Design Export Lab 2017

I set off to Milan last week courtesy of the Italian Trade Agency for the Design Export Lab. This event consisted of a small group of Designers from all around the World – London to Dubai, Korea to USA to name just a few, who were given the chance to explore the concept of water whilst learning about Italian Design.

There was a great schedule of seminars with renowned architects + designers including: Simone Micheli, David Dolcini, Matteo Ragni, Claudio Silvestrin, Antonio Citterio, Stefano Giovannoni and Massimo Losa Ghini.  I found this part of the event very inspiring and the following designers were particularly interesting:

Simone Micheli had some great advice including to only work on the projects you love, because life is too short. He also thought it important to mix cultures and stories in a concept, as well as combine history with contemporary and new ways of living. Interestingly he compared designers to doctors, suggesting we encourage our clients to trust in us and be confident in what we recommend.

Claudio Silvestrin expressed his belief that designers should recognize the value of the Universe’s elements – water, fire, wind. He referred to the emotional connection with these elements as “Visual Poetry”, which can be found in everyday activities such as cooking, sleeping and bathing.

Antonio Citterio observed that bathroom design is changing. He enthused on the idea of big windows in the bathroom to start the day with a relaxing view, and encouraged us to think of the bathroom as a living space, connected to water, not just a functional space. He is the designer for the Axor Citterio bathroom mixer collection, which was extra exciting, as I visited the Hansgrohe Factory in Germany a couple of years ago!

Massimo Losa Ghini urged us to be responsible for the environment and focus on the technology and materials we have to protect it. He suggested finding the balance between function and decoration through experimentation, and not overlooking the small projects, which can be just as impactful as larger ones.

After an action packed week with my body full of Italian food and brain full of ideas, I headed back to Milan airport in a Tesler which was very cool!! I would like to thank the ITA for such an interesting and inspiring trip; the organisers, designers and architects were all great and I would be more than happy to come back next year to learn more and take in the sights of beautiful Italy.