Perugia, an ancient city in the green heart of Italy, has carved out a key role in the debate on sustainability in the design world with the first edition of Green Table, an international forum on architecture and design of the future. Held in the wonderful auditorium in the former spaces of the 13th century church of San Francesco al Prato, it attracted architects and designers such as Patricia Urquiola, Cino Zucchi, Stefano Boeri, Ico Migliore and Mara Servetto, and Massimiliano Fuksas, philosophers like Maurizio Ferraris and Aldo Colonetti, scientists such as Stefano Mancuso and Cinzia Chiriacò, entrepreneurs like Franco Caimi and Filippo delle Piane, not to mention economists, representatives of the institutions, musicians and artists.
The speakers gathered three at a time around a green table designed by Michele De Lucchi, to examine problems, perspectives and solutions relating to urgent sustainability issues bound up with the design world. The four main strands were urbanistics, landscape, architecture and design, which inevitably intersected. More than 20 round tables were held during the forum, some live and others recorded over the last few months in Italy and Europe, with contributions from places like Munich, featuring the designers Matteo Thun and Anne-Sophie Schwarz, and Barcelona, featuring the architects Benedetta Tagliabue and Daria De Seta. The aim of the Green Table, backed up by a digital platform that contains all the contributions and is always live, was to generate a cross-cutting community and spark a collective awareness that would inspire concrete and definitive actions.
A model that would appear to respond to the concerns of the neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso, who opened the forum with an alarm signal: “The human race is in danger of extinction (not the planet, which will continue to exist even without us!) because of deforestation. Trees are the prime source on which human life depends - of the 6,000 billion initially present on Earth, there are now only 3,000. A good 2,000 billion have been destroyed over the last two centuries. Every year another 15 billion trees are lost.” Mancuso’s proposed solution draws on the plant world: “We have to create widespread awareness of the problem and a mutual aid network, like that of trees, and come up with a set of relational solutions, a great roadmap for our future.”