Italian Design: Il Futuro

By Virginia Gardiner / Published by Dwell
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As impressive as Italy’s design legacy is, it’s the future that moves this lot. Get the inside track on what’s next.

Cristina Morozzi, curator and art director, Skitsch, Milan
"The new generation will be deeply involved in cultural motivations—very conscious of what is the mission of design, eclectic, and ironic."

Luca Nichetto, designer, Porto Marghera, Venice
"Design will develop as a consequence to what happens in the country—right now, we have major problems with the political situation. Next will come another important idea: the environment."

Alessandra Baldereschi, designer,Sesto San Giovanni, greater Milan
"Italian design will regain possession of craft. There will be more exhibitions, research, and design workshops to develop the potential of local materials and traditional processes."

Giulio Iacchetti, designer, Milan
"A kind of ‘neohumanism’ will factor into the future, with new personalities emerging as catalysts. Designers will work shoulder to shoulder with artisans, and both parties will benefit: The artisan will be freed from the stereotypical traditional forms while the designer will embrace a hands-on material understanding."

Piero Gandini, owner, Flos, Bovezzo, Brescia
"Italian design companies will never move from product-oriented companies to marketing-oriented companies, because other cultures are much stronger than we are in that game. It sounds like a limitation, but is in fact an advantage—a brave, generous attitude toward creativity will breed success." 

Carlo Urbinati, founder and co-owner, Foscarini, Veneto
"Design is close to art: Being in a country that hosts most of the world’s artistic heritage, with the Italian way of living is a strong plus. If we are able to preserve this, Italian design will continue to be known and appreciated worldwide."

Antonio Citterio, architect anddesigner, Milan
"As a vision of quality of life, it will make more sense to talk of European design than Italian design. If we keep the industry and design research in Europe, we will have fantastic new products; if we decide to buy everything from other countries because it’s less expensive, we will lose our power."

Roberto Gasparotto, art director, Venini, Murano, Venice
"Italian design will have more attention to style of life—natural colors,
ergonomic considerations, respect for materials—instead of the ‘industrial technical design’ that we have right now all over the world. The most important thing will always be for companies to control production and not to share it with several suppliers."


Virginia Gardiner


Our "Process" queen Virginia Gardiner currently lives in London, where she is finishing up a master's degree in industrial design engineering. "It has been fun but also tiring," she reports. "I spend a lot of time in the workshop with glue and other stuff on my hands and have recently been casting lots of shapes in horse poo from the horses that trot around Buckingham Palace. But we have to make stuff with a market, so I'm working on a new waterless toilet.

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