▶ Things that Move

– So, what do you do for a living?
– I move things.
– Like what? Do you move furniture? Walk animals, drive cars? Do you juggle balls, rotate stars, fly paper planes?
– Yes.

A collection of my latest CGI experiments, with examples of physics simulation, material design, motion tracking and match-lighting. They’re all personal projects, as I did not include commissions or commercial work.
The music track was in part performed on a new digital/analog hybrid synthesizer I’m putting together.

TS-TAP4 – tactile Arduino drum machine with looper

As a bass player sometimes I want a backing drum track for music practice, so I built myself this little drum sequencer, a unique touch-sensitive drum machine.
I just need to tap a rhythm on its touch sensors and it will start looping my sequence right away.

This project is based on an Arduino Nano/Arduino Uno. The sound samples are unsigned 8 bit 8000 Hz WAV files that have been converted to header files in order to be compiled with the rest of the code.
The touch interface works via capacitive sensing, there’s an Arduino library just for that. One of the drawbacks of using capacitive touch sensors with a battery-powered circuit is that grounding is unreliable. For this reason I surrounded the device with two rails of conductive copper tape, so that holding the device will naturally provide some grounding through the user’s hands.

An LM386 power amplifier in a gain=200 configuration is used to drive the 8Ω speaker.
The whole circuit is powered by a single rechargeable 18650 cell connected to a TP4056 charger module with USB input, which delivers a steady output at 5V.
I fitted everything inside a wooden trinket box I bought specifically for this purpose, as it looked like a drum to begin with. And I love when wood and electronics get together.

Download the source code for this project:

TS-DET1 – micro:bit keypad synth with detuning

It feels rewarding to use a device by leveraging its unique traits, and the BBC micro:bit has two features that are rarely found onboard other microcontrollers: a LED matrix and gyro sensor.
So, I decided to design a circuit that detects and displays tilting while using such input to alter the pitch of the notes being played.
The result is a quirky musical toy, surprisingly expressive and with a personality of its own.

The input part of the instrument is a 5×5 matrix of tactile push buttons, each one paired with a diode to prevent ghosting (ghosting as in false input. Diodes won’t solve unrequited love issues.)
Some of the pins used as key inputs are shared with the LED matrix, requiring to continuously switching the display off and back on, which results in a noticeable flicker.
I connected the audio signal output of the micro:bit to a quad op-amp to drive two small speakers. If you’re building your own TS-DET1, you could use a single 8Ω speaker and a power op-amp, like the LM386.

I did some research and I decided to add a passive low pass filter before the amplification stage. It’s a way to soften the harshness of the pure square waves, but I also did it because I know that children are more sensitive to high frequencies than adults, and do not like beeps that are too high-pitched.

Comparison of two recordings, one with and one without the low pass filter

The whole circuit is powered by two AAA batteries and is fitted into a plastic case for playing cards.

The prototype in these pictures is now in the small hands of its new owner, and I do not plan to create new iterations. However, if I were to do it again, I would try to skip micropython and micro:bit’s music module, trying to use C instead to set my own timers to control the PWM and produce the different notes.
Also, the two unused tilt axes could be used to control volume and octave shift.

Download the source code for this project:

LED dice – LED runner with LDR and sound

LED runners are circuits where LEDs turn on one at a time in a sequence.
I made one with a twist, turning it into an electronic dice: you press the button to roll and release it to get a number.
There’s also a speaker that emits a ticking sound and a light dependent resistor to control the speed of the run. It’s very slow in a dark room, and extremely fast in the sunlight.

The signal originates from a 555 timer, whose output triggers a CD4017 decade counter (and the speaker, in parallel).
As an enclosure I used a wooden domino box, and the little animal figures you see in the pictures are erasers, just for decoration.
Rather than from one to six, the possible outcomes of my circuit range from zero to five. If you are building this and want a 6th LED, just connect it to the counter’s Q5 pin, and leave Q6 connected to RESET.
The LEDs can share a single 470k resistor since they’re lit only one at a time.

For a future version of this project I would use a capacitor to ease out the roll after the push button is released.

Lost in the Woulds

I don’t play video games anymore, but I’ve always been fascinated by their hybrid nature, crossing artistic expression and a constant push for technical evolution.
When I was a kid and the Commodore 64 was popular, game making had just become accessible to everyone.
Now that the video game industry is larger than all the other entertainment industries combined, games contain universes, and spending time making a small game might feel pointless. However, these days ‘indie’ game development is thriving, its community is very active, and the resources required do make a game by yourself are freely available online.
I can make things move on a screen, tell the computer what to do, make it beep.
And I had a story to tell. A journey that’s emotional, profound, dramatic, and darkly mysterious.

Continue reading Lost in the Woulds


I worked on the UX/UI and brand identity for Picbag, a visual organization app at prototype stage.

Picbag lets users collect inspiration, intelligently tag and sort photos and image snippets, and create moodboards they can share.

Continue reading Picbag

Taormina Jazz Festival

Every summer since 2010 my family and I, together with the cultural association Taormina Jazz, have been organizing the Taormina Jazz Festival.

Of the artists presented, some play traditional jazz, while others dedicated their musical research to more experimental forms.
We’ve had David Kikoski, Ed Howard and Nasheet Waits,
Kurt Elling, Charlie Hunter and Derrek Phillips, Kenny Werner, The Bad Plus, and many others.

I curated part of PR and the brand identity of the festival and produced several posters, program booklets and promotional videos.

Material design illustrations

I designed a large set of illustrations for the CIPD Profession Map.

This project was the perfect opportunity to represent the many diversities of inclusive workplaces, while challenging common stereotypes regarding gender, ethnicity, age, physical abilities.

We went beyond the avoidance of preconceptions to appeal to a global audience – it was a conscious use of illustration as an unbiased brand language to speak for the professional values promoted by the campaign.

The people I was asked to draw are not just neutral models. They are active characters, interacting with each other, often displaying a hierarchy or relationship of power.

Procedural Circular Animations

I always found generative art mesmerizing, so I experimented with a few JavaScript rendering libraries to create something of my own.

Click on the images to launch the real-time animations

The first one is created with the impressive rendering library PIXI.js. The other three are drawn with Two.js, which defaults to a SVG output.

Earboard – Web App

Earboard is an ear trainer for musicians whose purpose is to generate note intervals to play along with. Its layout is modeled on the fretboards and standard tuning of stringed instruments like guitar and bass.

See it in action here: Earboard

It’s a responsive JavaScript web app. Source code

Six Capitals

Illustrations of the six capitals observed by Integrated Reporting: Financial, Manufactured, Intellectual, Human, Social and relationship, Natural.
The report they appear in is part of the Valuing your Talent research conducted by the CIPD and CIMA.

▶ LMO – Motion Graphics

Art direction and animation of a teaser video for an upcoming survey report by the CIPD, which inspired the space observation metaphor.
Animated in After Effects with a lot of custom expressions.

Health and Well-being – Social Media Graphics

Art direction, illustration and animation of a motion graphics video and related engagement media for a research report by CIPD on how HR can develop organisations with well-being at their core for happier, healthier, sustainable business.

▶ Valuing your Talent – Motion Graphics

Art direction, illustration and animation of the teaser video and engagement media for Valuing your Talent – a collaborative, industry-led movement helping organizations realize the full potential of their workforce through understanding and measuring the impact and contribution of people to business performance.
Motion graphics. Part of a larger series of animated creatives.

HTML5 interactive banners

I worked a few months for Tag Worldwide producing interactive and animated HTML5 banners for Nike, Sony, Jameson Irish Whiskey, HTC, Argos, Boots, Amazon.
Flash was cool, but the 2000s are over.

AXE/Lynx ads

I designed and animated a series of rich media creatives for AXE/Lynx, for digital agency AddictivePixel at BBH, London.

Theater show – La Volata di Calò

This archived content does not reflect my current skills

Background animation for the theater show “La Volata di Calò”, for Teatro Stabile di Catania. It’s the adaptation of a novel by G. Savatteri about the life and the dreams of the man who founded the Montante bike factory.
The prologue is set in a legendary market of the shadows imagined by the protagonist when he was still a child, so director Fabio Grossi asked me to aid the narration with my animations.


This archived content does not reflect my current skills

Mural in Lizzano, Puglia (Italy) for Sferracavalli Festival.
Pictures by Rudere, Nico Westlicht.

▶ Tigers’ Orchestra

This archived content does not reflect my current skills

Mural for a new kindergarten in Taormina, Sicily.
The idea of an orchestra of tigers had been floating in my mind for a while, and this kindergarten was the perfect opportunity to paint it out.
It’s my largest wall so far, roughly 40×4 meters (about 130×13 ft).
The seventeen instruments, left to right: accordion, saxophone, Italian bagpipe, sousaphone, harmonica, drum, trumpet, cymbals, triangle, guitar, piano, tracker, double bass, violin, flute, harp, didgeridoo.

Continue reading ▶ Tigers’ Orchestra