Fuochi d’artificio. Catalogo illustrato



The effect of fireworks at the moment of explosion seems impossible to reproduce on paper, due to its ephemeral and iridescent nature. Yet in late 19th century Japan, Jinta Hirayama undertook this challenge by publishing an extraordinary catalogue.

While the purpose of the booklet was once to show Hirayama Fireworks Company’s customers the variety and originality of its pyrotechnic productions, complete with instructions for use, today the illustrated fireworks catalogue stands before our eyes as a valuable work of graphic art. 86 magnetic illustrations, geometric and elegant, rigorous and striking, that manage to evoke the brilliance and magnificence of the fireworks as they appear at night and constitute the restored reproduction of the original catalogue, dated 1883.

It was precisely in those years that Hirayama’s company distinguished itself in the production of fireworks, making notable technical innovations that culminated in a new expressive horizon: from the exclusive use of orange hues, it moved on to a riot of colours.

As well as being a source of inspiration, the singular illustrations intrigue the beholder with ever-changing combinations, and lead right back to the Japanese etymology of the term: page after page one seems to see ‘flowers of fire’ (in Japanese, hanabi). An unusual and original book, with the unmistakable flavour of yesteryear of an art that has never gone out of fashion.

With a precious childhood memory by Aoi Huber Kono, and lettering on the cover by Luca Barcellona.

With a text by Aoi Huber Kono
Cover lettering by Luca Barcellona
Book design by Bunker

12 × 18 cm
96 pages
Paperback + dust jacket
Isbn 978-88-98030-40-8
First published July 2021


You may also like…

  •  19,00

    Seven incredible drawings of the same landscape, portrayed from 1953 to 1972, and how it changes in such a short time. The debut work by Swiss artist and illustrator Jörg Müller, first published in 1973 and thanks to which the author made an international name for himself, was then something completely new in the world of picture books and is today as relevant as ever.

    No words, it is only the plates that speak and a date that marks time: where there was a meadow, a stream, a house painted with vegetable gardens and flowering trees, shortly afterwards there is also a tractor and a train passing in the background. Page after page the forest and the stream are gone, chimneys and industrial plants arrive, the painted house is demolished to make way for a busy motorway and a supermarket.

    A landscape that changes face in the space of a few years, a tale in pictures that is not intended to be a nostalgic cliché of the rural environment, but a chronicle of vivid immediacy of the change brought about by the glorious age of progress. The author’s beautifully drawn plates are timeless and without place, painting a scenario that most of us have experienced over the past sixty years: we all remember that childhood meadow that is now gone, and unfortunately we continue to see others disappear.

    The edition of this book tries to be partly faithful to the first, original German edition by giving the pictures space and centrality. Dove c’era un prato (Where There Was a Meadow), which won the author the German Youth Literature Award in 1974, is today a great classic on the environment, which triggers urgent and necessary reflection.

    With a text by Giulia Mirandola, careful curator of cultural projects that focus on visual reading and the relationship with the landscape.

    Illustrations by Jörg Müller
    With a text by Giulia Mirandola
    Book design by Bunker

    30 × 23.5 cm
    24 pages
    Isbn 978-88-98030-39-2
    First published May 2021

  •  24,00

    Since the beginning of her career as a visual artist in the early 1980s, Emi Ligabue has focused her research on everyday objects, from everyday utensils to the icons of modernity and design, first creating sculptures and installations and then two-dimensional works, preferring the technique of collage. Taking and recontextualising images is his signature style and has allowed the artist to freely experiment with mixing genres, and to reflect on the increasingly blurred boundaries between visual and applied arts.

    In the 65 collages of La settimana bianca (The White Week), the title of the exhibition curated by Melania Gazzotti at the Mutty cultural centre and its catalogue, Emi Ligabue measures himself against a different visual imagery: the mountain, as a relatively recent holiday and winter sports destination. This time, therefore, the subject of investigation is no longer the artefact itself, but rather the visual ensemble of snow-covered peaks, skis, snowshoes and plastic poses, placed within a collective phenomenon of custom – which began in the 1960s and is now consolidated – that thanks to artistic elaboration and interpretation becomes evocation and takes on an iconic perspective, anything but free of irony and provocation, as is the artist’s custom.

    A book for lovers of illustration, graphics and design and, of course, for die-hard winter mountain-goers.

    Edited by Melania Gazzotti
    Texts by Melania Gazzotti
    Book design by Bunker

    21 × 28 cm
    68 pages
    Sewing stitch Singer
    Isbn 978-88-98030-14-9
    First published January 2019

  •  38,00

    Caleidoscopica takes us on a journey through the last ten years of the career of Olimpia Zagnoli, an internationally renowned illustrator whose sinuous and colourful images have quickly conquered the worlds of publishing, fashion and communication. Her unmistakable stroke guides us through the 148 pages of this anthology in an overwhelming sequence of works – drawings, prints, neon, textiles and sculptures – that are juxtaposed by free association or by clear affinities of theme, colour and form.

    The rhythm of this immersive journey is punctuated by a series of texts and thoughts from authors working in the fields of illustration, design and art, offering multiple and original readings of Olimpia’s work. The uniqueness of the publication is enhanced by a series of sketches, contained in notebooks of visual notes and preparatory works that reveal the creative process through which Olimpia, seeking the synthesis of the image, arrives at the essence of the message with the freshness and naturalness that make her unique. The book, edited by Melania Gazzotti, is addressed to lovers of illustration, to all those interested in design, fashion, style and looking for inspiration, and to all Olimpia’s fans. Caleidoscopica will also be an exhibition in Reggio Emilia planned for September 2021.

    Edited by Melania Gazzotti
    Texts by Melania Gazzotti, Kim Hastreiter, Steven Heller, Italo Lupi, Paola Pallottino, Guido Scarabottolo, Leanne Shapton, Peter Shire, Tamara Shopsin
    Book design by Bunker

    19.5 × 26 cm
    148 pages
    Hardback with mirror glasses
    Isbn 978-88-98030-35-4
    First published March 2021

  •  35,00

    “It was a kind of music. Six months later I found an album of oriental paper, and I started to draw a kind of landscape score. I tried to find this music of forms, I looked for my Patagonia from the Patagonia I had crossed”.
    – Lorenzo Mattotti

    This is not the first time that Mattotti has felt the need to make an illustrated travelogue, he had already done so in 2014, collecting a series of drawings documenting his discovery of Vietnam in a precious travel book, later published by Louis Vuitton. On Patagonia, however, the artist does not want to make a full-fledged reportage, as he had done for the eastern country; what interests him about this place is only one aspect: its boundless and virgin nature, not its inhabitants and their stories that had so fascinated storytellers such as Bruce Chatwin and Louis Sepulveda. For Mattotti, Patagonia is first and foremost a place of the mind and that is why he strips it of colour to represent it, synthesising its forms, making it almost abstract to succeed in giving us back a sensation before an image, the sensation that every man feels when he finds himself in an extreme land, in a land at the end of the world.

    Edited by Melania Gazzotti, the book presents all the 24 black and white plates contained in the Nepalese paper notebook where Mattotti copied his travel notes, together with a selection of colour drawings made by the artist in a classic Moleskine® notebook while he was in Patagonia. Both notebooks are unpublished and were made between 2003 and 2004.

    The world’s best-known Italian illustrator, a never-before-seen exhibition and a book to collect: Patagonia by Lorenzo Mattotti promises to be a not-to-be-missed event for all lovers of contemporary illustration and beyond.

    Edited by Melania Gazzotti
    Texts by Lorenzo Mattotti, Melania Gazzotti, Jorge Zentner
    Book design by Bunker

    28 × 15 cm
    116 pages
    Swiss-style hardback
    Isbn 978-88-98030-28-6
    First published October 2020

Fuochi d’artificio. Catalogo illustrato