GLOCAL: MFA in Communication Design 2020 Virtual Exhibition | SACI College of Art & Design Florence


Alumni & Exhibitions

GLOCAL: MFA in Communication Design 2020 Virtual Exhibition

GLOCAL: Virtual Communication Design Exhibition

SACI MFA in Communication Design student Bridget Hannah presents GLOCAL, a virtual exploration of her fall 2020 design research.

As they finish up the fall 2020 term, students in SACI's MFA programs have decided to demonstrate their works and research from this semester through virtual viewing on SACI’s platforms. GLOCAL showcases works by designer Bridget Hannah, MFA in Communication Design, and will take place virtually beginning Tuesday, December 15 as an online Artsteps exhibition. Visitors can experience the show through an online tour or see the individual works below.



In a year that unexpectedly cut the umbilical cord between the citizens of Florence and the flow of millions of short- to long-term tourists, we suddenly feel orphan to each other. In this unprecedented time of no travel in space and a constant virtual conference overload, we are reminded of the bright definition by the American geographer Yi-Fu Tuan: “Space is a common symbol of freedom in the Western world. Space lies open; it suggests the future and invites action […]. Enclosed and humanized space is place. Compared to space, place is a calm center of established values. Human beings require both space and place."

In this context, no word seemed to us more appropriate than GLOCAL to describe the effort of Communication Design to overcome this impasse between global and local, and to redesigning tourism across space with sustainability in mind. What is a place, especially when it is completely new, and what are our cognitive strategies to make sense of a new urban environment? Under which circumstances do we become attached to a place, and/or eventually connect with the locals?

Design can be seen as a professional practice for creating artifacts that orient us in space, but before that it is a way of understanding the way our mind orients itself. Bridget’s research, leading initially to creating a new tourist wayfinding system for the city of Florence, slowly matured into a completely new concept that will reframe the relationship among the demographics that create a multilayered city, from the local core to the many long-term city guests - now that the global flow of short-term visitors is gone and one can cross Piazza del Duomo without being hit by selfie sticks.

This concept is also a perfect frame of reference for a new glocal identity for the historical “ghost building” of Sant’Orsola in the center of town, with all its legacy, political meaning, and developmental potential as a structure for reconnecting with the history of the city and with others. And finally, what is more glocal than a virtual wine tasting experience?

“We won’t return to normality, because normality was the problem” preaches Facebook every other day. As city residents and city lovers, we face the challenge to design new human centered connections that will eventually change the feelings on both sides. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

- Camilla Torna, MFA in Communication Design Program Director

Learn more about GLOCAL designer Bridget Hannah and the works included in the exhibition.

  • Bridget Hannah


    I'm Bridget. I use to design to communicate. My work always begins with an idea - an idea I can't help but share with the hope of creating a connection among others. I design for the future using the inspiration around us now.

    See more of Bridget's work on her website.


    Virtual Wine Tasting Experience 

    2020 has been a year of change. Our familiar physical and social worlds were derailed and we were forced to adapt to an entirely virtual realm. We are physically distancing, but not socially distancing. Now more than ever there is a need to remain connected. Virtual experiences offer us the opportunity to participate, interact and experience without leaving our homes. Together with the San Donato Fattoria team in San Gimignano we have begun developing an online wine tasting experience inclusive of the physical tasting kit that you can share with your friends and family from anywhere in the world. Participants will learn everything there is to know about the beautiful fattoria, the wine produced there and the rich Italian history streamed live right from the heart of Toscana.  


    Sant’Orsola Identity Concept

    After remaining abandoned for many years, there are finally plans in place to revive the massive Sant’Orsola complex, located in the San Lorenzo district of Florence. The building is now being reimagined as a place for the community inclusive of a museum, outdoor courtyard, school of music, restaurants and cafes. The identity concept utilizes the unique and irregular shape of the building seen from above resulting from years of evolving purpose. The communication is welcoming and playful echoing the intended sense of community. 



    The uncommon social climate we currently find ourselves in is an opportunity to re-think the tourists-resident relationship. Creating a map of Florence that explores the individual place attachments among both tourists and locals forges a link between experiences. The question is not “where do you go for the most authentic Italian gelato?” Or “where should we book a tourist-free dinner tonight?” By cross-referencing how each and every one of our experiences Florence we can gain a wider understanding of the city’s personality. We are looking for the deeper layers of this city and what is a city if not a history of people and customs. Framing the city in a new light could potentially break up the congested traffic patterns of tourists creating a smoother flow of traffic, as well as forming a more cohesive sense of place and widening local business exposure and potential clients.

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