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Visions and Visionaries: SansSouci

Alice-Rosati (Editor in chief), Filippo Pecora (Managing editor), Tommaso Foggini (Editor in chief).

SansSouci is a multi-format editorial and arts project published once yearly. In our fifth print issue on vision (September 2014) we published an exclusive about their second object-issue and this is an interview with the creators!

The experience of picking up a 3D-printed stereoscope and looking into it… Can you describe it to us?

The stereoscope has been designed by Branzi himself, so it’s an object that truly reflects the vision of the group (Archizoom) and is not a standardized tool. It’s an architectural object that captures the essence of theories about radical architecture. The stereoscope is also a toy of our childhood. The playful connotation it bears, aims to symbolize the discovery of the world through the child’s pure eye.

The form of your first issue differs greatly from this second one. Do you have specific criteria when developing the format or do you give yourselves complete freedom?

Every SansSouci issue will change content and, in accordance, form. We don’t want to be tied to a fixed format or form of art. We prefer to choose an interesting topic and find the best and most intriguing way to present it. In a world that is constantly changing, it would be unnatural to produce something that remains standardized over time. We prefer to be ‘out of the box’.

Any particular reason why you chose Branzi and Archizoom?

We found Archizoom’s production and theme very contemporary, fitting in with our current society and aesthetics. We were looking for an interesting subject that had not yet been exploited, and we both knew and loved Archizoom’s imagery. Through Andrea Branzi we had the privilege to access an archive that has never been accessible to anyone else, and we wanted to share it with others.

Your magazine is entirely visual, not containing one written word. Why?

If the word is misunderstood, the picture can be interpreted. In case of issue 1: The neutral white container is intentionally aseptic and free of any written word to accord the reader the privilege of gathering intuitive impressions from the ideas engraved on each page.

The 100 copies of each SansSouci edition are donated to individuals or institutions of your choice. How do you decide who may receive one and how can the public get hold of it?

Each artist participating gets a copy of it in return for his artwork. For the remaining volumes, our team selects art establishments based on their importance; we aim to donate the issue to the best museums, foundation, and galleries whose curators or artistic program we admire. We want to enrich these institutions’ collections.

The public can access all the contents on the website, through selected exhibition – in some cases held directly by the art institution who received the issue – or through special events organized by us. As an example, our first edition was launched at the Italian Embassy in Paris and will be showcased for the public, once again, at the famous Parisian concept store ‘Colette’ in September.

This project is entirely non-profit. Why have you chosen this option and how do you finance your project?

Without advertisements, and thus constraints from commercial investors, SansSouci has a single aim: to create something beautiful, a witness of our passing and our vision. A Maecenas and art lover, who shares our vision and believes in this project, sponsors SansSouci, but prefers to stay anonymous.

Can you tell us more about the eco-sustainability of your endeavour and how you want to make a difference with this?

We are conscious of the increasing importance and value of eco-sustainable activities, as we believe this planet can have a future only if we start respecting its resources and act more responsibly towards it. For this reason, we recently requested an eco-sustainability certification for our second issue from different agencies conceived for this purpose. Once they get back to us with different formulas, we shall pick the most interesting one.

How did you guys meet and what are your stories?

We met five years ago and it was love at first sight! Alice: I’m a photographer with a degree in Art Critics. Tommaso: I’m a designer with a degree in Fashion Design and a great passion for the arts. My father Jacopo Foggini is an artist and designer, so I grew up in a very inspiring and artistic environment, and was mentored by his friends, such as Barnaba Fornasetti and Stefano Giovannoni.

How did the idea of SansSouci come about? What was your vision? 

SansSouci was born at a dinner table a couple of years ago after a few glasses of nice red wine. It was Filippo Pecora and us, who is now our editor. The name aims to reflect our vision of life and art in general: something light and beautiful that doesn’t need much thinking over.

Alice: I always wanted to found a magazine. However, a fashion photographer creating just another fashion magazine would have been boring. Since I’ve always been interested in the arts and my background is in art criticism, creating an art book and collectors’ object, which gathers and promotes artists I love, seemed like a natural thing to do. Tommaso supported me, and we decided to give life to this project together.

The subject for the first issue was Filippo’s idea, instead. When he told us about ‘Bestiary’, we all loved it and so that was it!

Did you encounter difficulties in transforming what you had envisioned into reality? 

The artists’ response was great. Actually, all the people we got in touch with were enthusiastic about participating. They liked the idea that this publication is not for sale and free of advertising and market conditioning, so there are no restraints to anyone’s creativity.

Alice: The first person I contacted and received a positive answer from was Jason Rohrer, an incredible video game artist I discovered in Lufthansa magazine during a flight. I simply sent him an email explaining the idea without being able to show anything concrete – after all, SansSouci was at an embryonic phase – but he accepted straight away. This surely boded well for the future! I want to thank all the people who supported us and made this possible.

Tommaso: Thanks to a great team of web-designers, PR people, managers and the highly experienced printing factory, everything went smoothly. We are very happy with the result.

Say you could look into the future, 20 years from now…

In 20 years, SansSouci will have reached its twentieth edition and will continue to be a collectors’ object, always different in shape and content. It will still be showcasing a variety of inspiring artists and themes, as well as reflecting the diversity of the world we are living in. We will of course be celebrating the twentieth anniversary with a big exhibition, gathering all the content of the past issues in a sort of cabinet of curiosities, a zoo, a bestiary, a Noa’s arch of the arts.

Read the exclusive on SansSouci’s second edition in issue 5 on VISION… Out in September!