Milano Genius 2019 continues to propose high-quality artistic content and, since April is now approaching, Milan Design Week 2019 happens to be the next scheduled event .

Our project, organizedby the Italian Institute of Culture Osaka and coordinated by Asian Studies Group as far as Milan is concerned, will significantly take part during the Design Week from April 9th to April 14th thanks to the participation of a specially selected group of Japanese designers.

As already mentioned, Milano Genius works with Superstudio Group within the Design made in Osaka project, for one of the three themes of the event, the one named “Take a Seat”.

Differing from Cool Japan and Design and Planet (respectively presented at Corte dei Miracoli and ASG headquarters in Milan in the same period), Take a Seat deals with three seating artifacts created by talented Japanese artists,whose works have been selected by the organizers of the event. The three designers will then have the possibility to exhibit their projects within such a prestigious event as the Design Week.

The exhibition concerning Take a Seat will take place at the Superstudio Più location, in an area like the Tortona district, where Superstudio has given a vital contribution to its urban redevelopment, and the selected projects that will be available from April 9th are “Exist Chair” by Luna Naito, “Venation” by Mayumi Kuwayama and “With Bamboo” by A Chi x cosi = eco (formed by artists Akino Iida, Eko Yasuno and Koji Sakai).

The “Exist Chair” project has been developed by young Japanese student Luna Naito, who currently studies Design at the University of Osaka. Being her main aim that of creating artworks tightly connected to nature and capable of unconsciously attracting the audience, her project seems a sum up of her beliefs, thanks to a chair that recalls a big creature standing on its four legs.

Exist Chair by Luna Naito

In addition, the way in which it is constructed creates the illusion of the plane plate to be bent. With its simplicity in design and materials (maily wood) , the chair is not strange but still very noticeable. Also remarkable is the fact that for its assembly glues are not needed, allowing this project to be considered as an example of sustainable art.

As far as “Venation” by Mayumi Kuwayama is concerned, the main focus is the philosophy of “sustaining”. The veins in which energy is free to flow can become complex, they can sustain themselves and others too. The artwork’s theme is that  “A storm reinforces nature and all human beings are connected to nature through roots.” It doesn’t matter how strong and destructive the storm may be, the tree will always survive as human beings do. Beyond all difficulties and problems, our roots will become always stronger. Nature and human beings live together and they have been connected since forever.

Venation by Mayumi Kuwayama

The project, created using fiber of hemp and wire, shows Kuwayama’s experience in art installation and design object creation, works that she often presents in a variety of highly attended locations.

With regard to the third project, “With Bamboo” by artistic group A Chi x cosi = eco, it aims to be a piece of furniture for Landscape Design. This means that such designs are to be considered as elements that fit into the natural scenery, apart from being comfortable for our bodies. For example, bamboo forests are familiar or nostalgic for Japanese people.

In its structure, its continuing tall lines generate fresh air, allowing this project to be considered as something more than just a physical tool. Design should be friendly with nature, as well as nature is kind with human beings. The chair is also a “bamboo forest”, created with bamboo sticks from Wada city, that aims to represent a solution for the abandoned forests in Osaka.

With Bamboo by A Chi x cosi = eco

A brief explanation of the selected projects is therefore needed to allow the audience to fully understand their deep meaning and the logic behind their creation. Only a careful observer will in fact be able to appreciate the beauty that Milano Genius 2019 and Design made in Osaka offer to us during the upcoming Milan Design Week 2019.


Mistero Buffo in Osaka, a play to go beyond linguistic diversity

After the Italian Design Day 2019 in Osaka and its focus on design as an instrument for urban redevelopment and creative expression, our Milano Genius 2019 produced by Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka, continues to propose high quality content through a variety of cultural events concerning Contemporary Art, Theatre and Food in the months to follow.

More specifically, in April (on April 12th)  the attention will be on the performance of Mistero Buffo, theatrical representation by Dario Fo and Franca Rame that, thanking collaboration with Italian Institute of Culture of Osaka will be reinterpreted at the Osaka Central Public Hall (municipality of the city) by theatrical company Fronda Anomala thanks to an innovative prospective that merges performative evolution and continuity.

MG2019 - MisteroBuffo A4 jap

The famous play by Fo and Rame recalls a tradition during which jesters used to wander from a city to another to narrate engaging stories with the aim of breaking, in some ways, traditional bonds connected to linguistic diversity while addressing an ever-changing audience too: rich and poor people, with different origins and traditions.  

The theatrical company Fronda Anomala, formed by Elisa Pistis, Diego Coscia and Lorenzo Tolusso, will interpret this old practice once again, with great energy but especially with an important moral to impart: bringing current messages to the public through universal and old stories.

The result of this recipe is a performance that not only entertains and moves the audience, but also makes people reflect through the simple use of hyperbolic language, mimic and gesture but, at the same time, avoiding the use of massive theatre props.

Dario Fo and Franca Rame

Another key factor that makes this representation so innovative is the way in which communication is conceived. As a result, Mistero Buffo by Fronda Anomala plays with different languages, from Piedmontese and Sardian to non-existing languages. However, the audience still perceives central concepts and feelings; the magic expressed by the actors will in fact  help them to prevent the main message of the play from being damaged. 

The location,bchosen for the representation by Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka, is another element that seems anything but random. Being the municipality of the city, this building represents a symbol for the entire Osaka (alongside Osaka’s castle) and it is often used to host cultural, artistic and social activities that help both visitors and performers to dedicate time and passion to culture.

Osaka Public City Hall

Given such premises, Milano Genius 2019 continues its successful journey among culture, creativity and innovation. All that’s left to do now is wait and discover what is yet to come.

Design made in Osaka, when design meets innovation and sustainability

Design represents a fundamental theme within Milano Genius 2019 and the “Design made in Osaka” project. After the Italian Design Day 2019 produced by Italian Institute of Culture, our activities will continue to propose high quality content regarding design starting from these upcoming weeks. 

As a result, from March 4th at the Osaka City Hall with introduction by IIC Osaka,  will be hosted special exhibitions to present design artworks by young Japanese designers who have previously been selected. More specifically this first week (from March 4th to March 11th) will be dedicated to a series of panels, already presented during last year Italian Design week in Italy regarding the theme “Design and Planet”.

Design and Planet panels

The following week (March 11th– March 15th) will then be dedicated to propose the main aim of Milano Genius itself: helping young Japanese designers to reach a wider and international audience and present artworks that celebrate innovation, creativity and sustainability. Our Design made in Osaka project has in fact selected artworks that belong to three different themes, being “Design and Planet”, “Take a Seat” and “Cool Japan”.

Osaka City Hall

These same artworks will then be presented in Italy at different locations, after being first exhibited at the Municipality of Osaka.

With regard to “Take a Seat”, on March 1st the Italian Design Day in Osaka produced by Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka has seen the participation of the official Ambassador for the city Gisella Borioli, who already introduced this topic, supported by the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka and coordinated by Asian Studies Group. The CEO-owner of Superstudio Group hosted a speech during which she discussed not only the process that has led to the urban redevelopment of the Tortona district, once suburban, but she also presented the designers whose artworks has been chosen within the Switch on Your Creativity hub (6th edition) and that will be part of Milan Design Week at Superstudio in April. 

As the name suggests, “Take a Seat” deals with any kind of seating artifact, that shows particular features concerning materials or developing process. In particular, the artworks “with Bamboo” by Akino Iida, “Exist Chair” by Luna Naito and “Venation” by Mayumi Kuwayama resulted to be the selected seats that better enclosed the spirit of the project.

Venation by Mayumi Kuwayama

Concerning, on the other hand, the “Cool Japan” theme, we were looking for interior objects/pieces which could express distinctive features of contemporary Japan or help to understand it in an interpretative key which was also innovative, lively, artistic and charming for its esthetic or use.

Among the different project proposed, the selected ones are Kamata Shinku with “Brush Art Japan”, Masaki Murata with “Terrace Family”, Matsumoto Riku with “Bush”, Ryuichi Matsuoka with “Takatoraya Shirt” and Shinichi Tanaka with “The Playing Card”.  The exhibition of this artworks will take place at “La Corte dei Miracoli” in Milan, location of the artistic residence of Asian Studies Group (ASG-Res).

The Playing Card by Shinichi Tanaka

Last but not least, Design and Planet proposes once again the main theme of sustainability through the pieces “Endangered Insects” by Wataru Kurogi and “Molecules” by Re:Fa and Mayumi Kuwayama at the headquarters of Asian Studies Group in Milan, via Eustachi (Porta Venezia area).

Our activities within Milano Genius 2019 therefore continue within the following months, predicting stimulating artistic opportunities for both visitors and designers.   

Osaka panders Milan through the Italian Design Day 2019 to discuss urban redevelopment

Scheduled for March 1st at 5.30 pm at the Knowledge Salon (Knowledge Capital) in Osaka, the Italian Design Day 2019 is ready to start, as a cultural initiative supported by the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka and in collaboration with Asian Studies Group.

Special attention during the IDD 2019 will be paid on a talk presentation by its official Design Ambassador Gisella Borioli, Owner-CEO of Superstudio Group and creator of the international event dedicated to contemporary design called Superdesign Show.

In her talk, the nominated Ambassador for the city of Osaka will analyze the process of urban redevelopment started by Superstudio in an area like the milanese Tortona district, originally considered suburban and now converted into the archetype of fashion&design district, that has been able to redefine the concept of design for the entire milanese environment.

Gisella Borioli

This important urban rebirth also contributes to strengthen the bond between Osaka and Milan, both cities of EXPO that share a twinning status too, with the former city that conceives the latter as an example to look up to. As a result, the redevelopment of such a degraded area  is studied by the prefecture as a extraordinary case of economic and urban upgrading that is worth special attention.

Furthermore, the location chosen for the event seems anything but random. As its own name suggests, the development of Knowledge Salon was in fact part of a redevelopment project for “the last prime land in a city center,” and attracted much public attention, as it was specifically created to celebrate knowledge of any kind.

Knowledge Salon (Capital Knowledge)

As a consequence, the example given by Milan and the Tortona district represented an important path to follow for the city of Osaka, which started its action with the construction of the Knowledge Salon, whose biggest aim is to become a hub for innovative contents and to enhance the high potential of The Umekita district (Osaka station North district).

By using cutting-edge knowledge as a resource under the theme of proposing, experiencing, and learning future lives, Knowledge Capital fosters a variety of creative and innovative contents that significantly contribute to the prestige of the city.

Both municipalities of Osaka and Milan have gathered the important that such innovative projects can bring to Milan, not only nationally but also internationally speaking. That is why the Municipality of Milan decided to grant Milano Genius 2019 the patronage although the event does not physically occur in the Italian country.

In addition, during the talk there will also be discussed the importance of Japanese design artworks exhibited at Superdesign Show over the years thanks to a speech by Chiara Ferella Falda, Director of Communication and Special Projects of Superstudio. Last but certainly not least,  the “Take a Seat” project in collaboration with Asian Studies Group will be deepened too.  

Given such preconditions, the Italian Design Day 2019 with its theme “The City of the Future” forewarns a stimulating discussion about the importance of design in urban redevelopment as well as an occasion of cultural comparison and exchange for both realities that share different styles and cultures.

Municipal patronage for Milano Genius 2019

The municipality of Milan has granted Milano Genius 2019 its patronage, as an important and stimulating event that fosters occasions of comparison and cultural exchange between Osaka and Milan, whose strong bond of sister cities is further strengthened because of EXPO 2015 (in Milan) and 2025 (in Osaka).

Milano Genius is entirely supported by the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka and co – ordinated by Asian Studies Group in Italy but, with the recent recognition from the municipality that officially supports and believes in its effectiveness,  it officially presents itself as an opportunity to enhance the privilege of the city in a foreign country like Japan.

Now what surprises the most is not only the concession of the patronage with which an authority like the Municipality of Milan has decided to support our project, but also the fact that the event will not physically take place in the Italian territory but in Japan.

As a result, according to the guidelines of the Municipality in terms of patronage concession, the municipal patronage can be granted in case of social, cultural, educational, scientific or touristic events that are able to promote the general image of the city within the international scenario.

Events like these should also prove to be socially relevant in terms of the history and the traditions of the city or to strengthen national and international relationships in different fields involved in their realization.

Consequently, such events are seen as opportunities that can significantly contribute to the growth and the enhancement of the local community, its reputation and its products.  

Exceptions to this rule are rare since they require a complicated procedure in order to  successfully obtain the patronage and only occur when the event does not physically occur in Milan but its realization still strongly benefits the city.

One of the very few antecedents that we can take as an example is that of the Leosphere, the wooden sphere inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s studies installed in Chicago in 2018 in occasion of the 45th anniversary of the twinning status between Chicago and Milan.

As for Milano Genius, the cultural advantages that this manifestation can bring to Milan are numerous and enclose multiple artistic fields.

In fact, many events will take place in internationally- known locations such as the Osaka City Hall, the Knowledge Salon or the Swissôtel. Furthermore, the entire project focuses on the city of Milan and deals with Italian artists and performers, whose artistic, creative, photographic contents regard Milan as their primary object of promotion.

Osaka City Hall

In the following months Milano Genius 2019 will have to prove its full potential through a variety of events and exhibitions during which selected artists will allowed to gain recognition and visibility in a foreign context but always representing the essence of their local culture, what creative contents Milan creates in fields like Art, Design, Performing Arts and Photography in the name of innovation and cultural exchange.

Milan, central pole for the development of Asian culture

There is no doubt that Milan, as the big metropolis that it is, represents a reference point in Italy when it comes to spreading foreign cultures and traditions. As a matter of fact, the city strongly contributes to raise awareness about cultures far from ours through the promotion of a variety of events and projects organized by different institutions over the year.

In the last few years, the Asian scenario has been given special attention and countries like Japan, China and Korea have started to become popular especially among young people, who became interested in learning not only their languages, but also their customs and tradition.

It is such an interesting panorama that allows Milan to be recognized as central pole for cultural education and exchange.

Among the many organizations based in Milan that deal with Far East countries, Asian Studies Group, with its many high quality cultural activities and projects, surely represents a cornerstone in this field.

In particular, the project scheduled for this year named  Milano Genius 2019 (supported by the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka and coordinated by Asian Studies Group) aims to accentuate an occasion of comparison, collaboration and development of creative topics between the municipalities of Milan and Osaka and to encourage opportunities of cultural exchange and co – operation beyond geographic and cultural boundaries.

In order to be able to enclose all types of cultural and artistic production, Milano Genius 2019 will be presenting events and exhibitions in Osaka. The Japanese city will be hosting EXPO 2025 and shares the twinning status with the city of Milan (host of EXPO 2015). This double link contributes to strengthen the bond between the two locations and to promote occasions of mutual cultural exchange.

In fact, the concept of culture includes a variety of artistic fields that it is always useful to keep in mind: Contemporary Art, Theatre, Photography, Music and Design are all important elements that need to be considered as a vivid expression of lifestyles and traditions of a specific population that can widen not only our general knowledge of the world but also our personal way of conceiving our own culture.

From this assumption, it is important to understand that wanting to learn more about a foreign culture only becomes possible when the surrounding environment offers the right conditions to do it.

The city of Milan has been dedicating efforts and energies to this purpose, fostering events like exhibitions by Japanese artists and designers, music festivals, theatrical representations, concerts, open seminars to promote Far East performers and help the audience to go beyond the mere conception of entertainment and discover the allure within the Asian culture.

Opera Unica featuring Milano Genius 2019: introducing Filippo Cristini

Milano Genius 2019 represents the ultimate emblem of artistic expressions in every field, from design and theater to contemporary art. Thanks to the support of the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka and the coordination of Asian Studies Group, a series of selected Italian artists will be presented during several cultural events in the city of Osaka.

As indicated in the programme of the project, the month of February will be dedicated to contemporary art, thanks to Opera Unica featuring Milano Genius 2019, the event that will take place from February 22nd to March 7th at Spazio Arte and during which the Italian Institute of Culture in Osaka presents the artworks of Filippo Cristini, young Italian artist who joined the Switch on Your Creativity hub (4th edition).

Filippo Cristini is a talented artist who lives and works in Milan. Graduated in Philosophy in 2014 at the University of Pavia, he currently attends a master degree at Brera Academy of Fine Arts. The opportunity given him by Opera Unica  surely represents an important chance in his career to gain international visibility and reach a wider audience.

He expresses his satisfaction with regard to the project and is also willing to briefly present the artwork that he is going to present in Osaka, named “The Sheltering Sky”.

The Sheltering Sky (100 x 120) by Filippo Cristini

Regarding the artwork, he explains that “The Sheltering Sky’ is one of my last series of artworks dedicated to the landscape and, after more than a year since its creation I now realize, clearer than then, how this work represents a synthesis of the themes I was interested in at that time. The research regards a series of opposite couples: open/closed, nature/artifice, project/spontaneity, air/land and the title offers an important and not univocal instrument, an interpretative key for the artwork. This “sheltering sky” evokes, more in English than in Italian, the two fundamental elements that the artworks consist of: an aerial prospective of anonymous landscapes and  plants from anti – aerial refuges in Milan in the 1940s”.     

Huge influence for his artistic creation is the Milanese context, where Filippo Cristini lives and works. As a result, he has been specially chosen for Milano Genius 2019 due to his strong artistic bond with the Italian city. His ability to reinterpret in a subjective and introspective way traditional symbols and landscapes of Milan is what contributes to conceive his artistic production as a representation of his ego and as a concrete sign of how space is able to inspire artists in their representations.

“Pietra Nebbia Acciaio” (1024 x 1008) by Filippo Cristini

Examining the artwork in further detail, the author describes his artwork as “a distorted vision, on one hand the vision from above and on the other hand a sort of careful analysis of the ground”.  He then adds “I like to think about “The Sheltering Sky” as a series of ripped frescos in which the historic and the pictorial dimensions overlap in various meaningful layers.  The white sign that represents the map of the refuges I wanted to interrupt the naturalistic vision of the landscape and, at the same time, distance from the traditional representation of urban spaces, almost considering the planimetry as the nearest element to represent instead of the space intended as a concept”.

When asked about the influence of the city on his artworks he claims that “In Italy, the Milanese context is undoubtedly very lively if not the liveliest from the artistic point of view” and such a stimulating environment contributes to his artistic flair “Spending time with friends and other artists during exhibitions and opening ceremonies is always an occasion of incentive and exchange in terms of new working and artistic directions”.

“Il sogno assiromilanese” (1024 x 960), 2017 by Filippo Cristini

The artist also underlines a central belief according to which “The globalization and the influence of Internet have had a huge impact on our way of conceiving images. The artistic practice cannot remain indifferent to this fact, and fortunately it has not happened”.

Despite this fact, Filippo Cristini is convinced that “the artistic enjoyment offered in person still has its sense”, even more so in a society where “ we have immediate access to everything and in every part of the world”.

The bliss and feeling that the artistic practice is able to provide to its audience seems therefore invaluable, and that is exactly what Opera Unica and Milano Genius aim to protect and celebrate.

The making of Milano Genius logo and direct call with its creator

Milano Genius 2019 is finally ready to present its official logo and to reveal the creative process behind its creation through the words of Arianna Galuppo, designer of the logo.

As an important cultural project, Milano Genius wants not only to enhance and reinforce the artistic cooperation between Italy and Japan, but also to create opportunities and international visibility for many young artists involved in the artistic development of the event.

This is surely the case of young and talented Italian designer Arianna Galuppo, graduated with honour in Design at Libera Academy of Fine Arts and specially chosen for the creation of the official logo for Milano Genius, who now presents her work by explaining what led her to its creation.

When asked about the reasons for her participation to the project, Arianna claims that “Milan and Osaka are united by what would seem to differentiate them the most: the world of art, design and music. This is what, initially, intrigued me most about the possibility to participate, as creator of the logo, to the project.

The collaboration with Milano Genius surely represents a great opportunity for her to  “to get involved in a real work project to practice what I have studied at university. I am honoured to contribute with my logo to this collaboration, which will certainly be positive and valuable for both the cities and for anyone who will take part in it.”

As a result, Milano Genius 2019 and Switch On Your Creativity 6th Edition, the creative accelerator of which it is part, encourage  youthful creativity by involving young designers, like Arianna, to develop cultural projects and to give them the experience necessary to enter into the world of work.

Talking about the concrete inspiration for the design of the logo, she explains that “The project has three main characteristics on which I had to focus my attention while developing the logo. The first is the ambition of Milan Genius 2019 to act as an international representative of contemporary art and culture that makes Italy great all over the world and recognizes it as a driving force of creativity. The second is the need to enhance, in particular, the metropolitan city of Milan as a privileged symbol of design, art, and of course Italian music. Finally, the need to highlight the modernity and dynamism that the project needs to test itself in a foreign cultural environment.”   

In the creation of the logo Arianna felt necessary to include traditional elements of our identity such as the Italian flag and the Milan Cathedral, as “symbols that brings together people and nations in a united cultural community”.  

As for the general style adopted for the logo, she concludes by explaining that “ to express the effort of Milano Genius 2019 to project itself in a modern and dynamic way in cultural contemporaneity of various and numerous foreign environments, I thought to use a minimalist and essential style in order to make the logo adaptable to all the cultural environments in which it will be presented.”

The logo is therefore not only the official symbol of Milano Genius, but also a tangible reminder of what the project stands for: cultural exchange beyond geographic barriers and the celebration of cultural expressions of any kind.