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 studied under two of the most influential designers of the 20th century: Alessandro Mendini and Richard Sapper. After working as product designer at Philips, he designed luxury products for prestigious department stores such as Takashimaya (Japan) and Bergdorf Goodman (USA). Mario then consulted the Korean Institute of Design Promotion, the government organisation of the Korean Ministry of Industry and Energy, to help building the new Korean design sector. In Seoul, he also led the first master class of industrial design at IDAS (International Design School for Advanced Studies), now part of Hongik University.

As Chief Designer and Head of design strategy at LG, 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 1.4 billion US$ in the Asian market. Mario’s work at LG was awarded the Good Design Mark of the Korean Republic.

Mario was advisor of the Innovative Design Lab of Samsung, where he developed future technology scenarios to shape Samsung’s future design strategies.

Mario was advisor of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, where he developed a digital ecosystem that increased the use of e-learning in Austria from below 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 Andra Branzi at Domus Academy in Milan, he moved to London and graduated with an MBA with Merit at the University of Westminster.

He then taught at Aalborg University (Denmark), where he developed the first definitions for experience design and generative design, published in an article series by the Danish Designers Association.

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

Mario conducted workshops at institutions such as the PDMA (Product Development and Management Association, London), Hong Kong Design Centre (Hong Kong), Qatar Foundation (Doha) and German Design Council, gave 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 gave lectures at leading universities including London Business School (London), University for the Creative Arts, 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.

Mario was appointed professor at HongIk IDAS University (Seoul, Korea) and at Aalborg University (Denmark). With the paper Analyzing the Digital, published by the European Academy of Design and The Design Journal, Mario defined the mechanisms and effects of the digital realm in relation to the humanities. He is founder of penccil, the global platform for the creative community.

Among his theoretical contributions to design, innovation and strategy are 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), the first definitions of experience design and consumers as co-creators (Danish Designers, 2007) and the analysis framework for transformations, territories, frames and uses in the Digital (The Design Journal, 2017).

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. Mario’s work is influenced both by Alessandro Mendini’s interest for exploring different cultures and formal expressions, and by Richard Sapper’s interest for technical innovation. Mario’s first design in the master class of Alessandro Mendini, his “philosophical cupboard”, was published in the authoritative book on design group Studio Alchimia, Alchimia: Contemporary Italian Design by Kazuko Sato (ISBN 3892680337).