What is your impression of Shanghai Bund?
I know the Shanghai Bund as the “European avenue” of Shanghai, the first time I saw it, it immediately evoked the Notre Dame Des Victoires in San Francisco: these architectural interventions are born with the aim of communicating the importance of origins and tradition in modern urban philosophy; the historical inconsistency of these building operations is resolved, however, not in an expression of respect for the ancestors, but rather in a pander to antiquity to be exhibited to citizens and tourists, seduced by the ideal of multiculturalism typical of megalopolises.
Please talk about your understanding of “new decade, new needs, new ideas”;
in the theme of this competition, and what are the new needs and new challenges you feel?
We are all united by being humans of late capitalism, accustomed to consumption rather than recycling, fascinated by what is new, in search of simulacra of the death-rebirth cycle that ipso facto recall the eternal laws of Nature. The recent health emergency has made us hungry for improvement, this will come not only by overcoming new challenges, but above all by managing to overcome past ones in which we have so far failed. The global understanding that a digitized world does not require constant physical presence must form the ideological basis for the revaluation of villages and suburbs, for a more balanced and less concentrated way of life in the world. New ideas must deal with the disregarded imperatives of the past, concretizing in the design of urban products and structures that can support a society that respects both the needs of individuals and those of the planet they trample.
Please talk about your understanding of design and innovation based on your design practice.
I had the pleasure of collaborating on the rebranding of Hampton Creek/Just, a food startup backed by multi-billion dollar investors, including Bill Gates and Li Ka Shing: this company aims to revolutionize the way we eat, it uses science and technology to create alternative nutritional solutions without geological impact, the products have origin from an in-depth analysis of the flora and cell culture; the aim is to divert the course of human eating habits in the direction of finally eco-sustainable mass consumption. Humanity has revolutionized the way it lives numerous times: we started from the wheel to get to the space shuttles that will soon take us to Mars, we started communicating using a languageless voice and drawing on cave walls, today we can join international group video calls with one click. However, our extraordinary technological developments have never questioned the way we feed ourselves: we take a plant or an animal, we kill them and eat them. Progress will necessarily have to reunite humanity with its own empathic dimension and remove it from our long-perpetrated hypocrisies. The design master Paul Rand used to say “don’t try to be original, just try to be good”: in this way he underlined the importance for the creative process of having quality as its ultimate goal and not novelty, as the latter is a direct consequence of the former; every deeply well-designed work is by its very nature original. We don’t need new ideas, we need good ideas.