Where has Experimentation gone?

Experimentation, innovation, avant-garde, self-production, design. All this was analyzed this morning during the meeting and debate “Where has Experimentation gone?” in the Representation Hall of the Academic Senate at the Università degli Studi of Milan

Massimo Iosa Ghini (architect and designer), Alberto Bianchi Albrici (Memphis), Alessandro Guerriero (designer and founder of Alchimia), Luca F. Ticini (professor at the University of Manchester and President of the Italian Society of Neuroaesthetics “Semir Zeki“) talked and then debated these issues with the audience, chaired by journalist Laura Traldi.

Today the core of design is the design stage whose task is to give answers to market demands, to provide solutions to needs for new products, or change or improve products. The aim is to sell and achieve economic returns.

Experimenting is totally different, is putting yourself at stake while working without a specific objective; is searching without knowing what you are going to find. Memphis in the 1980s or Alchimia are illustrious examples in Italy. A way of designing without having to take the market into account, rather claiming to improve the market.

The most distinguished experimenting architect, engineer, and artist in history was probably Leonardo da Vinci. In order to be able to experiment, it is necessary to feel trust around yourself. It takes time, while today only the “now” matters. It needs having something really new to offer.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a revolutionary sector to experiment in the field of design. The risk is to miss also this chance because there are no businesspeople who are able to understand its potential and intend to support it.

A funding partner (not coming from the market) would be necessary to experiment, as is the case of movies with the new Franceschini Act. As is already happening abroad, for example in The Netherlands.

University could be the ideal sector, a privileged place where experimenting should not only be accepted but mandatory. A disconnected world, free from economic and productive constraints.

After all, in order to be able to experiment again our way of conceiving design should be reconsidered. For design is a tool that can convey a strong and poetic message: the possibility to create something that is not there yet but could exist …

(Text by Danilo Signorello – Photos by Efrem Raimondi)