Be Curious!

In December, 2014 we contacted Italian architect, Illustrator and designer Francesco Pittiglio Berger about doing some illustrations for our new website. He comes from Cassino, a small town between Rome and Naples, famous for its beautiful Benedictine Abbey, Montecassino. We’re excited about the results and wanted to share a Q&A session that we had with him about the project.

CHM: Can you tell us a little about the work and art that you do?

FPB: For me, architecture and illustration, as the design in general, represent different methods of writing or communicating. I use three basic elements to create; volume, light and shadow. Together they have a “final text” that is straight and tight, free from any superfluous “word”.

I strongly believe that the ethical value of my job is to convey emotions and provide food for thought; to provide the basis from which to start other dialogues. One day I would love to see my works completed by others, creating a broader text with more hands. I want to see how far you this dialogue can be pushed, especially in an era such as this is, where there is less and less space for human interaction.

CHM: How did you choose your illustration style?

FPB: I believe that the style is something that comes out along the way. I always start with manual drawings with pencils, Pantones, and brushes. I draw until I find what I’m looking for, then I digitize everything in post-production.

What I want is a final result that leaves ample space for a wide interpretation by the viewer. From my point of view, this is a very democratic style. In both “Architectural storyteller” and “Simple Housing” works (which are projects that I carry on for years) I desire to let the artifacts fluctuate within landscapes, that are sometimes minimal and neutral to highlight the simple monumentality.

CHM: Why did you decide to provide us with illustrations for our website?

FPB: I’m very thankful to CHM Art Director Robin Scholle, for proposing this collaboration. I’m usually a little wary at first until I understand what a Client wants before accepting a commission. With CHM there was an immediate understanding. What surprised me was the great respect and attention that they had for my work, and the exceptional appreciation that they had. I promise you, this is not a very common thing, and it is essential for me. Really thanks CHM!

CHM: Do you own your own home?

FPB: Yes, more than a house, it is a small messy museum, that I share with my wife and my son. We collect works of art, design objects, books, ranging from 400AD to contemporary. It is a mix of styles and eras, with an open yard, and we adore it!

CHM: Are the pieces for the CHM site original pieces for the site?

FPB: Certainly! They were imagined and made specifically for CHM, one by one. Robin did a nice job of briefing us before starting to “paint”. The process was very nice and the time flew pleasantly.

CHM: Do they have particular meaning to you?

FPB: I have a visceral attachment to all my works. Conceiving it, watching it grow, and then parting from a work is an extremely difficult thing. It is a bit like separating from a person with whom you are deeply in love. Although the pieces I created may only seem like imagined landscapes, they are in fact, places I visited, memories, places of my consciousness, and that’s why they have such important meaning to me.

CHM: What was your inspiration for them?

FPB: The idea came from a series of elements. My typical design conceptions merged with the business needs proposed by Robin. It was complex but straight-forward work. The inspiration came from some landscapes of the areas near CHM locations. I associated the landscape colors with months of the year that I chose, using a minimal and linear language.

The features of each month are defined through a simple chromatic scale, leaving no room for unnecessary details. The choice of having only volumes, instead of real houses, is driven by the idea to allow viewers to write to the rest of the story. It’s a starting point, in fact.

CHM: Can you describe the experience of working with CHM?

FPB: It was a wonderful experience. I had direct contact only with Robin and Kristie, but through our exchanges I knew I was connected to an ambitious and dynamic working environment. This is an ideal environment in which work.

CHM: What else do you enjoy beyond art-itecture and illustration?

FPB: I would say that I’m a very curious person and this drives me to try new things, to experiment. I love traveling, reading, listening to music, and participating in exhibitions and events. I’m an obsessive collector of works of art, vinyl records, and books. I own countless bicycles. I love to cook and try new recipes with my wife and my son.

My life’s motto of my life is from a very famous Italian writer, Pier Paolo Pasolini, “Be curious!”


VP, Marketing at Commerce Home Mortgage. Background in tech with a passion for art and design.