Louise Fili, designer and world-renowned New York artist proud of her Italian origins, at the age of sixteen, visited the Bel Paese and fell in love with its multifaceted characteristics.
It is precisely the typographic styles that Louise was focused on, giving life to a project both poetic and instructive. Louise was motivated by, what in her eyes, recreated atmosphere, past eras and styles typically Italian as she wandered through the streets, squares, narrow alleys and long avenues.
The result is a collection of 400 signs which tell the story of the Italy of the shops, restaurants, bars and osterie, but also that of craftsmen who were able to bring together creativity and art with tradition and history as they made small masterpieces. The materials used are extremely varied and the signs are thus able to speak the language of wood and wrought iron, marble and stone, in a Babel of different styles (Futurist, art deco …) yet which help to restore the true and variegated image of Italy as it was and as it is with and without frills.
Louise has succeeded in a task by no means easy, but perhaps less difficult for an observer like herself as she cannot be defined as an insider nor an outsider. Her three decades of travel in the Italy of street signs are gathered in 264 pages where the reader may go through one by one or with a more technical eye choose to browse according to stylistic categories, genres, materials used (also interesting are the cases of signs which have been erased by time and then reproduced in photoshop). The last chapter is a tribute to Sandro Ponzi, the last sign painter who is still alive in Rome.
Grafica della Strada: The Signs of Italy
Princeton Architectural Press