Cardini’s ‘Fake in Italy’ at Wanted Design, NYC

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Paolo Cardini (Associate Professor, Industrial Design) and his collaborator Simone Muscolino had their project ‘Fake in Italy’ on display at Wanted Design NYC between the 13th and 16th May 2016.

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Fake in Italy is a project about cultural appropriation and objects’ identity. It takes the shape of a collection of experimental objects based on the mix between global stereotypes and typical Italian production excellence. Each object refers to specific habits or traditions, belonging to different cultures, but is produced in Italy, with Italian raw materials and know-­how. Italian products are among the most copied and counterfeit worldwide. In Italy, this phenomenon assumes the dimension of a real parallel economy able to move capitals equal to few billions of euros every year. Pirated goods are produced, distributed and bought both abroad and in Italy, merging global and local markets. The “fake” model can be summarized in three main categories: copies where a product is accurately replicated and it responds to precise brands’ specifications; reproductions where the use of a particular material or process is directly related to Italy; inspirations where what is reproduced is a general sense of belonging to the Italian culture. Objects faked through inspirations are the most interesting. They involve a certain grade of creativity and, because they’re not limited to aesthetic and functional constraints, they reveal the full potential of new hybrid products.

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Fake in Italy plays with the triptych of ideas, material and process, inviting marble and leather to open a dialogue with discursive design. Marble and leather are two of the most renowned materials of the Italian tradition and both of them have their cradle between Carrara and Florence, within an area smaller than 150 km in the region of Tuscany. From marble tiles to leather bags, those materials represent part of the Italian manufacturing stereotype and, fakes or real, they are a physical representation of the ‘Made in Italy’ status. On one side Marble is still extracted in Carrara, but is nowadays sculpted with robots and Michelangelo’s era has been substituted by 7-axis milling machines; on the other side, almost the totality of the leather processed by the florid Florentine leather industry belongs to not-Italian cows. Where does identity lie then? Fake in Italy wants to reverse the parameters of the equation, questioning value and meaning of the ‘made in’ system, comparing local manufacturing with global stereotypes; it wants to reflect on the hybrid nature of today’s products and to analyze what belonging means from the objects’ perspective.

More information on the Fake in Italy project can be found here

Discursive Design, italy, leather, Marble, product design, Stereotypes

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