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Working on a film like Pinocchio was a dream come true. Designing alongside such a talented team of industry veterans made for a truly exciting ride. From Pleasure Island and Geppetto's workshop to Pinocchio's school and village, Eicon Design contributed to designing some of the most memorable moments in the film. 


The Director's vision to base the film's visuals around the original story's italian background was a welcomed and exciting proposition. We wasted no time diving into 19th century Italian culture and aesthetics and all this research informed our design work every step of the way.

One of the most exciting tasks was the conception of Pleasure Island. In the story Pinocchio is taken by carriage to the coastline and from there by boat to Pleasure island, a huge city of lights and amusement where vessels from all over the world bring naughty kids to meet their undesirable fate. 

In the Director's vision the island had to feel as part of the Tuscan landscape we had so carefully crafted rather than a magical land lost in a remote corner of the ocean. By placing it relatively close to the shore, the island felt geographically connected to the rest of Pinocchio's world.

However the Director wanted to keep the island shrouded in mystery until the very end of Pinocchio's trip.

Keeping such a wonderful place hidden and yet close to the coastline was no easy task and many sketches and ideas were drawn on paper while discussing the island with the Director.

Drawing inspiration from the volcanic features of the italian landscape, we conceived Pleasure Island as the center of a giant caldera, accessible only through a colossal gate in the shape of an open mouth, reminiscent of the grotesque sculptures in the Gardens of Bomarzo. 

The island's architecture is imbued with the stratifications typical of many Italian historical sites. We imagined that the caldera was once a thriving roman outpost and that the giant attractions of Pleasure Island have been built organically over and around the ruins.

Pinocchio's village was inspired by Civita di Bagnoregio, a magical hamlet perched on rocky cliffs overlooking the picturesque scenery of Tuscany. Similar to the arrival to Pleasure Island, the approach to the village is conceived as a majestic vision establishing the setting and tone of the film.

The design process went through many iterations, heavily experimenting with altitude and scale, however the bridge remained a consistent feature across all drawings, with its swooping curvature gracefully mirroring the river bends below. 

The design is about drawing the viewer's eye from the approaching carriage in the foreground, down along the road cutting through the fields and up to the bridge leading to the village.


Clouds were carefully employed to inflate depth and atmosphere into the environment, at times making the village appear as a magical floating island isolated from the rest of the world.


The bridge becomes an iconic feature of the land and serves as the backdrop for Stromboli's puppet show. This is a collective moment, all eyes on the show!


People have come in droves from the village and the surrounding countryside. Jugglers and flame-eaters entertain the crowd before the puppets appear on the scene. The ones who couldn't get down are looking at the great gathering from the bridge and even the little houses nestled on the cliff sides look as if they too, would like to join in the celebration.


The soft glow of the big pale moon beautifully contrasts with the warm lights of Stromboli's venue.


A key sequence in the film is the encounter between Pinocchio and the Fox and the Cat. 

Just like in the original 1940 animated film, Pinocchio comes across the two characters while on his way to school. Since education in Italy at the end of the 19th-century was mostly overseen by religious orders, the church at the top of the village was deemed the ideal place for Pinocchio's school.

The director had a specific vision for this sequence and wanted to visualize it step by step, clearly establishing Pinocchio's walk through the village, passing in front of the church, getting right at the school entrance and then ultimately deviating to follow the Fox and the Cat. 

The careful design of the architecture played a major role in the sequence, organically leading Pinocchio down his path to perdition while allowing the camera to closely follow the three characters and their interaction.

The sequence unfolds on two different levels: the street level, where a carefree Pinocchio walks towards the school, and the rooftops, where the Fox and the Cat stealthily trail the unsuspecting protagonist, keeping a close eye on his every move.


To allow the viewer to catch a glimpse of the children playing in the schoolyard while Pinocchio progresses towards the school gate, a set of large arches was devised running all around the schoolyard and forming a beautiful cloister that serves as a hiding place for the mischievous duo and as the backdrop for the interaction between the characters.

Once Pinocchio reaches the school gate, the kids have been already called inside by a nun and Pinocchio rushes through the schoolyard only to be stopped in front of the door by the Fox and the Cat, who have been hiding behind the columns of the cloister.

Here is where Pinocchio's decision is made. The Fox and the Cat lead the protagonist to a small staircase on the north-western corner of the schoolyard and from there down a long winding path carved into the cliffside and heading all the way to the valley below.


The design process for the school sequence has been rather extensive and has significantly ranged in scale, from designing the street and the surrounding buildings down to defining the intricate carvings of the cloister's capitals.

The image above has been made to provide the Director with a comprehensive overview of Pinocchio's path, from the village street to the school grounds, passing through the churchyard. At the same time many sketches and drawings have been drafted to study smaller and yet relevant architectural elements like the school gate, where Pinocchio stops to have a quick exchange with Jiminy Cricket (below).


In creating Geppetto's workshop we envisioned a space grounded in reality but with something distinctive and specifically crafted that made the place feel unique. 

We designed the space around one central feature, a whimsical cascade of toys and puppets hanging from a revolving mechanism on the ceiling. This spurred a sense of verticality that informed the overall structure and its towering external appearance. The idea was that the workshop itself had been conceived by Geppetto himself as one of his mechanical toys, making the building itself a tangible reflection of his profound ingenuity. 

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