Mario Gagliardi: My design philosophy

In my work, I seek qualities which go beyond what can be rationalized through known mechanisms (of design, management, manufacture, marketing etc.). If it is objects, signs, or interactions, I want to discover and express what makes each of them unique, what gives them their own intrinsic character.

My approach to designing is not typically Western, it is more influenced by an integrative Asian worldview. For me, things and interactions are not just tools to get something done as quickly and conveniently as possible. Rather, I see things and interactions as intermediaries to approach situations in particular ways, as facilitators and fellow travelers to live our lives with.

I like interactions which charm you into learning something you did not know or inspire you to explore new territories. I like objects and spaces which provoke thoughts, appeal to the senses, shape and recall memories, and connect you with impressions and qualities which are difficult to express in words.

The moment when a design becomes real and partakes in a particular space and time, it does something to this space and time. It contributes to shape viewpoints, options, and habits. I think it is therefore very important for a designer to be aware of the entire context of his work in the particular dialectic of his time.

The context of the early 21st century is largely influenced by digital technology. In order to find suitable design expressions for experiences and devices based on technology, a large part of my work is based on research and experimentation. I do that in order to find what holds things together beyond their appearance, to find their own inner workings and formulas.

I don’t believe in designer styles in design. I think it is arrogant to cover every object or house with a style which only speaks of its designer. Things have to speak of themselves and for themselves, and, most importantly, for the people which use them.

For me, design is about things and interactions which set the scene, open up possibilities, and explain without words. Design is translating the situations we encounter in life into things and experiences to instill an awareness of what life is about.

Mario Gagliardi, 2008