“The quality of a project depends on the level of cultural change it triggers, even if it is a small one.” Enzo Mari

An object is never just an object. It might serve a purpose, it might be appealing, it could be a utensil or an artefact, it might be well or badly designed. Still, before anything else, an object is a conveyor of meaning. We invest objects with symbolic significance, they acquire over time storytelling properties; alone the fact that they might be solid enough to last, or precious enough to be cared for, awards them the patina of memories.

As humans we are closely attracted and attached to objects, we need them to navigate life. They are shield and weapon, they are our chance for a better survival. In our society of over abundance, we forget that in other places and other times, objects were indispensable tools, and the most precious of them had symbolic and totemic roles. If, as it appears, we are unable to live without objects (even the virtual world needs an interface), we need to pay attention to the quality of the objects we produce. The new awareness of capitalism, production and environment that has developed, has changed our requirements and expectations towards objects. Armed of the knowledge we have acquired, we can no longer afford to waste resources to make mediocre “things”. We need to work wisely designing objects which are effective, relevant, and beautiful.

Thanks to the designer’s ability to abstract and resonate concepts beyond the industrial or commercial, the design object has acquired a special status. It is at the same time increasingly complicated and multi faceted as it tends to fall somewhere between art, design and social commentary. Design itself has evolved in such a way, that one definition is no longer sufficient. It has become an all encompassing subject, that includes multiple disciplines. This has made it increasingly difficult to understand what design is, as different explanations and theories coexist and contradict each other. The chaos should not worry us: it is a fantastic opportunity because the most interesting things always happen at the edges, near the borders, where contaminations happen.

This new edition of Operæ wants to propose a more open reading of design: design that breaks barriers, and blurs the boundaries between disciplines; design that claims unapologetically its place as a bridge between the arts and the sciences. We want to be a platform for designers that make bold statements, objects that have the potential of becoming ambassadors of our time, projects that have the strength of redefining contemporary aesthetics.

WHY DESIGN wants to bring attention to design that, while still fulfilling a task, is a powerful expression of contemporary values, with a strong conceptual message and inherent beauty. Design has acquired an important semantic role: that of a lens through which to read our society. This is WHY we think, need, make, produce, support, own, collect DESIGN.