Opening Design Week with projects whose creative force comes from affection refreshes our gaze on the meaning of design

It's 10 to 10 on Friday 12 April and Vito Nesta is wandering around the installation In the belly of the warrior which he created with the curatorship of Sara Ricciardi on the occasion of the presentation of the collection designed with Alessandro Guerriero. He is visibly excited. Because he, Warrior, arrives at 10 and has no idea what he will find.


It may seem strange: two designer-artists create objects together and then one doesn't even have the faintest idea of how the other will display them?

It's strange, yes, but also very beautiful.

Because the installation is a kind of surprise.

It has the shape of a box open at the sides, all pink but is intended to be a "belly", in the Anglo-Saxon sense of the term. The "gut" is what we carry inside us. And this is, as the title says, "the belly of the Warrior" because it is filled to excess with sculptures, miniatures of works, visual references to Alessandro's work.

A gift that Vito Nesta with the complicity of Sara Ricciardi decided to give to an author he respects but above all to a person for whom he clearly feels a deep affection.

Read: Alessandro Guerriero, the beauty of fragility and a world without money

It is enough to dwell on the details exposed to understand that we are not faced with the classic (and typical) "glorification of the master" but with something profoundly different.

All the writings, handmade in street writer style, are considerations by Guerriero or references to Guerriero's life and thoughts and above all to people, situations or moments that were important for him: there are colleagues who they went (Mendini, Branzi, Pesce, Rota), the inmates of the various prisons in which he worked, the students of the schools and non-schools he founded, the vulnerable to whom he always dedicated so much time and energy. In a corner, on the ground, a mountain of crumpled up pieces of paper containing considerations on projects that were never carried out.

The pink box is, in short, a kind of hymn to the explosive creativity of a man who knew how to use it to make others feel good and grow.

It's ten o'clock and Alessandro Guerriero arrives.

He looks around in amazement and smiles happily: he likes that strange pink house or belly, he talks to it.

He really opens his heart, in a historical moment like this, made up of polarizations and speed, of opportunism and storytelling designed to sell, to live a moment like this.

Because remember that giving an affective dimension to the project and knowing how to make it universal, that is, making it perceptible even to those who remain outside the elective affinity that animates it, is what gives it meaning.

That design - the beautiful one, the one with meaning, the one that is a project and not marketing - is born when there is love and respect. A concept that I rediscovered shortly afterwards, completely unexpectedly, at the Triennale.

Walking sticks and dogs

“Design comes out well when you design with someone intensely in mind,” he told me just a few hours later Keiji Takeuchi , curator of the small, delightful collective exhibition at the Triennale Walking Sticks and Canes which opens to the public on April 15th.


Keiji Takeuchi e altri 17 designer hanno disegnato dei bastoni da passeggio per cambiare l’immagine e il modo di vivere questo oggetto, oggi simbolo di vecchiaia, e regalare una piccola felicità a chi lo usa per spostarsi.

Keiji Takeuchi and 17 other designers have designed walking sticks to change the image and way of experiencing this object, today a symbol of old age, and to give a little happiness to those who use it to get around.

It is enough to observe these sticks and discover the stories from which they are born to understand that they are all children of affection: for grandparents, parents, even themselves in a more or less distant future.

There is the one for walking on rough terrain for outdoor lovers, the one to hang on the table for those who will never give up going to a restaurant with friends, the extra light one for tech lovers, the one with the handle to be sculpted for more creative.

There is no manufacturing or commercial purpose in Walking Sticks and Canes. Even the sponsor Karimokou is not one of the “screaming” ones but has silently and elegantly supported the work of the designer (and this is precisely why we want to mention him in a text like this).

Wanting to give something to someone with our work, just for the pleasure of doing it, is the most beautiful part of design,” says Keiji Takeuchi.

A concept that will be nice to bring into this Milan Design Week that opens.