Guest @CAROSELLO: Mattia Balsamini
Mattia Balsamini is one of the most talented contemporary Italian photographers – interviewed here by CaroselloLab creative director Enrico Caputo.
Let’s talk about CAROSELLO. Why in the first instance you got interested and wanted to work there?
I have been attracted by the variety of the studio’s portfolio, both in terms of clients and visual styles. It seemed at the same time a well established reality and a place open to change and growth.
Another reason I was interested in CAROSELLO is that it operates in branding and photography, doing all of the work within the studio. Photography has always been a very important part of my graphic design practice, and here I can work side by side with experienced photographers Enrico Caputo and Alessandro Campisi, filling the gaps I have as a self taught photographer.
Here an example of a CAROSELLO self initiated photography project, art directed by me and photographed by Enrico Caputo.
Tell us something about your daily life at the studio, what so you like the most?
We have a beautifully bright, airy and quiet studio space, which is perfect for focusing and designing. We usually work on many different projects at the same time, often with very tight deadlines, and the quality of the space really affects our wellbeing and ability to deliver the best result.
In a small studio everyone should be irreplaceable. What do you think is your uniqueness?
Difficult question! I would say I developed a specialized knowledge about the history of graphic design and typography, and I’m always looking around for what’s happening today in the creative fields. I accumulated a vast amount of references that I like to share with the team to bring new inputs and nurture a common visual culture.
What is the last story you told someone?
I actually enjoy using graphic design to tell a story. At the moment I am working on a series of infographic posters based on the daily routine of a friend of mine. This project is a way to challenge the standard (and boring, to me) infographic aesthetic, and designing a large amount of data in a more punk, defiant way that matches my friend’s personality. Here you can see the first printing tests.
What is an inspiration to you and where do you find it?
An inspiration is something that surprises me. It’s an unexpected event or vision that enters my daily life, being it a person, an original idea, or just a color combination, a texture, a composition. It should be something that reminds me of the infinite variety and richness of the world we live in.
In your opinion, Is the process more important than the outcome?
It depends. As a designer I let the process be the guiding force of my decisions, trying to get to unexpected results that fit the project I’m working on. This means accepting to get lost along the way, and using intuition and experimentation as design tools.At the same time, in a professional practice, what matters is the result. This is why in the design process I usually try to alternate moments of play and intuition, to moments of analytical, systematic and rational decision-making. This way of working allows me to balance heart an mind, so to speak, leading to results the are both emotionally and intellectually engaging.
In the best scenario the process is visible within the outcome, making the design transparent and adding a layer of meaning. In a more experimental and/or educational context, if a specific process is well designed and executed, then it could become an outcome itself. I feel this is really important, because it makes design an open and critical discipline, capable of redefining itself and its purpose.
Was there any project that particularly influenced you?I did my master in Information Design at the Design Academy Eindhoven (the Netherlands), an institution renowed for its conceptual, experimental and critical approach to design.
For the thesis I developed a research project in between design and journalism, investigating the construction of the new high-speed railway Turin-Lyon (TAV) and the NO TAV social movement. The research was based on a three-hundred kilometres walk (fourteen days) from Turin to Lyon across the Alps, in April 2014.
The reserarch exlopred the role of design: can a designer gather empirical information and share it as a unique story? Can this help in making a complex topic visible and understandable?
This project has been very intense and changed the way I looked at the relationship between content and design. I better understood how they can influence and enrich each other to build a strong narrative, and made me more aware of my responsibiliy as editor of the information I design.
How do you think the design field will look like in 2045? and in 2085?The world is changing very fast and in unpredictable ways. Our job will be very different in 2045/85, but it’s very hard to predict how it will look like. I guess that like any other field it will be dramatically changed by Artificial Intelligence, automation and new communication technologies.
The only thing I feel we can say about future scenarios is that relational skills, emphaty and creativity will be essential personality traits in the workspace.
Another intersting aspect is how we will redefine the role of work, both on a personal and a general level: at the moment our job is a defining aspect of our personality and our social identity. A growing degree of automated work will force us to rethink the narratives we create about ourselves and our careers.
How would you solve problems if you were from Mars? Would it be different?I think “the Alien perspective” is a concept developed by Noam Chomsky. I remember watching an interview where he express his thougths rouglhy like: an alien visiting Earth would find find that a species developed a higher intelligence and it’s now using it to destroy itself. I find it quite realistic, and of course very depressing. So, honestly, I have no idea how to answer your question.
Chomsky interview is interesting though. You can watch it here.
If you were supposed to brand yourself, what would be the most important visual / item in the identity? what would you never do?I see my work as an ongoing research. I use design as a way to discover new aspects of the reality that sorrounds me, build creative relationships and learn about myself. It’s an ever-changing activity. This is why I never felt the need to brand myself. It would be too static, formal and “corporate”. I wish my portfolio was my brand.
Five first words that come to mind?Let, me, think, about, it.