Ian Berry x Tonello x Juan Manuel Gomez / by Ian Berry

Secret Garden Ian Berry

A week before Ian Berry opened his solo exhibition in London, he was in Barcelona installing a version of the Secret Garden installation in the Catalan Capital.

The Secret Garden was first shown at the Children’s Museum of the Arts in New York in 2017 and then in Tarn in France. A giant one was installed permanently in San Fransisco - soon to be revealed. All of these were made with the help and technical assistance of Tonello in Italy.

So of course when they wanted a night to mark ITMA, the most important textile & garment technology exhibition which takes place every 4 years, Ian happily obliged to create something with his Italian friends to celebrate their successful collaborations. And friendship was key, and it was also with his long term friend Juan Manuel Gomez that they collaborated.

Ian and Juan or ‘Juanma’, have talked about doing something together for a number of years. Colombian Juan is very talented in both the denim industry, having worked in laundries and now working with Officina +39 in Italy and as an artist in his own right.

‘I’ve respected Juanma’s work for a long time, as well as his style. His knowledge in denim is just brilliant, yet he’s humble and is a universally liked character. We’ve both worked with Tonello and it was a perfect time to work together, so we brought Juan’s magic into the garden trellis adding even more texture, depth and life.’ Ian said.

No Bleach, No Paint, No Dye

Ian himself visited Officina +39 last year in Biela, Italy and learned about their sustainable garment finishing on a tour with Andrea Venier and Juan.

‘Learning more about Recycrom was brilliant and while I say I don’t use no paint, dyes or bleach this became an acceptable exception as it is the tools of the denim industry now to make it more sustainable. Recycrom a revolutionary and sustainable way to transform textile waste into colored powder dyestuffs. Here of course with denim and indigo.’ Ian said.

Tonello’s sustainable technologies were used - the most obvious being the the Laser Blaze - the laser cutter that cut the fabric.But others included the Core, ECOfree 2, and No Stone that are part of the latest Tonello innovation: the All-In-One System. Tonello is always pushing to make their laundry machines and technologies to support the denim industries drive for sustainability. The piece represented may of their qauities, and how better than portraying nature, hanging from a circular trellis.

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


Video editing: Carlos Londoño Sound editing: Nicola Cioffi

The Italian region where Tonello and Officina +39 are from has many decades of authentic denim history, designers as well as world famed brands and of course the supporting suppliers. Many were there on the night in Barcelona along with many of Tonello’s friends and partners from around the world.

Ian Berry and Juan Manuel Gomez in Barcelona for Tonello Inspiring.

Ian Berry and Juan Manuel Gomez in Barcelona for Tonello Inspiring.

The trio of Alice Tonello, Juan Manuel Gomez and Ian Berry presented the piece to the gathered crowd that fell silent. The video of the process playing in the back ground and sound editing by Nicola Cioffi set the ambient tone of the evening. They described their process but also their admiration of one another.

Ian added that it was the English that invented denim, pointing out that the word was born from not wanting it to be called ‘Serge de nimes’ ‘we didn’t want French sounding cloth!

Alice Tonello, Juan Manuel Gomez and Ian Berry presenting their collaboration.

Alice Tonello, Juan Manuel Gomez and Ian Berry presenting their collaboration.

Alice Tonello said of the event.

The combination and the interconnection of different arts give always life to extraordinary results, and I realized it since the first collaboration with Ian Berry. That’s why combining the art of Ian and Juanma with Tonello’s technologies has not only given birth to a multisensory experience, but it celebrated this wonderful connection that leaves you out of breath, for real. A contamination of arts ranging from music, images to denim which allows industrial technology to get a new kind of fascination. A project made even more pleasant from the close friendship that unites us for years, and that makes all our collaboration even more meaningful.

Andrea Venier Offcina+39 manager CEO added:

"Inspiring Night by Tonello, allowed all the participants to enter into an idyllic wonderland for a moment of tranquillity, away from the busy time of ITMA. The Secret Garden of Ian with Juan was like the oasis of inspiration in the centre of the Inspiring Night.

The immersive artwork of Ian and Juanma that uses both art and textile technologies bring all of us into the heart of the denim, simultaneously connecting and challenging our perceptions of the natural world.

The Video Art realized thrill in watching the Artists backstage, giving an unique digital shape of our denim and textile universe. It was the breath-taking end of an incredible Inspiring Night. 

For all Officina+39 team was really inspiring support Alice, Ian and Juanma in this amazing project. Thanks Tonello, Ian and Juama!"

You can see more images of the piece here - and more of the event here