For one week in July 2009 we gathered a group of young designers in a small summer house in the Italian Alps to reflect and discuss about the figure of the designer in contemporary society. The exploration took the form of a series of seminars, workshops and discussions embedded in communal life. They were led by visiting practitioners from different fields, who joined us on a daily basis.
The disconnection from the designer’s routines, heavily shaped by the computer and the internet, created a heterotopian space in which we shared experiences, ideas, ideals and knowledge. Around the visiting lecturers spaces for testing various ways of thinking and operating emerges. This allowed the participants to reflect on the position of the designer as an autonomous practitioner who sets his own goals according to his own interests rather than just being an executor or a technician.
Here you can download the documentation, which was typed every evening by a different group of people on an Olivetti “Lettera 22” typewriter from the ’50s and yes, there are some mistakes in the texts and in the layout, but considering the circumstances of the production, that is fine.
Besides the spaces for focused discussions, the extensive communal meals, as well as the gathering around the bonfire every night became valuable moments for sharing and developing personal perspectives. Therefore, this physical and mental space on the threshold between the Alps and the Mediterranean region became a mutual space. Ways of thinking and acting were challenged while following the rhythms given by daylight and weather conditions.
The whole week was run without any financial support and all the participants and the visiting practitioners covered their expenses.
Special thanks to all the visiting practitioners, who spend their time with us, to Bianca’s mum Frieda, who prepared delicious food for everyone and to Fabio’s family – especially to Giampiero – who hosted and supported this initiative.
Pictures by Brave New Alps, Toni Baier, Julian Lechner and Serena Osti.