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Italy's Slow Movement Network

September 2013

By Claudia Franco, Milan

Slow and colorful. Blue, green, red and yellow. Bright colors are everywhere in Italy during this hot, slow-moving summer, from a rainbow of nail varnish color, to brightly colored Havaianas instead of a pair of black, urban boots.

Blue, sea green turquoise and aquamarine are also artist Allison Robertson’s colors for 2013. Her lab, Dolcestilnovo, designs and creates beautiful pottery and personalized tableware. She is a Scottish artist based a seaside resort town called Levanto, and her pottery is much sought after by tourists and locals alike. Hers is a slow art in a slow town on the coast of Liguria, a sanctuary for the Milanesi each summer. Allison shared her secrets for choosing the right color for consumers:

“Swimming in the Mediterranean and living on its shores inspire my work,” she said. “I use the traditional Majolica technique of over-glaze painting on a bright white glaze, but with new, free designs. Much of the beauty and spontaneity of the designs depends on the alchemy of the kiln. With big stores offering cheap ceramic ware in these microwave-and-dishwasher days, we try to bring back an appreciation for beautiful simple local artisanal ware that can be used every day.”

The Italian slow-town network is supported and connected by the Slow Food Movement. Slow Food promotes a simple food culture, with a return to the agriculture and a generally more natural life style, with walking or biking instead of using a car, and much more.

The Slow Movement is also reflected in technology, though that may seem counter-intuitive. Larger manufacturers mix recycling with low and high-tech development techniques. It also extends into the art world, bringing handmade techniques back into development.

The Slow Movement, alongside its cousin the Makers Movement, has grown at an alarming rate in the USA in the past few years, but both reactions to a face-paced, corporately driven lifestyle are just now taking root in Italy.  The Italians always catch ideas from other countries, remixing them with a personal style.  But in this black year for both the Italian and larger European economies, the real goal is to have new ideas for managing businesses and how to make money for a decent standard of living.

A great business example is Fiorucci’s traveling store.  The famous Italian pop brand created a "shop and go" boutique on a vintage Piaggio Ape Car. Ape Car is a small, slow vehicle once used in the countryside by the farmers and workers. Fiorucci now uses them as colorful, mobile mini-shops on Milan streets. Mobile during all seasons, it’s a perfect nod to a slower life all year long!

Design & Luxury
Food & Drink
Fashion & Style
Fiorucci, a Milan pop-up store
Sea-inspired color trends in Italy

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