We asked the directors of three Milanese schools: the Polytechnic, the Domus Academy and the Istituto Marangoni

Studying design yes, but why? Apart from talent and passion there are actually many excellent reasons.

Students with a university course linked to the themes of the project, in all its forms, have a good chance of acquiring skills that can be used in many different professions. Not just in design.

Bizarre news, confirmed by the numbers: 98% of students at the University of Milan find work within a year of the end of their academic career. The hypothesis is that, among the professionalizing faculties, that of design is capable of graduating young people who believe in creativity and are well aware of the potential of digital and technology. And they will probably apply it with pragmatism in every area.

Francesco Zurlo, Silvio Cioni and Sergio Nava explain it well.

Read also: Learning design starting from yourself

An independent attitude in a school designed by radical designers

Silvio Cioni has been the new director of education of Domus Academy since September 2023. An only partial new entry: he himself attended the school founded in 1982 as an offshoot of the Domus magazine and with the participation of radical design groups.

It was the first post-graduate design school in Italy: “Domus Academy was my basis for training first, and then for research, for a long time. I return here with the desire to work on the heritage: the idea of a school as a circle of collaborative experimentation with companies, as it was at its beginnings".

What has substantially changed in the founding idea of Domus Academy?

“Today there are eleven masters in Domus Academy, more than double the number of first years. We are still focused on an idea that has been disruptive for the school: ensuring that teachers and students work together, around the same table.

Today it is common practice, but starting from here you can look far ahead. We have always done it, the teachers work with the faculty to transform companies' project briefs into small, large laboratories.

It is the spirit with which we try to be a visionary school, with new types of courses. We promote practices oriented towards open, less structured approaches to ideational variables. This is how we talk about innovation, not only from a technological, materials or process point of view.

But in a broad sense, with the aim of expanding the practice of design.”

Five thousand applications for 1440 places: why the Polytechnic School of Design is a coveted path

“It is a demanding path, which immediately accustoms you to responding to transversal requests to acquire strong research tools. Creativity only makes sense if applied to a consistent base", explains Francesco Zurlo, Dean of the School of Design at the Polytechnic of Milan.

“We are bound by ministerial programs, but we have a focused approach to broad training, with many activities centered on extracurricular workshops involving the most diverse faculties”.

A concrete example: starting from a brief for the study of an acoustic surface, you may find yourself in a team with design students, certainly, but also engineering, architecture and physics students.

“We are very careful to innovate training paths, working not only on new technologies and their integration into study and professional practice. But also in human and social contexts that require design skills to find solutions that intercept different disciplines".

Laboratory work, which translates into an educational practice aimed at concrete projects, is open to very different contexts. It may happen that we work with local institutions, as well as on the integration of a wind farm into the landscape context.

Sergio Nava, Istituto Marangoni: "Students sensitive to ethical and social issues"

“They have a pragmatic attitude towards life, they prefer a concrete-oriented approach, they recognize the crucial importance of acquiring practical and professional skills, as well as a solid theoretical foundation”, comments Sergio Nava, director of Istituto Marangoni Design School Milan.

In recent years the school has undertaken a significant journey to adapt our teaching to students. It has intensified the updating of course contents and introduced new study programs, to respond to market needs and student expectations.

The relationship with companies and the professional destiny of students is an obvious concern for schools: “A key element of our approach has beenthe integration of new technologies into practicalteaching activities. We actively encourage students to explore and apply these technologies in their academic experiences.”