All the advocates of the local approach agree on one thing, which is that the industry + large-scale retail model will not be sustainable forever and we must explore new directions. However, good intentions aside, what does producing locally actually involve? How sustainable is the famous “zero carbon footprint” and what does it mean in terms of production commitment, time and cost?
Andrea de Chirico, a neo-graduate of the Eindhoven Design Academy, asked these questions and his thesis entitled “Superlocal” explores the process in detail. The ensuing hypothesis is to make a product starting from a basic design and only using only the craft labour present in a small area.
When de Chirico travelled from Eindhoven to Rome to see his family, the design tried out in Holland was updated in an Italian version that produced the “San Lorenzo hairdryer”, conceived and made in the Roman district of the same name. The designer is currently in residence at London’s Design Museum where he will develop a British version and organise “production tours” for museum visitors, accompanying them along the route of his production journey as part of the “designer for a day” project, centred on taking potential users into the heart of production. The journey will continue in the autumn of 2016 in Bolzano, where series 3.0 will be developed with local materials and artisans.
What seems a contradiction in terms and the internationalisation of the local concept is, actually, the truest metaphor of the condition of new designers who are local in the sense of being rooted to an area but willing to experiment wherever life and research may take them.
Design: Andrea de Chirico