This August, the Colosseum in Rome began selling the artclone bust of Augustus Caesar – the founder of “Pax Romana.”
We reached out to co-founder Giorgio Gori, the technical mastermind behind the innovative startup artficial, the licensed producer of the head of the first Emperor of the Roman Empire.
What can you tell us about this bust of Caesar Augustus?
It’s a long story. The bust was originally discovered in the Sicilian hillside town of Centuripe in 1938 by a road laborer during excavation work, and has since toured the world – from Syracuse to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. It’s been described as “the most beautiful portrait of the emperor ever found…” Experts tell us that the bust is similar to the statue of Augustus found in the villa of his wife Livia in Prima Porta, and now in the Vatican Museums.
Remarkably, the bust was discovered during a period of celebration marking the two thousandth anniversary of the reign of Augustus.
photo: Maria Lannino
For anyone interested in history, this head is the classic, stylized representation of Augustus, designed to symbolize his power, reach, and presence in the lives of everyday citizens of the Empire. As you know, Augustus is an iconic symbol of leadership and stability – he built the foundations of one of the greatest empires in history.
Now, artficial is offering this unique bust to the visitors of the Colosseum – beginning this month of August! The socio-cultural value of the Colosseum is priceless; it’s economic value adds about 1.4 billion euros per year to the GDP of Italy. This is unique, regenerative value of cultural heritage. Artficial extends that value to a wider audience.
What is artficial?
artficial is the world’s first rights-based technological platform for the digitization, distribution, and archival of the cultural heritage of humanity – specifically sculptural works of art – and their production in artclones™ with high-quality 3D printing technologies.
Initially developed in 2015, we built the largest owner-certified database of sculptural masterpieces in 3D, the artficial database™, which catalogs and licenses thousands of artworks from public and private collections.
We were recognized globally as one of the “50 best-startups” at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna (2015),and our artclones were selected by Edison among the 30 best eco-sustainable design products at the Fuorisalone in Milan (2019).
What is an artclone?
An artclone™ is an officially licensed replica of a sculpture masterpiece using high precision scan technologies. It is:
- 100% eco-friendly, made from colored, plant-based bio-resin
- extremely light, 3.000 times lighter than marble
- made in Italy, proudly manufactured in Sicily
Artclones are the output of the artficial platform – the world’s first platform for licensed artclones. It’s the difference between Napster and Spotify – we’re the Spotify of P2D2P – physical-to-digital-to-physical.
Why is this platform unique in the 3D printing world?
The artficial platform™ is our patented physical-to-digital-to-physical [P2D2P] ecosystem used to license, manage, produce, and monetize original artworks licensed by institutions and private collections.
It’s the difference between Napster and Spotify – we’re like the Spotify of P2D2P. And we aim for zero waste – which is one of the ecological benefits of 3D manufacturing.
Furthermore, we have an agreement with a high-end company to create metallized versions which we produce in limited editions.
Your idea of “zero-waste” is intriguing – how do you make that happen?
We strive to be eliminate waste and support the greening of manufacturing across our operations. What do we mean by that? One, our 3D printers use the energy equivalent of a light-bulb during operation. Two, our materials are plant-based and 100% recyclable – because they are made from corn resin. Three, we don’t print artclones without our design optimization process which eliminates waste – by a factor of 99%. And finally, the new facilities we are building will be powered by photovoltaics. It’s time for manufacturing to eliminate wasteful use and abuse of this planet’s resources.
Where are your art clones available?
We work closely to build a revenue-stream for our partners, no matter where an artficial work is sold, our licensing partners make money.
Physically we are available in museum gift stores – like the Colosseum. But we are increasing our reach online as well. We think the two channels reinforce each other.
What’s next for the company?
It’s funny because we started out by cloning sculptural masterpieces. But now, we are seeing a demand for a new line of business – individual busts of living individuals: celebrities, famous business people, sports stars and entertainers, you name it. Next month we start an experiment in the Palazzo Normani (the Royal Palace) in Palermo, Sicily. Stay tuned for that.
artficial's Giorgio Gori
Thanks so much and good luck.
INTERVIEW BY CHRISTIAN SARKAR.