A desire for rebirth – or our little renaissance

The turbulence of the years we’re currently experiencing has changed the lives of all of us, and with regard to our professional field, we’re witnessing a paradox that is difficult to explain at first sight. The world has never been as informed as it is now, has never communicated on as massive a scale as it does now, but the information and communication sectors are the ones suffering most. Most likely they were too anchored in models from the last century to be able to withstand the powerful changes that are taking place.
However, I would be lying if I said that all this hasn’t had significant repercussions on our own little business.
When we learned our trade we had to be able to design our own tools, but now all that counts is the final result and you need to know how to design every aspect of the message: design governs all the points of contact that animate the dialogue between people proposing something and those who need/use it.
There’s a lot of digital in our work but, guiding it, there’s always the same passion for telling the story of an idea because one thing that never changes is the need for stories, even stories about stories. It doesn’t matter if the story is in words, drawings, objects, photographs or moving images, sounds or anything else, or better yet, in all these things together.
Perhaps the loss of those few certainties we’d constructed, the fall of any form of authority or representation, very much resembles the climate in which we laid the basis for our Renaissance.
In the old days it was the press that cancelled out so many certainties and unleashed an extraordinary creative vitality, despite the wars, poverty and oppression. Now it’s the Internet that offers us something very similar. And, as happened in the past, the people of the times didn’t see the Renaissance manifesting itself in the new phenomenon.
Leon Battista Alberti dreamed of recovering the grandeur of Rome and the classicism of Greece, but instead revolutionized the very concept of architecture. He couldn’t grasp the significance of the changes he had initiated because the Renaissance is, by nature, the effect of something else: the new that modifies perception. And, as a consequence, awareness. As never before, everyone now has access to an unprecedented mass of information, and each one of us can therefore form an opinion and express their own identity in a multitude of different ways. It’s a confused situation, made up of creative outbursts and destructive behaviour at the same time. But the person, the Id, is once again at the centre of everything: from the maps on the navigator to the “theatre” of the social networks, and the proliferation of narcissistic expressions like the selfie…
This new anthropocentric vision made us think about the sense of the new “rebirth” and, for the twenty-fifth anniversary of our calendar, we thought of “reading” this phenomenon with our own particular “means”.
2016. Renaissance” takes as its premise the fact that, in life, you are not born only once: any moment in our memory that marks an important step or change is like a new birth, a rebirth, a renaissance.
The first time we managed to stand on our own two feet, the first day of school, our first kiss,our first heartbreak, our first pain, our first job…
To interpret all these moments, we fashioned a world of newborn-ness using objects from adult life. The implicit wish is a stimulation to take on the certainly not easy task of one’s own rebirth lightly and, if possible, merrily.
The teaching of these recent years is precisely this.
Being contemporary with oneself demands an extraordinary capacity for continual self-invention, knowing that each milestone is in fact only a new point of departure. Rebirth lies in the struggle to claim our uniqueness and originality from the end of our very existence, a goal that is hard to attain without being part of something bigger: a family, a religion, once upon a time a nation, or more simply a company, an organization in general…
The struggle can be won only when a group of individuals together manage to construct a universe where none of its members feel deprived of their own unicity.
And this is a bit like “our little Renaissance”: a comeback to our roots, when we used to share our thoughts and notes with the most diverse people, to foster a mutual creative exchange, and to gain, from that random exchange, a source for our ideas.
Now our workspaces have become relational spaces where different people and expertise come together and, when ideas and objectives are shared, form a brotherhood, something more like an open community than a business concern.
This is the present of a thirty-five-year history that has changed names three times (Studio Romano, AReA and Inarea) because, in the words of Oscar Wilde, “Experience is simply the name we give our mistakes”… It’s a space full of time that changes us in every sense but that deep down has always allowed us to be ourselves.


Antonio Romano


‘Calendarea. Twentyfive years on the wall’, Marsilio Editori