Arts and Culture / Beyond Michelangelo
Arts and Culture / Beyond Michelangelo
Antonio Pio Saracino is much more than an architect and an artist. Among many other awards won for his artchitectural projects, he has been recently named as one of the world’s 25 most interesting trendsetters by New York’s ART news magazine
Born in Apulia in 1976, Antonio Pio Saracino is much more than an architect and an artist. He began to work as an architect in Rome in 2002 in the studios of Massimiliano Fuksas and IaN+ and Architectonics in New York. In 2004, he fell in love with the Big Apple where he co-founded ArchLAB, an experimental design studio based in the City.
He comes across as a well-rounded person, a gentleman straight at the Renaissance with various humanistic interests (such as designing, writing, collecting rare books and philosophy). Among many other awards won for his artchitectural projects, he has been recently named as one of the world’s 25 most interesting trendsetters by New York’s ART news magazine.
When did you decide to become both an artist and an architect ?
“I always knew I would become an artist. Since I was a little kid, I remember that I needed to let out my creative desire. I always had a deep urge to create an internal vision and to express it through an artistic form. On the other end , my architectural background (training) has helped me to develop my sensibility as an artist in a more concrete/practical way.”
How has your architectural background affected your art projects? Is there a connection between the two disciplines and how do you combine them in your work?
“My architectural training and my artistic search are deeply interconnected, in the creative process. In our times the changes are so rapid that there is a fertile ground for experimental contaminations of different disciplines.As an architect and a designer I am not only interested in the concept of space itself but also in the ‘program’ that organizes it. My primary interest is in fact human nature. I don’t think that anyone can plan a house or design an interior space for human beings without a profound understanding of the deepest dreams inscribed in our bodies. I believe that the artificial world that we design and plan as an extension of our our body has to be in harmony with our internal world. My artistic search represents the first contact with this internal world.”
How much “Italian” do you think is present in your artistic productions? And viceversa, how much has New York influenced your artistic imagery?
“In the artistic cicle entitled ‘'Miths from the New millennium’ I tried to investigate my Italian background and the richness of our history. The layers of our cultural and mithological values need to be constantly reinvented to allow our country to be part of the contemporary discourse. The contamination of those traditional values and the contemporary culture of New York City is an essential component of my work.”
Why have you chosen to live in New York?
“For many artists, New York has always been the city of freedom, where one can develop his own talent. I came to live in the City, because I still think that it’s possible to feel here like a citizen of the world and to be part of a perfect balance between different cultures, a city where there is a great sense of freedom and openess towards the cultural differences.”
Did your family support you in your choice to live here and to be an artist?
“I was born in Apulia-in southern Italy- where I was raised by a very traditional Italian family with traditional values. I first came to New York for a short internship, but the City’s magnetic power attracted me right away. On a professional level, many opportunities presented themselves to me, and so I have decided to move permanently to New York. At first it was not easy to live so far away from my family, but when they realized what the City represents for me and my professional growth, they supported me unconditionally with enthusiasm and determination. So I feel that I have to thank them for teaching me how to be able to be free in my own choices.
How do you see your future?
“ I’m extremly optimistic for the future. I have many projects I’m working on right now, and so far all the ideas and dreams I had, are coming true in the City…but with just a hint of pessimism.We-Italians-don’t always have a positive attitude towards the future.
On the contrary the Americans own an unbeatable optimism…
maybe we are affected by our famous philosopher Seneca who used to say that a hint of pessimism is necessary to achieve happiness in this word, so that all the success in our lives come on our way unexpected.”
What is the typical day in the life of Antonio Pio Saracino like?
“ I wake up late, and the first thing I do is turn on my computer, I like to chat with my friends around the word in Sidney, Rome, Paris, London and Amsterdam.
My day cannot start without a good espresso, of course. Then I walk to Union Square, where I work, walk around the Piazza, buy a newspaper and go to my office, I’m always late! Every day, I try to challenge my clients and my business partner creatively, to make my job more stimulalting each day. Then I have my lunch break…I try a different restaurant every day in Union Square, and then I go back to work usually until late at night. I rarely eat at home, I eat out very often with friends or clients. I really miss cooking at home, like a true Italian guy.
Would you move back to live in Italy?
“Yes, on one condition: to be able to travel and to work back and forth between Italy and New York. My dream would be to open one architectural studio in Rome and one in New York City...Trying to get the best out of Italy and the best out of New York.”