Why talk about New Radical Design? Because never before as in this moment have we had the need to lead the discipline back to critical thinking and to believe that design (too) can change and improve the world. The protagonists of Anti-Design believed this - from Superstudio and Archizoom to Alchimia and Memphis - and in the 1970s they brought the provocative gestures the figurative arts into the world of design.
In this issue, Andrea Branzi, Ugo La Pietra and Franco Raggi look back, to talk about what it means to be radical, today and yesterday. The political and social role of design is addressed by another great protagonist, Gaetano Pesce, who reiterates his long-term conviction: design should reflect its time, speak to diversity, representing the incoherence that permits experimentation. It has to trigger a debate capable of generating a confrontation of values.
With the same attitude but another, totally contemporary vantage point, Formafantasma talk about what it means to challenge the status quo today: for the design duo, the priority is on environmental commitment, so the process comes prior to the product, whose function is first of all to send a message. The new radical thinking is also spreading into architecture. It can definitely be seen in the museum designed by Italo Rota for the palace that contains the collections of the Civic Museums of Reggio Emilia, a work that has taken ten years to complete and is still evolving, stimulating an idea of circular, shared and participatory knowledge in relation to the community.
New Radical, finally, is a term that applies to the home-gallery of the collector Valeria Napoleone in Kensington, London, inside a Victorian building renovated by the studio Monzini & Raboni Milano, where works of art and design by women establish a collective dialogue in a fluid way, reinventing the rules of living in an approach of linguistic – not just aesthetic – experimentation.