|From process to outcome|

The Brakke Grond is monthly hosting a series of lectures from This Happened Amsterdam.

The subjects of lecture #6 was the process development of interaction design projects, and how the “making of” influences and drives the outcome towards unexpected conclusions.

Speakers were:
Ubi de Feo with Hello Savants!
Dries de Poorter
Ruairi Glynn

Here the sketchnote I created about the presented projects.


Here the bigger size file.


|With Desmond Germans|

Creative Mornings is a platform organizing breakfast lecture about design, technologies, everything involving creativity and innovation. Everything started in NYC with Tina Roth Eisenberg (do you know Swiss Miss?).
Thanks to the involvement of a lot of people and agencies, creative mornings are now held almost everywhere around the world.

Last week I attended the Amsterdam CM where Desmond Germans introduced us to the wonderful of robotics!
Here the sketchnote I created after the talk!


Here for large size file.

V. Yankowsky, cadets from 1910

Primrose & Me and my models @Foam Amsterdam

This is the last week of display for two exhibition at FOAM, the most famous photography gallery of Amsterdam.
describe the evolution of photography in Russia between 1860 to 1960, creating a romantic walkthrough a world that vanished two times in around 100 years.

From the multy-ethnicity of the Zarist empire, the exhibition displays wealthy families, ladies and cadets from military schools, exotic locations and population of the almost endless empire. Poverty and war are far from this pictures, but a rather curious and naive sight comes out, for the joy of enchant given by a new and magic technology, which was deeply appreciated by the Imperial family itself.

After the gap during the Great War and the Bolshevik revolution, between 20’s and 30’s the approach is completely changed, and photography becomes one of the fundamental technique of avantgard arts, between pictorialist and constructivist movement.
Eventually, with the cultural reorganization during the 30’s, the situation changes again, and photography is allowed only as propaganda medium for Social Realism, eager to show images of the happiest people in the happiest country.

After Stalin’s death, the control over culture eases, and the street pictures of russian citizens have still the living and strong breath of humanity.

Me and my models is the solo exhibition of Jan Hoek, Dutch photographer from Amsterdam.

The interesting element of this show is the different point of view it offers to visitors.
It can be an extremely interesting document of modern anthropology, a research into humankind and their relation with present aesthetic. Refugees from Ethiopia really look like tribal kings, and Dutch homeless still dream a modeling career. The primary existence of these people, and of the other models, the little drops of life we can get from what the artist was able to collect and share with us are powerful and strong.

On the other hand, watching this portraits and listening to the straightforward audio explanation given by the artist gives the possibility to picture his whole visual aesthetic: this visual filter can gives us his idea of humanity.

Both shows are ending the 17th of March 2013

Written while listening to

Schumann Album für die Jugend Op.68 – 26.

The Design Museum of Palazzo dell’Arte (known also as Triennale) is the most famous and known Italian design museum. First of all for its location, Milan, secondly also for its long and glorious story: the building was the location for the main modern furniture and architecture fairs of Italy, between 1933 and 1968.

Last time, December 2012, I decided to do a quick walkthrough analysis of Triennale facilities and exhibitions, with photography documentation, in order to draft an overview of the visitor experience.
The three exhibitions analysed are L’Architettura del Mondo, TDM5: Grafica Italiana and Karma: Sesso and Design.

After you purchase the ticket (Triennale has usually good deals, especially for cumulative tickets) everything starts with this:
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A A4 B&W with the map of just one exhibition, Karma,using a plan probably dating to the first project for the building. Quite useless map, which provides just the indication of entrance/exit and the list of the people who created the installations, without any additional information. Basically, you throw it away as soon as you get it.

L’Architettura del Mondo
The first exhibition is the richest and better organised. It deals with the projects of infrastructures to give a shape to the world, divided into four sections: historical, international, italian, and then the global one, showing projects aiming to change the shape and characteristic of big environment.

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As already said, the topic is very interesting, and the materials presented too. But there is no any path or guide to go through all this content, and provide different point of view and knowledge about it. Visitors are simply given this huge amount of images, data, explanation, and they are left alone in front of it. Considering that not all visitors are experienced architects, what can they receive out of their visit?
Also the “interactive” devices (mainly screens) don’t give any real interactive way to manipulate, filter or interpret the information.

TDM 5: Grafica Italiana
The TDM is the area of Triennale specifically focused on Italian Design, with exhibition lasting one year on a specific topic. The current one, ending in February, it’s about Italian Graphics.

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The universe behind these two words is endless. And the effort to build a coherent and interesting exhibition about it completely failed. Here all the limits of how Triennale has been thought come together again: it looks like a museum storage, with very interesting pieces but without any elaborated view and interpretation of them. Visitors are simply told: “Look we (graphic designer) did a huge amount of super cool crap”. That’s it. You leave the show hopefully remembering two or three pieces. But you won’t get anything more about the nature, story, political and social context of italian graphic design.

Karma: Sesso and Design
And finally the provocative masterpiece: bringing sex into a museum. I must say, Italy is still quite conservative about this topic, much ado about nothing, considering that objects and installations were absolutely moderate and relaxed: nothing vulgar, neither horny.

The only poetic piece was this:
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Cups of silicone vibrating when caressed by the air of a fan. A great visual experience of what sexual pleasure can be. Of course touching and manipulating it was completely forbidden.

Triennale Café
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A cosy café is a feature no modern museum can skip.
Triennale decided otherwise. The café is cold and not welcoming, people working there try and fail to adopt a professional attitude, maybe more suitable for a Cipriani bar, than for the café of a creative museum.
The offer is average, not so many fresh products, the standard of an italian bar in a small town.

My previous opinion of the museum did not change.
There is not a vision behind this museum: it’s not a focal point for knowledge and creation about design, it does not offer services for students, an accessible and free archive, its exhibitions are simply Wunderkammer made up by some archistars that cannot create any value out of the objects exposed.
In my opinion, the Triennale has become the funny toy for the creative elite of a provincial town once know as the “Capital of Italian Design”.

Voyages #001


Your boss to Rome

The awkward moment has come. Your boss is going to Rome for holidays.
And even if you even don’t come from there, you feel the pressure to of the worst possible scenarios.
Scenario 1
Scenario 2
Scenario 3
And you feel he responsibility of give wise advices and tips.
What better than an old fashioned letter?

Dear boss,
Rome is tremendously beautiful, stuffed with millions of stunning pieces of art, basically everywhere: its basically impossible to see everything.
Therefore I made a short list of my favorite and suggested places to see.

The Dolce Vita level.
Yes, Rome, as Italy, as Italians, can become a stereotype: these are those kind of places, where you could feel to be in a “Las Vegas” style city:
– Piazza di Spagna
– Fontana di Trevi
– Piazza Navona
– Piazza San Pietro

Overwhelming Romanticism.
– La terrazza del Pincio, part of the garden of Villa Borghese, with a breathtaking sight over the city
– Piazza dei Cavalieri di Malta, I suggest to visit it at night: when you arrive in front of the bronze gate of the Palace give a look inside the locker of the gate, there’s a surprise 🙂
– just get lost in Trastevere, entering from the Tiberina island on the river

A little bit of Culture.
– Villa Borghese, AMAZING MUSEM
– Vatican Museum, probably the biggest art collection in the world (of course it’s for the Pope)
– Ara Pacis, in the Meier’s architecture there is a stunning piece of Ancient Roman Art
– MAXXI Museum, the museum of contemporary arts designed by Zaha Hadid

Some tips:
All the places (bar, restaurants) in the center may be very expensive. You can always try to find something hidden, but it’s not so easy.
When you ask information to people consider two things: they may not talk english, and many Romans like to give wrong directions…
Don’t give money to centurions in from of Colosseum: it’s time they realize they need a real job…
Public transportation is a disaster, that’s it.

Of course there are other thousands of places worth the visits, just consider this as a short list 🙂


Fortunately, everything went well.

Good Stuff #3


Music for Sundays

Moonrise Kingdom by Wes Anderson made a lot of people discover the works of Benjamin Britten, British composer of the mid XX century, in particular his educative pieces about Orchestra for young people.

And thanks to both Anderson and Britten, many people discovered another great British composer: Henry Purcell.

But back in years, another great composer, Domenico Cimarosa, wrote an aria that with humor and delight can teach us quite a lot about the magic behind orchestra symphonies.

From DesignThinking to doing business

Yesterday I participated as facilitator to a workshop organized by DesignThinkers Group at the PicNic Festival 2012.
The target of the workshop was to create in 90 a proposal for a new startup, from the strategic vision to the internal organization and the touchpoints with the desired final customers.


It has been excellent to see how a cosy environment, specific and well designed tools and nice facilitators can easily make 10 strangers just gathered work hard and focused on a common idea.


It was also very interested to check the actual process of creating a new company: what do professional of the design world imagine as a competitive organization.
Well I was really surprised by one group in particular: here all the member agreed on creating a “guerrilla agency”, with a “flexible culture”, hiring just “highly experienced professionals” with no “9 to 5 mentality”, able to work on remote and always connected to every coming project and advance of every company department.


Basically, the perfect worker would be a robot with the creativity of a master of art direction and the commitment of the worker of Foxconn.

Unfortunately the short time did not allow any discuss over these points, that in my opinion can raise quite fundamental questions:
– Where would you find such professional profiles, how would you motivate them to join this start up and how could you afford them?
– Are they the right profiles for a newly created company?
– How can you build a strong team out of people with a strong caracter and position given by their skills?
– Why don’t you even consider young figures, which get motivation from their inexperience and willingness to grow?


As a young professional, I must admit that this vision quite upsets me: if even startups don’t want juniors, which are the changes to be hired by big companies?

Fortunately, a quick look to the real successful startups shows us that who won the race where the young! Probably there are still a lot of factors to be considered behind the year of effective experience to evaluate professional figures, especially in the field of design.


Ps: actually the winner of the workshop (the group who created the best startup with the most interesting proposal for customers) was not the freaky skilled and workaholic company!