[Originally posted on March 2009]
Francesca was born in Florence and 8 years ago founded the female company Arabeschi di Latte. Arabeschi is specialized in design applied to food: its work is very creative and has a strong theoretical reference but never forgets the playful side. Arabeschi’s motto (taken from the “Happiness” exhibition at the Mori Art Museum) is “happiness as a possible condition for living”. Let’s discover more with the now Rome based Francesca!
What is your personal background?
I am an architect, as all the women in Arabeschi. We call ourselves “architette” to underline the female touch (“tette” means breast).
Could you please tell us more about Arabeschi di Latte? What are the differences between a usual catering – food design company and Arabeschi?
Founded in 2001, Arabeschi di Latte is an Italian group of women designers with a passion for conviviality. The group’s mission is to experiment with new designs, concepts which relate to food and focus on its fascinating power to create situations and relationships. In the last 5 years, Arabeschi di Latte have created and exhibited a variety of food-related projects and occasions. These include objects, images, and performances related to major cultural events in the areas of art, architecture, entertainment, conferences, exhibitions, parties, etc. Arabeschi di Latte also creates customized kitchenware and special accessories that enhance the idea behind each project as well as kiosks, food boxes, kits and “food gadgets”. Arabeschi di Latte is based on the idea of creating a “daily sense of happiness” that is pursued through various strategies of participation and alternative functional models that respond to basic and pleasurable needs in our social life. We believe that food is not just “food on the plate” but everything relating to it. Food becomes an experience. The Mediterranean conviviality is a key factor in this research and comes from Italian culture. Food is a tool leading to opportunities for getting together and sharing a simple meal.
What’s the latest project you have been working on?
At the moment we are working on two projects for the upcoming event “Taste” in Florence. “BQ_interactive dinner” an interactive dinner at the Mario Marini Museum where the museum turns into a big communal kitchen. “Multicibo_una mensa multietnica” is a food workshop, among others, for kids. Our workshop will be called “Gnocchi bar mondo”, gnocchi’s (a typical Italian pasta) from all over the world will be prepared and will form a playful base for talking about multicultural issues.
Could you please tell us more about Mia Market?
Mia Market is the new food concept realized by Arabeschi di Latte for Mia. In the first place it looks as if a group of friends has assembled in a kitchen and accidentally left the door open. Mia Market is a small “escape” where the market and the living room are fusing together providing a space for direct consumption in a friendly atmosphere. A litre of organic wine, a kilo of bread from the wood oven, some fresh tomatoes, chestnuts in autumn and green beans in spring. Whenever possible Mia Market products try to come from as close by as possible therefore they are “less stressed” and healthier altogether. Mia Market is a food project but mainly is about the impact food performs via simple gestures lying in combinations such as bread and oil or butter and sugar. Mia Market provides easy to use utensils for the client and like in an upscale food shop the produce is being chosen with great care as to provide a highly guaranteed quality product. Furthermore, the client at Mia Market is free to experience various interpretations of the products he chooses… For example, one can buy an orange and might juice it, or one can buy a jar of jam and might share it with friends because the spoons can be purchased too. For Mia, Arabeschi di Latte with its strong knowledge from and not about food, has worked around topics such as conviviality and the discovery of normal things long gone forgotten, like the seasonality of food items. The objective is to construct joyful experiences in connection with everyday food-use and to remind people about the benefit of a meal eaten together. This is more evident during the weekly cooking studio when the space becomes a collective kitchen.
What are your favourite places in Florence that you’d recommend to visit?
The Botanic Garden, fascinating and so decadent… La Specola Museum, simply amazing!
Is there a medium / technique that you haven’t tried yet that you’d like to experiment in the future?