Inner Perspectives

26th February 2024

Exactly five years ago, on the morning of 26th February 2019, I closed the door of my flat in Soldiner Strasse, Berlin. And with that closed door also came the end of my German adventure and my agency career. I had three goals: living in the Italian mountains, building a new family, and starting from scratch with design.

I must praise frugalism – downshifting, stinginess, name it as you like. Reducing costs went hand in hand with a better quality of life: garden food, more outdoor activities, less digital distraction; but above all, it allowed me to work less, choose more suited gigs, and have the freedom to explore how design could help underlooked communities and places thrive.

I set up a first experiment, I co-founded a non-profit, and these efforts proved instrumental in developing new approaches, tools and local clients. Just to give an example, the study circle on landscape and community transformations I’m currently working on with a local ecomuseum. Very different from the mainstream gigs I do and tremendously more rewarding: these projects positively impact places, people you extensively relate to, and are not for profit at all costs. And it is still design – IMHO, at its best. Especially today, when the industry seems increasingly arrogant, superficial, elitist, and technological – despite the bullshit about inclusivity and sustainability they fill their positioning with.

Living among and working on tangible problems also made me realize how (real!) bottom-up and multidisciplinary approaches are the only hope for fragile territories. So, after long conversations with a group of landscape architects and future forecasting experts, we have decided to launch our new studio of five working on tactical solutions for Italy’s mountain and rural territories.

The idea is to provide undervalued contexts with immersive research, participatory design, and rapid prototyping as an immediate response to long-term strategic change and permanent benefits we’d imagine with the local community; spanning across environmental, architectural, and service levels.

Sooner or later, success or failure, I will share more about this.