China: the Italian way to support welfare through art

China: the Italian way to support welfare through art

The successful story of Alessandro Rolandi

Alessandro Rolandi is a manager with a strong weakness for art and welfare in China. This is certainly an awkward job the Italian gentleman has been performing in China since 2003.

Originally from Pavia (Lombardy), Alessandro manages the research department on social sensibility at Bernard Controls, a French company specialized in valve actuators used in the nuclear, hydric and energy sector.

Alessandro stated that "art influences the sensibility of people" defined as the capacity to quickly respond to external outputs. Sensibility stands therefore as a tool to connect the interior dimension of the individual with the outside world. Bernard Controls pays Mr Rolandi to bring into the factory contemporary artists (either Chinese or foreign) in order to interact with the employees and the managers. This interaction can be very informal and it is usually tailored for the specific company.

What happens in this company is a sort of dialogue between two worlds which are not too far after all: "a valve is a work of art", Rolandi said. Having these two worlds merged is like having a new territory of action, where creative forces interact with the production, creating something quite innovative. In fact, sensibility helps creativity and creativity leads to effectiveness.

Some artistic experiments in the factory mostly see the employees as protagonists. They are sometimes provided with special T-shirts or work in rooms powerful writings on the wall. An example is the word ren printed on some T-shirts, meaning human being, or rencai (talented person) in others, employees had to choose. In contemporary China, rencai is also that person who is a self-made man, able to succeed in life thanks to his own strength and will. People from the company would, therefore, be more motivated to choose those T-shirts with rencai in order to stress their desire to improve their condition, performing as best as they can.

Rolandi's department stands out as a great mix of arts, personal relations, reality and sensibility, which certainly provides an added value to the hosting company.

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Claudia Astarita

Amo l'Asia in (quasi) tutte le sue sfaccettature, ecco perché cerco di trascorrerci più tempo possibile. Dopo aver lavorato per anni come ricercatrice a New Delhi e Hong Kong, per qualche anno osserverò l'Oriente dalla quella che è considerata essere la città più vivibile del mondo: Melbourne. Insegno Culture and Business Practice in Asia ad RMIT University,  Asia and the World a The University of Melbourne e mi occupo di India per il Centro Militare di Studi Strategici di Roma. Su Twitter mi trovate a @castaritaHK, via email a

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