Since the 19th century, Campari has been responsible for some of the most distinctive and innovative imagery created in Italy. They discuss with us this cultural iconography in light of their new show at Estorick Collection, London.
A: How do you think that fine art and advertising are increasingly becoming intertwined; where does Campari sit within this intersection?
C: Working with artists to create iconic advertising is an important and historic part of Campari’s heritage. The brand has continually championed artists and allowed them the freedom to develop their interpretations in order to create bold advertising campaigns.
This began in the 1900s with artists such as Leonetto Cappiello, Marcello Dudovich and Fortunato Depero. Their work with these artists saw some of the most celebrated poster designers of their day to bridge the gap between fine art and advertising. This pioneering approach cements Campari’s position as a pivotal agent in the shift towards a world of adverting posters that, to this day, are considered pieces of fine art.
A: The Estorick Collection, London, traces the history of Campari’s pioneering approach to advertising, namely using red as the identifier of the brand. How far do you think colour is important to these images, and what does it communicate to audiences?
C: Campari is defined by its iconic ruby-red colour and as such it has always had an important place in the commissioned art pieces. The vibrant red colour communicates a symbol of passion, intrigue and pleasure. These are the values that have made the brand famous throughout the world as an icon of passionate Italian style and excellence.
A: How do you think Campari’s artistic influences have changed, from Art Nouveau through to the 1920s, the elegance of the 1960s and, now, into the digital age?
C: These have changed over the past century as trends have changed and indeed our reason’s for working with each of those artists. Davide Campari wanted to pursue a more dynamic approach to advertising. This began in the 1900s when he chose poster artists to work with, like Leonetto Capiello, to create a sophisticated brand profile. The aesthetics of the Art Nouveau campaigns created by the Futurist artist Fortunato Depero in the mid-1920s were commissioned with the aim of creating an unmistakable visual identity.
Throughout the 1960s, we wanted to build on Depero’s belief that the publicity poster would be the “painting of the future” and this is reflected in the elegant and vibrant designs by Franz Marangolo and Bruno Munari, who epitomised the spirit of the “Swinging Sixties.” Today in the digital age, it’s about working with artists to create experiences. This year in London Campari Creates returns, presenting The Mostra – a unique experience that invites you to step inside an art installation. Designed by London based abstract artist Mark McClure, visitors will be immersed in a constantly shifting environment as they explore the installation, whilst enjoying Campari cocktail creations.
A: How has Campari crafted an iconography through design?
C: Campari has worked with artists to help create their visual identity, their brand profile, iconic branding and even the design of their bottles. Graphical, geometric designs are at the heart of our iconography and this has been built through the work with these artists. For example, Futurist artist Fortunato Depero’s trademark puppet-like characters and witty geometric designs are today an important part of our wider iconography. Depero’s drawings were also used as the basis of the famous conical Soda bottle, a design unchanged since its launch in 1932.
Bruno Munari’s famous “Declinazione grafica del nome Campari” designed for the opening of the first subway line in Milan is still used today on objects including luggage, glasses and other ephemera. The Mostra design by Mark McClure has been inspired by the effect of light in a cocktail; the transparency of colour, the shifting light and the translucent effect that happens to the liquid within the glass. Mark has built on Campari’s previous work to do this and used graphical and bold geometric shapes to bring his vision to life.
A: Why is Campari so interested in creating “true works of art”?
C: Davide Campari believed in harnessing the power of the advertising poster but to do this he recognised the need for stand out artwork. The only authentic way to do this is to work with real artists who will in turn create “true works of art.” Creating these pieices enables the consumer to celebrate not just the brand but a beautiful art piece, created for them to enjoy. Nowhere is this more apparent than with Campari Creates: The Mostra – a true work of art that invites you to step inside a Campari-inspired art installation.
A: How do Campari’s designs tie into the Italian identity, and how important is this?
C: The Italian identity is an important part of our brand heritage and it is important that we stay true to the iconic designs we’ve created over the past century. However, in saying that, this doesn’t mean that Campari only wants to work with Italian artists.Continuing the brand’s art and design heritage needs to be done in a way that is relevant to our audience. For example, in London, we celebrate both Italian and London-based artists. The Art of Campari is currently on display in London’s Estorick Gallery and last year, we commissioned Eley Kishimoto to create Decopari, who created a 3D installation of our logo. This year, as already mentioned, we are working with London-based abstract artist Mark McClure to create Campari Creates: The Mostra.
To find out more about Campari, click here.
The Art of Campari runs until 16 September at the Estorick Collection. For more information, click here.
1. Courtesy of Campari.