The digital artisans of the twenty-first century take us back to the all-round and influential personalities of the Florentine Renaissance. In today’s Italy, treading in the footsteps of the Renaissance protagonists, new craftspeople, whose artistic talent is manifested in the design and production of, for example, spectacles, lamps and many other artefacts of the ‘Made in Italy’ brand, find in the 3-D printer a tool that combines technological intensity with aesthetic potential. In Trentino, a small province in the North East of Italy with strong aspirations and a commitment to innovation, the technological craftsman Ignatius Pomini helps to create brands in eyewear (for .bijouets) and lighting (for .exnovo). As in the original Renaissance workshops, the cross-fertilization in Pomini’s laboratory of different abilities, skills and knowledge transforms a feather into an innovative design feature – a lamp that is a real art object.
Regarded as the ‘First Lady of the Renaissance’ and a contemporary of Leonardo, Isabella d’Este, Marquise of Mantua and patron of the arts, is the ideal embodiment of the ‘cultural consumer’, who attends the marketplaces in person. Here, a new class of direct customers, the patricians, who are no longer or not only represented by their intermediaries, joins the commoners. Isabella does more, promoting a new shopping channel, one operating by mail, a forerunner perhaps of e-commerce.
Cultural consumption is a historical legacy of the Renaissance that still permeates our ways of thinking, communicating and interacting. This now applies to the frequent availability of new alternatives in the production and consumption of goods and services, which, because of the speed of change, occur so often. Isabella d’Este was a transporter of ideas whose forms of expression are inexhaustible sources of inspiration. This is the case too for the modern-day renaissance generation, consisting of millions of individuals, highly diversified on age, who share a passion for entrepreneurship associated with technology and culture – an intersection that imparts confidence and encouragement to the entrepreneurial mindset. This attitude is altogether different from the anxiety and foreboding about cultural ventures predicted to occur in the age of digital reproduction of creative content.
With a keen sense of self-expression, this latter-day renaissance generation seeks to build new ideas for a better society – being, concurrently, producers of ideas that are worth sharing as well as cultural consumers. The birth of creative markets that are social communities of collaboration, sharing in a wide range of cultural fields and supported by technology platforms, is attributable to them. Independent creators, who give rise to digital communities, sell their creations directly to customers in online markets – the result of mutual collaboration. Creative Market (https://creativemarket.com/about), founded in 2012 in San Francisco by Aaron Epstein, Chris Williams and Darius Monsef IV, brought together some 9000 independent creators. Will the vital spirit of independence of this renaissance generation be used to trace the pathways of entrepreneurship in the years to come? For further information, the reader may refer to Piero Formica, Entrepreneurial Renaissance. Cities Striving Towards an Era of Rebirth and Revival, Springer, 2017.