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CHAMBRE GRAPHIC: A Conversation with Ciao Ciao Studio

Ciao Ciao Studio is an independent creative studio based in Palermo (Italy) founded in 2018 by Leda Li Pira and Luca Pantorno, joined shortly after by Simone Capano in 2019.

The studio is focused on visual design concepts and editorial projects in both cultural and commercial fields. The creative process of the studio is characterised by a strong accuracy of every aspect of the design research, through the creation of unique visual communications and tailor-made solutions with a lively, experimental yet straightforward tone.

One of a Type exhibition, project by Ciao Ciao Studio. Photo credits: Filippo Nicoletti.

Chambre Fluide: Hello! Let’s start by telling us how Ciao Ciao Studio was born.

Ciao Ciao Studio: Ciao Ciao Studio was born in Palermo in 2018, the year we found ourselves back in our home town after years of working abroad. During our meeting, which was almost unexpected, we reflected on the fact that that year would be particularly important: Palermo had just been declared the Italian Capital of Culture and the venue for the Manifesta Art Biennial. So we decided to create an event of our own: One of a Type, a typographic collective exhibition in which 32 designers were invited to design a different letter of the alphabet, just one type: the sum of all the letters created an 'uncoordinated' alphabet reflecting the changing and multicultural nature of the city and its different cultural imprints. It seemed the best way to celebrate Palermo's uniqueness and honour it. Since there had been no graphic events dedicated to the city before that moment, our initiative received a great response, not only from insiders, but also and above all from our fellow citizens. It was this event that marked the birth of our studio and our return to Sicily.

One of a Type exhibition, project by Ciao Ciao Studio, 2018. Photo credits: Filippo Nicoletti

One of a Type Catalogue, project by Ciao Ciao Studio, 2020

CF: To be honest, We envy you a little bit, because you are lucky enough to live and work in such a fascinating place as Sicily! What is it like to be a designer in Palermo?

CCS: Yes! In fact, we had our first work experiences abroad, but perhaps it was this initial estrangement that made us rediscover the beauty and good fortune of being able to return to Sicily and set up a graphic design studio here.

We certainly always have in mind the importance and influence of our territory and culture in our design approach. Sicily is a place of strong contrasts, where an often chaotic urban dimension is mixed with an evergreen nature and the proximity of the sea. Palermo is also the result of cultural contaminations that are strongly visible in the architectural stratification of the city, and in its social and cultural structure. We love the fact that Sicily in general is so open and accustomed to so many cultural, architectural and landscape contaminations. This set of contrasts and multiculturalism gives us a great creative charge and continuous inspiration for our design research.

Kalt Lookbook, project by Ciao Ciao Studio, 2019. Photo credits: Marco Amantia

Kalt Brand identity, project by Ciao Ciao Studio, 2019

Kalt Lookbook, project by Ciao Ciao Studio, 2019. Photo credits: Marco Amantia

Kalt Brand identity, project by Ciao Ciao Studio, 2019

CF: How does the project development process work between you? Do you participate together in the realisation of each project?

CCS: After receiving the brief from the client, we always try to start with a collective brainstorming session and an initial off-screen design.

We get together and brainstorm to understand the objectives of the project we are tackling, do a lot of visual and conceptual research, and identify key words that can help us come up with good concept proposals. After the initial stages of research, each of us draws up proposals independently, which are then resubmitted to all members of the studio before being officially presented to the client.

CF: We found your One of a Type project very intriguing. Both from a design point of view and for the network of collaborations and encounters it has created. How was it to deal with such stimulating contemporary realities?

CCS: Thank you! The fact that 32 international studios of 12 different nationalities were involved in One of a Type meant that our network of collaborations really expanded in a short time. The fact that we received immediate approval from the invited studios to take part in the project really filled us with joy and gave us the right energy to carry on with what was our first big event, entirely curated and designed by us. In addition, being our first project under the name Ciao Ciao Studio, and not being present in any way on social networks or on the web at the time, made us realise that it was precisely the validity of the project that aroused the interest of the invited designers, prompting them to participate. For One of a Type, we also curated and produced our own catalogue of all the exhibition material: the individual letters designed by the studios, along with their concept, and introductory critical texts illustrating the event. The catalogue is printed in limited edition and can be purchased on our website.

CF: Which of your projects has given you the greatest satisfaction?

CCS: So far, the one that is dearest to us and has given us most satisfaction is One of a Type: a project that we have conceived and followed in every detail. But we are working on many other projects, currently in the pipeline, of which we are already very proud and which you will see soon on our channels. In addition, we are teaching the Graphic Design course for Visual Arts students at the MADE Program academy in Syracuse, Sicily's first academy with an international imprint, with an excellent educational offer that ranges across the multidisciplinary aspects of design. We are very proud to be part of their teaching team.

One of a Type Catalogue, project by Ciao Ciao Studio, 2020. Photo credits: Marco Amantia

One of a Type Catalogue, project by Ciao Ciao Studio, 2020. Photo credits: Marco Amantia

One of a Type Catalogue (Shop ), project by Ciao Ciao Studio, 2020. Photo credits: Marco Amantia

CF: Thank you very much for the lovely conversation!

CCS: Thank you! It was a pleasure talking to you.

Website: Ciao Ciao Studio

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