1. IN ONE SENTENCE, HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE WHAT YOU DO?
We dress words, impress paper, sing interlines and make the letterpress dance.
2. WHAT DID YOU LEARN THANKS TO YOUR HANDS?
We learned to appreciate the link among beauty and matter, we learned to look into the tiniest details. In typography you have the weight of lead and the lightness of paper which trains some sort of “muscular memory” because you reach a point where don’t need to look at the thickness anymore, you just feel with you fingertips. We learned that the hands are a mind’s tool.
3. IF YOU HAD TO CONVINCE A TEENAGER TO FOLLOW YOUR PATH, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY?
That typography is a job where doing and thinking coexist and what you need is patience and order, moreover that watching the birth of things letter after letter is fun and fascinating.
THE SURVIVING STORY
“The Archivio Tipografico story develops from a series of encounters. It was founded in 2003 after a maniacal selection of typographic tools and machines done by Emanuele Mensa with the help of other typography enthusiast: Graziella Marchisio, Renato Stella, Enrico Tallone and others. Mind this is not a museum, but a working letterpress where we keep on buying more wooden letters, resin and lead. Why? Well, because the necessity to update the printing technologies pushed typography and graphic schools to get rid of letterpress like the one we restore and use, they’ve been forgotten. This, in our opinion, translated in a cultural gap that didn’t really took into consideration the importance of the conservation of this knowledge. Archivio Tipografico was born to save pieces of history, a story particularly rich in Turin with the Fonderie Nebiole and Tipografie Salesiane, not to go wasted and lost.
Recovering not only the materials, but also the skills related to the composition and typographic printing is a process which connects the craftsmanship to the contemporary taste which translates in a unique result appreciated by designers thanks for its quality. It is here that a student, Davide Tomatis, from the Politecnico of Turin joins Emanuele in selecting and classifying the material in the Archivio. Working with the Associazione Thype the first workshop blossom to bring to life the Letterdress project.
In the last few years the traditional typography has been “discovered” in England where they call it a “letterpress revival”. Nello Russo, designer and art director, moved back from New York to join the Archivio with the project SO-AND-SO. Davide Eucalipto and Gabriele Fumero, two students from the Politecnico, with their thesis project join the Archivio as well and develop new collaborations. From 2011 to 2013 the Archivio has worked with major exhibitions such as Artissima, IAAD, the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and the Fondazione Merz, Fruit, Micro and Operae.
What we would like to share with our own story? The Archivio is a place where every day very different people meet – young, less young, typographers, students – there’s always someone stopping by, some are just passers by, some stay, but everyone leaves a “sign” in terms of energy and creativity. It is thanks to those people that the story we are writing is constantly regenerating with new chapters”.