Artiva is a graphic design firm based in Genoa, Italy. Founded in 2003 by Daniele De Batté and Davide Sossi, the projects designed by Artiva constitute one of the best Italian graphic design productions of the contemporary age in terms of both quality and consistency.
Based on a rigorous approach towards reduction, the projects feature a minimal color palette with the almost exclusive use of black and white, modular structures, legible typography, and the intelligent use of geometric shapes to generate optical patterns and dynamic layouts.
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Born in Genoa, Italy, 1976. He studied art and architecture. In 1998 he started working as a graphic artist and designer. In 2003 he cofounded Artiva Design with Davide Sossi. At the same time, he also operates as a visual artist making his artworks as the basis of the design work produced by Artiva. His projects have been published and exhibited both in Italy and abroad.
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Born in Novi Ligure, Piedmont, 1974. After studying architecture, he started working as a freelance graphic design. In 2003 he cofounded Artiva Design with Daniele De Batté. His work has been published and exhibited both in Italy and abroad.
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What is your definition of design?
What do you think is the purpose of design?
Daniele: To make both the designer and the user happy.
Davide: To improve the environment.
What are the qualities of good design?
Daniele: To have no design. Let me explain: searching an essential language requires a greater effort, because such an aim needs to be reached through a series of filters. Being able to renounce and to synthesize is what will bring you to the real project. It is an articulated process that shouldn’t be considered a mere technique or style. I think that the word design, just like the word art, have lost its meaning over time.
Davide: The aesthetics has an ethical value of educational importance. It’s difficult but that’s part of our work.
Should design produce things which are necessarily useful?
Daniele: In theory that is the original purpose of design. But it’s not always like that and it happens that you will find yourself looking to a cactus shaped toilet brush. Funny but thorny.
Davide: Yes, it should but not always it happens.
Should the products of design be beautiful?
Daniele: Beauty belongs to simplicity. The more it is simple, the more it is functional, the more it is beautiful.
Davide: Beauty is subjective.
What are the aspects to consider to understand the quality of a project?
Daniele: Speaking of a well made project, we use to say that is impossible to find a better solution. You can’t do it better. A high quality project should be timeless, unrelated to trends, and designed according to a logic based on both ashetics and functionality. The quality of a project belongs to its production, and its materials that shouldn’t be necessarily rich. A good project can originate also from a plain sheet of paper. A screw is a simple, beautiful, and functional thing. You can’t do it better.
Davide: A good project should last over time.
What are the key features of your design?
Daniele: For sure black and white, and the relationship between full and empty space.
Davide: Time often influences the design process. You should always take the necessary time and the necessary distance to look at the project you are working on.
What is the necessary condition to practice design?
Daniele: To keep calm.
Davide: A zen calm.
Do you think that design is one discipline common to a number of different subjects—such as architecture, graphics, furniture, and so on—or that each subject requires its own design discipline?
Daniele: We think that any designer should have a multidisciplinary approach. You should be receptive, but not like a flag in the wind. That means you need to elaborate and to transform the surroundings to make it the main tool of your work.
Davide: Many times we transpose the mood of a song into a graphic sign.
What are the differences between art and design? Could design be art?
Daniele: I don’t think that there are big differences. Maybe art makes you feel lost and then let you find yourself, while design let you find yourself and then makes you feel lost.
Davide: Art and design both plays with a pattern based on stimulus and response.
Does design require a handcraft or an industrial production?
Daniele: That’s a nice question. Maybe both. I am thinking to Enzo Mari’s handmade design.
Davide: Sometimes we relied on a handcraft production. I think that they can complete each other. One doesn’t necessarily exclude the other.
To whom is design addressed? Is it for the masses?
Daniele: There is always a marketing logic behind what you produce, but it’s not necessarily true that a product of design should be conceived only for a few people.
Davide: There are two different kind of productions, but the one dedicated to the elite is not necessarily the better one.
Should the products of design be economical or expensive?
Daniele: It depends, but I prefer products that have a price which is appropriate to their materials and their production. I don’t think that an object should cost more only because of the label.
Davide: They should be economical but not fragile.
Could design be ephemeral?
Daniele: If you mean usable, yes. If you mean fashionable, it certainly shouldn’t be.
Davide: I buy and use just a few objects. To me design is what I both need and like, then I’ll buy it.
Are there still schools and orientations in design?
Daniele: There are waves, but good things stay sticked to the cliffs.
Davide: For sure design influences people and people influences design. But there is also a whole different discourse about marketing behind this thing.
What is the future of design?
Daniele: Towards the digital and the experimentation with new production techniques. I only hope that means will not exceed purposes. Sometimes limited and limiting means push you to find new solutions which are incredibly simple and functional. I think that Marshall McLuahn had foreseen the effects of technoloy. We can’t add nothing more.
Davide: I think too that it will move towards technology, hoping that it will not evolve in a wrong way thus generating inconsistent formats. Otherwise, it will become a new technological tower of Babel.
What job did you want to do in the future as a child?
Daniele: Batman, but leotard didn’t suit me.
Davide: I don’t know.
And what was your favourite game?
Davide: Masters of the Universe.
And your favourite subject at school?
Daniele: Drawing and the school bell.
Davide: Breaktime and skipping the hour of physical education.
Thank you very much.
Daniele: Thank you.
© 2015-16 Daniele De Batté, Davide Sossi, Nicola-Matteo Munari. All rights reserved.
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Archivio Grafica Italiana is the first digital resource to the Italian graphic design heritage. Founded by Nicola Munari in 2015.
Design consultancy based in Piacenza, Italy. Founded by Nicola Munari in 2015, it operates in the whole field of design.
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