We The Italians | Italian good news: If I could make a melody out of a noise, you can really make anything

Italian good news: If I could make a melody out of a noise, you can really make anything

Italian good news: If I could make a melody out of a noise, you can really make anything

  • WTI Magazine #142 Aug 18, 2021
  • 266

"When I was a little girl, I suffered greatly from my parents' separation and did everything I could to fill that silence with noise. I would play things around me. And what may seem like a sob story became the revelation of my life."

Chiara Luzzana is one of Italy's first sound designers. She invented a profession to respond to that inner void. "Noise is beautiful, so I decided to twist the rules and dedicate myself to its importance."

She travels the world with special microphones to record the sound of things. Then, thanks to digital, she cleans it up and creates pure sounds. Her is the project The Sound of City: it investigates the role of cities through their characteristic sound.

Chiara deals with sound branding. She created the sound of watches for Swatch ("I locked myself for months in their bunkers in Switzerland"), the sound of coffee beans for Lavazza (and went to the plantations in Brazil to do it), the sound of skin exposed to the sun for Nivea. "If every brand has a logo and a video, why shouldn't it also have a sound? I'm convinced that every brand has a very important sound component. I listen to them and turn them into music.

A self-taught musician, Chiara plays piano, guitar and clarinet, has a diploma as a surveyor ("I lost 5 years of my life, but I made up for it"), is an audio engineer, and studied sound composition at the Berklee College of Music in Boston ("there I understood how the brain reacts to certain sounds and why").

She lived in Shanghai for five years. Returning a month before the pandemic, she never imagined staying in Milan for so long. "I used this time for a new top-secret project I'm preparing for Netflix, meanwhile I'm letting my father, who passed away in that damn March 2020, hear all the sounds I never let him hear."

Her beginnings were difficult. "When I first told Swatch, 'Let's create a soundtrack for a watch,' they said, 'You're crazy.' Yet my first soundtrack made entirely out of watches became the soundtrack for Swatch and the soundtrack for the Venice Biennale.

"When my mom asks me "what do you do for a living?" and I say "I make things sound," she adds, "but what kind of work is that?" It sounds like magic, but I swear, it's my job. If I could create a melody from a noise, it means that you can really make anything. Even the most absurd." Believe.