What is design? Tough question. It’s hard to reduce to a single meaning a word that comprises a project and its intention. Whatever design is, it implies thinking that everything depends on the intention with which it is done, for only intention is able to fool nature. This brings us to what design’s essence is: substituting the natural with the artificial, with help from technology. This includes building machines to solve problems that we often do not have, machines that bring out the hidden god in us. Vilém Flusser, a strange Czech philosopher who went to live in Brazil, said as much many years ago. He died in a stupid car accident while visiting his native city of Prague. Today, everybody is convinced; it is clear that design is the real engine of our era; it represents the ultimate ideology, precisely at a time when ideologies seem to have vanished.
Being celebrated this week by thousands of people who come to Milan from all over the world, design includes the process by which we decide how to gather and utilise the data of people who use objects. An impressively huge mass of data is guiding design and the market. The designer’s task in this context is difficult. She must maintain her identity through proposals that intersect her vision with the user’s vision. On one hand, the user offers useful indications on how to improve products based on how he uses them. On the other, he might be a rather conformist user. Among the designer’s duties, there are: giving sense to objects, proposing a way of looking at the infinite things that surround us, and imagining what will be. This is the week of the Milan Furniture Fair, our second nature, during which creatives and industries propose a more handsome and useful world. To applaud this world, this typical aspiration of Homo sapiens, which for Stanley Kubrick began with a mysterious shiny monolith and for Homer with the Trojan horse, Domus has created a new medium, the one in your hands. Domus Paper tells the future in ten words, relying on design and the Domus capacity to create magazines on that very subject, for 90 years and counting.
Text by Walter Mariotti. Illustrative cardboard model by Michele Tranquillini