Industrial Graffiti

Street-art style to renew and revamp factories look, created and applied by artists who work in the workshop every day, like in Pomigliano for example.

Jun 2018

The air that is breathing new life into the facilities of Avio Aero does not end with the screens and the new tools of the ongoing digital transformation, but it is even bringing graphic and visual innovations... So, goodbye greyness!

In Pomigliano (Naples, Italy), in particular, the Site Leader Gioacchino Ficano launched a few initiatives some time ago. These initiatives were identified as 'beautification', and took on a concrete form thanks to the creative participation of the teams in the factory who worked with the idea of telling others about themselves, reinterpreting the work areas, the boards and signs within the different shops and production buildings in true 'underground' style.

"We spend half our day at work. It’s where we meet customers, colleagues from other factories, and representatives of institutions: we need to be able to welcome everyone in a bright contemporary atmosphere. Just like we do with our own homes or our rooms, making the workshop look good puts us more at ease, allows us to work in a pleasant environment and therefore to work better. However, we want the visitor to feel a mix of surprise and admiration, confirming a concept in which we strongly believe: the workshop as a selling tool. The result is to our advantage in every way". This is how Ficano, promoter of the fun neologism 'beautification', explains this 're-design project, to create beautiful, stimulating and hip work environments'.

The result? Murals, walls completely covered in color, billboards depicting engines designed in pop-art style, and there were even some colleagues depicted in cartoon style on the walls that welcome visitors and employees in the three Centers of Excellence. "We've chosen street art," continues Ficano. "It's a style that represents us, because it is irreverent and for us it was the spontaneous fruit of the creativity of the people who live and breathe the factory, but also because it perfectly represents the spirit of the cultural ferment that you breathe in Naples. Let's not forget that it is one of the most loved cities by international street artists, from Diego Miedo to Jorit Agoch, right up to Banksy''.

The idea is that of a factory curated like a metropolitan space. And at first glance, the combination is really impressive. So, to visit the new areas, we started from the execution phases together with the industrial artists involved first hand in the project. First of all, each Center of Excellence defined its own color and then the drawings of these artists breathed new life into an industrial environment which previously had been so conventional it had even become somewhat anonymous.

Giuliano is the one who created and put the design to paper, the design that then ended up embellishing the lines and areas of the factory in the form of billboards or murals. Giuliano is 31 years old, he is a Neapolitan and this is probably why he calls himself a sort of "salt addict", he works in the GE9X area with the responsibility of assembling the largest low pressure turbine in the world.

Giuliano, tell us about your passion for drawing.

"Since I was very young, I have always felt the need to personalize the environment that surrounds me, transforming my emotions, passions and feelings into colors. I have always felt the need to convey my inner world to the outside world, using any medium: paper, walls, clothing, banners, surfboards, and even safety devices at work. My style ranges between different drawing techniques, and to me artistic expression of children is perfection itself: pure, light years away from mainstream logic... I remember that even as a child, walking through the streets of the city, I was fascinated by the colors of the murals of Felice Pignataro, the forerunner of the genre in Italy. Today, however, I admire Cyop&Kaf's urban drawings which are full of meanings and signs to be understood.”

What is the relationship between art and industry?

"In an aeronautical company it would be normal to think that there is no room for creativity or imagination, because you have to follow defined standards and rules. Before I set foot in the factory, to be honest, I was afraid of feeling a bit out of place. Initially I only let people see the rational part of myself, keeping my creative instinct at bay. Gradually, as I got to know my colleagues better, I felt free to express myself and to show them my creative side too. It was a great feeling to hear them show appreciation and encouragement about my work. Bringing creativity onto the shop floor has contributed to a collaborative, relaxed and pleasant atmosphere.”

Tell us a bit about the beautification projects at Pomigliano.

"The most important challenge was to create something that fully represented our reality, without neglecting any element. It was fabulous to get feedback from my colleagues in Pomigliano! Moving around and meeting my colleagues in the various areas of the plant, I discovered that many of them have a marked artistic propensity but some try to keep this part of themselves deeply hidden. In my own little way, I try to shake them up and encourage them to set no limits to their imagination and creativity. I feel lucky to work in a company that pays attention to the enhancement of these individual aspects..." 

What was your greatest satisfaction in the professional field?

"Working on the GE9X engine is an immense source of pride for me. The CRO (Component, Repair and Overhaul) center of excellence, which deals with the overhaul, maintenance and repair of components, brings together thousands of parts from all over the world for the final assembly of the turbine and Fun Hub, and being the core of assembly operations, touching all the parts by hand, meeting colleagues who come here from the United States, Poland, France or Japan is very stimulating. I have the chance to get to know other worlds, cultures and traditions by staying comfortably in building 82 (the building where CRO is located, ed.)!"

Isn't it possible that now you could even be tempted to consider an artistic career rather than a technical career in aeronautics?

“Right now? Not in the slightest! The GE9X program is too challenging and engaging and takes on my soul and body. But I will never suppress my artistic vein... it will always travel in parallel with my professional life and sometimes, as in this case, the two will intertwine.”

What do you think these drawings and illustrations will convey to visitors, new employees or those who have always worked in Pomigliano?

“The illustrations we see in the canteen, in the workshops and at the entrances to the buildings represent our reality because we have included elements which are close to our hearts, such as turbines, combustors, pallets and assembly tools. I think that looking at these elements in an artistic way stimulates the creativity of visitors and colleagues. Living in an environment surrounded by colors is my source of energy and positivity, and I think it is the same for my colleagues... because as the song says, "Naples is a thousand colors"! 

Are there any surprising sides to you, something that colleagues, or people who know you, maybe don't know about you?

“Hardly anyone, except my friends, knows that I enjoy karaoke! The two songs that I regularly destroy are ‘E mò e mò' by Peppino Di Capri and 'O gigante da muntagna' by Sergio Bruni. This year, I'm also creating an association for the protection and safeguarding of our sea with some friends. The sea of Naples has a gulf, which is one of a kind in the world. Our mission is to preserve this precious gift that nature has given us so that future generations can enjoy it and use it as well... here's hoping!”