Marco Camuffo on how the Triennale Summer graphic project came about
Marco Camuffo, graphic designer and founder of CamuffoLab, explains how he conceptualized and developed the graphic identity of Triennale Milano.
Giardino Giancarlo De Carlo © Triennale Milano
How would you describe Camuffo Lab?
Marco Camuffo: CamuffoLab is an independent studio based in Venice that has been actively working for over a decade in the fields of visual communication, and integrated identity and project systems for culture, art and events. However, today I can affirm, following an extensive reflection I carried out during the pandemic, that defining CamuffoLab as “a graphic design studio” is no longer enough. I believe that today graphic design should increasingly merge into the contemporary cultural debate reverberating in all disciplines, including graphic design, trying to take a stance regarding difficult and pressing issues such as the climate crisis and the impact of new media.
External façade of Triennale Milano with banners of Triennale Estate 2021 © Triennale Milano
How did you tackle Collecting Stories, the Triennale Summer theme?
Marco Camuffo: We were asked to deliver a graphic design for a project encompassing a plurality of subjects, spanning from design to architecture, from urban regeneration to photography, from theatre to performing arts, with particular focus on subjects such as sustainability, green practices, diversity, intergenerational dialogue, and enhancement of female contemporary artists, with the contribution of other disciplines such as philosophy providing further keys of interpretation towards the reading of contemporary reality. For these reasons we initiated a research aiming beyond the tropes and the ordinary connections that might emerge when thinking of a summer festival. This led us to the concept of collection and more broadly to that of a container of history and of stories, through which we could try to represent the events of Triennale Summer.
Tell us about the key choices you made for this project.
Marco Camuffo: Starting from this conceptual framework, we developed three main proposals. The first featured a “box” in various shapes and colours, a mobile container of sorts, in different versions that could present a variety of events and experiences such as those of Triennale Summer.
Our second proposal was completely different. We decided to push ourselves beyond the “container” theme and play with the idea of “body” using the language of photography, proposing a series of images with closeups of skin touching on the concept of “contact” that in this particular time in history is “taboo”. Our last proposal, which was also the idea that we found more convincing and that was eventually selected, was inspired by some architectural features that characterize the facade of the Triennale building, along the lines of the institutional logo Italo Lupi created in the 1970s. Using these elements, we designed a series of images in different shapes and colours, providing a suitable interpretation of the Collecting Stories theme.
Did you follow a standard method to develop the graphic project for Triennale Summer or do you change your process depending on the brief you are given?
Marco Camuffo: We don’t have an actual method. The world of culture, of exhibitions, of art is the world where our studio has grown up in and made a name for itself. We could say we know how to enhance conceptual research, as a method, which every time we adapt depending on the context in which we work in order to create an almost “sartorial” visual identity or a made-to-measure artwork to match our client’s vision. We have recently approached the corporate world, trying to introduce in this context the same vision centred on concept and research that we use in the world of culture. It has been a success. The companies we work with choose us for this reason, for our background, for our authentic skill in working beyond the beaten tracks.
Graphic identity for Triennale Estate 2021
Who are the Masters you look up to and what are the aspects and personalities of contemporary graphic design you are most interested in?
MC: The names who inspire my work are not strictly related to graphic design. Often what interests me is not the technique, but the idea that the professionals have of their work and the idea emerging from their production. I find Enzo Mari interesting for instance. Not so much for his objects, which are certainly wonderful, but for his break with the world of design, for the strength he had in developing these ideas on a daily basis. Enzo Mari used to say that a designer’s task was to produce fewer useless objects. All the more today the role of a contemporary graphic designer and communicator should move from a strong ethical stance. For the same reasons, in the world of graphic design I admire Ken Garland and Gérard Paris-Clavel, not so much for their style but for the determination and the singularity of their ideas.