Home arrow Notizie arrow Interview to Duccio Trassinelli
Interview to Duccio Trassinelli E-mail

Curiously, while we are accustomed to regard Milan as the city of design, it is often disregarded that Florence has exercised directly and indirectly in the development of industrial design. In the mid-'50s in Florence , the first course  of design at university level began , called Artistic Design for the Industry, founded by Pierluigi Spadolini ;  in 1962 it established the ISIA (Upper Institute for Artistic Industries) with teachers like  Spadolini, Giovanni Klaus Koenig and Leonardo Benevolo. You started to work for companies such as Cassina, Flos, Sormani, before ending your  studies to ISIA. How has  that environment influenced you?

Undoubtedly the ISIA has influenced  me in a very positive way , because  the high quality of teachers. For example,  I remember  Pierangelo Cetica and Ugo Saccardi. The primary incentives  were of cultural nature, then having acquired the basic tools,  the analysis was based on some fundamental purpose: to create new objects for daily use and not , making the most creativity that new technologies allow. Undoubtedly, the studies and the environment have encouraged me in this, as well as other experiences outside like  personal curiosity for the mechanics, the principles of basic physics and all that apparently worked so strange. Studies and age did the rest.

Then, after graduation, while continuing to work in the profession , you taught Design Methodology to ISIA  in Florence for ten years. At this point, you gave the resignation, what induced you to do this?

Ah!  This was really a surprise, I had tried to be the student and to learn a profession. Then being in front of person of the same age  and having to give them information in the role of teacher was really exciting and shocking. When I was a student in'68, I  had tried to change the educational structure that was presently established. After changing the role I was surprised but pleased to be able to become a stimulator of the changes demanded of students. But after years of trying, I realized that some conservative forces did not allow this radical change :  I asked that the school, while testing , could be closer to the real world with its technical problems, economic productivity and marketing, without losing the original purpose of  Pierluigi Spadolini.

In 1970 when you founded the STUDIO A.R.D.I.T.I. , your group have adopted a manifesto realized by you students. What means this manifesto?

This manifesto was produced by a group of students studying Advanced Industrial Design in Florence, Italy, in 1968. 1968: the years of protest: against capitalism, against consumerism, against war, against university administrators, against built-in obsolescence; The students of those years asked many questions and specifically, for what society were they being trained for?  They had told us that the role of the industrial designer was to use common logic and production methods to lower the cost of everyday objects and thereby increase the standard of living for all. We realized however, that the over-all system did not function in this manner, that in fact, everything appeared to be similar to the world of King Midas who desired to turn everything into gold until nothing had value. Aware of this those students, myself included, wished to let their position be known though critical and sarcastic word play which is declared in this manifesto.  This does not entail renouncing the learning process, but rather, to use one's time at school to follow more rational and straight forward ideological constructs.

Here therefore is the manifesto where we proclaim, as responsible leaders of all society, our ideas. With innuendo we list, in an indirect manner, the important markers of industrial design, without specific reference, but through description we mix them into the contradictions of the system; From objects such as the green berets to absurd products like the firefly catcher and the tongue ripping machine to absorbent napkins for chickens and etc.

This proclamation is not a refutation of the system but rather an honest declaration made by an innocent group of students, and yet, maybe not so  innocent.  Consider the situation today? The system today is wrapped around itself with the same elements as 40 years ago, but with a fundamental difference compared to the 1970s where the economic boom was able to cushion and absorb excess production. Today the system is no longer sustainable and so the sarcastic tone of the student proclamation  from 1968 is particularly relevant. In the present we have non-currency (credit cards, bank over-drafts and etc.) used for the consumer experience which is in a state of absolute saturation and shows that the market requires real goods and not fictional ones. Consumerism  must be connected to the productivity and creativity of man.

Your production is very heterogeneous: what is the design method that allows you to deal with different typologies,  such as a bottle-cap and a table lamp?

Concentration, concentration on the problem and  acquiring all the information about the planned object. Time, reflections,  functional and technological analysis,  always focusing on  the individual like a  user and an observer of the object. Search for new technologies and alternative materials maybe approaching another possibility.

The design-art  objects  unique and almost handmade , halfway between art and design, appear to be the new trend in the industry. What do you think? It is a good direction?

It is a good direction,  strong enough to re-evaluate the design, to recover what we criticized  in 1968 with our  manifesto, and  to ensure that a project starts by an intellectual stimulation and not dictated  only by commissioning. Elevate the role of design by supporting its purpose of improving the object and its use, not only to make profit. This new role of design will further expand by creating a  market of  a small number of products that will consider  the  intellectual freedom and political philosophy of the object.