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The Milan Breakfasts

Dutch and international designers and design professionals joined the conversation at The Milan Breakfasts. The Milan Breakfasts were moderated by arts journalist and author Tracy Metz. Download the complete programme

Wednesday 10th April: Creativity, Solutions and Morality
Moderator: Tracy Metz
Who is joining the conversation:
Guus Beumer (director The New Institute)
Jurgen Bey (designer)
Alberto Bonisoli (Chief Academic Officer, Domus Academy)
Justin McGuirk (writer, critic, director, Strelka Press)


At the Salone, you mostly see student work on the one hand and, on the other, work by designers who’ve been embraced by the market and are designing for big companies. But what about the space between those extremes? Have things changed? Was the gap less pronounced in the past? The Salone traditionally paid more attention to practice than to theory. The Design Academy Eindhoven was one of the schools that helped to change that. Now, many new graduates make it into the headlines of blogs and newspapers and see their work snapped up by museums like New York’s Museum of Modern Art. But what’s the next step? How do you stay true to your creativity while developing your practice and making a living? Alongside these questions, a discussion is under way in the Netherlands about the importance of artistic research as a stepping stone to innovation. How can we make sure designers keep doing artistic research after graduation? At this Milan Breakfast, we’ll take this discussion outside the Netherlands and ask a international group of experts to contribute new insights and share their experiences.


Thursday 11th April: Text as Product, Product as Text

Moderator: Tracy Metz
Who is joining the conversation:
Jan Boelen (head of master Social Design, Design Academy Eindhoven)
Joseph Grima (Editor in Chief Domus)
Angela Rui (ex designer, critic)
Paola Antonelli (design curator MOMA)
Tamar Shafrir (designer, critic)

What story does a design tell? And how far removed from its functional essence can it get before we start calling it fine art, literature or a political statement and have to find new criteria for evaluating its worth? Every design tells a story that extends beyond its practical use. When we look closely at a work’s materials, its production process, the context it was born in and the contexts it ends up in, we soon realise the degree to which a design is a “text” we can read. Over time, the discursive component of design has undergone changes. Designers’ attention has begun to shift from the object’s serviceable, functional character toward expressing a concept or making a statement. Designers are exploring the boundaries between design and other fields. Are they losing the balance or opening new vistas that enrich the discipline? In this debate, we’ll examine the discursive character of design and the legibility of design products and strategies. We’ll ask the related question of how design education can make use of the stories that are worth telling today. And we’ll look at whether it’s time to find new criteria for judging design’s value and relevance. What should our standards be for designers in public debate? The discussion will also touch on the changing role of the designer and how it’s being shaped by academies, as well as on design criticism – texts about texts.

Friday 12th April: Linking Process
Moderator: Tracy Metz
Who is joining the conversation:
Miriam van der Lubbe (designer and curator Linking Process, exhibition Design Academy Eindhoven)
Corinna Gardner (design Curator V&A)
Vera Sacchetti (design writer and critic)
Marc Zehntner (director Vitra Design Museum)

In the Design Academy Eindhoven exhibition, the curator Miriam van der Lubbe has chosen not merely to show the students’ finished designs but to focus attention on the process of making. The show reveals the beauty of creation and the relevance of development and innovation and raises the question of why designers usually don’t share the research phase with the public. The sooner a designer reveals his or her findings to others, the better his or her chances of success. A designer can expand valuable networks in this way, boosting his or her potential. If a designer connects with the client at an earlier stage, will that make the final result better? At this Milan Breakfast, we’ll talk about whether opening up the research stage is likely to help or harm designers. Why do they usually keep their research secret? And wouldn’t it be interesting to share the process with an audience, for example, in a museum or in the media?

The Milan Breakfasts 2013
Milan Design Week 2013
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The Milan Breakfasts 2013
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