Alain Mikli and Luxottica: promotion of cultural heritage, even for those with visual impairments

To see the beauty of life

Sustainability stories

Alain Mikli and Luxottica: promotion of cultural heritage, even for those with visual impairments

Since 1978, the year the brand was founded, Alain Mikli has been synonymous with uniqueness and provocation, a blend of design and consumer product. But alongside the desire to dictate style and amaze with his creations, Alain Mikli has long been committed to spreading awareness about the importance of making art accessible to people with visual impairments.

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This commitment fits perfectly into Luxottica's vision of sustainability, encapsulated in "To See The Beauty of Life" (#toseethebeautyoflife), which for years has been pursuing initiatives to promote and protect cultural heritage in communities and areas in which it operates.

During 2019, Alain Mikli renewed his almost ten-year collaboration with the Ethnological Museum of the Quai Branly - Jacques Chirac. Through January 26th, 2020, the exhibition "20 Years of Collection Enrichment", dedicated to the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of the museum, will display five tactile interpretations that reflect the diversity of the objects present in the exhibition, both in terms of material and origin. Visitors will be able to touch the raised representations placed along textured routing lines attached to the ground, guiding visitors through the exhibition. The tactile rendering accurately returns texture effects that give the impression of hearing the material in which the original works are made, an element that allows all types of visitors - impaired or not, adults or children - to fully experience the performance. This year the same technique was used to introduce various Nabis masterpieces, a group of avant-garde, post-impressionist artists from Paris, during an exhibition dedicated to them at the Musée du Luxembourg.

Beyond just figurative arts, over the years the brand's initiatives have involved other important cultural institutions in the French capital. Like the Odéon theater in Paris: for some shows, models were made that reproduced the stage set in scale and in great detail. Or the Paris Philharmonic, where a tactile world map celebrates the theme and the center’s desire to make itself increasingly accessible.

The first historic collaboration was with photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand in 2003: his majestic aerial views were printed and processed to be used by blind people. Since 2009, Alain Mikli has continued to collaborate on a number of different projects with various museums, including the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Musée des Arts et Métiers and continues today with the Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac.

This deep relationship between the brand and the art world has allowed Mikli to offer blind people the opportunity to learn and enjoy works of art through touch, through an intense sensory experience. All thanks to an innovative 3D printing technology that allows individual works to become objects to be discovered through the touch of the hand. These "tactile interpretations" of the work are composed of stratified materials that reproduce a raised representation of an image in which each visual element is reproduced in different heights and sizes. 

Published on Nov 28 2019