Design & Decoration S01 ep12: Franco Maria Ricci, FMR Magazine, [Milian]
Interview with Franco Maria Ricci
It was very, very strange because in the field of art, which means beauty, no? The magazine was really, really bad. So I decided to do a magazine, for me it must be the first in the world for the quality dedicated only to the emotion that art gives.
In 18 years (because it is now our 19th year) we have never published a face of
a person, never, because the magazines of today are full of faces. For news of
today it is o.k., but the world is full of undiscovered things that have never
been shown. So FMR decided in effect to make news with a little text in faces,
to use under 28 pages of magazines just for 4 articles, of 30 pages more or
less each. Of course we have to choose the best color, the best critics so far,
the best historians.
I come from an aristocratic family from Italy from Genoa. My family had a nice
library with many many books of philosophy, history etc.etc. I fall in love with
the books from when I was a baby.
When I was 13 years old my father gave me 1000 lira and told me to take a
train and go to Pavia, or go to Luca and see the Cathedral and come back and
you tell me what nice things you have seen.
When you go in a church in Italy you go in a marvellous world like Alice,
KM – Like Alice in Wonderland.
Yes, and you see one fresco here, one painting there, one sculpture there and
I started to understand that the beauty of the life of the world was the Art.
When I was 18 or 19 I fell in love with cars and I forgot a little bit about art, and
every weekend I was racing in Modena, in Monza. Then Ferrari called me and
I went to Modena and he told me, now we must try this car. It was a Ferrari.
But wait now Castelloti, Castelloti was a famous racing driver. Castelloti he did
1, 2 and the second 2 he killed himself. So I understand that it was stupid
more than danger. So I decided to stop with the racing and I stop completely.
So a friend of mine said if you want to see archeology, you must do geology to
find oil, because the Americans will send you to undiscovered places in the
world and you will see your passion. So I did my studies in geology and
became a geologist and I went in Turkey, in Mesopotamia for a month and a
half with a gulf oil company – it was terrible, the life, so I decided to stop or
become a missionary.
I decided to dedicate myself to books and to art etc. Once I started, I spent
two years of my life to make my first book – Catalogue of types of Boldoni.
Boldoni was the inventor who designed the Boldoni types. He became the
most appreciated printer for Napoleon. Napoleon gave him a gold medal.
When all the publishers were concerned with pocket books and very
inexpensive books, I started with very expensive books for bibliophiles,
because I was a bibliophile, limited editions. The pages are pasted by hand not
by machines for doing this.
KM – No printing Yes, Yes.
I started to create a little association of bibliophiles, a friend of Franco Maria
Ricci gave me money in advance to subscribe the next book. I assembled
1000 more or less people in Italy. And then I understood it was very important
outside of Italy and this was the basis of my business.
There is no model of taste today, of good taste. So I think that my magazine or
my books want to be for the young generation, not a way to learn art but
maybe also they learn art, but they have to build day by day a taste to judge if
this is good or not good. When you are very little, 1 year old or 2 year old, you
don’t have anything; you must create the model in your brain. Your brain must
become like a computer.
KM – It processes
That absorb, aesthetic experience and through this absorption of aesthetic
experience it give you the opportunity to judge.
The criteria is different for each person, because there is not only one criteria.
If you go to Morocco, they know very well the Islamic Art and they appreciate
very well the Islamic art, they don’t understand Madonna, they only understand
the geometric model of the decoration. It is very difficult for me to understand
or have the same taste as the Japanese because the Japanese maybe look at
the quality of the lacquer or looking at some other thing so it is very difficult.
When I see an Indian temple I judge it with my western culture.
Of course, I reflect my culture, because I choose all the time. Good for people
who look for the western or those who want to look at the eastern way of life.
I travel a lot, I am very excited when I discover something that has never been
seen before or has never been published. It is like a geologist, when you find
oil, when you find something that gives you emotion. Then another work
arrives - the work of study, like Sherlock Holmes’ books,
KM: detective stories
detective stories, from a little you know …… you must - this is very exciting.
Then when you arrive to know exactly what it is….. you publish and you give
something of your thoughts to the people, to the world, that before was
something that didn’t exist. Sometimes I don’t have enough pages to dedicate
to a story because it is the details that give emotions because God is on the
I never use journalists.
KM – But you are using scholars to write for you.
Not only scholars but scholars that are specialized in the period of which they
are writing about. I ask them to write in a simple way because I want
everybody to be able to read the articles. I don’t want to make a cryptic
Bibliophilia was a great period in the 20, 30, 40 when Picasso made drawings
for books, when Scia in Geneva made minataur books, when Miro made …..
all these great artists worked with some type of typographer to make combined
Books are something that are more important than….. Painting you know in
the modern art, painting became a decorative tool, you put it in your window,
people arrive, they look at the stella, the Roushenberg.
The books are more private and you cannot make a mistake with a book.
OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Franco Maria Ricci, FMR Magazine, Milian