Home Edizioneed. 10 Gioforma, creating an experiential stage for art

Gioforma, creating an experiential stage for art

Written by Matteo Muzio

Born in Milan twenty-five years ago thanks to the intuition of three founders, today the Gioforma studio works all over the world to create stage sets, structures and concert stages to enhance performance art, be it classical music or rock, but also for events of various kinds, such as the Tree of Life at Expo 2015 in Milan.

A studio founded by three architects in 1998 that did not, however, take the name of the three original partners Florian Boje, Cristiana Picco and Claudio Santucci, choosing Giò Forma as the name of the studio that now has twenty members and by the end of 2023 will have an even larger staff. Gioforma is not a company like others, which often works for private clients who are unlikely to make their work available to the public. Gioforma moves in a public space that includes architecture and staging, musical stages for major international artists, from Vasco to Cesare Cremonini, and set designs for major operas, such as Giuseppe Verdi’s Il Trovatore at the Sydney Opera House, Australia. It is a work that aims to enhance the artistic experience for the listener at the highest level and is in continuity with a great Italian tradition that dates back to the stage sets of the Renaissance. We reached Florian Boje, one of the founding partners, to find out more about the ideas behind the growth of a studio like Gioforma.

-Your works are always accessible to the general public, who can appreciate the design in a totally free way. What is your basic concept behind each work?
At Gioforma we have our own vision, our own algorithm that we apply to all projects. “Everything is Stage” is our field of research, we think that every public space, a building or a dish, in short every object, has the potential to become a stage, a performance, an emotional experience. The transformative magic of the stage has the potential to change our views of reality; in this way we fill the gap between the viewer and what they are observing, through experience engineering and a deeply meaningful narrative. This is ‘Everything is Stage’, our manifesto valid from the smallest thing to a masterplan or destination design.

Some of your works are sets for big concerts. How much do you think they help in enjoying the musical experience?
A concert is more than just listening to live music. It is an experience, an emotion that starts from the purchase of the ticket that makes us feel lucky to have made it, that increases in the wait that can last a year or more, in the journey to the event location, in the purchase of a souvenir t-shirt or gadget, right up to the moment when you are immersed in a show that stimulates all the senses, auditory, visual, tactile and sometimes even olfactory. Our task is to create all this, not just the design of the stage set but the design of the whole show, the whole experience. This is show design where everything becomes material: iron, light, performers, videos, effects, lasers, fires, camera shots, the artist’s movements, the tour poster, the teaser. Everything is show design material so that the performer’s soul can expand and reach the spectator with no more spatial limits apparently given by the venue nor temporal limits: because a concert stays with you forever.

Some projects such as the Maraya Concert Hall in AlUla are integrated in the most extreme nature. How well do you think the human work can be integrated into the natural landscape?
This question builds a bridge to the Maraya Concert Hall (with Black Engineering), a building totally covered with mirrors, located in the north-west of Saudi Arabia, on the so-called Incense Road, near the city of AlUla. An oasis in the middle of the desert with 7000-year-old civilisation tombs, spectacular rock formations and gorges. We only entered the competition because we knew the breathtaking location. We participated with the motto: ‘nothing should be built here’. Consequently, only mirrors were appropriate, to give maximum respect to the essence of the place and enhance the spectacle of the geological epos. The reflective environment creates an overwhelming balance, but also a deep connection between human heritage and nature.

Unlike other companies, you did not choose to rely on the name of one of the partners, but chose a collective name. How come?
Several reasons, first and foremost it has to do with teamwork. Our studio is constantly growing but extremely stable, at the end of the year we will have a total of forty people, a very involved team of designers, artists and architects, we have seven different nationalities and we literally work all over the world. In a contemporary and global context, for us teamwork is the only possible answer: we think that collaboration, research and the involvement of everyone in decisions gives us an edge as well as the possibility to think long-term. Being active in many fields, from Architecture onwards, we have also noticed that our young Architects and Designers are attracted by the possibility of changing scale or project and collaborating with very competent teams.

Do you feel you are heirs to the great tradition of Italian opera set designers? Thanks to your work, a centuries-old tradition continues.
Yes, absolutely. Our work climbs on the shoulders of giants. Italy is the home of the concept ‘Everything is Stage’. If we think of the Galli da Bibiena family, or Vincenzo Scamozzi, Luigi Vanvitelli, Peruzzi or Bernini himself, they were all involved in the design of the ‘Gesamtkunstwerk’ long before Wagner invented the concept. Of course the context is different, but the algorithm is still valid. We think that our profession is like an iceberg (paraphrasing Renzo Piano): what you see is a building or an exciting spectacle, but underneath there is culture, art, design, architecture, engineering, fashion, marketing, exhibitions, museums, organisation and a lot of study.

You May Also Like

Alma: perle e gioielli
Logo Art & Glamour Magazine

Copyright © 2023  Art & Glamour Srl – All Right Reserved 

Designed and Developed by Luca Cassarà

Art & Glamour Srl – P.Iva: 12834200011
Registro Stampa N. Cronol. 7719/2023 del 23/03/2023
Tribunale di Torino R.G. N° 7719/2023 – Num. Reg. Stampa 5