Italian Design: a familiar, famous presence around the world
Achille Castiglioni, Vico Magistretti, Bruno Munari, Ettore Sottsass, Marco Zanuso, Enzo Mari, the great masters of Italian design were the first to make Italian design a familiar, famous presence around the world. Design has changed though over the years, in parallel with economic, sociological and cultural changes. The companies, products and designers have multiplied. The phenomenon is no longer limited to Italy, but takes place on an international scale. But in Italy, and especially in Milan, design plays a particular role, so the question about the future and the legacy of the great masters is always a moment of reflection.
Designer, President MDF
What comes after the masters? Nothing unless Milan can to some extent remain a place where ideas can become reality, a place where taste, the right cultural conditions and the capacity for discussion still survive. In recent years, the new ideas have come from other countries. I like to work with foreigners, I think they are not so burdened by the design of the 50s and 60s. To get results you have to invent new answers, and here in Italy that’s not happening.
Vice senior editor, Domus
The age of the masters finished some time ago. Their era was a time of specific conditions : the economic boom, industrial growth, an enthusiastic view of the future. Today the economics are different, everything is based on cost reduction. Behind companies you no longer find individuals with clear ideas, but boards of directors, management teams which leads to uniformity of products.
The Masters golden age was in the 60’s and 70’s. Back then it was virgin territory. Today there is an overload of designers. This is a global worldwide phenomenon. We all design but we don’t change things much. In the future design will no longer be so important, or more precisely, it will be taken for granted. There is no more room for genius.
Architect and designer, co-founder of Archizoom
The influence of the masters can be seen in the history of design, in books, but not in a direct way. Today everything tends to look identical, because the same information circulates everywhere. Another new factor is the focus on small projects, the small scale, but without any relationship with furniture or the city. Everything gets designed today. In the future it will be increasingly connected with marginal, curious aspects. Young people with the same kind of training will design everything.