About Mario Gagliardi

Mario Gagliardi is an award-winning designer and thought leader. With a cross-disciplinary perspective, Mario works in the areas of product design, interactive design, architectural design, branding and strategy.

Mario’s design work is characterized by its playfulness and attention to detail, combining formal expression based on cultural research with technical innovation. He studied under two of the most influential designers of the 20th century – Alessandro Mendini and Richard Sapper. Mario’s first design in the master class of Alessandro Mendini, his Philosophical Cupboard, was published in the authoritative book on legendary Italian design group Studio Alchimia, Alchimia: Contemporary Italian Design by Kazuko Sato (ISBN 3892680337).

After working as product designer at Philips in the Netherlands, he designed luxury home decor for prestigious department stores such as Takashimaya (Japan) and Bergdorf Goodman (USA). 

Mario consulted the Korea Institute of Design Promotion, the government organization of the Korean Ministry of Industry and Energy, to help founding the emerging Korean design sector. In Seoul, he also led the first master class of industrial design as professor at IDAS (International Design School for Advanced Studies), now part of Hongik University. Mario was advisor of the Innovative Design Lab of Samsung, where he helped to form ground-breaking future technology scenarios which shaped Samsung’s future design strategies.

As Chief Designer and Head of Design Strategy at the LG Headquarters in Seoul, he created one of Asia’s most successful luxury brands: The History of Whoo is Korea’s fastest growing cosmetics brand, now generating a yearly revenue of US$ 1.4 billion in the Asian market. Mario’s work at LG was awarded the Good Design Mark of the Korean Republic.

Mario was advisor of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, where he developed a digital ecosystem that helped to increase the use e-learning in Austria from 10% to over 90% within 5 years. In Austria, he also inspired the design efforts of glass crystal manufacturer Swarovski to help defining its global presence. After joining a workshop led by Andrea Branzi at Domus Academy in Milan, he moved to London and graduated with an MBA with Merit at the University of Westminster.

As professor at Aalborg University (2006-2008, Denmark), he developed and taught digital experience design and generative design, an innovative approach that merged design and technology to soon become a norm in user-centered design.

In 2008, Mario was appointed CEO at Qatar Foundation in Doha, where he worked with a range of prominent international architects to establish Design Zone, the visionary urban blueprint for a zero-emission energy, water and food-independent community for desert climates, and laid the groundwork for the architectural design of the sustainable urban renewal of Doha.

His theoretical contributions to design, innovation and strategy include the cultural analysis framework for branding and design (Design Management Review, 2001), metaphors of brand management and touch-points for brands (Identico, 2005), the concurrence of design integration and economic development stages (Danish Design Center, 2005), and the first definitions of experience design and consumers as co-creators (Danish Designers, 2007).

Mario embraced digital innovation early on. In 1989, he was awarded the design prize of architecture magazine Domus with the first digitally designed textiles for Italy’s prestigious textile manufacturer Somma. In 1990, he was awarded the first three prizes at the Austrian Post Shop design competition and was selected for the Austrian national design award. With the paper “Analyzing the Digital”, published by the European Academy of Design, Mario defined the mechanisms and effects of the digital realm in relation to the humanities. (The Design Journal, 2017).

Mario conducted workshops at institutions such as the PDMA (Product Development and Management Association, London), Hong Kong Design Centre (Hong Kong), Mousharaka: Icograda Design Week (Doha) and German Design Council, delivered keynotes at Innotown (Norway), the Era 05 World Design Congress (Denmark), the International Council of Design Week, the European Academy of Design Conference (Rome), Vienna Art Week 2018 and the DNA Paris Design Conference 2019, and lectured at leading universities including London Business School (London), University for the Creative Arts (UK), Sapienza University (Rome), Bosphorus University (Istanbul) and Tsinghua University (Beijing). 

He was a member of the Industrial Designers Society of America and the Design Management Institute and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He is a friend of the Innovation Leadership Forum and a member of the jury at the DNA Paris Design Awards 2020.

He is founder of penccil, the global platform for the creative community. In addition to his design work, Mario also curates design shows and makes photos and visuals.