They are acutely aware of sustainability, first and foremost, of the opportunity to innovate products and processes thanks to the latest technologies. They are keen to reflect on the new issues such as the rights of those undergoing automatic facial recognition. They are bound up with their own identities and the areas they come from. More than anything, they are thrilled to be on an international stage and able to exchange ideas and visions after the lenthy period of isolation brought about by the pandemic. They are the young designers selected by Anniina Koivu for the Supersalone exhibition The Lost Graduation Show: 170 projects by students who graduated from 48 design schools in 22 countries in 2020-2021.
“It’s a broad snapshot of the global contemporary design scene. I can’t wait for the nationality or geographical origin of a project (or designer) to stop being important. With more interests and concerns in common, the old labels such as Italian, Scandinavian or Dutch have become more nuanced – design is becoming increasingly human (or environment) centric,” said the curator.
Koivu underscores the currency of the issues emerging from the students’ work: “The common theme to all the proposals was a collective awareness that materials need to be treated with care and respect, avoiding excesses.”
What can the industry learn from this? “The luxury of studying design means freedom. Boundaries are important for the work of designers, but schools offer the freedom of spaces for rethinking existing materials, playing with shapes and speculating on future production models. As with any new idea, experimenting with designs calls for time and space. In the end you have to face up to the real world, which is tightly regulated and sometimes limiting. Industry could help to smooth the path for unexpected ideas and provide a bit more time and space to allow designers to do what they do best: thinking outside the box and reimagining design for future purposes,” replied Koivu.
Meanwhile, we asked 10 students to tell us about their work.