Ian Berry X Tonello 2018 by Ian Berry

2018 has been a busy year for Ian Berry and Tonello. And by working together it has shown that Tonello is a lot more than ‘just making machines’.

Always focusing on the customers needs, both post and after sales with ideas and practical solutions, Ian has been impressed with the what he has seen at Tonello each time he has been there with clients from around the world flying in to see what they can learn. Tonello has the ‘Creative Area’ where they can really demonstate what their machines can do, and for Ian it is much more than the Laser Blade as its that combined with the washing that has really brought his work to life.

Working closely with Alice Tonello and her skilled staff, from the R&D and marketing teams Ian has forged a strong bond with this family run Italian company and has enjoyed several trips to the northern Italian HQ this past couple of years. It has been great for him to use the tools that the industry are now using and with the company that has sustainability at its forefront.

‘Without Tonello, a lot of the installations this year would never have been able to be realised’ Ian Berry

‘Without Tonello, a lot of the installations this year would never have been able to be realised’ Ian Berry

Ian is often spoken of a sustainable, upcycling and eco artist and Tonello has technologies that respect the environment, that consume less energy, few additives, and indeed little of everything. Everything they do has the environment in mind. And its not only the environment outside, but that of the workers using the machines and also the end user, the people buying a pair of jeans.

Today, putting on a pair of jeans treated using Tonello technology means respecting oneself and one’s own health.

Ian Berry at Tonello

Ian Berry at Tonello

And it is thanks to their peoples commitment that they are known around the world as the top partner of great fashion brands, as the link between designers and companies involved in washing, dyeing and garment finishing and that has been seen on many of the trips to Italy Ian has been on where he has met many of the big names in denim, under the Tonello roof in Sarcedo, in the Province of Vicenza.

The word ‘sustainability’ for us is an ethical imperative that allows for no compromise. If it did not, we would just be machine manufacturers.

Ian Berry’s Installation in Kentucky that was made with some use of the Tonello Lazer Blade and Creative Room in Italy

Ian Berry’s Installation in Kentucky that was made with some use of the Tonello Lazer Blade and Creative Room in Italy

Tonello has evolved over the years since 1981 having sold 7000 machines, becoming a modern, technologically advanced company that has offered the market reliable, truly ground-breaking products in garment finishing machines are known over the world for the quality of their all-Italian manufacture and top-level performance.

All this knowledge and expertise they were able to share with Ian but also to challenge the staff and their machines to push boundaries to make not garments, and not just art, but large installations. Already their collaborative efforts have been shown in New York, the South of France, Kentucky, Miami and now in London at the Soho Records installation and soon to see in San Fran, the largest install yet that will combine the flowers and this historic denim city in a public piece of art in a soon to be revealed central San Francisco location.

From lasered plants and vines, both cut and ‘etched’ to bricks and tees, to signs and washed textures, and this is only the beginning.

While most of the albums were totally hand made, some of the ones for the background were lasered in Italy with Tonello using the Laser Blade then using special washing techniques.

While most of the albums were totally hand made, some of the ones for the background were lasered in Italy with Tonello using the Laser Blade then using special washing techniques.

In Tarn, in the South of France - An installation breaks through an old factory like nature reclaiming the space.

In Tarn, in the South of France - An installation breaks through an old factory like nature reclaiming the space.

It’s a year since the installation ‘Secret Garden’ went up in New York at the Children’s Museum of New York, which was the first time Ian Berry and Tonello had worked together on an installation - what a year it has been since.

Today Tonello is the international benchmark for the garment-processing industry and by working with an artist that shows around the world in galleries, museums, and art fairs together they are creating something really special. Ian looks forward to see tonello carry on progressing on making sustainable ways for the denim and garment industry and to further combine to make groundbreaking art installations that can inspire many people around the world.

Ian Berry in New York Museum show by Ian Berry

Ian Berry CMA

Ian Berry at the Children's Museum of Arts in New York

We have just returned to London after a busy December in the States. Ian had shows at Miami Basel and then he was in New York to open his Secret Garden Installation at the Children's Museum of the Arts in Manhattan.

Over many days Ian and a team of helpers installed this incredible Secret Garden installation at the Chelsea based Museum. The museum that has served hundreds of thousands of Children and has the mission 'to introduce children and their families to the transformative power of the arts by providing opportunities to make art side-by-side with working artists.'

And over the years, Ian has had a similar mission. He has worked with schools to do projects, and teachers write to him when they do lessons on him. He enjoys getting mails from kids who have made work inspired by him.

'I remember growing up in the north of England, I don't really remember getting much inspiration of artists working. Yes, they are there, but I didnt see it. It was more the 'local artist' normally retired amatuer you'd come across. But one day my dad took me to David Hockney's Saltaire at about 12 or 13 and it was so inspiring seeing someone from the same area I was from doing so well.' 

Ian says he wishes he could be young again to go to somewhere like the CMA. It is a truly amazing place for young minds, and their parents. There are teaching artists there with many different work rooms, for all ages up to 16. They can learn to work in many different ways, often inspired by the artwork on display - Ellan Harvey also shows alongside Ians work. We think it is important for children to interact with Arts, especially with school budgets tightening and the arts being one of the biggest to suffer.

'crazy when you think both our countries excel in creative fields and really lead the world. Yet, we are constantly told at school that arts are a hobby with visions of the starving artist.' Ian Says.

Ian Berry Secret Garden

The installation that you can walk through, on top of a denim path is filled with various flowers and plants, from roses to cacti, wisteria to chrysanthemum all made out of jeans. You'll find denim tools and also a hare, peering through, unafraid of the children about to run through.

But the most impressive part is the trellis coming down from the ceiling. Hundreds of vines and leaves dangling, as if taking over the museum. Part looking like a magical urban secret garden, part looking like the place has been abandoned and left for the nature to take over.  The flowers hanging and the butterflies lead to an almost Alice in Wonderland fantasy world that the kids and parents alike have been amazed by. 

Ian Berry New York Museum

The installation for the Bridge Project was inspired by thinking of childhood. Immediately Ian thought of playing outside at his Yorkshire hometown. He feels now children play less outside and interact and look less at the nature around. Kids are obsessed with tech with ipads and instant gratification and the games played are not with balls and dirty knees but with thumbs the only strength needed with video consoles.

'Sadly too I also feel that with the stresses of life parents even spend less time with their kids, even if they are with them, they may be distracted by their phones and the constant fear of missing something.'

'I only wonder what this may do to tiny minds seeing people always glued to their phones and screens'

He had noticed in the past that when recreating familiar scenes people took for granted, out of a material so common, people saw it differently and revalued it. He would love for the parent and child to walk through together so that when they do go through parks and gardens they will look at them more closely.

'I also thought that while in many other way New York would be one of the most inspiring cities for a child to live in, many kids wouldn't have gardens. Yes, there are places to go and famous parks with amazing open space and the High Line too, but perhaps it may inspire parents to find a little secret garden near to them'

Cotton Plant

In a interesting opening to the garden, Ian shows a cotton plant and explains that this is where the jeans we wear first comes from. Not bad going from plants to pants, to plants again.

new york details

Ian will return in April 2018 to help to take some classes based on his work.

We'd also like to place on record the thanks to the museum, Tonello, Cone denim, NYC factory and Christine Rucci for all the help in the making of the Secret Garden along with dozens of other assistants.

Denim Trellis

The installation is up until April.

Children's Museum of the Arts

103 Charlton St. NYC 212.274.0986

Get directions

Ian Berry X Tonello by Ian Berry


Ian Berry's Secret Garden at the Children's Museum of the Arts in New York would not have been possible without the kind and expert help of Tonello in Italy.

For 35 years they have been a reference point for the most important laundry and dyeing companies and for fashion brands all over the world. And now for artist Ian Berry. And we would like to place our thanks for their support.

We have been researching, experimenting and innovating since 1981. And we do much more than just build ‘machines’.

Forever evolving their Technology, together with the market, they are making always reliable, safe and sustainable technology that respects the environment and that consumes less energy, few additives, and indeed little of everything. They are behind ever improving production processes all without compromising on quality

Their garment finishing machines have become established over the world for the quality of their all-Italian manufacture, and for their flexibility and top-level performance. Everything that runs through the company has the thoughts of sustainability and the environment in mind and this combined with their creativity is what drew Ian and Tonello together.

photo by  Lucinda Grange

Ian had known about the Laser Technology for some time, but considered it cheating, away from his all hand made art. But as larger and larger installations came about as well as noticing the advanced tech he had a change of heart.

'I've always been proud to say, it's made by just denim, glue and hands with scissors in, no bleach, no dye, no paint. It's been a very time consuming process making the work I do. I also saw the laser machine at first with its burnt marks and often looking flat. However, with the washing techniques of someone like Tonello it can really come alive. For me its an art form in itself. After meeting Alice Tonello and Alberto Lucchin a few times we thought it was a perfect time to look into how this could help in my art. Now I see it as a no brainer for things like this, and beside, its the tools that the denim industry is increasingly using so I can too.'

Ian is all too aware of the negative impacts of the denim industry on our planet and is pleased to have worked with a company such as Tonello who is working towards a brighter blue future with methods aimed to help the environmental impact. At their base in Italy Ian had the special Cone Denim washed and lasered with effects to create texture and then lasered much of what you see in the Trellis that hung from the Secret Garden. It would have taken Ian months to hand cut it all, 'beside, it wouldn't have stayed together.' Ian adds

'it is nice that it all went into creating something that environmentally is symbolic and pure, like plants and flowers. Matching the sustainable message, but also in a kids museum, that is the future and that is the future we want, a cleaner one for the future generations. But with the Creative Room, Tonello is all about sharing knowledge and education so I think they have been a perfect partner in this project.'


Tonello's Nicola Cioffi working on Ian's designs. Don't worry, these flames went down.


Ian with Alice Tonello, marketing and R&D head at Tonello and Flavio Tonello CEO Tonello at the Creative Room in Italy.

Tonello's Nicola Cioffi finding another purpose for Ian's designs.

Tonello's Nicola Cioffi finding another purpose for Ian's designs.

The Creative Room at Tonello

The Creative Room in Sarcedo, Italy is a special place and a great idea, where technology and creatives can meet from all over the world. Ian visiting a couple of times in the Fall and was welcomed and amazed.

"Inspiring" is both the place – Tonello's new Creative Area – and a way of "being Tonello" today. It is the meeting point between technology and creativity, production and research. Tonello's creations and their experiments will find more and more space: to help clients discover the effects and treatments the machines and technology and to allow customers to undertand how to get the best out of their advanced equipment and to conceive fabrics, denim in particular, as 'canvases on which to paint dreams'.


Ian went to Tonello in Italy, in a region famed for denim and both times Ian was amazed to see the denim names walking through, here with Giovanni Petrin (and Alice Tonello), expert denim insider and former general manager of the Martelli Lavorazioni Tessili Italian specialized laundry and finishing company, who is now working for Crescent Bahuman Ltd (CBL), one of the major denim and garment manufacturers in Pakistan. It is great there is a place that is a melting pot for all these people.

Ian Berry | NYC Museum Show | Childrens Museum of the Arts by Ian Berry

FBsecretgarden.jpgIan Berry Childrens museum of the Arts

VIP Opening Wednesday 13th December 2017

6 - 8pm

Ian Berry will unveil his Secret Garden at the CMA on Wednesday night, all made out of denim.

Fresh from showing at Miami Basel Ian has made this site specific installation that will debut in this special museum dedicating to inspiring children to be creative and have interaction with the arts, something that Ian firmly believes in.


You will be able to walk through this magical garden with a trellis overhead, a pathway to walk through and many denim made plants.

There are many people to thank, too many for here, but special thanks go to Tonello in Italy for their expertise and technology for making all this possible and to Cone Denim for supplying White Oak Denim, NYC Factory and Christine Rucci aka Godmother NYC.

The installation goes alongside celebrated artist Ellen Harvey's Ornaments and Other Refrigerator Magnets. Ellen has previously showed at the Whitney, Turner Contemporary and the Bass in Miami.

The install will be up through to April 2018.

For the opening Kindly RSVP to



Children's Museum of the Arts 103 Charlton St. NYC 212.274.0986

I-Skool awards at BASE Milan by Ian Berry


Ian Berry attended the award ceremony for the 2017 I-Skool awards in Milan this week. As someone interested in education and inspiring younger generations it is a perfect event where Isko and leading brands in the denim industry support an educational program - one that encourages over 60,000 entrants to enter the award where the winners will present their creativity at a catwalk, this time in Milan at an amazing industrial space at BASE.

Students from all over the world and some of the leading education establishments from every corner of the globe like Parsons, AMFI, UAL, FIDM, NABA and Polimoda to name but a few. As always the standard was high and put on to a level of a professional fashion show. This is a greatchance for the students to get right in front of some of the industries most important and most well trained eyes.

For many it would be a dream to get in front of Adriano Goldschmied and catch his eye. As the head judge his jury picked Massimiliano Mucciarelli as the worthy winner of the Best Seller Award.

The brief this year was on Genderful - celebrating the erosion of the old stereotypes with the new and inclusive ways to conceive of the multiplicity of modes of self expression. A nice little touch with the models all wearing masks often disguising their own gender.

The ISKO I-SKOOL™ Denim Design Award however is much more than a simple competition: it is a structured training program meant to motivate youth to learn everything they can about the art of denim and gain experience through a number of workshops and denim seminars that take place in the inspiring CREATIVE ROOM™, ISKO™ style and design center located in Italy.

With a keen eye on sustainability, especially with key supporters like Tonello and Lenzing this important message is starting to take hold. The Marketing Award really highlighted this with a brief to convince consumers to choose denim that has been produced with sustainable methods. It didnt end there as the Responsible Innovation Award, was given to the student with the most sustainable garment, which was Morine Uramoto.

A brilliant award and event that is important for the whole future of the industry and a great way to give back. So a big well done to all involved.


One of Ian's personal favourites


We couldn't but feel that this reminded us of Ian in the studio when he had found the jeans to work with.

The winners

Winner of the Best Seller Award

Massimiliano Mucciarelli from (Iuav Design della moda)
awarded by Adriano Goldschmied

Winner of the Responsible Innovation Award

Morine Uramoto from 文化服装学院(Bunka Fashion College),
awarded by Tricia Betz Carey ( Lenzing AG)

Winner of the Marketing Award

Team led by Sara Giordano with Victoria Kozyreva
from (POLIMODA) awarded by Diana Profir (ITEMA)

Winner of the SWAROVSKI Award

Giulia Masciangelo from NABA Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti,
awarded by Claudio Marcolli.