Designers are serious people. Indeed very serious. And they know that lightness is a virtue to be conquered and cared for. Perhaps it is for this reason that designers love and are loved by children. Put one in front of a Toio: it will spend time observing and recognizing its compositional elements. And to smile when he finally realizes that a cable, plus a transformer, plus a lighthouse, makes a lamp.
Curiosity feeds on nomenclatures and intuitions. What if it's a small child? Let him hear the clicking noise as he turns the headlight on and off. You will see an ecstatic baby.
Give a name so as not to use too many words
Indeed, the first to speak lightly of the pieces that make up the world is the writer of children's books, Richard Scarry, who transforms the encyclopedic nomenclature into a pedagogical model. His books are endless constructions of a vocabulary that gives a name to everything. There are no tales in Scarry's books: only objects and their names.
An infinite curiosity for the lemma, which is also a passion for "things". Word after word, a complex world is reconstructed, to which the definitions give meaning and context.
To do is to understand
The idea of calling things by name and showing their function is exactly the kind of discourse on design that another great project narrator started about twenty years ago. Steven Guarnaccia in 2010 signs a small illustrated book for the Corraini editions. The words are by Paola Antonelli and the subject is the work of Achille Castiglioni.
The illustrations briefly outline the projects. But the action explains the ingenious details and the reasons for the construction choices at a glance. And it becomes clear why the Arco is a lamp but not all lamps are the Arco.
The speed and precision of lightness
Castiglioni in two seconds is a small illustrated series created by Giovanna Castiglioni and illustrated by Sara Vivan (edited once again by Corraini) in which there are very few words, but family memories and the daily use of Castiglioni's projects linger in the pages. The light gesture of drawing summarizes what design is and why it is a space of freedom that improves life.
Achille Castiglioni is in fact a designer who loves lightness and uses it to declaim the virtues of human intelligence with respect and depth. But the same very serious and light gaze is in the work of Bruno Munari, in the research of Alessandro Mendini, in the rereadings by FormaFantasma, in the Haiku and in the Instagram reels of Odoardo Fioravanti.
A ruthless and at the same time loving touch on materials, shapes and the dialogue that is patiently built between industry, seriality and the efficiency of an object. The search for the direct relationship between genius and aesthetic inspiration in many designers becomes irony, calembour.
Steven Guarnaccia: Wright is needed against the wolf
In all the books cited so far, lightness is the key word. The pretext is the use of illustration and, consequently, of a language aimed at children. In fact, we all know very well that many illustrated books are more suitable for adults who, to enjoy a bit of lightheartedness, hide behind an illustrated book. But sometimes we really talk about design to the little ones. How? Steven Guarnaccia , also with Corraini, has redesigned some classic fairy tales.
Famous architectures appear in the drawings for I Tre Porcellini, such as Casa Gehry Villa Savoye by Le Corbusier. And it is the Wright Waterfall House that wins over the wolf. While in Riccioli d’Oro it is the Blow by De Pas, Urbino and Lomazzi, the LCW chair by Charles and Ray Eames and the Town & Country bowl by Eva Zeisel that conquer the curious blonde girl. Which then runs away when the three bears return. One of the few fairy tales that does not teach morality and speaks only of curiosity and how objects are used. A bit like design, in short.