(Book available in Italian only)
“It is impossible to define design.” We increasingly come across this statement from design critics and historians. A habit? The admission of a real impossibility – to identify and limit the boundaries of a phenomenon that is too widespread or elusive? As if design were no longer a discipline within an artistic system, a professional and productive sector within an economic system, a field of techniques, concepts, practices and traditions within a cultural horizon, but rather a notion that lends itself to a form of universality: design is all these things, and much more”. It is therefore, strategically, through a series of conversations that Emanuele Quinz offers us in this volume a comparative analysis of this evolving discipline. The author uses his skills as a historian to penetrate the creative processes that are inextricably linked to art, and therefore not to strictly functional purposes. Paradoxically, much of recent design has been conceived against the idea that design is an infinite production of commercial objects, starting with the decisive exhibition Italy: The New Domestic Landscape held at MoMA in New York in 1972, which showcased Italian radical architecture. The personalities interviewed here thus constitute a generational sample that goes back to the pioneers of “counter-design” of the time, such as Ugo La Pietra and Gianni Pettena, the representatives of Dutch conceptual and critical design of the 1990s, and some of the main authors of today’s international scene, such as Martino Gamper, the Bouroullec brothers or Matali Crasset.
The resulting picture helps to clarify the nature of design in the 21st century, without neglecting the plurality of positions, or the transmigration of ideas made possible by the special status of this material, which is fortunately an intermediary between art and industry, and which is also becoming more and more decisive for the fate of architecture and town planning in our time.