I recently stumbled upon a photo series I made in 2018 for ceramic tiles manufacturer Serenissima Ceramiche, and it brought some sweet memories back.
For a couple of years, I’ve been working as a trainer and coach for Gruppo Romani Industrie Ceramiche, Serenissima’s parent company. I helped build an in-house digital marketing BU: we put together a team, redefined the agency roster, revamped the company web sites and newsletter, and kicked the Facebook and Instagram presence off. As Cersaie 2018 was approaching, we had to launch a brand-new collection named Costruire (“to build”), but we were short on time and budget.
We had shared a loose creative concept that revolved around an analogy between architecture, creativity, and play. But we had no props, and most of all, no photographer.
Now, I’m pretty much a hands-on consultant. I don’t like to say what should be done: I’m part of a team, so I too get my hands dirty and help execute. Hence, I proposed to take care of production. Nobody disagreed.
I picked four games based on building activities and matched them to the diverse surfaces Costruire consisted of. Most of them come from digging in my family’s cupboards and garages. I recruited my daughter Viola as a game expert and production assistant. Shooting and post-production took place in a single, solitary, all-night-long late summer session.
I have fond memories of this shooting: behind every picture there’s a little personal story.
The first photo, and, to me, the most iconic, is a Lego Architecture building of Chicago. I bought this one for the occasion, and I chose Chicago not just because it’s one of architecture’s world capitals. The Windy City is the first place I have ever been to in the US, and I still feel the wonder inside me.
The Lego Architecture series is targeted at children of age 12 and up. But Viola took it very seriously, and despite being barely nine years old back then, she built a perfect Chicago on her own in just a couple of hours. A real act of love from my little girl to her daddy–under–pressure. Viola’s masterpiece is still on display on a shelf in my home office: if you have ever attended one of my webinars, you have probably seen in the background.
Costruire — Chicago
The Geomag house
The second photo is a little Geomag building resembling a house. These shiny plastic pieces are joined together with magnets to form abstract, modern-looking, tech-flavored shapes. I like them a lot, but Viola doesn’t think so. She had received this Geomag box as a birthday present a couple of years before, but this house is the first thing she ever built and, in all likelihood, the last.
Costruire — The Geomag house
The house of cards
The third photo is a classic house of cards. Well, just the beginning of the first story: I am incapable of going further! Poker cards: a universal symbol of patience, chance, and magic. Any reference to the eponymous, world-famous TV series was purely intended.
Costruire — The house of cards
The fourth photo depicts two basic constructions made of wooden blocks. To me, it evokes something between Stonehenge and a Greek/Roman archaeological site. Geometric and colorful, my wife Giulia used to play with this construction game when she was a toddler. I liked the idea of throwing in at least one photo with a mood that is vintage and minimal at the same time.
Costruire — The village