Brera Design District Brera Design District is a project by Studiolabo
Con il patrocinio del Comune di Milano

“Design Lessons”: a manifesto to know and promote the history of design in order to understand the contemporary period and design the future.

The manifesto is a political statement.
Our aim is to promote design culture. In a historical moment when the references have been lost, the concept of identity tends to wither and the history of the skills is not sufficiently remembered (whether in the context of production or design), we think a reflection is unavoidable.

Courses on the history of design are disappearing from the design schools; museums and institutions do not have the necessary strength, and perhaps the vision, to produce critical contents and exchanges of ideas, magazines are no longer a place for debate and our companies are disorientated, among new forms of communication, the unpredictable dynamics of social media and the search for new markets.

Every period of crisis is followed by one of rebirth, often associated with the revelation of a new awareness.
The revival must therefore involve a training process at all levels, from the primary school to the governing class. To plan the present we need to look at what good has been done in the past, reaffirming the role of the districts, of craft knowledge and business capability.

Brera Design district and the Italian Association of Design Historians, producing culture, doing continuous research, creating connections between the companies and the players in this environment, in a path aiming at the promotion of a new way of communicating design, produce and share a manifesto: in search of a new awareness.

We are the “astronomers of history”, said Siegfried Giedion; “the historian cannot trace the course of events like the astronomer. But the two have a point in common: the continual emergence of new constellations and previously invisible worlds. And, like the astronomer, the historian must remain permanently at his observation point”.

Manifesto: 10 points to remember

  1. Design is for everyone.
  2. Italian Industrial Design made history thanks to a deep-rooted culture of the project and savoir-faire, a culture on which the work carried out by the masters of the sector is based.
  3. Presentation to the public is a moment of prime importance: both project and product have to be able to speak to a wide audience and to communicate their identity and unique characteristics.
  4. Networking strengthens individual businesses (companies, brands, etc.) that are scattered over the territory. A relationship between these identities creates belonging, distinction and therefore District.
  5. The district lives from its belonging to the territory, a characteristic from which it draws its communicable and identifiable strengths. In this way, its own distinctive features become immediately recognisable to the international public.
  6. The connectivity between the activities that exist together in the District makes it possible for an immediate, real time exchange of information and data. The speed at which these exchanges take place is the basic condition for responding to the public’s demands and developing innovative ideas.
  7. The products of design are the expression of the socio-economic context in which they are conceived. They are therefore a form of culture, since they survive on their own dissemination.
  8. Disseminating culture means communicating it: the promotion of design as a product, as culture and as history is necessary in order to understand the present and to design the future.
  9. Recounting the tradition of artisan craft and understanding the historical sources helps to produce innovation.
  10. Shared design experience enriches all those involved.

Brera Design District and the Associazione Italiana Storici del Design
(Italian Association of Design Historians)

AIS/Design is the Italian Association of Design Historians, created in 2009 to promote and spread historical awareness of design, also outside the academic world. In the words of Raimonda Riccini, vice-president of the Association and editor of the online publication “AIS/Design”, “historical research into design is not a discipline closed in itself, but is fed by the demands emerging from the contemporary world. It lives in a relationship with the present, enters into tune with companies’ image needs and contributes to reinforcing the cultural initiatives of companies, authorities, museums, even the retail world…”.
The Italian Association of Design Historians (AIS/Design), together with Brera Design District, proposes to initiate a debate and a programme of activities in search of the history of design through an innovative perspective, functional to interpreting the contemporary world and establishing new marketing strategies for companies of the related sectors