For the fourth edition of 12X6, we immersed ourselves in the world of Serena Gianoli. Her deep fascination in Japanese culture, inspired by her readings, has given life to 12 artworks representing characters, customs, and legends from Japanese popular culture.

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The Japonisme exhibition, which we inaugurated on October 19th in the company of friends, colleagues, and design enthusiasts, takes its name from a term coined at the end of the 19th century by the critic Philippe Burty.

“Japonisme,” prevalent mainly in the 19th century, represents the influence of Japanese art, culture, and aesthetics on Western culture. This artistic movement originated in Europe, especially in France, and influenced numerous artists and designers of the time. Japanese artists like Hokusai and Hiroshige became famous in the West through prints and artworks imported from Japan, depicting cherry blossoms, everyday life scenes, costumes, and more.

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"A couple of years ago, during research for a mythology-related project, I came across the legend of Namazu, a massive catfish capable of causing earthquakes and kept in check by the god Kashima, the thunder deity. Captivated by paintings depicting this legend, I wanted to interpret, in my own way, some of these mythological images and the fluidity, as well as the strength, of Japanese artistic representations.”

Among the highlights of the exhibition, you will find depictions of herons and cherry blossoms, timeless symbols in Japanese art and culture. Herons symbolize grace and longevity. There is also Kintsugi, an ancient Japanese art known as the ‘golden repair,’ which uses lacquer and gold powder to mend broken objects. You will also discover artworks inspired by samurai, the tea ceremony, dragons and tigers, Namazu, and Taiko, the traditional drums that embody power and rhythm in Japanese culture.

12X6 is a project born to provide space, both metaphorically and literally, for young professionals in the world of visual arts. Every six months, a comprehensive journey of twelve artworks is hosted in our offices, which become a permanent gallery for creative talents.

During the opening night, Serena performed live painting, creating the Pet-Daruma, charming Japanese-style representations of our four-legged friends.
Instagram: @pet_daruma

Daruma dolls, also known as Dharma dolls, are Japanese votive figurines without legs or arms, representing Bodhidharma, the founder and first patriarch of Zen.

In thanking all the people who participated in the opening night, we would like to remind everyone that for the next six months, ‘Japonisme’ can be ‘visited’ at the CBA headquarters, located at Via San Francesco d’Assisi 15, Milan. We would also like to extend our thanks to Alessandro Doro, Raffaele Sabella, and Claudia Alexandrino, who were the protagonists of previous editions.

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Serena Gianoli is an Illustrator and Visual Designer who lives and works in Milan, amidst black and white lines, colorful palettes, and a backpack full of markers, along with her ever-present sketchbook.

To delve deeper into her work and discover how her style will evolve, you can visit her Instagram profile @serenagianoli or her website

City or countryside?

This is the question that artist Alessandro Doro, also known as Maria, poses to us. In all of his works, Maria captures moments from his childhood, lived in a small town of 1,000 inhabitants.

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He draws, digitalises, then takes it all and reworks it into new images. He says that when he designs he goes into apnea, only to re-emerge and breathe again once he has achieved the desired result.

His goal is to create a connection. He likes to think that people can complete his thoughts.
He never shows something finished, but rather something abstract, undefined to leave the possibility to the visitors to make their own idea, their own journey.

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The title of his exhibition, which was unveiled on 13 April together with friends, colleagues and design lovers, is ‘Orodoro, the local truth according to Maria’. The artworks range from representations of tomatoes surrounded by the green countryside, plowed fields seen from above, to images imprinted in his young mind, such as a fall with rollerblades and the subsequent bone fracture, or the fall into nettles and the pain he felt.

With these works, Maria takes us to his countryside, the values of the land and the balance of nature, in his memories made of simple and outdated experiences compared to those of the city.

For this reason, we decided to involve him in the 12X6 initiative, a project born to give space, metaphorically but also literally, to young professionals linked to the world of visual arts. Every six months, a journey articulated in twelve works is hosted in our offices, which become a permanent gallery of creative talents.

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In thanking all those who participated in the opening night, we remind you that for the next six months, Orodoro is “visitable” at the CBA headquarters, via San Francesco d’Assisi 15, Milan. Thanks also go to Raffaele Sabella and Claudia Alexandrino (aka shutupclaudia), protagonists of the first and second edition of 12X6.

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Maria is a designer and illustrator born in Lobia, who lives and works in Bassano del Grappa. To delve into his constantly evolving work, you can visit his Instagram profile @terriblesmile.

On April 10, during the Formula-E Rome Prix, we reported live on the beginning of Enel X Way, Enel’s new global reality focused on electric mobility.

We created the name, brand and visual identity with the ambition of turning the brand into an icon of positivity, capable of driving the complete transition to e-mobility.

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The “X” of Enel X evolves to become a central icon within the brand, becoming the guiding star of change, the bearer of the brand’s values.

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We translated the objectives of Enel’s new global business line into four communication pillars, which aim to strengthen the relationship with business partners and companies, as well as motivate new consumers.

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In the same way, we developed a series of physical and digital content to tell the story of this new reality, from the social teasing phase to the first stationery and external communication materials.

The adventure together with Enel and Enel X Way has just begun: our work will continue on the full development of the identity of this ambitious approach that aims to convert the world to electric mobility.

Developing the skills of individuals and teams is a must for any company today, especially in highly competitive sectors – including CBA’s. We all understand this deeply: talent development is now the difference between keeping or losing your clients.

However, the word skill is multifaceted, immediately raising questions about what it means to identify said skills and develop them. As daily tasks and projects call for our full attention, demanding to be completed quickly and simultaneously, we might end up focusing only on day-to-day goals and forget people’s long term individual growth.

Creating and maintaining a community of creative professionals to help brands express themselves effectively and originally; developing unique methods and tools: isn’t this what an agency like CBA is all about?

Here is a possible answer to the skills dilemma, then. Both technical and transversal abilities should mirror the organisational identity, the characteristics of its output and – why not – its mission.

With this in mind, in 2021, we launched a programme to bridge the unavoidable gaps we all have on the soft skills front. 

Our programme – simply called Skill Up – is based on three principles, the same ones behind the agency’s relationship with the market:

1. Listening. The ability to pay attention to what the other party is saying, consciously or unconsciously.
2. Cooperation. The ability to pool people’s skills to achieve a common goal.
3. Method. The ability to proceed in a way that guarantees reliable results in every circumstance.

Colleagues from the different areas provide each other with advice and tips so that others can develop the skills that all CBA members should share. 

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At the same time, with the #SkillUpDays, we aim to strengthen team spirit and broader soft skills while having fun.

During the first spring weekend, the first appointment of 2022 took place. Hosted in Mutty‘s beautiful location, we participated in a book-binding workshop organised by Libri Finti Clandestini. The project stems from ideas of recycling and degrowth, practised by creating real artist’s books using only found paper usually considered waste. Among the enchanting morainic hills of the Mantua province, a few kilometres from the southern shore of Lake Garda, we bound our Skill Up notebooks with needles, thread, scissors and paper clips. We literally stitched together the sheets of a story that spoke of the values keeping us all together at CBA every day.

During this process, each of us formed a personal guide to skills development, both their own and others’, by getting help during the trickier phases or supporting those going through them afterwards.

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The day ended with chef Edoardo’s hearty cuisine and the local wines, kindly poured and narrated by Matteo di Tannarte, boosting our taste for food and wine.

Women don’t do night shifts.
Women don’t drive trucks.
Areas like logistics and road transportation are unsuitable for women.

How many times have you heard words like these before? How many times has women’s employability been subject to cliches, prejudices and even downright discrimination?

Gi Group has chosen to tackle a crucial issue for the labour market directly and concretely. Italy’s first staffing multinational firm has launched a project to raise awareness across companies, institutions and workers with a concrete goal: the promotion of women’s employability.

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Women4, online from the beginning of 2022, aims to dispel the false myths that affect women’s workplaces and to offer them positions in traditionally male-dominated sectors.

The project is part of Gi Group’s daily commitment to sustainable work: CBA supported the firm in developing the brand identity, designing the concept behind the communication and creating the website.

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The initiative is set to be a concrete response to the needs of an ever-changing labour market. Having a solid grasp of the context, The Group is evolving their offer while keeping its eyes on technological innovations and the needs of the younger generations. 

Over the years, CBA has partnered with Gi Group on numerous initiatives, contributing strategically and operatively to the firm’s branding, communication and design. The projects ranged from the involvement of Generation Z gamers in Good Game to Destination Work, a Corporate Social Responsibility project combining digital meetings with in-branch meetings.  

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In the coming months, Women4 will partner with numerous companies from different sectors, becoming increasingly central to the positioning strategy of the Gi Group brand. This project will fully concretise the firm’s core values: competence, simplicity and humanity as the key ingredients to guarantee the best professional opportunities for men and women alike.

For this year’s Christmas wishes we have changed format, and instead of cards, we have launched the poster-manifesto configuration, commissioning an artisanal production from one of our business partners, with an equally “unconventional” limited letterpress print run.

Unconventional method: 5X Letterpress in collab with Libri Finti Clandestini used bubble wrap for letterpress printing

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The theme that we have decided to describe is the outcome of this internal development path, and therefore of our manifesto, but to a degree it is also connected to the historic context in which we find ourselves, where contrasts and contradictions can be seen in every field and in every sector, at every moment of life in society. Physical versus digital, Identity versus transformation, finishing with the highly topical “should we open up or shut down?”

However we have realised that our contradictions are very convenient for us. For example, we have understood that being part of a large multinational group does not prevent us from defining ourselves a small design boutique. And that we can perform at highest levels both with large international brands and with small to medium-sized Italian businesses. We are appreciated for our analytical, disciplined and consultancy-based approach, but also for the power of our intuitions and the originality of our ideas, in ever-different projects. We are a group of designers and professionals with very different backgrounds. So, contrasts are our hallmark.

On the subject of contrasts and points of view: we wanted to put ourselves in “our customers’ shoes”. After having chosen the poster format, we developed a brief by launching a contest inside the company, for which everyone could propose their idea of how to interpret the theme of contrast.

We have chosen an exceptional partner, 5X Letterpress, who define themselves as “unconventional letterpress printers” for the creative procedures associated with the use of presses, hand-set type and cliché plates, along with more unusual and experimental elements which may include found objects: metal mesh, bubble wrap, old rubber flooring, etc.


Our Christmas wishes therefore take the form of the manifesto “I A – Intuizione Analitica” (A I – Analytical Intuition), the logical conclusion of the fortunate contradiction between two terms that represent us, hand-printed by an unconventional printer in a limited edition, and with 16 subjects that together make up a larger, more extensive composition.

Happy holidays and long live contrasts!

Following the user-centric approach that has always distinguished us, we have taken up some of the topics covered in our Food-Z research. The article frames 5 restaurant trends associated with as many moments of consumption, focusing on a world in constant evolution in which brand identity plays an increasingly crucial role.

Accessible cool: eating experiences that are cool, yet accessible.

There are three main drivers that lead 2021 consumers to choose a particular restaurant: perceived quality, the restaurant’s image, and affinity with the consumer’s identity.

The union of the first two drivers leads us to identify the first trend: Accessible cool. This is a type of format that is accessible to the majority of people but is seen by users as a fairly luxurious experience, thanks to significant attention to image and perceived quality. Accessible cool is the link between a classic restaurant and fast food, characterised by informal service and quick delivery.

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Hekfanchai, Milanese bing-shi, showcases original Hong-Kong street food in Milan, accompanied by the new dishes created by the Hong-Kong-born chef Kin Cheung, one of the most internationally popular names in Hong-Kong cuisine, and is offering something new: a cocktail list that is characterised by a fusion of East and West, studied by the bartender Francesco Menozzi. Everything is at truly reasonable prices. 

Pick Up Point: a new strategy to pick up clients “on the go”

Over recent months and bolstered by the pandemic and the consequential need to focus on open-air eating, venues have literally populated the city’s streets, squares and pavements of Italy like never before.

With this passage of the restaurant experience from indoors to outdoors, one trend that we believe will become ever more important is that of the “Pick Up Point”; a strategic use of external spaces to intercept passing customers through the use of stations or by literally “opening up” the restaurant to the outside.

The result is coffee and drinking stations, literal satellite points outside the establishment that offer take-away experiences, avoiding the long queues that today’s consumers, impatient and conscious of social distancing, may find stressful. Opening up one’s restaurant to the outside, allowing consumers to explore the venue’s offerings in a direct and interactive manner, translates into a more inclusive attitude towards customers.

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The Terrazza Aperol recently inaugurated in Venice seems to have immediately followed the trend: just outside the bar it is possible to find a drinking station ready to serve take-away and strolling drinks, useful for intercepting “on the go” consumers. 

All-in-one: Fast, quality and healthy dishes

On our journey exploring trends in the restaurant sector, we now finally come to the inside of the venue, and in particular to the moment of choosing the food.

As we also saw in FOODZ, people are ever increasingly attentive to what they eat, and exaggerating with food is seen as an exception. This is why the “All-in-One” formula is gaining in popularity; single dishes accompanied at most by a starter and a side dish, with balanced and clear calorie content and often international in style. This allows everyone to enjoy a quick, quality and healthy meal.

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For example, Poke House, after having gone beyond national borders – 30 venues in Italy, Portugal and Spain – decided to return home with its tenth opening in Milan, in the Porta Venezia district. Customisable low-calorie Poke bowls that are quick to make and contain top-quality ingredients. 

Eatertainment: restaurants as venues for entertainment, for an experience that goes beyond food.

Nowadays, people don’t go out just to eat. Our research effectively demonstrates the social importance of food, which is even higher than that of its gastronomic qualities, in response to social pressure to “go out and do something in the evening”. Food is good “material”, which is why, in a venue, the brand, its history and its values can be a subject of conversation; a central aspect when seeing restaurants as brands.

For this very reason, restaurants that follow the trend of “Eatertainment”, offering entertainment services, will capture the attention and the curiosity of consumers. It is therefore fundamental for restaurateurs to identify their target market, in order to be able to design experiences that are in line with that market’s needs and desires. We have discussed this matter in further detail in our FoodZ research, which can be seen here.

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In this light, one promising proposal is the format “The 3rd Spot”, which is due to open in the next few months. “Our aim is to encapsulate the positive energy that characterises dining and open-air experiences, which have made a significant contribution to this year’s positive memories. The idea is extremely simple; following an entire life spent working and two years spent at home, we all need a third place where we can feel good and where we can get away from it all” – stated Josh Rossmeisl, founder of The 3rd Spot. 

Digital programmes and services aimed at building customer loyalty

We have come to the final chapter in our restaurant experience. The subject here is “Digital Loyalty”, a fundamental concept in the restaurant sector (that of loyalty), revisited in a modern key thanks to new technology and new services present in the world of gastronomy. In the future, restaurants will be able to introduce loyalty programmes to reward returning customers; these will, in fact, be given the opportunity to become “virtual regulars”, consequently accessing a series of advantages and awards provided by the restaurants themselves.

It is a trend in line with the aim of small- and medium-sized restaurant businesses to strengthen the bond with their customers over distance. Restaurateurs will be able to create their own personal loyalty programmes (in line with their brand and the expectations of their target) and set out the main characteristics. Physical cards, proprietary applications, delivery platforms… there are countless methods, and they can be valorised through the creativity of the restaurateurs.

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Uber Eats builds loyalty with its new Restaurant Loyalty service; in the future, all users and restaurants with the Uber Eats app will be able to introduce loyalty programmes to reward all the customers who continue to return.

Giulio Vescovi, Strategic Designer at CBA

After one and a half years of smart working, most of the people at CBA are gradually returning to life at the agency. The remote working experience has shown us that a balance between working from home and presence in the office makes it possible to enjoy the benefits of both methods: on one hand, the concentration guaranteed by smart working, on the other, the constant interchange of ideas facilitated by daily life at the agency. The new normal will therefore comprise a balance between these two different ways of working, with the objective of bringing added value both to our projects and to the lives of us all.

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No, non è l’introduzione al prossimo capitolo di Star Wars, ma un progetto molto concreto che riguarda le nuove opportunità degli investimenti nello spazio.
Negli ultimi anni i progressi in campo tecnologico hanno fatto passi da gigante, rendendo possibili progetti prima inimmaginabili. Questo scenario ha attirato l’attenzione di tanti brand, che vedono nello spazio una nuova frontiera per creare business e nuove forme di comunicazione.

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È così che nasce Ogilvy Orbiter il nuovo servizio di consulenza creato da Ogilvy Consulting, in partnership con Wired Italia, con lo scopo di guidare tutti quei brand che non vogliono limitarsi a guardare le stelle, ma che vogliono raggiungerle, verso l’immenso universo di opportunità che la New Space Economy ha da offrire.

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Questo ambizioso progetto, presentato lo scorso 26 gennaio sulle piattaforme social di Ogilvy e Wired, ci ha visti coinvolti come partner nella definizione dell’identità visiva, sottolineando la grande sinergia presente tra le diverse realtà dell’universo WPP.

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So we thought that celebrating the start of the new year using our imagination could be a good way of looking forward to 2021, hoping for a more serene year, generous in satisfaction, because we strongly believe that curiosity, ingenuity and creativity can be the methods used for the creation of a better world.

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When we consider an object, a work of art, a person, a landscape, as beautiful, our judgement reveals something that we can ‘feel’ but that at the same time we are unable to define.

Beauty is a quality capable of satisfying our soul by means of our senses, becoming something worthy of contemplation and a means of expanding our imagination.

As designers we are constantly searching for it; we believe that it can be found everywhere, you just have to learn how to discover it!

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Today we are living our daily lives mainly in our homes, and it is here that we have searched for beauty, discovering details in the simplicity of everyday objects in order to bring a new narrative into existence.

By accessing the link, you can look through the gallery that we have created, and you can likewise use your imagination to discover new viewpoints.

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You can also download your favourite images and utilise them to personalise your devices (computers, smartphones, tablets).

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