Where (in what contexts, in what countries) should design culture direct its energies in the near future ?

Edward Barber e Jay Osgerby This is a very difficult question: there are many countries, but design anywhere should have the goal of utilizing sustainable and recyclable materials.

Stphen Burks Without trying to predict the future, I think it is important for design to set the goal of penetrating new territories, markets and sectors. Innovation should always be the driving force hidden behind the future of design: there is not much innovation, in my view, in the sector of furnishings for the home. Antonio Citterio Design culture is an integral part of the industrial process: where it goes, industry will follow. The areas of interest are all those that have to do with the making of true products, not strategic obsolescence induced by the market and competition. We are seeing – and this is just the beginning – movements of industrial areas on the world market, unthinkable thirty years ago, that create incredible phenomena on an economic level. The real problem is that much of our industry has not understood what has happened in the world: it has survived by producing 70% for Italy. Now that this market no longer exists, distribution has to be rethought in a strategic way. To defend a position of leadership means reinventing the dimension of the companies of Italian furniture design. Our small and medium businesses have to apply distribution that is capable of meeting the challenges of a global market: otherwise they will vanish. And they have to ‘systematize,’ as the French have done in the fashion sector. Claesson Koivisto Rune There are no spheres in which design culture can ‘relax.’ This said, Africa seems to have been overlooked – a continent so full of history, culture and entrepreneurial energy. And in North America it is time to revive a design that has identity and autonomy. Carlo Colombo Design culture is international. There are rapidly growing countries that were once poor, India, in Africa, Asia, where remarkable changes have happened in recent years. Today, when we develop a new project, we should not think of it as being only for Italy or Europe: we have to consider the fact that it will be used on a global market. Odo Fioravanti As always in the history of design, the effort of innovation has its roots in certain countries where there is a solid ‘design system,’ but it branches out towards cultural areas and countries where design still has a lot to say, coming to grips with the burning issues of the contemporary world. In this perspective, I believe that many of the countries we have learned to think of as the ‘Third World’ could become the ‘First World’ for design today. Front The main goal of all the activities of design is to improve living conditions, and we think this ambition should certainly not be reduced in geographical terms. Martí Guixé For me design is transnational, every area is fine. One just has to avoid fashions. Ineke Hans We have to be able to produce in Europe. Also in the Far East or in developing countries, people will be able to achieve a just salary, guaranteeing more fair competition. Maybe the challenge is to concentrate more on quality than on cost. Ferruccio Laviani Of course the world turns towards emerging markets, but I don’t think this means we have to necessarily change our way of thinking and designing, just because the economy is moving in different directions. Mathieu Lehanneur Where? In America! I’ve been waiting for the reawakening of American design for some time now. American culture is made of artists, engineers and scientists, among the best in their respective sectors. All the conditions are there for the birth of a new design… Arik Levy I believe we need to educate, to explain what design is, what designers do, how design becomes a part of everyday life: the general public is still far from understanding these things, anywhere in the world! Lievore Altherr Molina Well, the Earth is a single continent: today, more than ever, everything is interconnected, even the biggest distances can be spanned. As a result, we could identify a sort of global responsibility, involving everyone. The goal? To design only what is really necessary and, I might add, sustainable. It doesn’t matter where you do it. Piero Lissoni I’d start from Italy, where there are extraordinary companies, productive realities with spectacular intellectual potential, which means simultaneously possessing commercial, industrial, technological and creative knowledge. This is where I want to concentrate my energies in the near future. Because we have had (and still have!) that extra something: we have been able to construct a quality of manufacture that does not exist elsewhere. We have managed to call forth ideas and productive quality in a single blow: and this has launched Italian design into another dimension. This is what we need to work on. Together. Ross Lovegrove Design has to approach new collective and planetary issues that represent challenges to our quality of life. The progress made in scientific fields, in physics and quantum information science, bring radically new knowledge that will influence our approach, while the concept of ‘complexity’ seen as a factor that nurtures lack of comprehension is destined to attenuate. So we will see the rationalization of systems of distribution and use of resources, leading to a revolution in the industrial sector (of which I too am a part), from mechanical to biological aspects. Everything is ready to come together: Digital Design, Sequencing, 3D printing, materials used on a nanoscopic or pixel scale, ‘Nature’ and ‘Human Instinct’… all this will come together to increase the potential of fantasy and to create new automobiles, architectures, products… Jean-Marie Massaud There are undoubtedly places where ‘enlightened’ people live, study and work, and these places, more than others, become the catalysts of progress: Silicon Valley, for example, or the Tel Aviv area. There are also important, historic European capitals where constant, interesting cultural changes take place, and large new cities that become high-density laboratories, but where the conditions of life are not on a human scale, like Dubai and Shanghai. We can learn and improve from these extreme situations, at least for the generations to come. But getting back to the question: where should we direct design energies? I would respond: anywhere, because by now the world is a village and we are all interconnected. Ingo Maurer Apart from the cultural area or the country, I believe in authentic growth. Alberto Meda Simply by starting with the spheres where it is possible to improve wellbeing: for example, the acoustics of public places, where the impossibility of communicating often threatens interpersonal relations. Paola Navone In every productive unit, wherever it is. Design serves the craftsman, small production companies, large industry. The ‘where’ is not important. Nendo In all those areas that are closely connected with the emotions of people Luca Nichetto Not in Europe: the fact that today everything is in stasis here is connected with an achievement of wellbeing of which we are not even conscious any longer. I would keep an eye on the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) or the MINT countries (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey, the next emerging nations): they are countries that can be useful for us designers to understand what we are doing and where we are going. Philippe Nigro Anywhere it is necessary: it is useful to always question yourself, even when you think you are ahead of the others, or you possess a ‘certain design culture.’ Anywhere it is important: and it is always necessary to cultivate good sense and awareness that everything we do can have a positive or negative impact. Naturally we work to achieve a positive outcome. Patrick Norguet Europe is definitely a wealthy continent, but the European countries have not been capable of intercepting the most important changes, of evaluating the rise of countries that used to be poor. It will be necessary to challenge things, to rethink our often aggressive and self-serving policies. Above all, it is urgent to transmit teachings and behaviors to future generations. This means education and culture, to restore man’s dimension in role in society: more intelligence for greater freedom! Jorge Pensi I believe in individual talents, not nationalities. The near future will be the realm of the energies of designers and companies that believe in the force of design, in its capacity to change the society and to improve the quality of life, notwithstanding the country where they live and work. Marc Sadler I would say across the board. In the emerging nations, those of the socalled economic boom of the XXI century, design culture should be necessary to transmit that sense of balance between functional quality and aesthetics, where consumption often prevails, with a focus on quantity instead of quality. In the more developed countries, those that saw the birth of industrial design starting in the 1940s and 1950s, design culture needs renewal, or to rediscover its deepest roots, rethinking industrial production in the light of needs and the specific economic situation. Sawaya&Moroni I think we should help the emerging nations to move towards a correct, not corrupt path of creativity and production. From this viewpoint design can make an important contribution. Matteo Thun We need to invest in software more than hardware: that is, to focus on the design of services, on everything that creates new gestures and habits. Tokujin Yoshioka Globalization means that every country can freely express its values and have esteem for its own culture. So I would respond: anywhere.