Designers in Italy are standing on the shoulders of giants. Not just the historical mavens of artistic expression who lived during the classical era, but the current drivers of ingenuity who are constantly shaping the creative direction of the future.

It’s with that influence in mind that design studio Alkanoids approaches its projects—including crafting the entire visual look and feel of PromaxBDA Europe 2018, taking place March 12-13 in Rome.

“We constantly look in two directions: the path behind us and the path in front of us,” said Manolo Turri, co-founder and director at Alkanoids.

Over the past two decades, the world of design has changed dramatically with the vast amount of information available over the Internet, as society continues to ride the tide of digital transformation.

“Sure, you need a compass to sail in this boundless sea, and this compass is called tradition,” Turri said. “The basics are the same; the possibilities endless.”

New Channels, New Challenges

“We are living in an amazing period from a creative point of view,” Turri said. “[There are] new channels, new challenges and great opportunities.”

For Alkanoids, this has come in the form of augmented reality. The studio developed an app called Aria The AR Platform that serves as “a reference for the augmented reality world of art, communication, gaming and social.”

Users download the app, then point their mobile device at targets—ranging from posters and stickers, to books and T-shirts in the real world—to watch the design come to life through an animation on their screen.

The studio will be bringing its artistic AR designs to sponsored T-shirts at PromaxBDA Europe 2018.

Alkanoids also created Alchemica, an augmented reality website with 32 animated illustrations that are powered by the platform, and work with the Alchemica Gallery app.

It’s “not the pure technology, but the experience and the content quality” that are going to make a difference, he said.

Global Influences, Local Inspiration

Alkanoids describes itself as “ruled by passion and curiosity for anything that is outside the box,” and is constantly influenced by connections to designers around the world, and creative marketing unfolding across the globe.

“The Heineken campaign “Worlds Apart” was really interesting and powerful, connecting people with completely different points of views,” Turri said.

The company brought together two strangers with clashing beliefs in a social experiment where they were encouraged to discuss their differences over a beer.

Closer to home, Turri also highlighted Nike’s campaign, “Breaking 2,” where the company commissioned a race designed for elite runners to complete a marathon in a record-breaking two hours.

The failed attempt took place at Monza Autodromo, just outside Alkanoid’s headquarters in Milan, and was later turned into an hour-long documentary by National Geographic Channel.

RELATED: Nike Marketing Stunt Evolves Into Nat Geo Documentary

In Italy—a country known for being a creative muse—Turri recognizes the importance of keeping its staff inspired.

“Beauty inspires, happiness inspires, sadness inspires; we translate all these concepts in our workplace, where our first concern is to constantly stimulate our designers,” he said.

In 2017, the studio dedicated nearly half of its time to personal projects and research, one of which was Alchemica.

Alkanoids also draws from Milan as a cultural hub of music, architecture, technology and sustainable development, as well as the city’s surrounding physical landscape.

From skyscrapers to the mountains; from an urban melting pot to the quiet countryside, “inspiration is everywhere when your eyes are ready to be inspired,” Turri said. “You must train yourself to be open, receptive, prepared for the unknown.”

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