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Brooklyn: the Italian case of the chewing gum

The history of chewing gum is a very long one: a peculiar candy invented the USA, it has achieved a vast popularity in most of the world, acquiring – over time – a social status as well as a specific, functional one. Chewing gum is linked to the two Americas: the one represented by Mexico, for its chronological development and the raw material (chicle); and North America, for its modern and industrialized production, mainly during the 19th and 20th Centuries. Only in the post-WWII period, chewing gum kicks off in Italy; this part of the story constitutes an interesting case as well, one that is surprisingly little known in its dynamics. Produced since about sixty years ago, Brooklyn chewing gum was the first such product in our country. Its designers, the brothers Ambrogio and Egidio Perfetti, very much like the famous American chewing-gum inventor and entrepreneur William Wrigley, have succeeded in turning it into the most popular brand in Italy, engaging in a high quality product. At the same time they turned it into a true icon, thanks to its catching name (inspired by the bridge in New York) and to its promotion on the market through the classic Carosello-based TV commercials of the 1960s and 1970s, which heavily affected the social imaginary of the large public.


Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in numero 5 speciale expo

Paola Proverbio

Paola Proverbio graduated in Architecture from the Politecnico di Milano and received a PhD in Design Sciences from the Università Iuav in Venice. She teaches Theory and History of Design and Contemporary Architecture at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore and at the Istituto Europeo di Design. A scholar of Design Culture, she focuses on the evolution of design, in particular with regard to the Italian industry of light fittings and to contemporary decorative arts – on these subjects she has also held courses at the Politecnico di Milano. Since 2010 she has been carrying out research on the relationship between product design and photography. She has served as scientific consultant for the establishment of digital historical archives (Arteluce, Danese, Flos) and as a consultant for the iconographic archive of Domus magazine. She has collaborated with CASVA (Center for Advanced Studies in the Visual Arts of the Municipality of Milan) for the study and cataloguing of design and architecture archives. Among her latest publications, “La ‘fotografia di design’ a Milano. Note per una storia fra gli anni Cinquanta e Sessanta”, in Milano 1945 – 1980. Mappa e volto di una città. Per una geostoria dell’arte (edited by E. Di Raddo, Franco Angeli, 2015); Design e immaginario. Oggetti, immagini e visioni fra rappresentazione e progetto (co-edited with R. Riccini, Il Poligrafo, 2016); “Come Angelica e Bradamante. Antonia Astori e Adelaide Acerbi, le donne della Driade”, in Angelica e Bradamante le Donne del Design (edited by R. Riccini, Il Poligrafo 2017).

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