The Italian Association of set designers, costume designers and set decorators, is a member of similar European associations and includes all those who, through their profession (which consists in designing sets, costumes and decorations for the theatre, films and television) intend promoting the Italian quality, imagination and creativity all over the world.

The Association was first created to give this professional category its cultural due and to stress its fundamental role in the show business, without forgetting, at the same time, the long and difficult work to be done before obtaining the cultural and legislative recognition it deserves.  

Today ASC looks at the past and the future.
It looks at past with the intention of establishing a centre for documentation, scientific research and "cultural restitution" of the artistic heritage that the Italian set and costume designers have contributed to create through their work for the cinema, theatre, opera,  musicals, television and "minor genres".  It looks at the past also from the associative point of view: from the early post-war endeavours with ACISCA, chaired by Mario Chiari (but the production boom of the sixties greatly distracted people from commitment in associations), to the timid efforts of the early sixties, they too characterised by the prevailing subjective and professional interests.

It was necessary to wait even longer to perceive an effort (not only by set and costume designers, but also by other professions such as cinematographers) aimed at tackling a vaster problem: the structural problems of the Italian  cinema and show business.  This led to the setting up ot the "Immaginoteca" which was really more of a cooperative and did not succeed in being an association representative of the whole sector.  It was only in the eighties (namely in 1984) that, under the chairmanship of Mario Garbuglia first and then of Giulia Mafai, that the ASCA was set up and practically all set and costume designers became members.  But the production crisis, and not only in the film industry, which marked the eighties and still marks the nineties, had a negative impact on the initiative capacity of the association. In 1991 it was transformed into the ASC, under the chairmanship of Giulia Mafai. Finally, in 1995, there was another change with the modification of the statutes and structure of the association as well as with the election of a new Board of Directors, chaired by Andrea Crisanti.

But the new Association also looks at the future with the intention of uniting all set designers, costume designers and set decorators who, through their work, want to guarantee and protect the quality of their profession, to make it better known, to stimulate the imagination and creativity.  It also aims at establishing a contact between successful professionals and the young, strongly founded on strict ethical norms as well as on the "transfer of knowledge" and at reinforcing the protection and promotion of the category thanks to its representatives in various consultative bodies.  The task of the Association is rendered more complicated and difficult by the present situation of the cinema, theatre and television in Italy.  

The confused transition from a "guaranteed" system (especially for live shows) to a more uncertain one, since the Government does not seem capable of defining priorities and objectives; the weakness of the picture production system (films and television) crushed between the overwhelming strength of the American cinema and the existing confusion in the television system both public and private.  All this is very sad for all those who have collaborated and want to go on collaborating for the excellence of the Italian show business and is an incentive for us to unite our forces, not to isolate ourselves nor to restrict ourselves to a corporation, but to get together to define a strategy aimed at protecting all of our working and professional conditions and to guarantee its success (last but nor least, for example, the non-recognition of copyrights).

Various tools are available to this strategy: the Internet site, the directory (about to be published), the course of set designers, the research and study journals where the experience of past and recent works has been collected, the cultural encounters with professionals, artists and Italian and foreign organisations which will lead to exhibitions, events, reviews and conferences; and also the endeavour to define ethical and profesisonal foundations of our profession which might lead to a proposal of a professional roll.

The programme is ambitious, we know it.  We also know that it is the only path to the future of our profession and we work to be the ones, all together, to trace it.

Page created by Luigi Crisanti