The idea for Persona project first started during an e-textyle workshop at STEIM (NL), where I started to work on the concept of a mask together with other crazy artists and creatives of many kind. Once the workshop was over, we never really carried on the mask project, but we were all really fascinated with the idea of designing masks.
The birth of the project
A few years after the pressure cooker at STEIM I moved to Venice, where the mask making industry it is quite a big deal because of the carnival that happens every year in the city.
However, the mask making industry it is really stuck with a very traditional approach that (like many other activities in Venice) ended up being just a mere attraction for tourists rather than an asset that brings benefits to the community.
Persona is basically born to react to this trend. We wanted to generate a new way of conceiving, designing, and producing masks. One of the challenges of the project was in fact to provide outcomes that would convince a very tradition-oriented environment
The creative process
The process that lead to the realization of “Persona” passed through 3 main phases: a 3d scanning research where we got confident with 3d scanning techniques. A 3D modeling phase where we learned how to work with the 3d models provided by the scanners and script it to facilitate the use of it. And a final stage where we optimized the outcomes of our research and defined what technique to use and how.
In parallel with this technical research we also made a business model canvas that would bring our very experimental idea into a real service that can be introduced in the market.
The collaboration between Nicolò Merendino and Jonathan Reus was born a few years ago, by working together at STEIM to build electronic musical instruments. After a few years we were both excited about carrying on the mask project.
We both benefited from the collaboration because our competences are very complementary and just by combining the coding skills of Jon together with the design and digital fabrication skills of Nicolò we managed to put this project together.
Project Persona is now at a stage where the technique to 3d scan a face and produce very interesting masks from it is fully working and ready to be introduced to the market.
During the project we also got in touch with some mask makers that showed interest in exploring this new possibility and learning how to use these new techniques.
The next steps are therefore oriented towards finding new resources to integrate our workflow into a mask-making business.
There are many useful things that came out of this collaboration, me and my partner gained both: visibility and many new skills during the process. We are incredibly grateful to the WORTH partnership project, and we do encourage anyone who has an interesting idea to give a shot to this incredible opportunity.