The archive as a growth tool for design companies. Interview with Marco Sammicheli

Memory has a power that design knows very well. Cyclically, the recovery of the past returns to indicate the way, in the world of design: not only as a tool for a more effective brand identity, but also as a driver of a targeted production, which, starting from the study of the roots , know how to interpret them to look to the future with an even more functional vision.

"From furniture companies to museums, through magazines and the world of fashion, there is a growing awareness that a well-built and nourished archive on a daily basis is a formidable asset", says Andrea Montorio, CEO of Promemoria Group, a company based in Turin, active all over the world, which has been working since 2011 to enhance the heritage of brands and institutions.

Since 2017, this reality which has created a new standard for the management of historical archives, combining scientific rigor with a new strategic approach, has published the Archive magazine, which has since become the point of reference, with its monographic and well-curated issues, entrusted to the direction of Daniela Hamaui and a series of guest editors, for those who believe in the planning use of memory.

Nine years after the first issue, and after having investigated different and distant themes such as the world of fashion or the power and charm of America, Archivio chooses to deal with design, and entrusts the care of the issue that will see the light in September to MarcoSammicheli, curator for the design, fashion and crafts sector of Triennale Milano and director of the Museum of Italian Design.

Marco Sammicheli, the theme of memory is increasingly strong in the world of products. Triennale itself has activated Cuore, the study center open to the public which is first and foremost a formidable archive.

"The Cuore project, born from an idea of ​​the president Stefano Boeri, the general director Carla Morogallo and the scientific committee, was created to capitalize on a fundamental anniversary such as a century of the Triennale Putting one hundred years of history and exhibitions in order, digitizing them, has given us the awareness that everything done in the past, whether distant or recent, continues to offer answers to always valid questions, which bring new reflections and contributions to themes of actuality.

I don't think there are other cultural institutions in the world that give their archives the same value, both physically and in terms of dedicated space, that Triennale has assigned to Cuore. The archive is on the main floor of the building, in front of the Design Museum, and is a free and free space where you can consult materials and texts with the support of our archivists and librarians. All this serves to convey the fundamental idea of ​​a generative memory."

What is the difference between a company that has a well-made archive, and uses it, and one that doesn't have one or uses it badly?

"History is a chase: it must be taken well to have a decisive impetus towards the future and innovation. Preserving, enhancing and consulting are fundamental gestures not only in planning, but also in the construction of the narratives of designer products.

Companies that don't have an archive or neglect it are often companies with much poorer and less rigorous communication than others, where the catalog and identity have the breadth of a tweet.

A well-curated archive, on the other hand, is like the foundations of a house: it gives the possibility of generating value in height and solidity".

How did the idea for the Archive issue dedicated to design come about?

"I have known and followed for some time with great interest and curiosity both Promemoria Group and Archivio, which entrusted me with the monographic issue on design, proposing to involve an important guest editor. I had doubts about the name of Jasper Morrison, a designer who has a special attention to history without being one of it. victim.

His is a timely and appropriate approach, which translates into a coherent proposal on the contemporary. Observing history gives the possibility of understanding what has been done in the past, and therefore helps to avoid taking the shortcut of copying, to ensure that every production choice has solid roots and meaning".

What will be Morrison's role in the construction of the number?

"We will select and validate the contents together. The issue will be divided by profiles, companies and institutions. He will most likely create the cover artwork and is already writing a passionate editorial in the form of a visual diary that is a statement , a position on the use and importance of archives. A life testimony on how knowledge of archives nourished his imagination, his ability to see and plan".

An editorial team, even if aimed at producing a single issue, is a formidable exercise in exchange and sharing. What are Sammicheli and Morrison giving each other?

"Working with a personality like Jasper is a beautiful experience. I, for example, brought him into the world of Filippo Alison, the architect and historian to whom he owes the genesis of the collection to the Maestri di Cassina, and to that of Rut Bryk, the great Finnish ceramist wife of Tapio< /strong> Wirkkala.

He, however, helped me to delve into figures such as that of the great Miguel Milà, pioneer of Spanish design, still active at 93 years old, and another fundamental one such as that of graphic designer Max Huber".