21st century. Design after Design

The XXIst Triennale di Milano International Exhibition (XX1T), entitled 21st Century. Design After Design was held from 2 April to 12 September 2016.

After a pause of 20 years, the return of the Triennale di Milano International Exhibition was made possible by the support of the BIE (Bureau International des Expositions), the Italian Government, the City of Milan, Lombardy Region, the Chamber of Commerce of Milan and the Chamber of Commerce of Monza and Brianza.

The Theme

As a pioneer and forerunner in the promotion of the arts and research on design, XX1T chose a theme that raised questions on the meaning of design and its role in a constantly changing world. The dominant issues addressed by XX1T were:

  • The spread of design skills all over the world
  • The increasingly transversal nature of design and the breaking down of disciplinary boundaries between architecture, urban planning, design, landscape, communication etc.
  • The new relationship between these different skills.

21st Century. Design After Design did not aim to create visions of the future but rather to decipher the new millennium and identify the changes involved in the concept of planning the future. The preposition "after" can be understood as "subsequent to", in reference to a project created after or as a result of the twentieth century, or in the sense of "notwithstanding" making reference to a design that asserts itself as an antagonist, despite the persistence of conditions carried over from the previous century.

The theme addressed key questions such as the new dramatic art of design, which consists mainly in its ability to deal with those anthropological issues that classical modernity has excluded from its brief - death, the sacred, Eros, destiny, traditions, and history; the issue of gender in design; the impact of globalisation on design; the transformations brought about by the dawn of the 21st century and the crisis of 2008; the relationship between city and design; the relationship between design and the accessibility of new information technologies; and the relationship between design and craftsmanship.

According to the President of the Triennale, Mr. Claudio De Albertis: "21st Century. Design after Design is
a highly articulated concept, whose key elements can serve as founding principles for an exhibition flourishing with objects, at the same time enjoyable to the larger public and a source of reflection for experts, under economic, technological, cultural and educational aspects."

For more on the XX1 Triennale di Milano, check out the 2016 edition of the BIE Bulletin, which is dedicated to its theme.