Mistreated by tourism, the souvenir is the archetype of the memory of places. Everyone has at least one, many are similar, but each carries with it memories of a trip or a dear place. Over time, these objects have been redesigned for mass tourism, thus becoming empty replicas of monuments, statues, fountains, and landscapes. Hence, the challenge for It’s Great Design (a project by Margherita Ratti) is to make the souvenir poetic again and offer young designers the opportunity to explore new creative spaces for design outside of the classic channels of the furniture industry. Carruba by Giuseppe Arezzi kicks off the new collection that pays homage to the Mediterranean.
This souvenir represents a rural and authentic South-Eastern Sicily. Far from the recurring Sicilian folklore. Originally from the area, the designer worked on researching this project for about a year and a half to identify a symbol that could best represent the Hyblaean territory:
“Rome has the Colosseum, just like Paris has the Eiffel Tower, but no Sicilian city has its own symbol or talisman. Here, since forever, the souvenir ‘par excellence’ has been the dark brown ceramic head from Caltagirone. So I wondered what it is that really represents my land?”
Getting lost on the endless roads that cross through Ragusa’s countryside, Giuseppe realized the importance of the land for his city, and not just the sea. The area around him was covered with carob trees, which for the city it’s of the most important products for its economy. He thought of an object that represents the fruit of this tree, typical of the rural landscape of the Hyblaean Mountains. Nature becomes an artifact, a timeless object, new but at the same time ancient. A local fruit reproduced with the classic material of souvenirs: aluminum. Each Carruba is handmade in Sicily through the technique of the sand mold, a sustainable process that makes the souvenir unique and at the same time infinitely reproducible. Carruba wants to reinvigorate a territory that is marginal but rich in traditions and know-how.
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, one of the interesting aspects of the project is the desire to make the souvenir poetic again, but not only: through this collection, the young designers are offered the opportunity to explore new hybrid spaces. This design is free from industrial constraints and usual sales channels (compared to the furniture industry). The new souvenir will be vernacular rather than monumental, mass-produced and at the same time unique, the fruit of the imagination of the territory and produced with its own components, like its own materialized vestige.
With this new operation, It’s Great Design aspires to activate local economic trends and draw on the resources of the places to which these new souvenirs will be aimed. A clever project in which also becomes an engine for the local culture and its development.
Carruba is available in the Koré shop in Ragusa and at Galleria Fiaba in Vittoria, soon there will be other stores in Ortigia and throughout Sicily. The souvenir is sold with its own packaging, a glassine paper bag, at a very interesting and accessible price, that is 18 euros.
In 2022 the collection will be implemented with souvenirs from the French Riviera and Montpellier, France.