Ezio Manzini at the unMonastery? CANCELLED

Hello all, a recent comment by [immaginoteca] on this post drove home just how interesting the unMonastery is to designers. I am especially speaking of the stuff [Bembo Davies] is talking about: rites, daily rhythms, communal meals. It is only very rarely that a designer gets to think on that scale: service design, in the commercial world, means “make it easy for people to buy a mobile phone recharge”, or something on that level.

So here’s a crazy idea. I occasionally teach classes at the faculty of design at Politecnico di Milano, far and away the most prestigious design school in Italy. I am called in by a professor called Stefano Maffei, a disciple and close associate of service design grand old man Ezio Manzini (interview), and a personal friend of mine. I’d like to ask Stefano if Manzini would be up for coming to LOTE and doing some work with you guys – unpaid, and he might have to pay for his trip too, unless the city decides to fund him. I guess he does not get many proposals like that.

No harm in asking – the thing is interesting enough. Would you like that, guys? [Ben]? Or would it feel like too cumbersome a presence?

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Service Design

My father worked as a graphic designer, hence my name.  However, he kept stepping outside these limits.  Once in my impressionable youth, he told me of a legendary Italian industrial design school.  Funded by the giants of Italian industry, the instructors approached their students with an admirable purity of purpose: What are the qualities of the fourth primary colour?, they asked.  My father’s point was that upon emerging from their studies these students became a civil menace.  The auto manufacturers called them in to design a new door handle  – instead, the cream of the crop would ask:  Why exactly do we need cars?

Why do I think that we are talking aboutthe same man?

Good story :slight_smile:

Politecnico was indeed kickstarted by the giants of the Milanese school of the 60s – the very guys who invented design. Manzini is a world guru; my friend Stefano is an independent-minded fellow who advises his students that the model of the designer dreaming up lamps, selling the blueprint to Artemide and earning royalties is dead, and they need to apply design thinking to the world around them – starting from business models – in order to make a living. It’s a good bunch.

Yes please! Totally 100% full support.


what an awsome idea, this would be so so so cool!


I wrote to my friend Stefano about this. No answer so far – but then academics in this period are typically on holiday. Let’s see how it goes.

“Conditional yes”

Stefano, from Politecnico di Milano, wrote me it’s a “conditional yes”. At the end of August, when the calendar becomes clearer, they’ll make a final decision. I asked him and his crowd to follow the discussions on this group and take part in them, so that you guys ([Ben] and [Bembo Davies] chiefly) can decide together how to best deploy this extra academic expertise at #LOTE.

Is this Stefano of edgeryders? the participatory budget advocate

A workshop in how we shall render the LOTE/unMo finances transparent and democratic should be a cornerstone of our start-up.

If it involves a break with tradition, starting right at the beginning is a good way to mark our different approach.

NOTE:  Any hesitancy around this issue will be interpreted as clear evidence of creeping corruptive practices. ( Sly smile face thing here)

Different Stefanos

Bembo, you are thinking of [Stefano Stortone]. I will see him in Matera in a few weeks, at a summer school we both participate in (alongside [Smari], [Pietro Speroni di Fenizio] and others).

The professor who works with Manzini is called [Stefano Maffei]. I just realized he, too, has signed up to Edgeryders, but I don’t recall him being active.

You are very right about transparency. LOTE is so far a zero-budget event (but we have not lost hope to find some modest funding); our accounting is going to be in physical terms – for example, we get a venue for free, and some free accommodation. Perhaps [Stefano Stortone] can suggest a way to be transparent when nonmonetary assets are involved, or even help us to do so.

Not happening :frowning:

Sadly, this session is not happening. The Politecnico people dropped out :frowning:

a possible contribution ?

Ben sent me a book that i came home to yesterday.  I have yet to dig into it but it sounds extraordinarily to our point.

Giorgio Agamben  Altissima povertà: regole monastiche e forma di vita.

it is published by Neri Pozza in Milano so you probablely are related?  he seems to teach at IUAV