Cardini Attends IED Rio, Featured in OGlobo

03.03.16 O Globo_Página 2 (1)


Paolo Cardini (Associate Professor, Industrial Design) recently visited Rio de Janeiro to give a lecture at the Istituto Europeo di Design (IED Rio) and attend a symposium that focused on bringing together a wide range of leaders in design from both the region and internationally.

Whilst in Brazil he was profiled by OGlobo, a leading national newspaper, regarding his lecture, design background, and hopes for his tenure as RISD’s Global Faculty Fellow for the academic year 2016-2017.

The article was translated by Gregory Dillon (RISD Global) and can be found below;


‘We Do Not Need More Products’

An Italian, who plans to go throughout the world to discover various cultures’ notions of the future, came to Rio for a lecture at the Institute of European Design

I grew up in a small fishing town of 12,000 inhabitants called San Terenzo in Italy, a country where design has always been very strong.  I have been interested in what design and objects can do to deal with social questions or make people talk about problems with their societies.

Tell me something I don’t know

We don’t need more products.  Today, objects are already almost perfect.  What we need is to be able to create objects with meaning, we need more meaning than we need products.

What did you want to be when you were a kid?

I didn’t have a dream when I was a kid and I still don’t have one now, but I feel very lucky about that.  I am not stuck in any situation or self image. I am ready for whatever change.  It is not a question of having a dream, but of constructing dreams, short term dreams.

Nothing having to do with design?

I still don’t know, these days, if I want to be a designer. I am very skeptical of people that are very consistent.  I am scared of those who think that they became what they really want to be, because life is so flexible, and always changing.

What constructed, then, your dream of design?

There is a professional dream, that is to try and make a new generation of designers that are more responsible than they were in the past.  I try to encourage them to think about what is right, not for business, but for life.  On a personal level, if my family is happy, I am happy.  That is the true dream, to be honest.

What was it like to teach in Qatar?

I reinforced the idea that design can make more than simple objects.  The majority of my students were women, because, for them, art and design was still a hobby.  The men study engineering, economics, “serious” things.  I dealt with many women that wanted to change their own society and the society around them.  So, even though I didn’t encourage them to use critical design as a means, they made very provocative objects, always.

What were these projects like?

One of the women created an earring that was not meant to be put where earrings go, but instead inside the ear, like a plug, so as not to hear the judgment of society.  And there were others that were super luxurious sunglasses, with a pretty design, but with blurry lenses.  Because, there, wealth is everything, and sometimes many women are blinded by these luxurious things, without knowing that their freedom is limited.

How do you see the role of design in these cases?

It is a design that is very close to art, an applied art.  If you see an object, an earring, you understand.  But maybe not everyone understands a painting.  So, transmitting a message by means of objects is far more effective.

What is your next project?

[As Rhode Island School of Design’s Global Faculty Fellow] I will do workshops around the world to define a shared idea of the future.  In general, science fiction and visions of the future that we have are very white and Western. I want to discover what the future means in other places, outside of the mainstream.  Probably, we will go to Peru, China, and South Africa, trying to hear many voices about the idea of the future, but not the stereotypical future, suggested in films that are, for the most part, from the United States.

You gave a lecture about how to monotask (to do only one thing at a time).  Are you this way?

No. I am a master of procrastination, but when I want to do something I need concentration and focus.  At the same time, principally in creative professions, to be able to daydream without a real objective is very good.

IED, Industrial Design, Paolo Cardini

Scroll Up