Art or design? Statements or function? Design or anti-design? These are some of the issues that stood at the core of the Italian Radical Design Movement, also known as the Critical Design Movement, active in Italy between 1965 and 1979. These were also the questions addressed at the course Collecting Design this morning. Those decades came to mark a pivotal moment in the history of design, and one which has largely lead to the design culture as we know it today. But this design is not easily understood, as it is made of many layers, born out of experimentations by visionaries, radicals, young architects who sought to express the tumultuous political climate of their time, to reflect ideologies, and to make social commentaries through design; they created objects that were more statements than products. For this rather complex and sophisticated discussion, I invited Evan Snyderman as a guest speaker to present his recent and super ambitious project SuperDesign, the first attempt to survey the Italian Anti-Design Movement in English. The project, which consisted of a film, an exhibition (at R & Company), and a publication, reveals the aspects of conceptual, daring, visionary, seductive design that came to celebrate radical changes in the landscape of Italian life. Snyderman, who produced the documentary spoke about issues of collecting, preservation, and condition, revealing that it is collected today more as fine art rather than as design. Thank you, Evan Snyderman for enriching the discussion and for allowing us a better understanding of this complex movement that created design of a type never existed before, and had moved design from the functional arena, from the attempt to allow the millions to live better, to a whole new horizon where it became an artistic expression of radial ideologies.
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