“Ten Bullets”, tongue in cheek and deadly serious at the same time, captures the spirit of a studio, of its people and of the work they do there (without showing the work, really.) I knew right away that we had to make something similar at Fabrica, perhaps in the form of a film, or of a handbook for the researchers—something that served as a kind of welcome gift, user guide, and token to force us to write something down about Fabrica. We’d wanted to do something similar at Sitra (Bryan had shown me "Ten Bullets" there), to replace a hefty and relatively demotivating document that was called “Sitra Rules”. It was a type of project I'd wanted to do for a while.
Having just moved to Treviso myself, I knew the experience was a little bewildering. There was a lot of "foreign" to take in, quickly. So it was with Fabrica, a unique place with tacit practices rather than explicit processes, some of which would need to change (as is generally the case with an incoming CEO, if nothing else!) We could also provide a token that recognised getting into Fabrica was an achievement, as a coveted, limited-edition gift for the first day.
I was also looking for an excuse to force us to write something down about Fabrica, to make something that described the place, for us, as a further way of binding us together. It would also let us explore what we need to make for others, later. So all of this meant the Handbook was a bit of a paper Trojan Horse.
We had a little "advisory group" of staff for the project, drawn from most corners of the organisation, but everything was done by Fabricanti themselves. They weren't used to this level of autonomy, or for it to be given to them. That was interesting, and occasionally tough for all involved.
But it worked. It's a lovely thing, packed full of useful info but presented with wit, verve and care. There are some lovely details, as well as broad brush strokes. The illustrations—and humour—counterbalance the clarity and precision elsewhere. There are different paper stocks in there, with the back section a kind of local guide on thinner paper, as well as some playful cut pages, indicating unofficial views of the official views (like you can tell where Dan Hill is by checking his Instagram feed, and so on.)