As president of Altagamma, the foundation created in 1992 by a group of the major brands of Italian style to strengthen the competitiveness of the Italian cultural and creative industry and foster the Italian lifestyle worldwide, I was looking for a beautiful way to represent Milan’s Expo. We came up with the idea for Panorama after meetings and discussions with Davide Rampello, one of the greatest art curators in Italy, the project’s director and curator. Panoramas (round rooms whose walls present 360° views that recreate the visual effect of a landscape) were a popular form of entertainment in the 1700s and have been featured at every Universal Exhibition since the very first one, in London back in 1851. Our idea was to offer a new interpretation of the concept of beauty, encompassing not only nature but also everything that is the fruit of mankind’s imagination. The project is an example of the creative ingeniousness that has made Italy unique over the course of its 3,000-year history and it shows how Italian excellence is in everything, from fashion to food, art, hospitality, design and engineering.
Creating Panorama involved the collaboration of art directors, video producers, writers, and even drone operators. Three camera troupes worked nonstop, touring over 300 locations in Italy, and new drone technology was even patented as part of the project’s making. The end result is a breathtakingly stunning, 15-minute immersive video, accompanied by classical and contemporary music and projected on a 5-meter high, circular maxi-screen in an ad hoc viewing facility in Piazza Gae Aulenti in Milan. The video starts with a 360° view of Mont Blanc in the Italian Alps and ends with a slow-motion close-up of Michelangelo’s David, in Florence. In between are shots of Rome, Lucca, Siena, many familiar settings and some lesser-known ones. Artwork by Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Giotto alternates with videos of the interior of famous Italian theaters, like La Scala in Milan, La Fenice in Venice and San Carlo in Naples. Other sequences showcase Italian excellence in manufacturing, design, fashion (including textiles, prêt-à-porter and shoes), wine and food.
Panorama is also a brilliant example of what collaboration between public institutions and private actors can achieve: it is backed by key bodies representing Italy’s cultural and creative industries – Fondazione Altagamma, National Chamber of Italian Fashion, Salone del Mobile Milano – and by an alliance of prestigious public entities including the Ministry of Economic Development, the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, the Italian Trade Agency, SIMEST, the City of Milan, and the Milan Chamber of Commerce.
A portrait of Italy’s unique cultural heritage – which lays at the bottom of our excellence in manufacturing – told to the whole world in an innovative, impactful and highly engaging way. Also, a gratification for Italian people, stimulating our sense of pride and belonging.
Soon after Expo closes, Panorama will start its international roadshow – of course I will be sharing future updates on this.