The role of design from the post-war period to the present day

Have the ability and strength to go further and imagine the future. An even harder effort in times of crisis (and war), but more important to get out of it quickly.

Achille and Pier Giacomo Castiglioni, Cesare Paolini, Mario Bellini, Gae Aulenti, Ettore Sottsass, Gaetano Pesce, Alberto Rosselli, Marco Zanuso and Richard Sapper, Archizoom, Superstudio, Ugo La Pietra, Gruppo Strum and 9999. They were the authors of the works in the catalog of the exhibition ‘The New Domestic Landscape’, at the MoMA in New York, curated by Emilio Ambasz. It was 50 years ago. It was 1972. Italian design was born. Consequence of the desire to react to the post-World War II economic depression, the result of the ability and courage to innovate and go further. Today the situation is different, but not different in some respects. A pandemic and a war at the gates, which we inevitably perceive as “at home”, an energy crisis that sees few precedents in history, lead us to embrace a new phase of transition where design is called to give a new shape and voice. , in beauty. The Symbola Foundation, Deloitte Private and Polidesign, in collaboration with Adi, Logotel, Cuid, Comieco and AlmaLaurea, explain the situation.

A RIBBON OF THE WEALTH OF THE PRODUCT SECTOR IN THE PROVINCE OF MILAN
First of all, it must be said that the sector in Italy has 30,000 companies, capable of generating 2.5 billion euros in added value and employing 61,000 people. 60.4% of design companies are located in Lombardy, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and Veneto, generating 68.5% of value added and absorbing 64.7% of those employed in the sector. The lion’s share is made by Milan and Lombardy. In addition, the Lombard capital also hosts the Salone del Mobile and the Fuorisalone. Most companies and design professionals are here. Milan is awarded 14.8% of all Italian companies in the sector. From the point of view of the value created, companies in the province of Milan are able to generate for themselves almost a fifth (18.4%) of the wealth produced by the sector throughout the country. Turin, Rome and Bologna are still a long way off.

THE OBJECTS OF THE FUTURE? REPAIRABLE, RECONDITIONABLE, REUSABLE
Having crystallized this image so quickly, it is easy to imagine the role of companies in the path of ecological transition that the country is going through, even if only because of its ability not only to innovate (process and product), but to look beyond, and move a little beyond the horizon line. He explains it well Ermete Realaccipresident of the Symbol Foundation, noting that “design is once again called upon to give shape, meaning and beauty to the future. Many aspects of our lives, as well as many sectors, will change, from the metamorphosis of mobility to shared, interconnected and electric models, to the processes of decarbonisation and the circular economy that are changing the relationships between industry and society. supply chain, reaching products that, in a context of increasingly scarce resources, will necessarily have to be redesigned to be more durable, repairable, reconditionable, reusable ”. Do not hesitate to remember, Realacci, the “new European bauhaus” launched by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, in 2020. Our economy and our society more on a human scale and therefore more capable Now that the Italian industrial fabric is made up mainly of SMEs, it is easy to imagine the limits and merits of this industrial model in relation to the energy transition and the role of design in imagining the future. On the one hand, small and medium-sized enterprises are characterized by a structural lack of economic and financial resources, but also in knowledge.Now, the challenges of decarbonisation, renewable energy, waste management, the development of new circular business models However, the authors of the research point out that small and medium-sized Italian companies are companies that operate there. And here is a key passage: “Italian industry has a circularity rate of 50%. In the typical sectors of made in Italy, and therefore of fashion, food and furniture, which for years has been the source of a competitive advantage, ie a quality production, able to combine tradition and innovation, today may no longer be enough to satisfy. the new needs of the market and the demands of the new generations of customers. “Ultimately, Italian SMEs in the sector must learn to process the transition.

GROWING ATTENTION TO REGENERATION AND RECYCLING
There are three words, in particular, that repeat and represent the pillars on which to build all the strategies, including communication, of the future: sustainability, reduction and recycling. For the next three years 2022-2024, the weight in the design of the durability component will remain almost unchanged (+0.3 percentage points in the three years), attention to reduction and recycling will grow by 5% and even regeneration will exceed 8%. It is an attention that responds to a global attitude on the issue of repairability or regeneration of products, which has become a clear focus in the communication of all brands and in particular the most attentive to design (also because it is a consequence direct well thought out). Even Apple, whose products have always been synonymous with non-repairability (if not through the repurchase and resale by the brand itself) has recently changed course, obviously yielding to pressure from users more interested in the environment. Starting in 2022, anyone will be able to repair (some items) of a group of Apple products using original parts sold by the parent company. Even reuse is seen with less and less suspicion on the part of companies. It goes with the low end with the second hand (with the Second Life program, Ikea buys its furniture again and gives away vouchers to buy new ones in its store) but also with the Pre-Loved phenomenon for the most famous brands. (such as Artek 2nd Cycle, which involves the discovery and resale of historical pieces of the brand).

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