La Selva Chiara
Destination Concept, Naming and Brand Identity
During 2017, Luxury Branding developed the concept and branding for La Selva Chiara, a new mixed-use destination resort in northern Tuscany. The ambitious project is the vision of a Norwegian entrepreneur and his Italian wife, whose passionate mission is to develop a different kind of lifestyle estate; one that wasn’t just about selling 150 homesites but genuinely giving birth to and fostering a more harmonious way of living where members of the community enjoy and become one with the wholly authentic, simple Tuscan lifestyle.
Together, we have reimagined the tired Tuscan tale to choreograph a reinvigorated offering, which blends the best of history with a deliberately more progressive view of Italian hospitality: old wine in new bottles, if you like. Summarised in the Italian shorthand ‘La Vita Paesana’, the new lifestyle estate will be, at once, a place that extols the beauty of Italian living while elevating the experience enjoyed by residents, guests and visitors alike to new levels for Italy through contemporary amenities and activations.
Accordingly, we were responsible for the ideation and creative development of a comprehensive experience system; the animations and branded touchpoints that bring the idea of ‘Toscana Semplicemente’ to life vividly and will invest the destination with a distinctive and enduring identity. As it is built, this becomes a place that salutes the simple pleasures of Tuscany.
At the heart of the expansive and beautiful site, located in the Province of Massa e Carrara, there is to be discovered an extensive ancient forest, which is notable for a large central clearing into which pours a very special quality of light. As a project team, we became intrigued and not a little enchanted with this special place and its unique genius loci. While on site together, the architect was moved to recite the opening stanza from the first canto (Inferno) of Dante’s ‘Divine Comedy':
Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura
ché la diritta via era smarrita
We were so taken by the natural beauty of the phrase “una selva oscura” (a shadowed forest) that we moved to appropriate this most authentic and famous of Tuscan literary sources as the inspiration for the estate’s name. Acutely conscious that this was a name that would have to work as more than a commercial real estate, golf club or hotel brand and as nothing less than a piece of new place-making that would be readily adopted and cherished by the local community, we adapted the phrase to the context of Dante’s third canto (Paradiso). So was born ‘La Selva Chiara’ (The Forest of Light), an altogether more heavenly interpretation of the Dante, rich in meaning and in relevance both to the project itself and to the culture of its environment.
Finally, we developed a contemporary brand identity for the destination, which refrained from the traditional clichés of Tuscan crests and antique serifs. We have written and designed the launch website and the identity will be applied to a suite of marketing and operating collateral as the project progresses.