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(Article wrote for the project “riAMA” organized by the Foundation “Amici per Castelbasso” in collaboration with Università Europea del Design – Pescara)

 To understand what to do in the future often is helpful to remember the past.

Sometimes the extreme attention to our days doesn’t give us the opportunity to look at our cultural and historical baggage, the same story and culture that made possible, for our nation, to become a world reference about industrial design.

The well-known “Made in Italy” design was born thanks to a great crisis period, right after the WW2, when artisans, businessmen and workers suddenly opened their eyes on a poor country, destroyed by the war. They decided to work harder as they can to solve all the main problems of our country; italian companies (overall small companies and artisans) asked themselves what could they do, what kind of products, using their own culture to be recognized as an italian product. To get this target they interested young designers to start a brand new product culture.

Thanks to these forward-looking businessmen, to innovative designers, good researchers and to artisans ready to compare with them the”good design” and Made in Italy began.

Today we often listen talks about “Made in Italy” bestowing this plus-value to products which, sincerely, are so far from these concepts, just because they are not products coming from Italy not for their production, neither for their culture. They are, most of all, products of globalization and don’t give the opportunity to a country culture to be showed through them; otherwise they should not be produced on a global scale. That’s why the productions standardizations take us to detect all the products similar, for their style and culture. The situation that is going on is an uniformity of all the products to be able to produce them all over the planet, giving the space for the businessmen to work in countries where the costs of work is cheapest.

I don’t want to talk about my distance from this kind of approach, what I disapprove is the wrong use of “Made in Italy” brand by who has the only one target in the global exploitation.

The brand “Made in Italy” needs to be protected from these deviant behaviours which don’t do much more than destroy the brand, subtracting from it his real value.

The R.I.A.M.A. Project (and in the same way the “km 0 deZign” by our studio “deZign Studio” and other projects where is involved the Università Europea del Design – Pescara) has got its best part in this need of repossess the value of a project made in Italy and also produced in Italy, connecting these projects directly with the territory, trying to restart the small companies and artisans network which are the most important piece of italian economy, but the less protected companies during this crisis.

The opportunity given to the designers and artisans is great to try to check new projects, new methods and new ideas able to awake the local economic tissue giving it, also, a global exposure with the use of internet as the main media. The double level of work, between local and global, give us the space to meet a new concept defined by the word “glocalization”. The best way to use this opportunity is having two important peculiarities: innovation and connection with the territory. The first peculiarity is up to designers that need to understand the artisans know-how and use it in a brand new way, studying new languages, works and productions; the second is up to artisans and little companies with their knowledge.

This knowledge, unfortunately, is going slightly lost because of the desertion of this kind of jobs by new generations, because of the wrong politic on economic and industrial fields (focused on big companies) and, sometimes, because of the reluctant approach to innovations that some artisans have.

To start up again this short-circuit between designers and artisans and small companies, with the opportunity given from these projects or using research structured on the territory (like Università Europea del Design – Pescara), we think will be the only way to get out of this crisis without close out our culture and our productions know-how: from quantity we need to come back to talk about quality of the product and from global we need to come back to look at local possibilities. This is the lesson taught by the italians who rebuilt our country and gave it prestige thanks to their intelligence and to the culture they used in every single project, making italian products become worldwide well-known design icons.

To get this target we need projects like this one, able to give back to artisans some energies, we need credit lines for researchers supporting all the artisans and small companies and, last but not least, an innovative industrial policy in our country, able to stimulate and help the huge riches of cultural and production knowledge represented by artisans and small companies.

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