September is the month of the year with the highest density of project-related events. Worldwide. Between fairs and design weeks – in Helsinki, Paris, Sydney, Singapore, Vienna; in Detroit even the whole month – there are 20 on the calendar. Added to these are three major events related to yachting, an increasingly strategic sector: Cannes (12-17), Genoa (21-26) and Monaco (21-26).
In this field, direct contact is essential: see, touch, try. But also talk to people, hear their ideas and tell your own. Understand the way the wind is blowing. Design thrives on these exchanges, and the virtual dimension is – in my opinion – still not very functional in this respect.
That said, the potential that digital offers to design is sensational. Already, virtual reality makes us visit buildings that do not yet exist, augmented reality makes us see how a piece of furniture might look in our home. But much more can be done.
This conviction – all personal – took shape while visiting Eurydice: a descent into infinity an exhibition-event by artist Celine Daemen organized by digital culture center Meet, in Milan (until Sept. 17). It is a journey (in VR) into an underground world that lies somewhere between the etchings of Giovan Battista Piranesi and the Matrix trilogy. Abstract, unreal but intensely immersive.
I imagine such a medium in the hands of a designer or architect: a powerful tool for telling his or her idea, breaking down the boundaries between architecture, design, art, and gaming. Traveling the interlocutor into a dimension of pure creativity. And then finding a way to transfer this experience into the real world.
This dimension of multilevel dialogue, as in a neural network, makes me think of a science fiction novel, The Voyage of the Space Beagle, from 1950, where writer Alfred Elton van Vogt imagines the science of the future: nexialism. The idea was that as each individual discipline had reached very high levels of specialization, there was a need for a new science capable of establishing connections between one discipline and another. Empowering them precisely through this dialogue.
In some respects this seems like an anticipation of what the Web and data science offer us today. Establishing new contacts between worlds only seemingly distant, shaping new thoughts. The prospects are endless. And exploring them, I think, will be extraordinarily interesting.