IN STUDIO with Astrid Luglio – ep. 4

IN STUDIO with Astrid Luglio – ep. 4

Giorgia Massari · 3 months ago · Design

For the fourth episode of IN STUDIO, we visited product designer Astrid Luglio. Co-founder of The Ladies’ Room collective along with Ilaria Bianchi, Agustina Bottoni and Sara Ricciardi, Astrid specializes in a specific branch of design, that related to culinary culture. Coming from a family of restaurateurs and following a year-long trip to Australia, Astrid comes increasingly into contact with the restaurant industry and in particular with ingredients in the world of gastronomy, which inspire her in the creation of objects aimed at their enhancement. We visited her at her studio in Milan to find out more about her journey, research and methodology.

Who is Astrid Luglio?

Class of ’88, Astrid Luglio was born in Naples and then moved to Milan to study Product Design at the New Academy of Fine Arts (NABA). The dimension of travel was an integral part of her education, particularly the one in Australia that led her to interface with the world of catering. Back in Italy, after living for three months in Vietnam, Astrid began collaborating with TourDeFork in Milan, a design studio inspired by food and culinary culture. In 2018, she opened her own independent studio and began teaching Design of Small Objects to international students in NABA’s three-year program. With the collective The Ladies’ Room she starts a reflection on contemporary design to investigate the need for sensory involvement. Precisely on sensoriality, Astrid Luglio develops her research related to culinary culture. Starting from the study and in-depth knowledge of a precise ingredient, she designs a series of objects that can enhance the properties of the product and, in a broader sense, be able to generate a perceptual experience.

The studio

We are located at the end of Via Padova, on the Martesana. A neighborhood a bit far from the center that undoubtedly leaves room for concentration. Astrid Luglio’s studio is actually a hybrid, here she works with her collaborators and lives with her partner Sirio Vanelli, Director of Photography, and their little daughter Lea, Blu. The complex that houses the home-studio is itself very curious. It is the former Gio’Style factory renovated by architect Gianluigi Mutti. The identity of the place has been maintained, from the large industrial windows to the small details, such as the doorbells that are real buttons. As soon as we enter the apartment, we are surprised by the brightness and breath of the spaces. Background music and plants scattered here and there welcome us into a relaxed and serene environment, which projects us into the designer’s micro ecosystem.

How long have you been in this study? How do you conceive of it?

We have only been here a short time, a year and a half. We are still figuring out how to organize ourselves; it is all in the making. With Sirio, we looked specifically for a space that could be home-studio. I used to work in a co-working space at Fabbrica del Vapore, but I felt I needed more space, both to photograph and in general to expand. So we looked for a space that could be versatile. For example, I specifically designed tables with wheels to make the space adaptable to our needs. It is a convivial environment, always evolving, and that is exactly the characteristic that for me the studio must have.

How was the transition from outside studio to home-studio?

At first it was a bit difficult because I am a bit jealous of my space-time. As life has evolved, however, I have found it a super advantage because first of all I have the ability to manage space as I want. Then the fact that we also experience it in a very familiar way is something I really like. I like the idea of creating an environment where those who work with me feel at home. With the fact that we have a daughter this aspect becomes crucial. Being a freelance mother in a society that does not put us in a position to make the work aspect and the family aspect coexist is not easy, so we have created for ourselves a dimension where it becomes manageable instead. I recreate that micro society that you would want in macro, with its own rules.

In concrete terms, how do you experience the practice? Do you enjoy having visitors?

We have divided the work area so that there is always a super flexible space in the central part. When we have to shoot, we use the tables for still life, while in other situations they become a place for dinners with friends, designers and creative people in general. The setup is also hybrid because of this, those who come, come to eat in a studio house that is also a productive and working environment. Those who come by maybe also enjoy working here, that’s the idea. The door is always open.

Does this home dimension make you feel alienated in this space?

This is a bubble, I completely lose my conception of time and space here. Maybe it’s the architectural context that invites isolation. The Martesana dimension is a bit apart from the rest of Milan. For me this whole area is a bit of a bubble in which I sometimes lose myself. I lose the dimension of time and space but the beautiful thing is that, in little, if I want to reconnect with the world I can do so. This is new for me because before we were in Sarpi, in the Chinatown neighborhood, in the middle of the mess. Undoubtedly a more lively neighborhood, however this for me is a temple of concentration within which I work very well. Then actually the distractions catch up with us.

Speaking more about yourself instead, what was the project that marked a turning point in your career?

There are two actually. The first is the initial one that made me realize that I could have a vision on this niche and that it could work. It is the Camere Olfattive project, an olfactory tasting glass that I designed for the Consorzio Tutela Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Reggio Emilia DOP. It is basically a glass that emphasizes the organoleptic properties of traditional balsamic or any liquid poured into it, such as fragrances, oil, coffee and wine. The significant thing about this project is that it was my first stand-alone. The Consortium had issued a call for proposals for which you had to design experiences around traditional balsamic. The first thing I noticed was that the tasting was happening in wine glasses or in plastic spoons, so with instruments that were not designed for this function and were not suitable to emphasize it. So I proposed this goblet which is actually a borosilicate glass bubble. The interesting thing was that they were particularly impressed with how the smells were able to express themselves. With this experience, I realized how there are a number of ingredients that belong to our culinary culture that lack a set of proper instrumentation, so what better pretext to design right from their study and get to emphasize some of their qualities.

The second project that marks a turning point is one of the last ones I did, in which there was a complete change of scale. I start as a product designer, however, Davide Longoni’s Bakery asked me to tackle a larger scale design, rethinking a space within the bakery. Actually, the creative process is the same because I always start from the research of the ingredient, in this case bread. We started from the back of the warehouse, which they use for baking. Here was an unused space in which Longoni wanted to create a situation of exchange and intimacy around the theme of baking, which we called The Bread Circle. A kitchen where they could invite very few people, have dinners, talks and workshops. The starting point for this project was to figure out how to express the bread mix through materials, while also expressing the Milanese nature of the bakery, Longoni being a reference point on Milan. So we went to investigate a little bit what is the technique of variegated Lombard terracotta, which mixes different clays. With this technique, we made tiles that are the basis of the kitchen design, which was made with Very Simple Kitchen. The aesthetic result sees the mixture of three ingredients that symbolically refer to flour, water and wheat. Among other things, the tiles cut just like slices of bread. It is a block of clay in which all three are mixed and then sliced. This project opened up a whole other world for me, which is space design, something I hadn’t considered until now. It felt like another turning point because there was a shift from product to space, and I realized that if you still start with one ingredient, eventually the design can evolve in other ways.

How does your research phase take place?

If you talk about ingredients, very often you have to go and find these ingredients in their natural habitat or at least where they are born and produced. For example, a project I designed two years ago for the enhancement of extra virgin olive oil required that there be research work starting from the olive mills. Instead of starting here from the desk, we went to the Coast where the Campania olive is grown and processed. There is a part of the work that has a very artisanal output and then there are also projects that are completely industrial, mass products that need a different design. In both cases I always try to keep a common storytelling and poetics, despite the different production processes. In addition to the field part, it is very important for me to have a bibliographic and material reference, each project involves buying a multitude of books on the subject, as well as curious objects related to it.

Going back to the study, what is the tool that cannot be missed here?

The thing that I can call indispensable is the archive of samples, of materials that I have collected over time. I need them so much from time to time to create material moodboards from which inspirations for projects start. Then also my father’s old transistor radio, whose randomness with which she chooses songs I love.

Although the answer seems obvious, we ask you anyway: would you leave this study tomorrow?

Actually I will surprise you, yes. I like to think that this is the space that’s good at this time in my life. One day it may no longer comply with my methodology. I am very open to change from the work environment. In fact, I get bored a lot, which is why the tables have wheels, because everything has to be able to change all the time, including just where I position myself in the space. Too rigid methodology doesn’t belong to me, although I feed on a number of obsessions as far as the research method is concerned, however, then I like to be able to mix them more randomly. I like to think that there is always an evolution.

As a final question we want a little spoiler. What are you currently working on?

I am working for the Italian team of the Bocuse d’Or, a haute cuisine competition held every two years in Lyon. Each team studies and designs a large tray with fourteen courses, which they parade in front of a panel of expert judges. The tray must be very sumptuous and have a close relationship to what the chef is going to cook. Every year there are up-and-coming chefs who present themselves to international audiences for the first time. If they win the Bocuse d’Or, it’s a bit like winning the Compasso d’Oro for us. For this year’s project, we started with research on Florentine mosaic, its origins and its application technique. What happens in this competition is that by participating a little bit from every country in the world, it is important to enhance the country of origin. From time to time, there is specific research on a technique or a world of reference that can recall Italian-ness in a fine way, without being too didactic.

Ph Credits Andrés Juan Suarez

IN STUDIO with Astrid Luglio – ep. 4
Design
IN STUDIO with Astrid Luglio – ep. 4
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Has food truly conquered us?

Has food truly conquered us?

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

Over the past year, the internet seems to be obsessed with food culture, fueling a trend that is now evident even in the world of visual culture. From the Tomato Girl Summer, which many mock retrospectively, to the foodie fashion girlies, Balenciaga’s collaboration with Erewhon, and the massive success of The Bear. Food appears to be experiencing a rebirth, but in the worlds of art, photography, and design, it has always been present. Is this just a passing trend, or is it the glorification of an element that has always been part of our lives?

Un’illustrazione di Maisy Summer

From Tomato Girl Summer to the pomegranate

It was only in 2020, with lockdown recipes—does anyone remember Dalgona Coffe?—that so much talk about food emerged. On TikTok, @wishbonekitchen made us dream by showing us her life as a private chef in the Hamptons this summer. Unforgettable were her Heirloom Tomato Gallette and the garden where she harvested fruits, vegetables, and herbs. In 2023, it seems to have been the summer of food not only with the release of the second season of The Bear but also with Tomato Girl Summer. On the other hand, according to Danielle Cohen on The Cut, it now seems to be the time of the pomegranate.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Cansu Porsuk Rossi (@cansupo)

Thanks to its shape and the vivid red that characterizes it, this fruit is widely recognized as a symbol of fertility in many parts of the world. But not only that, we find the pomegranate in mythology, art history, and, according to Cohen, even in the Torah. In short, fruits and vegetables seem to be largely protagonists of this rebirth, so we have collected some works and photographs by artists and photographers we have talked about in the past and more.

Browsing through our archives, we remembered Michael Crichton‘s photos and his photographic series, Conceptual Food, as well as Dan Bannino, who many years ago narrated the eating habits of the powerful. But there is also Stephanie Sarley, an artist who, with fruit fingering, challenged the way the art world has represented the female reproductive organ throughout its history.

 
 
 
 
 
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Un post condiviso da Stephanie Sarley (@stephanie_sarley)

Why it seems not to be just a passing trend

The success of food in visual culture can be attributed to its tangible communicative power. We see and experience the colors and textures of food daily, all evocative elements of memories that we have been collecting forever. In conclusion, we can only wonder which will be the next fruit to receive all this attention, already dedicated to tomatoes and pomegranates, even before avocados and bananas.

Has food truly conquered us?
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Has food truly conquered us?
Has food truly conquered us?
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Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots

Anna Frattini · 2 months ago · Photography

29 ARTS IN PROGRESS recently showcased Michel Haddi: Beyond Fashion, a photographic exhibition dedicated to the Franco-Algerian photographer, marking his first solo exhibition in Milan. Starting from January 16, the second chapter of this exhibition opens, featuring unconventional shots infused with a street and urban soul. Additionally, there are elements of irony and sensuality that highlight Haddi’s complex personality.

michel haddi
© Michel Haddi – Debbie Harry, British Vogue, London, 1994 | Courtesy of 29 ARTS IN PROGRESS gallery

In this second chapter, nude shots and unpublished works by Michel Haddi are presented, stemming from advertising campaigns he personally captured. The displayed photographs capture the spirit of their time, thanks to influential figures such as John Galliano or Patsy Kensit, who have played pivotal roles in the realms of fashion, cinema, and music.

Michel Haddi has the ability to portray his subjects with both irony and depth, and each of his shots tells a unique story. His life, marked by a turbulent start, has nevertheless propelled him to become one of the leading fashion photographers from the 1990s to the present day.

Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
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Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
Michel Haddi beyond the fashion shots
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Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography

Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography

Collater.al Contributors · 1 month ago · Photography

A few weeks ago, the Huxley-Parlour gallery in London announced the new exhibition by Joel Meyerowitz, which opened on January 17th. We couldn’t help but talk about him, the American photographer born in New York in 1938, famous for his street photography, and recognized as one of the pioneers of color photography. The London exhibition, titled “Dialogues,” highlights this aspect effectively. Pairs of photographs engage in a dialogue concerning light, color, and composition. The pairings are chosen to investigate the development of color in the artist’s work, set within non-hierarchical and unresolved compositions.

The exhibition in London

Meyerowitz’s imagery blends a distinctly American aesthetic with a meditative approach to color. Spanning from 1964 to 2011, the exhibition at Huxley-Parlour reveals Meyerowitz’s enduring interest in the sensory and evocative experiences of his surroundings. Paired with lesser-known images from the artist’s extensive archive, the exhibition features some of Meyerowitz’s most famous works, including his early street photography and images from his seminal series, Cape Light.

Joel Meyerowitz and the Color Revolution

Joel Meyerowitz is widely acknowledged as one of the first photographers, along with William Eggleston and Stephen Shore, to bring color photography from the periphery to the center of fine art photography. Historically, where black and white photography was considered a serious medium, color was widely viewed as technically inferior and aesthetically limited, relegated to advertising campaigns, television, and personal holiday photographs. In the London exhibition, it’s interesting to trace Meyerowitz’s shift from black and white to color. On display are works from “A Question of Color,” where Meyerowitz, carrying two cameras, paired black-and-white and color prints of nearly identical scenes.

Courtesy Joel Meyerowitz

Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
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Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
Joel Meyerowitz is the master of color photography
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A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi

Giulia Guido · 1 month ago · Photography

Not even a week ago, Alessia Glaviano – Head of Global PhotoVogue – a guest on our Spigola podcast, reminded us that it no longer matters whether you shoot with a camera or a smartphone. What matters is the intention behind the shot, not the means. We pondered deeply on this statement, and although there was initially some skepticism, we concluded that to take a true stance on the matter, we had to try it ourselves: capturing moments solely with a smartphone, but with the same attitude we would have had with a professional camera. Xiaomi provided us with the opportunity and the means.

Almost by chance, Xiaomi presented us with a challenge: to visit a distant place and attempt to capture its uniqueness using the brand-new Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G. And so began our journey, short but very intense, in Bangkok.

All the promises of this new device – which, along with four others, forms the new Redmi Note 13 Series, further enriching the brand’s Redmi Note lineup – were substantial. Starting from the battery, rechargeable to 100% in just 19 minutes with a lasting capacity of days (not hours), and of course, the camera system consisting of 3 cameras, including a main 200 MP camera, an ultra-wide-angle camera, and a macro camera.

We decided to put Xiaomi to the test in every moment spent in the Thai capital. The first stop was at the Royal Palace and the Wat Pho temple, where the goal was to capture the colors of the mosaics and decorations.

Xiaomi

Being one of the most touristy places in the city, we encountered many people who, like us, were fascinated by the architecture of these sacred places. The Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G came to our aid in this moment as well. The smartphone is equipped with AI-based editing tools that, among other things, allow us to remove people who accidentally end up in our shots. You know those photos you see on Instagram of tourist spots always empty? Now you can have them too, effortlessly!

But a city is not only visited during the day; often, it comes to life at night, illuminated by a myriad of different lights. In our case, the lights were those of the legendary tuk-tuks, indispensable in a trip to Bangkok. In this case, the challenge was formidable: darkness, colored lights, movement. All the ingredients for a challenging shot were present.

Xiaomi

Not content with just the shot, we continued to play with AI tools and added a bit more movement, some stars, many stars.

When traveling, we know very well that we are not only captivated by architecture, landscape, and glimpses, but we also focus on the faces we encounter on the streets. However, we often don’t have much time to photograph them, sometimes because they move, other times because we are the ones on the move. That’s exactly what happened to us in the characteristic Thai markets, first and foremost the Floating Market.

Reviewing the photos on the return flight and at home with friends was like reliving the journey once again, leaving no detail behind.

Xiaomi

In Bangkok, on the occasion of the launch of the new Redmi Note 13 Series, the brand also introduced the brand-new Redmi Watch 4 and Redmi Buds 5 Pro. Visit Xiaomi’s website to discover all the features of these devices.

Xiaomi

Photos shot on Xiaomi Redmi Note 13 Pro+ 5G

A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
Photography
A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
A photographic journey in Bangkok with Xiaomi
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