Given the usual plethora, variety and validity of ideas, pulling together all the proposals by the 650 designers who took part in SaloneSatellite in 2018 is no mean feat.
Every single one of them deserves a personal round of applause, students from the 14 schools included. On this transnational stage, languages blend together while idioms stand out. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the year in which the theme chosen by founder and curator Marva Griffin Wilshire was Africa & Latin America. Rising Design / Design Emergente. Bolstered by a collateral exhibition/video (focusing on 36 designers from the two geographical regions and selected by the curators Fernando and Humberto Campana and Hicham Lahlou), it was intended as a prompt for the young SaloneSatellite designers, a chance to explore what they are bringing over to us, which is increasingly becoming a focus for attention. It was a chance to reflect on sense of identity on a broader spectrum and on design in particular, while acknowledging global territorialities and cultural roots.
Innovating, improving people’s lives and society, learning from nature, harnessing the senses to celebrate the joy of life and creating excitement, experiences and atmospheres, striking a balance between functionality and fun, are just some of the design threads informing the projects. The simplicity of minimalist charm that dialogues with a sense of spatiality, conspiring with formal research achieved with stylistic inventions and new forms of decoration made up a richly diverse tapestry resting first and foremost on materials and technique. It is inspiring to see that the concept of sustainability has really caught on and become such part of the design process as to constitute its basic concept. Sustainability is what unites us all, at whatever latitude, and encapsulates the positive thinking as a whole that is expressed through every single one of the projects by these designers. It’s not up for discussion. Like the relationship between craftsmanship and innovation, which coexist perfectly peacefully in the Design 4.0 era.
In this regard, the data from an internal questionnaire promoted by SaloneSatellite and aimed at all its participants, reveal an almost equal response to the dual question: Does the future of design lie in dialogue with craftsmanship? (45.3%) / Does the future of design lie in dialogue with technical innovation? (54.7%). That said, 88.4% believed the component of craftsmanship in their own projects to be “quite important” and almost all of them agreed that technological innovation was “very important” (49.5%) or “fairly important” (45.3%). Already some 73.7% “sometimes” created products using cutting edge technological equipment. On the other hand, a not very gratifying 53.7% lamented the inadequacy of the skills learned while training, while the remaining 46.3% felt satisfied. Lastly, many of the young designers made their own prototypes themselves (62.1%) and 50.5% had already experimented with rapid prototyping, while 61.1% had used 3D modelling software. However, 85.3% had never carried out a project within the sphere of the Internet of Things. Basically, the under-35s are intent on putting past damage right and on building their own future. It is up to them to choose how to do so. It is up to us to have confidence in them.