Interview with Lucia Gaggiotti, new Taste ADV graphic designer

Who introduces us to her Mandala Gourmet creation

Can you tell us about the graphic design project you carried out specially for Taste, where did the idea come from? What inspired you?

Right after the first meeting I had with the Taste team, I felt an explosion of ideas in my head... I have to be honest, that isn’t an alchemy that always happens! I drew for a whole day and night without stopping. For an illustrator, believing in the concept, embracing the vision, is essential... creativity doesn’t work on command!
I’ve been keeping up with international food projects for many years, but this time, with Taste, I returned to my homeland, Italy, and I had the chance to promote the regional delicacies of our country. Food immediately became a game: colours, shapes, so much variety, so much care and passion! To design the campaign I couldn’t stop at just one representative product: Taste is a sumptuous banquet, an exuberant joy, the joy of the palate! And all this taking place in Florence, one of the most beautiful and historic cities in the world. The Taste poster then morphed into a scarf where the ingredients and cooking utensils fit into one other; I added a bit of irony, which is the magical spice of us creative types, and a “gourmet mandala” emerged: each piece of the maze tells a funny little story and helps to balance the whole composition, just like what happens in the kitchen with the ingredients of a recipe! The other poster is for Fuori di Taste (a play on words with “fuori di testa”, meaning “out of your mind”), here I really took the title of the event literally and I put two icons of Florence inside the egg, which is the symbol of the event, and then I added a dash of madness: the lantern of the Brunelleschi dome became a romantic coffee grinder, the wonderful oculi of the drum became a mise en place worthy of the TV quiz "Il Pranzo è servito", the buttresses turned into large slices of cheese and the arches of the Ponte Vecchio were transformed into three pieces of Stortini rigati pasta!
Tell us a bit about yourself, about your professional path and your job...
As a child I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I grew up... I wanted to draw, communicate and invent. I studied at the Ancona Institute of Art and then I graduated in Graphic Design specializing in Illustration at the Naba in Milan. I often say that I'm a child in an adult’s body, I have an imagination and a sense of curiosity that run around madly inside me, they nourish me and thrill me like they did when I was 5!
Along my path there were some pivotal meetings which greatly inspired and pushed me and made me stay abroad for more than 10 years. I learned that it is crucial to combine pure creativity with a lot of study and dedication and to dig deep into both the old and the new. London was really the birthplace of my success: the city has allowed me to work with talented designers who have acted as my teachers, like Julian Robert of Irving design, Gail & Tamsin of Bryson & Loxley, as well as with some major international clients. I tried to borrow the British way of using colour sophistication, precision and polish for every job I do; on the other hand though, my Italian background, my love for good food and the good life was immediately appreciated and respected. I soon specialized in the food and packaging sector, working with some of the foremost figures in international catering such as chef Jamie Oliver, Carluccio's, Fine cheese & Co., Marks & Spencer, Green & Black, who have at times turned my work into small works of art. At the same time, my “Charme & Happy” style has attracted the attention of some publishers and children’s game companies as far away as the United States.
What are the greatest sources of inspiration for your work? 
I love to observe nature: its colours and shapes are one of my greatest sources of inspiration, they are the oldest academy there is, the school of balance and harmony!
I collect pieces of wood, stones, shells and I also take refuge in my house by the sea in absolute peace for a good part of the year. My other fetishes are the folk and retro graphics which I track down in the provincial markets in remote Indian villages. I like old tin cans, fabrics and Oriental tapestries, but I also love my mother’s vintage clothes, old ‘50s postcards... in short, everything that tells a story and that has gathered energy over time! It’s from all this that the initial idea usually sparks. Then the real challenge is to balance what I love the most, and my style-matrix, with the needs of the client, who forms the basis of my work.
How does food merge with art and, particularly in your line of work, with graphic design and illustration?
Food itself is art. There’s the raw material that comes from nature and then we as humans process it with our ideas to create ever newer culinary forms. In the world of quality food each product is a work of art, where creativity and passion blend with tradition. Food tells a story, it makes you feel excited through your sense of taste. My job is to make the most of this and to make it a feast for the eyes too!