“When we find ourselves in close contact with nature, we unconsciously begin a process of creation”. This is the cardinal idea behind NATURAMAGICA, being able to find a link between nature and creativity, being able to be transported by the power of nature to give life to a creative process. Photographer Bea De Giacomo and designer Federica Elmo immersed themselves in the Tuscan countryside, to learn how to communicate with nature, drawing from it all the teachings it could provide. A project that was born from the silent observation of the territory that gave life to small objects and furnishings, as well as to a visual story that lives in the harmony of the neologisms.

NATURAMAGICA is a project by Federica Elmo and Bea De Giacomo designed for LABottega as part of the residency programme at La Stellata.



ADS: The words nature and magic share a very strong feeling, astonishment. What amazes you most about the natural world? What led you to focus an entire project on it?

BDG: Nature is everything, it is the world to me. I try to connect with nature every time I can, and it always surprises me in many ways. You cannot control it, it’s just there and you can only wait and experience it. But how powerful it is! How the light reveals small details, constantly changing during the day and night. Little movements, leaves, insects. There is an entire universe under a rock, or in a drop of water. You just have to wait still and observe, and you realize that the universe just goes on under your eyes, everything is connected by such small threads, to create such a great thing as the universe. It’s magic, but it’s not, it’s just nature.

ADS: With your shots, you have managed to create a hybrid of dimensions, nature and photography perfectly communicate. What is the story you wanted to tell?

BDG: I went hunting for moments, and I tried to put into stills my perception of them. I wanted to catch the atmosphere and the sound of it if this make sense. There is not story, it’s just a sequence of feelings and the pure joy of contemplating.

ADS: All your photographs have a strong sense of delicacy and how nature manages to show itself as fragile but at the same time immensely strong. Only one shot in the project portrays a human being. Why this choice? Do you think there is a right or best way for human beings to get in touch with nature?

BDG: There are two actually. I don’t think there is a unique way to get in touch with nature, or a right way. The most important thing is to respect the other, in general, and to open your eyes, in a wide sense.

ADS: Despite continuous human input, nature manages to go on without us. How can the two coexist without damaging each other?

BDG: We cannot talk about damaging “each other”. Nature is not an entity with will, it is (not just) a series of physical, chemical and biological phenomena. We should be more responsible and respectful and become aware of how every action we do can affect the world that surrounds us. We cannot take nature for granted, nor try to control it.

ADS: What is the real connection between nature and magic in your opinion?

BDG: Magic to me is something that we can not always comprehend, something mysterious, something that creates mesmerizing effects.



ADS: A University of Kansas study conducted by Paul Atchley showed how being immersed in the landscape increases creative performance. How did nature help your art and creativity during the process of creating this project?

FE: Nature with its open sights, silence, smells and light creates the perfect conditions to concentrate. It is a great privilege to be able to experience these benefits today, this conditions definitely help creativity. I enjoyed spending time in nature since it allowed me to focus on one task at a time and made time seem longer. I believe that what enhances creativity the most is a change of scenario though. Everything that surrounds me has an impact on my process, observation of nature in its shapes, colours and structure has always been a great inspiration. I look at Nature in the same way I look at architecture, wind-sculpted stones give me an analogue feeling to observe great architectural masterpieces. The power of creative process is the most inspiring to study.

ADS: I think the keyword in your NATURAMAGICA works is “balance”. Each object you create is balanced on top of another, creating a sense of both precariousness and delicacy, of care but also invasion. Do you think this can describe man’s relationship with the natural world?

FE: Absolutely. The objects exist in the balance between the manufacture and the vegetation, man made and natural. This is clearly, an invasion game in which the artefacts mimics and distorts nature while simultaneously allowing branches and fruits to penetrate the artificial space by giving them a place to enhance themselves by trying to create harmony through an unsteady equilibrium. Interesting how the question is posed as you are stating that man and nature are two separate entities, and it’s totally true today. We should not forget thought, that man is nature, is part of the natural world and the relationship got corrupted in the exact moment in which human beings started to feel a world apart. This delicate balance in the objects might be a representation of that relationship, a continuous effort to preserve or protect something that still, every day, is brutally invaded.

ADS: How does modern design, in your opinion, enhance the nature that surrounds it? How can the two elements coexist?

FE: This question poses important challenges, such as sustainability. It’s true that the two elements coexist and are inextricably linked and that neither nature nor design is possible without the other. Every designer has a responsibility to work in a considerate way; the best practice to safeguard the environment is to incorporate Earth’s demands into the design process, and contemporary design is, fortunately, becoming more and more aware of this. When juxtaposed, from an aesthetic standpoint, it is a game of mutual exaltation.

ADS: Why did you need to get closer to nature, and make your design closer to nature too?

FE: When I was given the opportunity to do that I realized that I don’t normally spend enough time in nature and maybe need to do that more. Being surrounded by a natural setting provides me a sense of calm and quiet that facilitates my ability to think and design. We should all make time to pause from the maddening, pointless rhythm that permeates our daily lives. I imagine a slower-paced, more organic design practice for myself in the future since I believe nature and design are deeply connected.

ADS: What is the real connection between nature and magic in your opinion?

FE: As banal as it may sound nature is wonderful all by itself. In nature, (almost) everything has a reason; it is all natural however, it constantly surprises us, and in our eyes, it’s supernatural. What would you call a rainbow? Isn’t it magic?