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Deyan Sudjic discusses Italian design at the Lighthouse

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May 19 2010

Deyan Sudjic discusses Italian design at the Lighthouse
Deyan Sudjic, erstwhile Director of Glasgow UK City of Architecture and Design 1999 now serving as director of London's Design Museum, has returned to the city and institution born out of that critical year to chair ‘Made in Italy – The Influence of Italian Design’, a Lighthouse seminar aimed at stimulating a conversation on the Italian fashion capital of Milan.

Despite politics, endemic corruption and a largely homogenous culture Milan has managed to go on reinventing itself, netting a place in the top tier of world cities and that with a population of only 1.3m in the city proper, you can cycle from one end to the other.

Fabio Novembre of Italian design magazine Domus alluded to what drives this success: “French fries started in France but now when you see fried potatoes you don’t see France. It’s the same with Milanese design. It works the world over.”

Not all is well in this land of sunshine however as Novembre points out: “You cannot survive on design, only interior design and architecture. I’d love to do architecture but no-one will give me a job! If I wanted to make money I’d be a drug dealer in Columbia not a designer in Milan.”

Novembre believes that designers should be focussing on quality over quantity stating: “On a greatest hits CD you only have 20 out of 2,000 tracks… I say drop the 1,980.”

Summing up the Mediterranean state Novembre concluded: ““The key word when working in Italy is ‘chaos.’ Mandelbrot designed a science to chaos, but in Italy the chaos is still confused.”

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