Studio Fludd is formed by Matteo Baratto, Caterina Gabelli, Sara Maragotto and Valeria Sanguin. The activities of the Venezia based artistic collective revolve around the theories of Robert Fludd, a prominent English alchemist. Art Direction, Graphic Design, Illustration, Product Design, Decoration, Concept Development and Visuals are some of the fields the creative quartet expands on.
Sara Maragato was more than willing to answer to our questions, revealing many things about Studio Fludd’s team. Among them being that their panacea is ice cream. And yes, we believe that is the key to happiness too.
We met at High School - Valeria, Matteo and me, Sara - and then I met Caterina at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice. We've been working together since 2008. Studio Fludd was born from the common desire to collaborate in hybrid projects and from the dissatisfaction with the surrounding creative and visual level.
Caterina and I discovered R. Fludd during our Artistic Anatomy studies at the Academy. We were totally stuck by his fascinating and visionary representations.
We like the sound of the word, and we think that the alchemy metaphor is a good one to inspire and relate our work in general.
Our collective counts with four very different people working together, with different natures and skills but a pretty common aesthetic. We really influence each other, but we still remain very complementary. In our projects we experiment with mixtures: illustration, printing, installation, public art, food, styling, graphic and product design - all approached with an artisanal attitude. For a presentation we choose five key-words to describe our work: Alchemy, Handicraft, Taste, Polyphony, Vividness - I think this is the plan for the next 5, or 50 years.
Matter and materials, in primis. Visual analogies between really different fields (like Geology and Ice-cream, as in the wide and on-going project Gelatology); old iconographies, Venice, or just a momentary interest of one of us.
We love neat shapes and volumes combined with irregular texture and soft matter. We work on contrasts. There isn't an obscure symbolism, sometimes these simple elements are a kind of natural synthesis, outcomes of our playful process.
Difficult one... I don't know! We often react to artistic and more free projects as strict designers, and vice versa when we are working on a commissioned work we try and expand the point of view, searching for alternative tracks.
We just attended a very nice collective event in Saint Denis, France at Zone Sensible, with a bunch of cool creative people - it's been fresh air. We feel rather isolated in our little Venice, so we struggle to organize events of public art like the Fondamenta one. This year will be it's second edition and we're very happy about it, there is really nothing simple when talking about collaborations and innovation.
At this time we are looking around, we need new stimuli and contacts. It all happened because we were invited to go to Bruxelles and Saint-Denis/Paris in the same week, so we took advantage and left for a week on tour. It was really good! We had two flash exhibitions, three workshops, a sale of our handmade design and fanzines, old and new friends, and lots and lots of niceness.
We have plans in Ljubljana in May and Turin in June. It'd be great to explore the East Europe (Poland, Baltic Republics) and we'd be thrilled to plunge in high-quality Nordic Countries.
Totally metaphorically! That is the highly ideal aim. It would be great to add that we put our best energy and honest vision and vivid ideas in everything we do.
We think/see that everything is authentically connected. There's a quote in Italo Calvino's Palomar that says: “It is only after you have come to know the surface of things that you venture to seek what is underneath. But the surface is inexhaustible.” So…
First ones that come to my mind are: Hieronymus Bosch, Vittore Carpaccio, Giotto, Giorgio Morandi, Kazimir Malevich, Francis Bacon, Bruno Munari, Raw Color, Jockum Nordström, Blexbolex, Olafur Eliasson, Medieval stuff.
Our self-produced collections are the project with the highest level of autarchy and complexity: concept, design, craft, styling, photography, graphic, illustration, model scouting, texts… So, pretty much everything. Everything we do, has its own character.