The loudness of society
The damn design of ours
Hello Milanesi - hope your Sunday was amazing but cosy enough to rehab from Milano Design Week aka “Milano turns into a dysmorphic Savannah you won’t survive to”.
Not a fan of the word impossible but we all need to agree on the impossibility of avoiding designer spots in the streets, performances, parties and cocktails while out and about.
That’s MDW. We hate it but pretend to love it as we do with squats in peak hour at the gym.
Why? Because it’s worthy - just as squats are.
The never-ending week, filled with things we people wouldn’t believe in, is over, probably Milano is already thinking about stocks or fashion but let’s take a minute to understand what really happened. And I’m not talking about the free open bar + dj set consequences.
To describe Milano Design Week I’d choose the word loud. Basically a universe of firms trying to set up a valuable roundtable to discuss whether design is art or architecture or both or none.
Not sure we can answer this question, we can try to figure out design genesis - ‘cause you know, knowledge it’s useful when debating.
If my Contemporary Architecture Teacher didn’t lie to me, design has its roots in the architecture of the late 1700s, which aimed to represent a new social class: the bourgeoisie.
the bourgeoisie, enriched but not noble, claimed to be represented in an environment that is becoming increasingly industrialised due to their activities.
Life accelerates in the succession of discoveries, activities hence society has new needs, enacts new practices and forms of action. Just as we experience -or have experienced- in the digital revolution.
In the backdrop of technological and social changes modern-contemporary architecture and design are born: the production of objects in factories follows the same logic that accompanies the production of buildings.
The new ruling class replaced the aristocratic-noble class, hence architecture had to reflect new identities - just as nowadays gen z is teaching us that life is lived not on 3 but on 5 screens.
The figure of the architect splits into creativity with the designer and technique with the engineer.
A kind of FENDACE collab in which it is impossible to define which aspect is more important: Silvia Venturini or Donatella? Art or technique?
None really knew or know the answer, ‘cause there’s no correct one.
In the second half of the 19th century the architect is seen as the demiurge, with an obsession on details and total redesign of reality, both interiors and exteriors, even going so far as to design clothes - Frank Lloyd Wright did so for many of his projects.
In this framework Henry Cole invented the word design: society needed a figure able to combine art with design and engineering, someone who could give the right view to objects in terms of functionality. He developed the concept of art manifacture that is the fusion of art with design.
And since 1851, the first time it was pronounced during the Great Exhibition in London, Design joined our lives, trying to teach us that a chair can be more than something to lean on and that “Good design is a language, not a style” (Massimo Vignelli).
So we realise that design has its roots in the twist of society. From that moment it has evolved more and more to encompass the space we live in: design therefore was not born as the object of the niche but as an expression of a bourgeoisie that experiences public space.
This awareness explains perfectly Cassina’s decision to extend his fair Pavilion with a setup in the city showroom during Salone del mobile first edition in 1961.
From that time on, the trend of allowing citizens to experience the design of which they are de facto patrons became popular. This evolved into nowadays Milano Design Week, which is made by citizens, events and loudness.
May we understand better all those posters “Milano is Design, Design is Milano”.
May we enjoy this time, may we love - everything and always. May we live, gladly.
See you next chapter dear stars of mine.