In our time, the web paradigm defines the form of culture. Web meaning not just telematic infrastructure, but above all the flow of ‘ramified’ meaning that runs through the activity of cultural agents.
In this new paradigm, the time of unfolding of design action no longer has the form of a linear sequence, and instead resembles a proliferation of widespread events, not cumulable, in eternal relation to each other.
The result is a continuous present that since it is no longer limited by a past seen as ‘before’ and a future seen as ‘after’ expands in a network, putting everything and the opposite of everything into connection.
Here lies the central philosophical question of contemporary design culture. In what direction should we aim design action, in a context that – like the universe – expands in all directions without ever getting out of itself?
But while the impasse is epochal, so too is the measure of what seems to be the solution today. It is this very collapse of design temporality that on the one hand is crushed against horizontal dilation, losing vertical development and depth, and on the other, precisely due to this, becomes perfectly suited to a different type of evolution, which no longer has the form of a linear advance, but that of a tree-like ‘growth’ fed by the reticular sharing of ideas, projects, pieces of a path to walk together, after which we scatter along diverging trajectories.
From the minute actions of posting to the major synergies triggered by specific events (just consider the importance of project management), all the way to actions oriented towards the new smart, social, cyclable and recyclable sustainability, sharing actions constitute the true nervous system of the network culture.
So a company like Lago, one of the most aware in terms of (also cultural) sustainability, is paying close attention to spaces set aside for coworking, third-party places of sharing between the home and the workplace, requiring a rethinking as zones of semi-permanent transit in which to set up agile, serene situations of connected and operative wellbeing.
Because it is precisely in such crucibles intentionally set up to encourage the sharing of strengths and weaknesses that the present – no longer ready to be replaced by a ‘given’ future – can grow, in the form of a widespread germination of design buds, whose sum – though it cannot be packed into a single total – in any case nourishes the state of continuous transformation of reality: its opening towards that which if not a true ‘future’ is at least not exactly a ‘present.’
In this area, the focus of Francesco Morace and his Future Concept Lab on the theme of growth is significant, as was also recently seen in a festival. Nor is it by chance that we are seeing growing investment of design in models of sharing based on horizontal distribution of resources instead of the aristocratic isolation of the creative genius.
This is the case of the ‘Made in Italy 2.0’ of brands like Internoitaliano and Ilide, distributed factories that coincide with the network of relations between artisans and designer, seen as distributed resources, not according to the model of the supply chain, but according to that of the network. Because talking about growth (horizontal and reticular) instead of development (vertical and linear) means talking, in the end, about plurality instead of individuality, about synergies instead of energies, collaborations activated around projects (and therefore constitutionally pro-jected ahead) instead of static processes forced to remain in function.
All this represents a major challenge for design, which particularly in the case of Italy has always seen quality and quantity as opposites, but on the other hand has always paid close attention to the evolution of culture and society. And what culture and society are saying today is the transition towards modes of sharing and participatory generation of meaning in keeping with the 2.0 model in which products and languages are no longer simply ‘offered’ to people, but generated together with them, made to sprout by horizontal sharing of enthusiasms, mutually involved to hold together that dimension of meaning that lives in design and that design makes live.
di Stefano Caggiano