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For a History from within On Design in Italy, by Paolo Fossati

The review of the book Design in Italy, by Paolo Fossati (1972), revives the discussion on this substantial and seminal work. Almost forgotten, Design in Italy is more likely a ‘removed classic’, even though it was one of the first publications that tackled the topic of the Italian design and identified it. The book is considered ‘difficult’ for its style and the inseparable interweaving of both the historical investigation and critical analysis that have weakened the assumption that we are dealing with an ‘unbiased’ history.

This essay tries to rediscover this work through a cross-disciplinary approach to the text (and images) without turning into a pedantic commentary. It also traces the threads of Fossati’s work, in order to understand its intimate construction, as well as the ‘insistences’ and the intentions of its author. Starting from the antinomy of the designer’s role and figure, the essay discloses the inner reasons and urgencies and focuses eventually on the ‘grip’ – namely the subtle ethical implication – that inspire the present time related to the past and the present day. By way of conclusion, design thinking and design doing return to the center of the contemporary art scene.

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Questo articolo è disponibile in Italiano

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in AIS/Design Storia e Ricerche, numero 11 2018

Marco Sironi

Marco Sironi, born in Sesto San Giovanni (Milano) in 1974, studied arts and literature first at the Monza Institute of Art, then briefly at the Politecnico di Milano, before graduating in Aesthetics from the University of Pavia. He subsequently earned his PhD in Architecture, with a thesis on the Castiglioni brothers, which was later published with the title Sul luogo del design (Milan: Greco & Greco, 2014, ADI Design Index Selection 2017). He has been working as a graphic designer since 2004 (élitradesign). For over a decade, he has collaborated with the Department of Architecture, Design and Planning of the University of Sassari in Alghero, where he worked with Manlio Brusatin and Paolo Deganello. He is currently a researcher in this Department, and an adjunct professor in product design and visual communication. He has written essays on photography and literature (Geografie del narrare, Parma: Diabasis, 2004; Riga, 28, 2008, a monograph issue about Gianni Celati, with M. Belpoliti) and continues to address topics relative to design, individually, in academic reviews (MD Journal) and online periodicals (doppiozero.com, neolocaldesign.org).

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