Giorgio Scarpa
Italian designer, bionics researcher, teacher, and artist.

Profile and videos by Pino Trogu, San Francisco State University [trogu at sfsu dot edu]

The short videos below refer to the topics of Scarpa's two books. The first is a bionic study of the mouth apparatus of the sea urchin, also known as Aristotle's Lantern, after the first detailed study of it by the Greek philosopher. The PDF of the book (unpublished draft English translation) is at right. The second shows one of the many "modular" chains described in the rotational geometry book, which focuses on rotational movement as a basic form generating process. Scarpa dissects the five Platonic solids and other solids into chains of hinged triangular pyramids that fold back into their enclosure cells. Both books were published as part of a now out-of-print series called "Design Notebooks", edited by the late Italian designer Bruno Munari. The covers of the books in that series are shown below. The other videos show more topological and bionic studies by Scarpa, including DNA models and studies of muscle structure.

This page was last updated on Tuesday, May 27, 2014.

Lantern 1
Bionic Model of Aristotle's Lantern
Video length: 1'-12". Video: Pino Trogu, 1994.

Bionic Model of Aristotle's Lantern
Video length: 1'-12".

Citations:
Bioinspired Spring-Loaded Biopsy Harvester — Experimental Prototype Design and Feasibility Tests
Filip Jelínek, Gerwin Smit and Paul Breedveld
Journal of Medical Devices 8(1), March 2014.


Bionic models book cover
Click image to download PDF of complete Bionic Models book. Unpublished English translation of Italian Edition: Modelli di Bionica, 1985.
Translated by Pino Trogu. 122 pages
File size: 38MB.

Click here to download PDF of pages 3-20 and 60-74 only.
File size: 13MB.



Hexahedral chain
Hexahedral Chain
Video length: 1'-12".

Topological studies and transformable figures
Topological studies and transformable figures.
Video length: 3'-58".
Video (2013): Carlo Gregori. Talent: Niccolo' Messineo.

DNA and muscle models
DNA and muscle models
Video length: 1'-44".
Video: Pino Trogu, 1994.

CONFERENCE PAPER (PDF 5MB)

Rotational Geometry as a Teaching Tool: Applying the Work of Giorgio Scarpa (Article)
DRS // CUMULUS 2013
2nd International Conference for Design Education Researchers
Oslo, 14–17 May 2013



POSTER (36"x48" PDF 7MB)

Rotational Geometry as a Teaching Tool: Applying the Work of Giorgio Scarpa (Poster)
Faculty Research And Creative Activities Retreat: Innovate And Create
San Francisco State University (SFSU)
J Paul Leonard Library, January 24, 2013


HANDOUT (11"x17" 2-sided, folded. 7MB)

Rotational Geometry as a Teaching Tool: Applying the Work of Giorgio Scarpa (Handout)
SFSU, 2013

Geometry models book cover
Click image to download PDF of complete Geometry Models book. Unpublished English translation of Italian Edition: Modelli di Geometria Rotatoria, 1978.
Translated by Pino Trogu. 122 pages.
File size: 4MB.
Click here to download PDF of a sample of Mary Vieira's student work from the Kunstgeverbeschule, Basel, 1966-1967.
Various sections of the cube.

Cubic chain of 24 modules. Designed by Florence Yuen. (PDF) San Francisco State University, Fall 2010. Instructor: Pino Trogu. The design of the chain follows the principles and methods outlined in "Models of Rotatory Geometry", by Giorgio Scarpa.



DNA Model
DNA Model
Video length: 0'-32".

DNA Model
Video length: 0'-32".







The 14 books in the "Design Notebooks" series. All books in the series are 7.5 x 10 inches.

01 Textures
01 Textures.
146 pages.
02 The Discovery of the Triangle
02 The Discovery of the Triangle.
106 pages.

03 Logo research and design
03 Logo Research and Design.
80 pages.
04 Original Xerographies
04 Original xerographies.
96 pages.
05 Models of rotatory geometry
05 Models of rotatory geometry.
120 pages.
06 The discovery of the square
06 The discovery of the square.
160 pages.
07 Folding objects
07 Folding objects.
126 pages.
08 Active writing
08 Active writing.
88 pages.
09 The discovery of the pentagon
09 The discovery of the pentagon.
96 pages.

10 Color: code and norm
10 Color: code and norm.
132 pages.
11 Creativity in textiles
11 Creativity in textiles.
80 pages.
12 A show of color
12 A show of color.
64 pages.
13 Bionic models
13 Bionic models.
120 pages.
14 Rhythms and symmetries
14 Rhythms and symmetries.
112 pages.

Click here to download the set of covers as a PDF file (6MB).


NOTE: Giorgio Scarpa taught Descriptive Geometry for 40 years at the Art Institutes of Oristano and Faenza, Italy. He also taught Theory of Perception for 28 years at the Institute of Design (ISIA) in Faenza. His books on Bionics (Aristotle's Lantern) and Rotational Geometry, were published in Italy as part of a design series edited by the late Bruno Munari. An unpublished draft translation of those books by Pino Trogu is seeking publication in the US. Scarpa's mostly unpublished personal explorations include bionics, topology, DNA and muscle structure models, at times attacking such abstract problems as defining rules on how to find one's way out of a labyrinth. Pino Trogu is an Assistant Professor of Information Design at San Francisco State University and was a student of Scarpa at the Art Institute in Oristano, Sardinia, Italy, from 1974 to 1979.

For more information, please email Pino Trogu [trogu at sfsu dot edu]


Giorgio Scarpa died on April 5, 2012, aged 74, after a brief illness. He will be terribly missed, but the legacy and the genius of his creative work will live on. P.T. Wednesday, April 11, 2012.