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Abitare Italia: Icons of Italian Design, Porto Design Biennale, Portogallo


Fundação da Juventude, Porto, Portogallo.       

Year:     2019

Realized project


In collaboration with Maria Milano

"Abitare Italia: icone del design Italiano"  is not intended to be an iconic selection of products nor a more or less fast and concise history of italian design, but a story of projects, products and even design proposals, many, but not all, acquired as iconics that have contributed through design to define the "living in Italy" yesterday but also today. The historian of architecture Manfredo Tafuri proposed that we consider the past never definitely past, never taken for granted once and for all but rather assimilable to a field of forced whose potential are to be reactivated and capable of transforming  (disturbing Tafuri would say) the present (by Marco Biraghi "The architect as intellectual" Einaudi 2019). We would like students and young designers to be stimulated by these projects, many of the past, some of the present, to look "restless" and to wonder about "their present" to find in these projects a field of forces whose potential can be reactivated to attack this dramatic, polluted, present of them. The exhibition begins with a radio prototype design by the architect Franco Albini in 1938 for the living room of his home.  It was impossible to expose the propotype so we showed a smart reportage by the photographer Vincenzo Colecchia. Albini's radio is a project that questions what the task of design can be and comes to show the "beauty" of the new components of modern technology and the positivity of its innovations. The exhibition ends with projects, institutional proposals, products of italian contemporaneity, which use design to question the different positivity of the past. Let's show some examples where our design discipline is committed to reducing the environmental degradation that past has unequivocally generated. This is neither the exhibition of an historian nor of a design critic but of a designer who continually questions his discipline. We propose the reuse of the already produced instead of persevering in promoting the "disposable" and cultivating the mystique of the new. We keep in mind the unfair distribution of resources and goods and show the attempt of the excluded to appropriate the autonomy of the project and product. We favor a technological innovation of materials and processes that reduce the waste of energy and resources and free us from indestructible plastics. Can there be a design that seeks a new beauty of goods and tools designed for these purposes? Our "design hope" that has guided us in this exhibition is that the new professionals of our discipline find reasons to identify themselves with these purposes, they worry as Tafuri would say, in order to contribute to the increasingly urgent ecological conversion of goods. 

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