SEGNI SUL VOLTO
The project is the brainchild of Carla Riccoboni, Italian designer and
goldsmith, historic self-producer of jewellery, who has always been
interested in the concept of seriality and the ethical and social
implications of her profession.
SEGNI SUL VOLTO (SIGNS OVER THE FACE)
aims to design a collection of facial objects, as an opportunity to
reflect on the identity value of ornamentation, charged with symbolic as
well as decorative values: “At a time in history when the pandemic has
forced us to cover our faces with a mask, we can rethink of it as the
first and most significant means of communication”. (Carla Riccoboni)
Collective design, as a combination of contributions, joining forces,
confrontation and analysis, is the method of this initiative, which
proposes the creation of a collection of ‘singular multiples’: families
of objects in which the principle of variation determines the individual
character of each piece. This is the ideal continuation of an
experiment conducted between 2011 and 2016, entitled Gioielli come Multipli (Jewels as Multiples), born on the initiative of AGC – Associazione Gioiello Contemporaneo, for which Riccoboni acted as coordinator.
The sign is a constant in Riccoboni’s research, and in her work she
investigates the linguistic value of the image, considering the artistic
form as a signifier that always refers to a content, to a human and
historical reason: “At the basis of all my work is an interest in the
sign: sign-trace, sign-letter, sign-module, sign-symbol. From
prehistoric graffiti to archetypal symbols, from ideograms to the most
complex alphabets, in every age man has tried to communicate his
existence and his history with signs”. (Carla Riccoboni)
In the field of body decoration, in particular, signs are accompanied by
behavioural and sometimes ritual values that make them a privileged
field of research.
SEGNI SUL VOLTO has been opened by investigating the key themes
of the seminar, namely the relationship between sign and identity, its
expressive and symbolic meanings in history and in the present day, the
interdependence between the environment and ornamental forms, and the
prospects for decoration and transformation of the body with the advent
of new technologies.
A starting ‘open’ phase was dedicated to talks by various experts of the
field, focusing on the narrative of jewellery and facial decoration
over the centuries, in the present day and in possible future scenarios.
Participation in this phase was opened to interested professionals who
request it (registration was free), and who were then invited to share
images and personal reflections within a private group on the Facebook
social platform intended for the exchange and confrontation of ideas.
A second phase, reserved for those enrolled in the workshop
(registration was free on selection), was focused on design, meant as a
creative moment and a synthesis of technical and ethical awareness. The
initial individual proposals were analysed and re-elaborated
collectively to arrive together at a collection that adheres to the
agreed starting parameters.
Finally, a third phase in the workshop was devoted to the creation of
prototypes, the study of ways of communicating and presenting the
collection, in order to prepare a final exhibition documenting the
stages and outcomes of the project.
We would like to thank all the members involved in this wonderful challenge:
LAO issued a certificate of participation in the workshop, is taking
care of the online publication of the project phases and results on the
school website, and promotion through social channels and online
platforms of contemporary jewellery.
SEGNI SUL VOLTO will be concluded with an exhibition
and a dedicated speech in the cycle of conferences scheduled on the
occasion of the Florence Jewellery Week 2022 (28 April – 2 May).
From 22 to 27 November, the workshop SEGNI SUL VOLTO was held at LAO’s
laboratories in Florence. It was the fundamental phase of the project
conceived by Carla Riccoboni and coordinated by Alice Rendon.
For a week, the selected participants were guests of the school: they
had materials, equipment and technical skills at their disposal to make
tests and models of jewellery objects to be worn on the face.
The prototypes and models are the outcome of the choral effort by the
group, which worked in unison from the reflections that emerged in the
first phase of the seminar, developed through a process of co-creation.
That working methodology is not to be meant as a simple addition of
individual contributions of all the group members, but as a progressive
fusion of them, through a continuous discussion, made up of advances and
rethinks, until a unitary synthesis is reached.
On 27 November, the week of the SEGNI SUL VOLTO workshop ended with a
debate, held in the LAO library between the participants involved in the
project conceived by Carla Riccoboni and coordinated by Alice Rendon.
In the presence of the school’s artistic director, Giò Carbone, the
group discussed what had been produced in the workshop, reflecting on
the outcomes and agreeing on the completion of the ongoing project.
A number of jewel-objects were made for performative use, combining the
concept of the unique piece with the seriality of modular elements made
by digital processes, thus integrating past experience with current
The material produced is the result of a process of preliminary
documentation and collective design methodology based on constant
discussion among the participants until the achievement of shared
“Territory, memory, ethics: will the reference values of my professional history be useful in the future?”
A few small extracts from the presentation by Carla Riccoboni of the SEGNI SUL VOLTO project, inaugurated on 25 September 2021.
few small extracts from the lecture entitled PLASMARE L’AUTENTICITÁ,
given by the anthropologist Francesco Bravin on 2 October for SEGNI SUL
“… The perception of the face we normally experience […] has been completely altered by the use of the mask.”
A few small extracts from the lecture entitled THE
MASK AND THE FACE. MULTIPLE IDENTITIES, given by the teacher
of Jewellery history Maria Laura La Mantia, for SEGNI SUL VOLTO
webinar on 9 October.
“Technologies must somehow be interpreted, used, adopted to bring out our spiritual, human part.”
A few small extracts from the lecture entitled FUTURE SCENARIOS, given
by the designer and researcher Chiara Scarpitti for SEGNI SUL VOLTO
webinar on 23 October.
“When we use the word ‘volto’ we are actually talking about a reflection
of inner reality, we are therefore also talking about the character,
the nature of someone or something.”
A few small extracts from the lecture entitled
PORTRAITS AND SELF-PORTRAITS IN CONTEMPORARY VISUAL ARTS, given by the
teacher of Art history Alessandra Menegotto for SEGNI SUL VOLTO webinar
on 16 October.
“Ornamentation can embellish the body, while decoration changes the content, changes the body and is not only an aesthetic aspect, but also has an impact on the identity and the self.”
A few small extracts from the lecture entitled SIGNS OVER THE FACE: PERMANENT, PERMANENT, EPHEMERAL AND VIRTUAL, given by the professor of Design and Creative Arts Roberta Bernabei for SEGNI SUL VOLTO webinar on 30 October.
Blog – SEGNI SUL VOLTO: new spaces for discussion and design
SEGNI SUL VOLTO: portraits and self-portraits in contemporary visual arts. Speech by Alessandra Menegotto
SEGNI SUL VOLTO: FUTURE SCENARIOS. Speech by Chiara Scarpitti
SEGNI SUL VOLTO: PERMANENT, EPHEMERAL AND VIRTUAL. Speech by Roberta Bernabei