by Zohra KhanDec 17, 2021
"The only security in my life is creativity."
Moving cities every year until the age of 10 allowed Marcantonio (b. 1976) to discover something that remained familiar in the shifting sceneries. He could observe patterns that defined the structure of every city and the way train stations and central plazas brought people together. Most importantly, the omnipresence of nature struck him. While this was what he witnessed, on the personal front, the Massa Lombarda-born Italian designer loved disassembling toys, only to reassemble them into surreal configurations. His inquisitiveness for this activity was to a degree that he would often get dreams in which he created toys. Who would have known his dream would come true but with a twist...
In this UNSCRIPTED episode, Cesena-based Marcantonio talks about his passion for sculpting functional toys for adults, his soulful connection with nature, and why art helps him understand the feeling of sweetness and refinement.
A fine arts graduate, Marcantonio uses his sculptural knowledge to craft things which he describe as 'a combination of the highest expression of our thoughts and the simple objects that we use every day'. "How does he identify himself in this process? – as an artist or a designer?", we ask him in our video conversation. “It depends on what am I doing,” he answers with a surprising uncertainty. "Sometimes I am an artist, sometimes, a designer. So probably, I am an art-designer.”
Having started his career with working in the theatre where he collaborated with architects for projects, Marcantonio soon went into creating unique pieces of design, running the practice in conjunction with his art production. Sculpted objects painted in narratives of irony and playfulness – a monkey holding a wired bulb in his hands, a delicate glass chandelier suspended off the mouth of a giant giraffe, and coat hangers mirroring the shape of cactus, mushrooms and snails – reveal connections between man and nature. The drive behind these works, Marcantonio believes, is the understanding that irony is a serious matter, and if done with a smile it can make one think. Over the years, the self-taught designer has created furniture, lighting, interiors, accessories and limited-edition art pieces for international brands such as Qeeboo, Seletti, Scarlet Splendour, Natuzzi, Opinion Ciatti, Slamp, Mogg, Scarpin Collections, Altreforme, and Mr&Mrs Fragrance.
Another recurring theme appearing in his works is love – a vase shaped in the form of a giant heart designed for 'hopeless romantics', and a stunning outdoor moon-like lamp suggesting a date under a starry night, instantly picture in one’s mind. Speaking of his own stance on love, Marcantonio observes, “In my life I have had many problems with love stories because I always had a love story with my work. But now this is changing as I am getting wise. I don’t want to work too much. I want a good balance between an artist and a normal man.”
On UNSCRIPTED, the 44-year-old designer shares that though he throws himself into work 30 minutes after waking up every morning (the act of waking up itself is another story), it’s when the clock strikes six in the evening that he embraces the other side of his life. “From 6 pm onwards, I take time out to spend time with friends and I try to enjoy life,” he says in our 20-minute video chat.
Explore more undiscovered nuances from Marcantonio’s life in our full conversation. Tap on the cover video to watch more.
All photographs © Marcantonio, unless stated otherwise. Images may not be downloaded, copied, reproduced or used in part or whole without obtaining permission. The photographs in this video are not licensed for personal, commercial or public use, or use in the public domain in any form.
Curated by Pramiti Madhavji (Consultant, Content Adviser, STIR), UNSCRIPTED is a STIR-original series of quick-witted video interviews with leading design professionals who give us an undiscovered peek into their lives. A melting pot of quests, revelations and quirks, the series releases a new episode every Sunday as designers reveal unheard and unknown nuggets from their lives, in response to 30 questions.