Design & SimulationApril 17, 2018

Curtains Rise at Milan Design Week 2018

by Asha Sumputh for Dassault Systèmes   With thousands of individual events,…
Avatar Dassault Systèmes

by Asha Sumputh for Dassault Systèmes

With thousands of individual events, product launches, presentations and exhibitions packed into less than a week, each year, Milan Design Week (MDW), aka Salone del Mobile, delivers an unmatched opportunity, bringing to light the absolute state-of-the-art in design from around the world. Dassault Systèmes is proud to present Design in the Age of Experience for the third time during MDW, centered around a meaningful topic: Design for Life. We partnered with three outstanding architects – Kengo Kuma, Dan Roosegaarde and Wesley Goatley – who are clearly paving the way for the younger generations to start designing with a purpose.

Design for Life

Can Design be faithful to the core values of beauty, clarity, functionality and sustainability? Our planet has been relentlessly tormented by the spectres of environmental destruction and pollution. For many big players in the industry, Design for Life is about doing the right thing: in other words, designing with a purpose to address global challenges, including educating younger generations of designers about the importance of Sustainability from their choice of materials to their responsibility in creating a better world for all.


The first day at MDW was upbeat with the revelation of the flagship installation by Kengo Kuma, a gigantic artwork allying technology with Japanese ancestral origami technique. The famous Japanese architect is a long standing partner of Dassault Systèmes. We challenged him to imagine a design encapsulating the Design for Life theme, and he came up with a 6 meter high installation using 175 sq meters of an innovative fabric called ‘breath technology.’  Celebrating Design and Sustainability, the spiraling installation filters the atmosphere by capturing pollution and cleaning the particles to ultimately generate clean air.

Kengo Kuma also delivered a keynote about his goals and vision as an architect. He spoke about harmony – blending buildings into the environment and Sustainability – embracing natural materials to bring comfort while tackling global challenges facing our world today.

Living in a Sustainable World

The Design for Life theme explores specific topics each day, ranging from Living, Moving, Consuming, Dwelling and Educating in a sustainable world. On this first day, world-famous designers and architects shared interpretations of Living in a Sustainable World. During sessions around the themes of Transform the Environment, Better Living and Building the City.

Transform the Environment

Spreading the dream of clean air across the globe is not utopian. As Daan Roosegaarde, Artist & Founder of STUDIO ROOSEGAARDE, put it “we want people to be part of the solution rather than the problem!”  In a buoyant presentation kicking off the day, the artist-turned-architect shared his passion and relentless quest to find innovative solutions to global issues such as air pollution.

To Transform the Environment using the right materials is the challenge being tackled by Christian J. Lange. This avant-gardist architect talked about how he uses 3D printing to generate new forms of materials systems “not to express something of the past but to find new expressions.”  Lange is also Senior Lecturer at the University of Hong Kong where he ignites passion in his students when it comes to “using new technologies to express architectures of today.”

Better Living

We got slightly emotional during the Better Living session, hearing  moving stories from Manuel Optiz, CEO of Mecuris . Mecuris teams up with medical professionals to co-create – with experts and wearers – customized orthotics and prosthetics. To answer Why do patients need digital tailoring of orthotics? Optiz demonstrated the need “to tailor something specific for the wearer” made possible by the accelerating pace of change, thanks to new advancements in robotics, materials science, 3D printing and big data.

Better Living also implies improving the overall experience of a patient’s journey within the healthcare establishment and beyond. “Digitalization of the Patient’s Journey” is a central theme for Marie Bachoc, Design Thinking Program Manager at GE Healthcare. Bachoc expanded on GE Healthcare’s vision for the “future of the patient’s experience in a digital world.” She explored the emerging trends, promising technologies and the associated challenges.

On the same tone, Bioserenity’s COO, Marc Frouin, also believes that leveraging technology is key to dramatically improve the lives of patients suffering from heavy pathologies. As he put it: “the objective is supporting patients to live as normally as possible or in the best conditions given their pathology.”

Building the City

From hospitals to hospitality, Building the City was the final theme of the day. Francois Pitti, Group Director, Strategic Marketing – Bouygues Construction, spoke about “how design is key in the future of cities.”  Meanwhile, Ryan Yee from CADMAKERS shared his belief that, “problem-solving using software” and “automation as a facilitator in the building industry” must be a primary focus.

Finally, Daniel Innocente, an architect with Skidmore, Owings & Merrill behind Burj Kalifa and New York’s One World Trade Center talked about “building a narrative around problem-solving in dense cities.”

Each section of the conference lived up to the speakers’ promise, overwhelming the audience of industry thought leaders, young designers as well as business professionals.

Tomorrow, Design in the Age of Experience will put the spotlight on ‘Moving in a Sustainable World.’ Feel free to swing by SuperStudio Piu if you are in Milan or stay tuned here for a recap!

Asha Sumputh is an Entrepreneur, TV Journalist and Emcee with a background in Economics and Finance. Graduated from both Cambridge University and Sorbonne University, she started her career as a TV journalist on a French news channel.  @AshaSumputh


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