Design, irony and functionality of Andrea Branciforti’s pottery work

Our region is rich of talents, ideas, initiatives. A source of distinguished personalities, who decide to invest in their dreams and their homeland. Andrea Branciforti is architect, designer, who followed in his parents’ footsteps, being originally from Caltagirone. He achieved his aim to combine design and functionality indissolubly, a bond that is often hard to create. Convey his inspirations in ceramic, a material his father is real master of in Caltagirone. His interest for pottery finds raison d’être already after his Architecture studies in Palermo, with his graduation thesis “Pottery from 700 to today” and is definitely fulfilled with the actual collection “Improntabarre”, a series of items that reflect the company philosophy in an always present and open research for new languages, …a place of ideas, dreams and utopias projected in reality”.

How important was your father’s influence for your ambitions?

My father’s artistic path has always been alternated between sculpture and terracotta figurines, besides his commitment in the company. While his research is addressed to a geometric decomposition of the figure, a consideration about neoclassic archaic forms in sculpture, his ability to portray and recreate real and imaginary characters in detail come out when dealing with figurines. Actually, he gave me this curiosity, the research and seizing the moment of an always-rushing society, showing me that one can make innovation by using an old material processed also with unsophisticated tools and techniques. However, I owe my path to my university studies, and especially to my university professor Michele Argentino, who not only supported my work and research, but also introduced me to design masters like Ettore Sottsass or Enzo Mari, who marked my path.

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What is the Leitmotif of your works?

Recurring topic of my projects is irony sustained by functionality. If the item also manages to create a bond of emotional nature with its buyer, it’s the uttermost. In the project “Art. in Tavola” (Art. on the Table), chosen and presented at the Venice Biennale and the Mic of Faenza, I put the 12 basic articles of Constitution on the table. The idea was to make the concept of articles “visible” by using body types as expressive instrument and a dish as support. Among those items, the one I am particularly bound to is “Etna”, a stackable dinnerware set. A homage to our volcano that was presented on the occasion of the Design Weekend 2014 in Milan.

How is your reinterpretation of pottery in a modern key seen in Caltagirone?

I have to forward this question to my city. My company cooperated with architect Ugo La Pietra few years ago; when he saw my works, he was very surprised, describing them as “a clear and determined study and planning” in relation to current production. I believe this is the explanation that my work has been approved over the years both inside and outside of town.


Where does the choice of the name “Improntabarre” derive from?

The name, as well as the logo, is the union of two concepts: serial production and artisanship. In other words, barcode that is typical of industrial production, and fingerprinting to underline that artisan work is present in all execution phases of the item, on which you leave your mark.

What are your future projects?

One of my future projects is the transformation of Improntabarre in a Handcraft & Design Laboratory, where research and fusion with other materials prevails.

How important is it for a designer to be part of a reality like ADI in the Sicilian territory?

I believe I have been one of the first joining the Adi Sicilia project. Adi has been able to create a short circuit between several entities in Sicily: from associations to school and even companies. In the reality we are living in, its presence is important not only for the many friends and colleagues dealing with design, but also for the companies that see an aim for their future in the figure of a designer.

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Recommended song for the reading of the present articleIronic Rainbow – Olivia Ruiz