Italian Cultural Institute in Cologne
In the context of:
Italian Design Day

IT is:

Tradition, Invention, Sharing, Responsibility

Created by IN Residence and curated by Barbara Brondi & Marco Rainò, with the support of the Italian Cultural Institute in Cologne, IT IS: is an exhibition oriented towards the presentation of the thinking and work of some of the most qualified and interesting experimental designers on the contemporary Italian scene: Faberhama, Formafantasma, Roberto Sironi and Studio Ossidiana.


Marked by distinctive practices of exploration and stylistic expression, the works of the designers presented in this exhibition reveal a shared programmatic intent, positing devices for reflection and vectors of meaning to trigger a wider-ranging debate on the urgent issues of the contemporary world. The idea of comparison and interaction between individual works offers an opportunity to take stock of the talent of a generation of designers, while suggesting a thesis: that their practices, in the absolute originality and autonomy of each proposal, can be linked back to a cultural matrix – that of Italy – that embodies certain forcefully specific characteristics.
Exposed to the influence of the same environmental and educational imprinting, the creative sensibilities of these designers find expression in differing results, while conserving recurring traits that are manifested – for the most part, and to drastically summarize – through an approach of transdisciplinary exploration, experimental research and an interest in the elaboration of critical-narrative thinking associated with every design action.

The exhibition and the set-up idea

Based on a design by BRH+ utilizing an intriguing display device, the set-up features a dense sequence of photographic images reproduced in an entirely unexpected way. To supplement and complete the visual materials in the show, IT Is: provides an in-depth examination of the thinking of the individual designers in relation to several key concepts – tradition, invention, sharing and responsibility – that determine their personal geography of intentions in design practice. The contents can be explored through an original formula, a hybrid of analogue and digital contributions that combines the physical visit with the surprise of an immaterial audio-visual experience: the observation of the images on display is accompanied by the interactive possibility of listening to the words of the single designers, who for the occasion have provided their own personal reflections and statements on the indicated themes.
In IT IS: the sound of speech defines the principle, expresses the concept, traces the trajectory: it is the symbolic expression that states the intention, recites the credo, establishes the ideal. Because language is the first and most powerful form of creative expression utilized by human beings.

The event opens at the Italian Cultural Institute in Cologne for the worldwide Italian Design Day.


(Paola Amabile, 1985 – Alberto Fabbian, 1981)
Faberhama works with a design approach based on experimentation, with the goal of creating contemporary artifacts, recognizing diversity and expressing a balance between tradition and innovation. The duo investigates the possibility of establishing new connections between people, material processes and knowledge, developing both commissioned and self-initiative projects. The activities they explore have the aim of generating positive impact, transferring shareable contents in the multiple forms of objects and actions capable of offering stimuli for reflection.



(Andrea Trimarchi, 1983 – Simone Farresin, 1980)
Formafantasma is a design studio oriented towards research, to investigate the ecological, historical, political and social forces that shape the design discipline today. Founded in 2009 by Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, the firm works with the objective of facilitating deeper understanding of natural and constructed contexts, proposing transformative interventions through design and its material, technical, social and narrative manifestations.



Roberto Sironi heads a research studio interested in the investigation of processes, where activities of thinking and making converge in the invention and creation of environments and artifacts. Material is explored and manipulated through an anthropological approach to give rise to new meanings and powerful narratives.



(Alessandra Covini, 1988 – Giovanni Bellotti, 1987)
Studio Ossidiana è uno studio di architettura, design e ricerca guidato da Alessandra Covini e Giovanni Bellotti. Fondato nel 2015, lo studio è impegnato in una costante ricerca di nuove espressioni materiche utili a tradurre le proprie visioni in spazi e oggetti coinvolgenti.
Studio Ossidiana is a studio of architecture, design and research helmed by Alessandra Covini and Giovanni Bellotti. Founded in 2015, the firm conducts constant research on new material expressions, useful to translate their visions into engaging spaces and objects.
Playful, tactile and inclusive aspects have a fundamental role in the studio’s design proposals. A distinctive characteristic of their activity has to do with the ability to narrate and enliven objects through material compositions and formulations of spaces that encourage action, discovery and amazement. Working on various scales, Studio Ossidiana blurs the boundaries between architecture, design, art, landscape and urban strategies.