Four personalities for Four “Lezioni d’Autore” on design and made in Italy
Date:November 30, 2016
Rodrigo Rodriquez, Francesca Molteni, Vanni Pasca and Chiara Alessi: these are the protagonists of the first cycle of conferences which were hosted, in the framework of the Ceramicland project, in the ceramic factories of our district. Four different personalities, each with their own strong identities, backgrounds and professional expertise, sharing their valuable experience and considerations during four Lezioni d’Autore organized between June and November.
The conferences mainly focused on design and entrepreneurial culture, and took place in the form of a dialogue between the lecturers and Fulvio Irace – full professor at the School of Design of the Polytechnic University of Milan as well as scientific coordinator of the conferences. The aim was to explore made in Italy and give a new role to the territory of the ceramic district, also promoting its “cultural dimension”.
Organised by Confindustria Ceramica in cooperation with the professional associations of Architects of the Emilia Romagna region, and with the participation of the seven municipalities of the district and the four tile manufacturers hosting the lectures – Marazzi Group, Casalgrande Padana, Florim and Marca Corona –, the four Lezioni d’Autore mainly attracted architects and project designers, who were given three professional course credits each. Architects and project designers also had the opportunity to earn two further professional course credits by visiting (through a guided tour) the plant and showroom of the ceramic company hosting the meeting, before attending the Lezione at the Conference Room: this shows that manufacturing plants, which have always been activity-oriented, are turning into window-places, where activity and thinking are combined.
The cycle opened with LezioneUno. Impresa, Cultura e Made in Italy by Rodrigo Rodriquez, hosted by Marazzi Group at the historic Crogiuolo in Sassuolo, where it was also shown a video celebrating the company’s 80 years of life.
Rodrigo Rodriquez, working since 1972 as general manager and managing director at Cassina – a company which under his guidance became international leader in design furniture – shared his professional experience illustrating the fortunate relationships built with designers and architects. Entrepreneurship, according to Rodriguez, requires interaction with culture.
LezioneDue. Branding e storia d’impresa, took place at the Casalgrande Padana Old House, a building designed by Kengo Kuma. The lecturer Francesca Molteni belongs to the family who owns Molteni, the historic furniture factory that in 2015, during Expo, celebrated its 80-year-long history by inaugurating its own Museum. “Putting this idea into practice hasn’t been easy – said Francesca Molteni. The idea, stemming from my artistical and literary education, had to face at first some opposition coming from within the family. Furthermore, family research and reconstruction of the company’s corporate history was quite demanding”. Huge economic resources have been invested in the project, and important architects have been involved in its construction; but it was only when the right awareness arose that the Museum became what it is: a place important not only for its historical records – which Francesca Molteni well illustrated by showing us pictures of the inside -, but also as a live and enjoyable meeting place.
Design identity, or its alleged lack of, evolution, and what it means: these are the themes Vanni Pasca – architect, design historian and full professor at the ISIA in Florence and at the Polytechnic of Milan – talked about during the LezioneTre. Nuove prospettive per il design, which was hosted by Florim.
The issue debated concerned whether design exists or not: what appears as design today is so wide that it has lost its real identity, ending up matching a more generic concept of project, which is a simple translation of the English term.
Design nowadays no longer strictly means “designing an object”. It can be linked to many other aspects and business activities, including communication.
Florim can set a good example of this – said Vanni Pasca. The company wanted to build, on its own premises, a centre promoting research, training and medical simulation, to be open not only to health-care staff but also to citizens concerned with health care, prevention, and wellbeing. What Florim did is in a certain way a design operation, ready to open up new possibilities.
Linked to the new concept of design and to the last generation that promoted it was LezioneQuattro. Millenials: design e società, lectured by Chiara Alessi at Marca Corona 1741. A journalist and essayist in design, Chiara Alessi has recently analysed, and wrote two publications about, Italy’s new project culture and its implications: in the conference she illustrated the results of her research on the designers belonging to the Millenials generation.