It kicks off on 25 November (until 7 January 2024) Christmas Design. Creativity for Christmas 2023, the first edition dedicated to open-air creativity, accessible to all. Twenty art installations will be displayed in Bergamo's most iconic squares, streets and courtyards to tell the story of Christmas through a festively lit itinerary that, between reality and illusion, leads from Città Bassa to Città Alta. The event is part of the programme of The Grand Finale, a cultural programme desired by the mayor Giorgio Gori that brings together the city's best appointments to close the celebrations of Bergamo Brescia 2023 - Italian Capital of Culture in style.
An easily accessible exhibition
The event is organised by DUC. Distretto Urbano del Commercio di Bergamo with the collaboration of the Comune di Bergamo and VisitBergamo. "Christmas Design marks the debut of an event that each year will invite internationally renowned artists and designers to produce works that carry a festive message through art and design installations that can be enjoyed by everyone free of charge," explains Nicola Viscardi, general manager of DUC.
What we will see on the city streets
The installations (light sculptures, anamorphic 3D murals, interactive works, new media art, virtual reality and video installations) of Christmas Design (here is the complete list), signed by international artists and designers, have been realised thanks to the contribution of entrepreneurial realities selected by the artistic director of the event, landscape architect Maurizio Vegini of Studio GPT. Fifteen companies joined the initiative and bore the cost of the installation, with the aim of creating value for the community through projects that tell the Christmas story.
"The Christmas Design works are site-specific and are created to create relationships with their surroundings and the public. The most interesting challenge for the designers and artists we put in contact with was choosing where to place their works, studying the location with which to make their work interact. Bergamo is in itself an open-air museum. Every square, cloister, street holds historical and cultural stratifications. The idea of establishing games and correspondences between the city's monumental architecture and our modern creations with the use of avant-garde technology intrigued the designers a lot,' says Maurizio Vegini.
Homage to Yayoi Kusama
Christmas Design is partner of "Yayoi Kusama - Infinito Presente", and the theme of the event is "Homage to Yayoi Kusama - Infinito Presente", a tribute to the exhibition curated by Stefano Raimondi, in the Sala delle Capriate of Palazzo della Ragione, from 17 November to 24 March 2024. With their works, the artists and designers paid homage to the message launched in the Upper City by the Japanese artist, who brings a therapeutic landscape to Bergamo for the first time, a meditative magic made of sparkling reflections and small lights.
A route between surprises and illuminated dehors
"One can come across the works of Christmas Design by chance, walking through the city between shopping trips and daily chores. But I am also convinced that many residents, visitors and school groups will put our walk on their agenda, an itinerary that can easily be covered on foot in the name of slow tourism, by downloading the map," continues Maurizio Vegini.
Shops and businesses also involved
Christmas Design does not stop at installations alone. Several businesses in the city expressed their interest, asking to contribute to making Bergamo more beautiful with installations in their dehors. Only a few of these requests were accepted, with well-structured, quality projects in which the signature of an artist or designer could be recognised. Altogether, there are about twenty installations, considering both the large works desired by the companies and the dehors of the commercial establishments.
A coffee with the designer
The narration of Christmas Design crosses the borders of Bergamo, thanks to the podcast (downloadable from the Spotify platform or through the event website) Un caffè con il designer, signed by journalist and independent podcaster Federica Capozzi to recount the emotions and background of each installation through the voices of the protagonists. Capozzi shared a coffee with the designers and the creatives of the companies that created the works for a chat in which she delved into the anecdotes, stories and curiosities that inspired the works on show.