The last time was in 2007 at the Triennale.
Sixteen years have passed and now it's up to the curator Angela Rui to have the courageous task of building an representative exhibition of young Italian design with Italy: a new collective landscape, at the ADI Design Museum until 10 September.
Courageous because the under 35s are designers different, anti-heroic and not very interested in authorship. The era of programmatic manifestos, of stars, of shouted revolutions has passed.
The time has come for kindness and empathy, the time for unanswered questions.
Are you ready for the questions from designers under 35?
If you are looking for definitive solutions, forget it. Young designers don't have any and don't look for them, well aware that any definitive gesture, if wrong, then has to be deconstructed and is a waste.
If instead you want to meet the modus operandi of a new generation especially in the design attitude, take a seat.
And come back several times, because Italy: a new collective landscape is an exhibition that must be attended, used, in which participation is asked and the time to remain in the mystery of open questions .
An arduous exercise for those accustomed to definitive answers. And a practice encouraged by the possibility of using the entrance ticket to the exhibition several times: a curatorial choice, not a concession.
Everything is important and must be looked at with empathy and delicacy
"The goal is not to find an answer", confirms Matilde Losi, who together with Elisabetta Donati de Conti is part of Angela's curatorial team Rui.
“Young designers want to understand what type of question develops within the project and allow the complexity to find a formalization”.
The project lives within a very in-depth research space and feeds on open questions. How will we eat? With who? How will we dress? And what logics support the functioning of the production, procurement, use, disposal processes?
The masters wondered how we hold a glass in our hands, the under 35s seen the times wonder about logic and dynamics without avoiding fragility, actually taking care of it .
Because everything is important.
Where does the water in the glass come from, who are the living and non-living beings with whom I share the gesture of drinking, with what intentions I perform this action.
A complex but not distressing world
“It is a good, non-distressing complexity that derives from awareness of the impact,” comments Matilde Losi. “The central theme of the exhibition is identified by three design qualities: a systemic, relational and regenerative design”.
However, there will be no thematic divisions in the exhibition but a homogeneous representation of a research landscape which, in almost every project, finds the same trinity of values.
No blank slate on the horizon
However kind, cautious and empathetic, the attitude of the new designers is overwhelming.
Is there a revolution underway? Elisabetta Donati de Conti replies: “There is no will to make the clean slate that every revolution implies. The projects aspire neither to a reconstruction nor to a rethinking.
Today's designers work for exploration practices: each question has many answers, the attitude is open, curious, proceeds in small steps. With each advance, a small question arises”.
Matilde Losi adds: "They are projects that bring with them a strong empathy towards everything, from the animate to the inanimate, on different scales, because one is aware of the lack of a single answer.
There are no aesthetic statements, a specific choice that has to do with kindness and respect. Small actions of delicacy and listening”.
A political design because it is aware
Domesticity is always related to public space. And we are not surprised, because it is evident that constant contact with those who are not physically present is a normal practice.
With the walls gone, there is the community. A political sociality because it is collective.
The work of Eugenia Morpurgo, selected for the exhibition, is a good example. It starts from the shoe as an everyday object and, element after element, wonders what actions are necessary for it to become an object resulting from a healthy systemic project.
Beauty is in the intention and in the care
Warning: there are many things that the under 35s take for granted. The shoe obviously won't be leather, so what kind of materials will we use? What plants should I expect to grow two years before, six months before, three days after selling? What processes do I have to put in place?
It seems like a return to ancient practices, but in reality it is instead the superimposition of a profoundly technological culture on an empathic attitude. But will it be a beautiful shoe, one might ask? "Beauty is in the intention, in the care, in the delicacy and in the constancy of the work", answer the two curators with a knowing and very under 35 smile.
Some technical information
Italy: a new collective landscape is produced and commissioned by ADI Design Museum, the layout is by Parasite 2.0, the graphics by Alice Zani.
Curated by Angela Rui, with Elisabetta Donati de Conti and Matilde Losi.