Italian designer Simone Cutrì aims to address social issues through his multidisciplinary practice
Currently based in New York, the designer works on a variety of community-based projects that span visual identities, printed matter, websites, videos and installations.
- Ayla Angelos
- 11 May 2020
After receiving his BFA from ISIA Urbino, Italian designer Simone Cutrì moved to New York in 2015, and that's when he began to fully define his practice. Working for two small studios, Ahoy Studio and DIA Studio, he learnt the ropes of the industry and soon ventured on his own two years later. “I decided to focus more on my practice by taking some time for myself,” he says, marking this as the reason why he applied to the MFA programme at Yale University School of Art – a course that he graduated from last year and one that enabled him to land a job as senior graphic designer at Rockwell Group, an architecture firm in the city.
“During these years,” he continues, “I focused on solidifying my practice, visual approach and methodology.” As such, he began burrowing into digital and physical environmental spaces into which people can fully immersive themselves, in order to “enjoy and earn to new things”. This was a new direction for Simone, as his desire to create new experiences for his audience were becoming a reality – be it in form of a book, website, film festival or exhibition. “I am interested in seeing how my audience reacts to my prompts; this is the most rewarding part of all processes.”
Now, the designer, researcher and educator, currently based in Brooklyn, has been lending his technical hands towards a variety of projects. This includes, specifically, those that are unravelling and addressing social issues, which can be achieved through his multidisciplinary and community-based practice spanning visual identities, printed matter, websites, videos, environmental graphics and installations. Clearly excelling in his chosen medium and happy to have settled on his own particular style, Simone explains how it all comes from experience.
“My visual language became more defined over the years,” he tells It’s Nice That. “I have a fascination with the so-called ‘poor images’ and abstracted shapes. I usually take really recognisable figures, images and signs, and I try to abstract them as much as I can.” Knowingly toying with the perspective of his work, Simone looks for that illusory feel that he can build on through his design process. “The computer became an amazing tool to bring images to the abstraction that I need,” he adds, “but everything starts with paper and print.” By commencing his process with an analogous method, he then continues to print and modify things with paper, before turning to digital techniques which includes a scanner and post-production manipulation; this means he is able to reach a distorted end point, which is effortlessly paired with a formulaic and sleek aesthetic.
At the moment, Simone is currently working on broadening the audience reach for his personal project that he began in 2018. A self-organised public event that he hosted in New Haven during the month of November, it saw the designer present a series of four film screenings, each on the subject of ‘antimafia’. Having organised and promoted the event himself, the result was a series of films, each accompanied by background readings and introduced by a guest from a different field. “It was an amazing adventure and I loved being able to be a part of each and every single step of the process,” he recalls, “the fun part is being able to be involved in the concept until the final realisation of a project.”
Elsewhere, during his current role at Rockwell Group, the designer has further developed his interests in architecture, “because they are physically building worlds and environments for people to walk and live.” Imperative to his ethos as a designer, Simone enjoys becoming at one with this “type of conversation”, and hopes to bring his research and visual methodology into life and to a wider audience. Elsewhere, he tells us how he’s keeping his personal projects afloat alongside his day job, which enables him to work with clients in the non-profit sector. As a part-time professor at Parsons School of Design and Hunter College, he explains how its “two totally different realities” in New York. “I am teaching Interaction Design and I am asking my students to think of their users,” he adds.
“I want them to embrace the user experience and understand how people use screens nowadays. I can’t wait to see how these experiences will influence my practice.” Hoping to expand his own work, Simone is finally ready to make the move and work on projects that, above all, approach a larger audience from across the globe.
About the Author
Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.