Responses by Synoptic Office.
Background: Located in Cold Spring, New York, nonprofit museum Magazzino Italian Art explores the impact and enduring resonances of Italian art on a global level. The museum’s new digital platform enables the museum and research center to make its resources available across the globe. The platform, designed in partnership between Magazzino and us, gives the museum borderless capabilities to achieve its ambitious goals of connecting people around the world through contemporary Italian art and culture. The site is designed to engage a wide variety of audiences, from the general art enthusiast to researchers specializing in contemporary Italian art and Arte Povera, the Italian art movement from the late 1960s to the 1980s.
Larger picture: Magazzino’s new website, while making the museum more accessible to audiences outside of Cold Spring, also supports the crucial work done on-site to advocate for Italian artists. The website is a research destination in and of itself. In addition to being a museum website, it features a library of books and essays and a streaming experience featuring Magazzino’s wealth of commissioned research videos.
Design core: As Magazzino Italian Art is both a museum and a research center, the website highlights exhibitions and events alongside research initiatives such as publications, documentary videos and fellowship opportunities. The new Magazzino Italian Art platform builds on the graphic identity created by design firm Waterhouse Cifuentes Design, continuing to use timeless typefaces, including Plak Magazzino, a font inspired by Alighiero Boetti’s striking composition Manifesto, which lists the names of sixteen Italian artists flanked by mysterious symbols.
The site utilizes a strong, confident grid that brings uniformity to the design as well as incredible flexibility through its dynamic panels. It evokes both the structure and palette of Magazzino’s physical building. As a destination, the concrete and glass—shades of pale gray and white—serve as a backdrop to the vibrant array of art within. All design elements reflect Magazzino’s desire to elevate the organization’s digital presence from touchpoint to immersive destination.
Challenges: Finding a seamless way to integrate the breadth of inspiring materials produced by Magazzino, ranging from exhibitions, community events and performances to videos and publications. While rooted in Cold Spring, Magazzino is truly a global movement advocating for Italian artists.
Navigational structures: To increase accessibility and speak to lovers of Italian art around the world, we led a reorganization of Magazzio’s online content by simplifying the topline navigation into the three actionable items: Learn, Watch and Visit. Learn features Magazzino’s rich library of publications; we designed this section as an online editorial experience where audiences can browse and read books published by Magazzino. Watch highlights videos produced by Magazzino through a seamless online streaming experience. Visit features exhibitions and events—past, present and upcoming.
Technology: We adopted a Jamstack architecture to create a fast tech stack that could integrate with other museum technology platforms such as Acme Ticketing. We used React to build the front end, while Contentful was chosen for its flexibility as the content management system.