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Published by Sugar & Cream, Thursday 26 January 2023

Images courtesy of Salone del Mobile.Milano

‘Do You Speak Design?’

The universal alphabet of design is brightly-coloured, geometric and ultra-Pop, according to the studio and the young Milanese artist, who is concocting a new ABC of the Salone del Mobile.Milano.

Gio Pastori

Following in the footsteps of Emiliano Ponzi, the Salone del Mobile.Milano has entrusted the communication campaign images for the 2023 edition to Leftloft, a Milanese design communication studio, and Gio Pastori, a highly-renowned illustrator and collagist on the Milan Millennial arts scene.

The young artist is giving shape and colour to a concept devised by Leftloft. They have jointly been tasked with condensing the identity, themes and protagonists of the event, as well as its evolution, into a distinctive and original visual narrative: no easy task in that it called for reflection and equilibrium at a number of different conceptual levels – contemporary and future, innovation and continuity.

The starting point was a journey back in time, geared to teasing out the artistic language of the Salone, which, with its visual and verbal synthesis has drawn in the public with its iconic aura over the years. This triggered a reflection on design itself: in a world and at a time such as this, design is everywhere – it can be seen, lived, enjoyed, channelled, loved, exploited and recycled.


“We felt the need to put the design taxonomies in order,” said David Pasquali, co- founder and creative director of Leftloft. “A gentle and ironic order that, through an almost didactic encyclopaedic approach, would shed new light on the fundamental phonemes of design, leveraging their sound, their meaning, their form and sequence to define, clarify, express and narrate.”

Paradoxically, in order to build a contemporary and, especially, an immediate and universal lexicon, they went back to the beginnings, when graphics began to have the edge over simple publicity, when artistic approach prevailed over commercial approach, when drawing was more akin to design. This spawned the idea of a new ABC or design, with archetypes and icons describing the protagonists of the Salone, around whom the Milanese design system revolves. A Munari-style directory – unexpected, never boring, simple in its originality, composed of absolute forms – bound up with the concept of simplification and synthesis – and animated by the use of light and pure, intense shades.

Presented by Som Santoso

The 2023 Salone del Mobile.Milano communication campaign features 26 brightly-coloured posters, one for each letter of the alphabet, each accompanied by an object or furnishing piece, the headline Do you speak design? directly interrogating the observer. As the visuals and lettering roll on − A is for armchair, B is for bookcase, C is for chair … − the answer comes out loud and clear.

Once the concept had been resolved, it was a matter of “animating” the message and imparting colour to this design alphabet. It was at precisely this stage that Gio Pastori’s insight, sensitivity and talent came in. Born in 1989, bizarrely (or perhaps not), Pastori didn’t immediately work with digital, but with paper and scissors: the papercut technique is his hallmark. He cuts, separates, sews, juxtaposes and glues, producing collages that are geometric in their imperfection, joyful and snappy, light frescoes almost, yet always acute and intelligent. He was asked to portray universal forms and design archetypes in a new, energetic, guise, uniquely dynamic and fresh, like the Salone during the event.

Gio Pastori had this to say: “Illustrating an ABC of objects is a method that invites people living in Milan and all around the world to re-learn how to read them, to dig down into their souls unhindered by trends or brands. The apparently simple request from the Salone del Mobile via Leftloft was to put the spotlight on the objects as the essence of the Salone. My take on it was to come up with a vivid colour combination, disconcerting at times, to delay the immediate focus on the subjects. Essential lines and discreet volumes appear in a dreamlike, shifting atmosphere, dictated by erroneous perspectives and unlikely axonometries.”

“Design as a common language in all the cultures of the world, and thus universal, is the concept underpinning the new Salone del Mobile campaign, designed on one hand to draw attention back to the archetypes of design and, on the other, to allude to the importance of dialogue and possible cultural cohesion founded on the universal language of design, which is spoken by the thousands of people who descend on Milan during that particular week. Like an alphabet, the Salone is a system of connections and opportunities and an emotion – it transmits energy, positivity, enthusiasm and enterprise – all feelings that Gio Pastori’s Pop and contemporary collages, an undoubtedly new take for the Salone, manage to transmit immediately and powerfully,” said Maria Porro, President of the Salone del Mobile.

The communication campaign will take shape and dimension in the daily and periodical press, in banners in the web and digital world, on the social networks and out of home billboards. The 26 campaign posters will be revealed bit by bit, having already begun to be rolled out

abroad and due to start in Italy in a matter of weeks.

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