biohackspaces e citizens science. Un passo importante per consentire ai cittadini con conoscenze tecnologiche e scientifiche interessati alla rivoluzione proposta dal biohacking, di introdurre l’utente femminile nel luogo sconosciuto di un laboratorio. 
4. Dove vedi il futuro della tua ricerca? 
Mi considero un designer che progetta per le donne – il mio obiettivo è quello di continuare a sviluppare strumenti innovativi nel punto di intersezione delle scienze mediche e sociali, mettendo in discussione i confini tra la tecnologia e il nostro corpo. Con lo scopo di sensibilizzare l’opinione pubblica nell’esporre ipotesi, provocare azioni e suscitare dibattiti critici.

Ana Cristina Quinones, Materia Madura

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h/ngry people

by Giada Giachino

I cannot keep it professional on Ana Cristina Quinones. Friend, schoolmate, great designer, Ana has helped me and inspired with her work during my MA at Central Saint Martins.

Furniture designer, Ana made sustainability the centre of her practice. And this is a difficult job: if you are a sustainable designer, and you don’t have to go through all the nonsense around the understanding of the afterlife of objects (see Papanek’s The Green Imperative), or the limitation of recycling (Cradle to Cradle, dear!), you probably work in H&M’s Sustainability Department.

Jokes apart, putting the research and the application of sustainable materials at the very beginning of her research, Ana demonstrates that design is a holistic methodology that helps analyse the contemporary issues and transform them in future possibilities.

Most convincing is Ana’s narrative, based on her cultural background. She is from Puerto Rico, and she utilises coffee and plantain by-products in making her Materia Madura (Mature Matter) collection. The material and aesthetics talk about her country, the ancestral shape of  Taino’s furniture and objects, and therefore, trace a straight line between the awareness of past and present issues and their projection on the future. What are we going to do with today’s objects?

Apart from developing her practice Ana teaches at the Escuela Internacional de Diseño y Arquitectura of Turabo University in Puerto Rico.


1) Materia Madura has a deep cultural background. What is the importance of your design research in defining your aesthetic language?

I am very much inspired by the former indigenous Taíno culture from Puerto Rico and their prehistoric artefacts. Integral to the design research of my practice is a strong sense of a culturally prehistoric revival that dictates each design decision, from the initial stages of the concept to the finishing details of the final product. The material aesthetic and texture, the visual form, function and purpose of each object respond to local primitive resources, processes, and a way of life that enables the maker to be intimately involved in each stage of the design method. Behind this idea is a personal belief that the answer to a better future is found in the past. My practice seeks to recognise familiarity, simplicity, history, and the idea that the possible future may not be all digital and technological, but rather a return to simple sophisticated functionalities of the past. As industrial designer Kenji Ekuan once stated, “When we think of the future of design, we might imagine a world where robots are everywhere, but that’s not it. The ultimate design is little different from the natural world.” Through its aesthetic language, process, and the user’s individual interaction with the designed object and material, Materia Madura aspires to represent the process that elapses from raw to refined and how primitive and native craft can evidently result in sophisticated and sustainable objects.

2) ‘Sustainable’ is an ambiguous word: in the last 5 years everything, from fashion to food, has been featured by this adjective. It looks like it is a marketing tool more than a genuine awareness. Where do you place your practice in relation to this?

I agree. It is a word that has often been misused or taken for granted, labelling ‘sustainable’ that which is not in its entirety sustainable. Therefore, prompting the question, what is ‘sustainable’? Perhaps clarification can begin by establishing the degree of a product’s sustainability through its process and lifecycle. In the case of my practice, Materia Madura, the sustainability of the product is defined by a cradle-to-cradle philosophy. The organic matter that composes the material–plantain and coffee–began its lifecycle in soil. Because of the organic composition and process in the preparation of the waste material, the designed product can eventually end up as raw organic material at the end of its lifecycle as well. As a result, the product serves its purpose throughout its lifetime and instead of ending up in a recycling bin or landfill, it ends up in the place where it was first grown. Nurturing the soil instead of harming the environment. Part of the sustainable aspect of the process also has to do with respecting the material for what it is, by analysing its inherent properties and characteristics. Instead of dictating the material to behave in a way that it is not meant to, by studying the properties and characteristics of it, you instead allow the material to dictate the design.

3) Does your teaching activity relate to your practice?

I find that if you allow your passions and strengths to become the driving force behind your teaching, the more accomplishments you will be able to achieve in the learning process. It is evident that I have a curiosity and interest for experimentation and materiality and even though the courses that I teach are design-based on a broader sense, I usually place a very strong emphasis on these two areas. Cultivating experimentation through materiality in order to design effective objects.

4) Where do you see your practice in 5 years?

I see my practice as a continuous research process through material experimentation. My desire is to continue exploiting the potential of the material and pushing the boundaries on its design applications, venturing into an array of a variety of designed objects that can serve different purposes. Since I work with a material that is organic, factors such as the environment, context, and climate can affect each design in an unforeseen way. Because of this, I continually find new ways of making and evolving the process and the material itself. There are certain parameters that I maintain which characterise my work, but the nature of the material allows each design to be unique and different in some way. Since agricultural waste is massively available worldwide, therefore the possibility exists to not only implement this proposal in countries where plantain and coffee are grown, but also to implement a strategic design process where the different agricultural wastes of various countries can be used and processed as raw material for design, in the same way that plantain and coffee is.



London Textures

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by Cecil P Williams

London is one of those places where you can feel small: its ever-changing landscape leaves a little space for imagination. But still, sometimes you can stand still and look up to the skyscrapers. buildings disappear, the light crushes on the Thames and reflects on the glass-covered surfaces.

Textures come out from the blocks, over the people living in them, and become the patterns we live in. Everything is about the lines that we follow in our everyday paths, the mirror we are reflected in.

This and other London stories are pictured here.



Kamrooz Aram, on the value of time

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by Miriam Eleonora Barosco

Through his sculptural works, the Iranian and American-naturalised Kamrooz Aram exemplifies his research on the dissection of decorative elements. Archeological findings – whether genuine antiquities, replicas sold in gift shops, artist’s creations, or objets trouvés – emerge as sculptural forms against the painted surface, where the latter serves as a backdrop to the former. Equally part of these emotionally and spiritually charged environments, after Luis Barragán and Carlo Scarpa, are the architectural materials used (brass, hardwood, terrazzo), that have required a great deal of craftsmanship from the artist’s side.

The abstraction of a fragment from a serial pattern, advances the idea that each wedge can also be seen as half a diamond, and that the dimension of the tile can offer the perfect opportunity for self-enclosed ornamentation. In a reciprocal relationship of interdependence, each party of the installation – namely the sculptural object and the painting – provides a context in which the other can be read. Deeply aware of the rules of exhibition design in the West, Kamrooz, in fact, proposes a renegotiation of the modernist way of looking at objects from the East.


Stanley Kubrik, past present future progressive

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by Franco Giachino Nichot



…è stato un colpodi fortuna & di c….o ! riuscire ad ottenere l’intervista  poikè mi fece aver un ”dictat ” di come si sarebbe svolto l’incontro….difatti inizio lui a farmi domande chiedendomi notizie del mio film < requiem pour un jour > che aveva da poco ottenuto il premio della critica al fest.di Cannes…e del perché non ero andato a ritirare il premio …non soddisfatto delle mie risposte mi fece altre domande …era molto interessato ….

Ma ero io che volevo….intervistarlo ….si erano all’istante scambiati i ruoli….il fascino …la dialettica…le battute ( ke in parte capivo ) mi aveva sconvolto …il pomeriggio uggioso …la comoda poltrona…il calore di un drink ….stavano avendo il sopravvento…

Non so come feci a riportarlo sulla preparazione dell’ultimo film <2001: Odissea nello Spazio > :

allora mi accordo info sul come si era preparato alla realizzazione del film + costoso essendo un colossal della Metro-Goldwyng Mayer :

e mi sciorinò dati di produzione sorprendenti : 4 y di interrotto lavoro…2400 h.per scrivere la sceneggiatura ….11 mill.di $…fatti investire.

” poco meno di Cleopatra ! ”—>esclamai

LUI …CORRUCCIATO …” …! MA NON LASCIARTI INGANNARE —> se l’hai visto —[sospettoso ! ] è un vero film ” UNDERGROUND !!! ”

E’ LA SUBLIMAZIONE DEGLI INTENTI…del new- american-cinema…ke emerge dal fango…dal bitume del sottosuolo made in n.y….

Io l’ascoltavo e sorpreso avevo visto il suo mutamento …indiscrivibile …un po’ gnomo…un po’ mago …con quella barba ke tormentava con le mani

Ante-litteram :

…gia alcuni gg. prima avevo sentito le ”legendary-story ” della ” lavorazione forsennatanegli Studios londinesi ..

…assolutamente-off-limits ….





= my-footnote => ”’


=lo dissi tutto di un fiato …con un entusiasmo ke mi & LO sorprese….( 1 PARTEDI ME PENSAVA QUANDO SAREMMO potuti Vivere  nel futuro del 2000 / 2001 & lo sentivo profondamente !!! )


” vedi , Young-favourable-critics !.tu hai visto uno strato della mia creatura … ma dovrai veder + volte x poter penetrare in profondità …..


Prima di tutto la PREVISIONE STRETTAMENTE LEGATA ALLA SCIENZA…alle scoperte  DI domani ….E DI DOMANI….ancora….

L ‘ uomo è riuscito a raddoppiare in 1/2secolo le proprie conoscenze scientifiche , ma non ha ancora sviluppato veramente le immense possibilità della cibernetica e dell’automazione ….etc…etc….


 lavora , ancora . tutta la settimana…

ed usa le proprie capacità celebrali e le proprie mani x produrre….COSTRUIRE….ALACREMENTE


.CON Rapidità INCREDIBILE si libererà dalle restrizioni & limiti con la collaborazione di cervelli elettronici sempre + perfetti potrà volare fino agli estremi limiti del SISTEMA SOLARE ….dove potrà aver contatti con forme di vita differenti….

































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by Jorge Almeida


We found ourselves looking at the screen. Flat, shiny, oversaturated, our smartphones, laptops and TVs are the devices we use to investigate reality.

Vectors are a mean of reproducing reality. They don’t respect measurements, as any graphic designers know, but they are awfully segregated in the field of mere lettering or stylised representation of objects.

In Jorge’s representation of reality, vectors are actually the new way of painting the 4.563.739 shades of a sunset on a Japanese island. The machine helps when the human hand is not able to render the perfect harmony of an early Spring dawn.

More views of this vector world are available here.