DESIGN TO LIVE WITH
Luciano Galimberti, the internationally famous design manager, is also the President of ADI, the Italian Association for Industrial Design. He talks with us about his vision of design and new prospects for the future.
The founder, together with Rolando Borsato, of the Milanese studio BG + progettazione, ever and always in the avant-garde in the sectors of architecture, interior design, exhibition design and communications, Luciano Galimberti from the beginning set himself the goal of going beyond the traditional artisanal role of professional studios, and instead operating with the concept of “design thinking” in various housing and work environments. “Design thinking” means that the group helmed by Galimberti has always supported the idea of working on the design of a project by bringing together all of the interested parties from the very first phases of conception in a structure based on strenuous quality research using avant-garde instruments and a design method that never ceases to amaze. His is a true vocation that, together with his innate passion for the world of design and art, earned him the nomination as President of the ADI, the association that since 1956 has been a leading protagonist in the development of Italian industrial design as a cultural and economic phenomenon. The ADI brings together designers, manufacturers, researchers, professors, critics and journalists on a non-profit basis to discuss the themes of design and to promote and help implement the most appropriate conditions for the design of goods and services through cultural debate, intervention with institutions and the provision of services. In addition, the ADI, since 1962, owns and manages the Golden Compass Prize, the oldest European recognition in the design sector, takes care of a collection of the winning objects from the various editions, and promotes historical research and indepth didactic exhibitions. Each year, the ADI selects a series of creations for the ADI Design Index in order to highlight the best Italian design products, which also compete for the ADI Design Index Prize for Innovation. Apropos this initiative, Galimberti has said: “Design is a system that puts production into relationship with researchers, innovators and engineers in order to ensure functionality, social value and cultural significance to the goods and services distributed on the market.” Galimberti offers us a personal and fascinating vision of design, speaking to us also of the future of the association.
You have an innate passion for the world of design and art that, together with your numerous recognitions gathered over the years, has earned you the post of President of the ADI. Where does this propensity come from?
Ever since I can remember, I have created at least one drawing every day. I have always found it easier to express emotions and reasoning by means of a drawing: I have the luck to be able to make thoughts concrete in images. I don’t draw particularly well, but I succeed in easily expressing the key concepts. Certainly I think this is a natural propensity, but art, design and architecture are more than that for me: they are a strong passion that I constantly cultivate. They represent my world and my work to make the world a better place.
Your mission entails, on one hand, work that is rooted in the territory, and on the other hand, a larger presence abroad. The starting point for both of these vectors is Milan. Why?
If I dealt with Renaissance art, I would certainly base myself in Florence. Inevitably, starting from Milan highlights the heart of a phenomenon which had its origin there, but which has spread Italian ideas and talent throughout the world. I would coin the word “Glocal” to describe it: it values the local as well as global comparisons.
A process of internationalization that has begun with the institution of the international ADI Golden Compass Prize: what will this opening bring?
The difference between style and design is that style gives form to products and design gives form to life, and because this really happens, technical and scientific activity needs to be combined with a system of shared values. I await a confrontation on these values and a greater consciousness that man is the true center of any design project.
“Italian design has always distinguished itself for having know how to put man at the center of its projects.” Luciano Galimberti, President of the ADI, the Italian Association for Industrial Design
There remains the fact that the promotion of Italian excellence in the sector passes through the Golden Compass Prize, for which you are receiving nominations. What is happening in the current design panorama?
It’s less monolithic than in the past. I don’t see any homogeneous tendency, but certainly an ever-greater consciousness of the strategic value that design assumes with respect to responsible development.
The complex network of the entire design sector gathers together under the aegis of the ADI. How do you succeed in getting so many different realities to cohabit? The ADI has never been a simple trade association; it was consciously created as a place and context for confrontation and synergy between the various components of the project, with the simple but extremely effective consideration that to create good design one needs to have a designer, a business, a distribution channel, a communications system, and, further on, an educational system. Knowing each other and talking with each other is quite useful and after 60 years of history I would say that the idea is really good.