Red Light Xmas
Every year I tell myself: This is the last time I go home for Christmas. And every year I punctually go.
Why don’t I like going home for Christmas is because it’s a full time activity. Nobody rests in Christmas, if you are resting you are not helping! Buy a gift, See the aunt, make a call, tie a knot, rob a bank.. it’s endless. Christmas 2013, However, was unique because it marked the beginning of a new city trend: The lighting festival.
What happened is that this italian town has a young and progressive city council. Its deputy Mayor, Filippo Bulgarini d’Elci, is a 34 years old man with background in communication. His idea is simple: Instead of the traditional Christmas lights, the city would invest its 85.000€ budget for a glamorous event . Visitors can follow a route through the city center and discover historical palaces adorned by lighting installations. This will attract more tourists and pin the city as the most instagrammed of #xmas13.
Now, great Idea. I think it worked, and it can also be that someone really visited Vicenza because of the lighting festival. But that is where things get a little weird. It’s called festival and as such it should display the work of multiple artists. To involve young architects and designers guarantees a passionate participation, a variety of entries and it is a way to promote the work of those who, against all evidence, are still trying to keep the city alive and kicking.
City Council, instead, commissioned the entire festival to one office alone, and the whole thing turned red.
I have no doubts in saying that the greatest success of the initiative is the anger provoked to the two most powerful local communities: the clergy and the seniors, who naturally associated the red lights as symbol of sin and holidays in Amsterdam. Fertile ground for evil spirits. The debate was lively in the local newspaper, and it’s one kind of victory, for the young deputy expert of communication.
But those who are waiting all year for such opportunity, well, they have plenty of Campari to forget.