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Matteo Ragni. The man, the designer and the design on Milanoincontemporanea

20 agosto 2010

Interviewing Matteo Ragni? It’s a pleasure and mostly an honor for Milanoincontemporanea to host this succesfull designer, a Master in creativity and artworks whose projects are also been exhibited at MOMA NY.

We told about him during Milan Design Week for Camparitivo in Triennale and then in Andrea Cova’s interview (here the link!).

Love for his job – the Design – ,  intelligence and a deep know-how that makes us to understand the importance of his cultural responsability: don’t miss it!

Your works are famous all over the world. Some of them are also exhibited at MOMA of NY. Where does a “good idea of design” come from?
An idea, a good idea, comes from a mix betweeen capability to creativity and scientific research. I’m not talking about calculation or maths: I believe that a good designer is a good investigator, a curious person who wants to go deep not only into tecniques and materials – that are very important, too - but he is able to live, observe and analyze small clues coming from ordinary life. For example, I belive that’s important observing a person pushing his supermarket trolley, or discovering or thinking about needs or desires of people. All these skills belong to a creative sensibility. This going-on-obsessive investigation leads to design ideas that often turn into products, while this everyday-life-observation leads you to a sort of creative short circuit.

A creative short circuit?
A good designer must be open to contaminate himself, creatively. Some people believe “flash engineering ” happens while you are making love or you are having a shower: they are tales! Or, it’s not good for me, yet.

Why do you think your design works can be called “good idea of design”? I mean, Boccondivino for Food Art, or Camparitivo for Triennale.
I think these are good products because are good for the situation and the business they were created for. For example: Boccondivino. It ‘s a plate made with Corian, a thermoformable and aseptic-looking translucent material. It’s an object that takes shape from a concept rather than by a formal idea. This means that its aesthetics followed a purpose that’s its function. The curl at one end of the plate, in fact, not only represents the wave of taste which arises from the table and that culminates in Divine Mouthful (the best one, the one each of us leaves last), but it helps the waiter to take away the plate, easily. But it’s also a great door sticks.

And Camparitivo?
Camparitivo was born for a specific environment, Park of the Triennale. Its game of mirrors reflects natural surroundings and multiplies relationships among people in a game of references between Real life and optical illusions. Even the chairs were born according to a relational principle rather than an aesthetic sign. The seats are humpbacked and prefer lateral forces helping socializing with guests sitting on your side. All these small issues are not shouted, but they creep: they all transform a project in a living experience, an experience I hope it has to be remembered.

Esthetics or style?
I don’t mind about style. Style is a concept that it shoudn’t belong to an ordinary product (someone could call it “design product”). I believe more in an “ethic esthetic”, in a “nice product because it’s good”, pleasant in its dimension an in its look, naturally functional but also a teller of a history, a narrative object, and, by this reason, also emotional. A perfect example is Starck’s squeezer: It’s a totem beyond its use and its lack of features such as juicer. This object is nowadays a symbol that conveys emotion, although it can be considered just an aluminum sculpture.

Coming back to your design ideas?
Moscardino for example, was right and forward: it’s a right disposable object thought for an aperitif. We noticed that one of the problems during catering’s appetizers was that some guests did not return their forks, especially silver ones. With this plastic solution the product could be used with dignity and then quietly “removed” as a souvenir of the evening. More, we could create a game of “roles” between spoon and fork into a single object, a fun and useful subject.

Do you think a “made in Italy design” exist? And, how is different?
In the relationship with companies. It’s hard to find a so strong concentration of companies and designers, especially in my area between Milan and Brianza, but also in other districts, like Triveneto or Marche.
Design is made in two, like when you make love. Magistretti was right, even if today there is a third lover: marketing. True “in-two”-design is a project and a product that stems from two people. It is a way of questioning, and that is why a designer has to let things contaminate himself, honestly, learning to be more involved, listening to those who know more, from marketing manager to workers of a warehouse, too. Studying isn’t enough: being a designer is like being an alchemists. Cooking is the same : many people can try a recipe to recreate a dish, but only few people are able too know how to draw something good and unique. So the design: the best one comes from the people and the professionalism. Design is a humanistic lesson. This is the reason why the greatest Postwar Italian architects / designers had a liberal arts education. So not only numbers and science, but a project that gave birth by a humanities’s union.

Today many young people dream of a career in design field: any advices?
Firstable, they must switch off the TV and stop watching Big Brother / talent shows. They don’t have to believe to become a designer “to be famous.” Who wants to think about doing this job, he has to consider it as a hard profession, a job able to change the world, making it better. Unfortunately, our faces often appear on magazines, even if I’m immune to portray me: I prefer my products tell about me. You know, the “Good design world is now dangerously close to fashion world. It means if “I dress weird or even introduce me naked”, now it is like the image quality overrides the project.

And a warning?
A designer has to have the presumption to change the world without thinking about awards. When I won the Golden Compass (Compasso D’Oro) I was only 29 years and I was among the youngest to receive this important prize. I’m still the same person who believes to improve and enhance the world with a pencil, without mounting his head more than necessary.

How do you get to be associates of Matteo Ragni?
It is not difficult. I often devote my time meeting young designers, students or seeking work experience recent graduates. I am interested on people, not only about a well done or even worse portfolio, or able to use a mere software. Human relations, empathy with the person in front of me should have the priority. I don’t ever select according to ability or the people who are able to model and render: with the everyday practice, a guy can always get technology and learn in a week a program. But you cannot learn “a good feeling”.
So, I like thinkers. I live meeting people, those meetings are the only one that enrich my mind: I get more by their ideas and their lifestyles. In all schools I teach, as the Domus and the Polytechnic, I love exchanging ideas with young people that I often think of being in a privileged position that allows me to be paid by learning.

What is the most beautiful reward or success?
Watching person using my products all around. Of course, knowing that my Moscardino is at MOMA of New York is like saying “you are there”, and it has a beautiful effect. Most of all, I love to imagine a child using the same object in the middle of a picnic in a park, with his friends.

And the idea to implement?
A prefabricated home for the holidays that costs less than $ 1000. I want a Democratic house, “a roof for everyone.”

Paola Perfetti – MilanoincontemporaneaP

LINKs: Design Week;  Camparitivo Triennale; Photos Camparitivo; Andrea Cova; Andrea Cova IntervstaItaliano1; Andrea Cova Intervista Italiano 2; Andrea Cova INGL 1; Andrea Cova INGL 2; Matteo Ragni Italiano.


One Comment leave one →
  1. i200908 permalink
    24 agosto 2010 4:18 am

    Wow, very nice. thank you!


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