Installation art transformed into a digital space: Rocani Studio on engineer-led creative.

We sat down with the founder of Rocani Studio, Romano Casellini, to hear about the technology studio’s approach to creative coding.

What inspired you to start Rocani Studio and focus on immersive digital experiences?


After spending a decade as a freelance developer, I felt the urge to evolve. My initial venture into a leadership role was tough as I genuinely struggled with my own actions in that boss capacity. Then, the pandemic came, and I went back to working by myself. I found myself questioning if I should step into such a role again.

However, two years ago, circumstances changed. An immense surge in my workload led me to start hiring a team again. Despite my personal learning curve in leadership, our mutual commitment and shared vision propelled us forward. This moment is really the birth of Rocani Studio to me.


My background is rooted in Flash application development. Over my 17-year journey as a developer, I've coded any project imaginable. Yet, the ones that truly resonate with me are the unconventional digital projects that ignite a sparkle in people's eyes.


While the term 'immersive' is subjective, to me, it encapsulates any experience that empowers the user and captures their full attention. Virtual immersive experiences are very much like installation art transformed into a digital space.

What makes Rocani Studio stand out in the industry? What unique strengths or values define your studio?


We are not just another outfit that makes websites. We are an engineer-led studio with a deep appreciation for the intersection of technology with design. This blend is our strength. Through our lab projects, we explore this dynamic, weaving our discoveries back into our client work and enriching the solutions we provide.


What have been some of the biggest challenges in building an independent, technology-focused creative studio? How did you overcome them?


Transitioning from freelancing to managing a studio brought its own set of challenges. As a freelancer, work naturally came my way, but leading a studio required a proactive approach: negotiating better rates, securing more work, defining internal processes and building a strategy to attract new clients. It's an ongoing journey of learning and adapting.

“In moments of creative uncertainty, seek fulfilment in tangible, everyday wonders. ”

What types of projects or clients get you most excited at Rocani Studio? Why?


For us as a studio, it's not necessarily about the scale or the domain of the project, but rather the attitude and energy of our clients. The best collaborations are when clients place trust in our expertise and come to the table as eager and excited as we are. When there's mutual trust and enthusiasm, it creates an environment where creativity flourishes, ideas flow freely, and the final outcome often surpasses expectations. This kind of collaboration not only yields exceptional results but often leads to innovative solutions and designs that set new benchmarks in our field. That synergy and shared vision are what we cherish the most.

On a personal note, I love collaborating with the fashion industry. By the time we step into the picture, there's already an outpouring of creativity that's been infused into the project. Working with such captivating material is a dream. The fashion domain lends itself seamlessly to storytelling, offering us an abundance of narratives to weave into our designs and craft unconventional user experiences. It's a space where artistry meets functionality, and I'm always thrilled to be a part of it.


How do you balance creativity and technology in your work and approach? What is your philosophy?


Years ago, as a developer, I reached a significant crossroads. While my skills in coding interactive wonders were clear, I grappled with translating my vision into any tangible design. I even contemplated enrolling in a university again to study visual design. But I found an alternate route. I channelled my creative energy into personal passions: a newfound love for interior design or the artistry of arranging flower bouquets. This deep dive into personal creativity began to reflect in my professional space, drawing more creative coding projects to me. Over time, this momentum culminated in a grander vision: building a studio with the right mix of talent that feeds off each other's skill to craft projects that not only resonate today but shape the digital landscape of tomorrow.


In moments of creative uncertainty, seek fulfilment in tangible, everyday wonders.

Khaby Lame for ICON

How do you stay on top of the latest trends and innovations in digital experiences and storytelling?


Creative festivals and conferences. I immerse myself in these hubs of creativity to learn from the processes and innovations of other studios. It's an incredible source of inspiration for me. I also make it a point to take my entire team along. Witnessing their renewed enthusiasm and passion upon returning is priceless. This approach, for me, embodies the essence of running a studio and leading a team: staying inspired and nurturing a genuine love for our craft.

What technologies do you see as becoming instrumental in the future?


You remember the Flash era, right? Those wild days on the internet where creativity was untamed, and nobody gave a damn about SEO or responsive design. I get a similar buzz thinking about today's landscape. With the power-packed devices in our pockets, technologies like WebGL are thriving like never before. What really excites me is the fusion of web tech with AR and VR. We're on the cusp of not just viewing content on our browsers but, with the right headset, stepping inside and experiencing it in a whole new dimension. It's a thrilling time to be in the tech world!


What have been one or two of your favourite or most rewarding projects so far? Why?


My heart beats for CLEO, our virtual dance experience. Venturing completely out of our comfort zone, we grappled with challenges but persevered to create something I deeply cherish. It not only bolstered my confidence but also redefined the nature of projects our studio can deliver. I truly believe that often, it's the most challenging projects that prove the most rewarding.


However, as cliché as it might sound, there was a time when I faced an endless row of uninspiring clients and projects. It was then that I decided to make my own life the best and most important and fabulous project I ever worked on. 

What advice would you give someone looking to start their own creative/technology studio?


Starting your own studio means embracing change, even in your own role. It's surprising how often you'll find yourself navigating unfamiliar territories. Regardless of your expertise, there will be instances where you're essentially a beginner. My advice is to approach these situations with humility towards your team and compassion towards yourself. Initially, it might seem impossible, even borderline insane. However, patience is key. Allow yourself the time to find clarity and gradually excel in your endeavours.


"After all, the journey to a million dollar business is a marathon, not a sprint, a marathon paved with resilience, strategy and constant learning."
— Ryan Daniel Moran


What do you think gets forgotten the most that should be remembered in the industry today?


In today's fast-paced industry, I believe what's often overlooked is the privilege many of us have to be a part of the creative realm. This privilege isn't merely about our roles within the industry. It encompasses having access to education, fast internet, and the latest technology, being situated in locations that facilitate client connections, and mastering the language that's central to our predominantly Western creative industry.


Every now and then, it's good to pause, reflect, and feel gratitude for all the little steps that paved our way to success!


Thanks Romano!




Rocani Studio

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