“Every crisis poses an alternative. It compels movement. Innovation. A countermove. It does not allow for inertia, waiting, routine.” Italian design beyond the crisis. Autarky, austerity, autonomy, the catalogue that accompanies the VII edition of the Triennale Design Museum, seeks to explore the creative potential induced by the crisis, ultimately responding to a fundamental question: “what did Italian design do when it found itself operated in a society with ‘its back against the wall’”?
The volume, edited by Beppe Finessi, and designed by Italo Lupi, focuses its attention on the theme of self-sufficient production, as declined and approached in three different, but crucial, time periods: the 1930s (From autarky to autonomy), the 1970s (From austerity to participation) and the Noughties (From self-production to self-sufficiency). The journey, therefore, sets off from the origins of Italian design, where as a result of international sanctions imposed by the United Nations in 1935, Italian design had to make virtue out of necessity and rediscover materials and techniques from the Italian tradition, or even invent new creative materials. The second section is devoted to the period coinciding with the 70s oil crisis, where great Italian designers created exemplary works, daringly overcoming a shortage of resources with experimentation in new languages. The journey ends with the present day, in the context of a crisis of a production model that has been uncritically followed in previous decades, provoking the rediscovery of self-production as well as local specialities and that unique peculiarity, on the international stage, of the Italian industrial districts.
Complete with an extensive visual collection of over 800 pictures, Italian design beyond the crisis. Autarky, austerity, autonomy compiles a number of original contributions from several experts and designers, each offering a new perspective on each of these crucial historical moment, highlighting the extraordinary resilience of Italian design.