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Gianluca Migliorino: When Art and Design Become One

The debate on what differentiates art from design is complex and ongoing. While artists and designers share knowledge on the usual subjects, the reasons for creating their work, the roles assigned, and the processes adopted are strikingly different. Which begs the question: Can an artist also be a designer and vice-versa? And if they can coexist, what would the creation process look like?


By GIOVANNA G. BONOMO

April, 2023




Among Italy’ contemporary artists and interior design trendsetters is Gianluca Migliorino, CEO of Migliorino Design. Whether designing furniture or creating monumental NFTs and sculptures, this Apulian Artist-Designer has an otherworldly eye for going beyond the expected and inspiring us to think bigger, bolder, and broader.




I presented myself as an artist and a designer. Of course, everyone except my wife thought I was a fool.

— Gianluca Migliorino



WHEN IMPULSIVE MEETS REFLECTIVE


“I do what I am. My purpose is to feel like an active part of the world.” For Migliorino, being an active part of the world is bridging the imagination with reality through a work of art or a design product. So how does an artist-designer conceive and realize a project? “I don’t know if it’s the same for others. The first phase, which is the simplest, is what I call Impulsive. When you get an idea, as if by chance, by looking at or listening to something, your brain takes the input and processes it until you have a draft of the final idea.


Then, of course, you refine it, pose the problem of how to realize it, figure it out, and put it into practice. The second case, which is very complex, is Reflective. It can even take years of mental processing, and it may never even materialize, but it’s when I want to express a concept or maybe even a product, but I can’t find the cue or the spark that triggers the creative mechanism.” With AI design believed by many creatives as a threat to human creativity, Migliorino embraces it. “These days, I am completely absorbed by technological innovations related to digital art and artificial intelligence,” he said. Some of these digital innovations include




 

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DIGITAL HYSTERIA


Migliorino’s sculpture is meant to draw attention to how our thumb scrolling on a smartphone screen is complicit with social media in making our moods suddenly and unnaturally fluctuate, scrolling between a funny, sad, or fake news post, subconsciously creating hysteria, took him three years to simmer into his imagination until one day… “During the first lockdown, sitting at my computer reading some work emails, I saw my daughter on the couch flicking her thumb across the smartphone screen. And there it was: The fingerprint! Digital took on a dual meaning. I connected the fingerprint image to faces representing different moods, all connected to the lines of the fingerprint. After a few hours, the project was pretty much done.” 


bronze sculpture
Digital Sculpture: Digital Hysteria by Gianluca Migliorino 

BRIDGING THE DIVIDE


The age-old debate sings something to the tune of: Design solves problems. Art provokes emotion. Designers work with a data-driven or mathematical process. Artists work intuitively driven by instinct. Art is perceptual. Design is rational. Design is created for others. Art is for oneself.

Like many experiences, Migliorino’s passion ignited during childhood. “I have always been fascinated by art in all its forms. I love the possibility of doing something that creates the same feeling in others, uplifting and instilling beauty in someone else’s soul. At the same time, I used to Title In occasion of the “Baroque and Neo-Baroque” Design Festival, an exclusive collaboration was born under the name Stupor Mundi with Italian designer Roberto Semprini. move furniture around the house with my mom to create new spaces and would spend hours flipping through design magazines and drawing new models on CAD.”


For many, the belief of realizing monumental success as an artist is often shadowed by fears of the future and the need to be realistic in terms of what we can achieve—but all roads inevitably lead to where nature intends it to go. Despite his passion for art, he took the rational route regarding academic pursuits leaving his homeland of Andria in Southern Italy for Milan, Italy’s industrial and financial capital.


“When I think about it, my natural inclination for creativity, experimentation, and the continuous search for beauty took over without realizing it. At a certain point, the stars aligned to forge a path that has led me to where I am today. It may sound strange, but today I can say it was my technical education and career choice, which seemed like the wrong path when I was young, that gave me a chance to unleash my creativity today,” Migliorino said. While the artist admits to having a preference for sculpture and metals, his design mind forces him to choose a medium and make it the protagonist of the piece instead of doing it randomly. “Perhaps in this respect, the designer and the artist help each other to make the work an object that conveys a message without neglecting the environment in which it is placed, Migliorino said.” 


NEW LAST JUDGEMENT



DESIGN IN ITALY


Today, Italy is one of the world’s leading furniture exporters and the fourth largest furniture manufacturer. Revenue in the Italian Furniture market amounted to €14.56bn in 2022 and is expected to grow annually by 1.35% (CAGR 2022-2026), while the most prominent segment is the Living Room Furniture with a market volume of €3.59bn in 2022 (Statista, 2022). “Design is one of the pillars of the three Fs (Fashion, Furniture and Food) that makes Italy great in the world,” Migliorino affirms.” Soon, Italian companies will put even more focus on the importance of know-how and dedicate themselves almost exclusively to producing quality products with great attention to detail.”



ADAMO 2030


Currently, Migliorino is carrying out an ambitious project involving the creation of a monumental sculpture entitled Adamo 2030, which deals with the sensitive issue of environmental protection and the future of humanity. “I’ve received tremendous support from the Puglia Region, my city of Andria, other institutions and fundraising from sponsors and the community, who will be recognized for their contribution. With these resources, I will create and donate the work of art to the city as a symbol of the unity of humanity in protecting and preserving the environment. My goal is to propose it as a traveling installation so that the funds raised from its exhibitions in museums or cities will be donated to an environmental foundation/association. I am delighted to have had so many people and institutions’ support in realizing this important collective project,” Migliorino said. 



FINAL THOUGHTS


When asked what advice he would give future artist-designers, he said: “Not a day goes by that I don’t remind myself of my dream as a boy and how I feared that dream would never come true. Today I am doing exactly what that boy dreamed. So my advice is simple: Let your passion carry you and cultivate it at all costs. In any field, passion is the energy that allows you to overcome all obstacles and achieve your dreams, whatever they may be.” 

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