Fifteen Things (a secret history of Italian design)

Fifteen Things (a secret history of Italian design) Department of Architecture Seminar – 4 credits limited enrollment Tuesday 2:00 – 5:00 510 Gund HallFifteen Things explores intertwinings between design, science, technology, society, art, and culture by means of the \”excavation\” of fifteen objects from different periods within the history of modern Italian design, from the 1880s to the present. Combining micro- and macro-perspectives, it approaches design history from a broad aesthetic, historical, and anthropological standpoint. The seminar combines readings from Ponge, contemporary Thing Theory, and design history, with materials from literature, popular culture, and media. Case studies will include: the Bialetti Moka Express, the Vespa scooter, Mario Bellini\’s Olivetti Logos calculators from the late 1970s, and Bruno Munari\’s \’Chair for Brief Visits.\’ Its aim is to prompt students to reflect upon the complexity of design thinking, and of the ways in which objects shape and are shaped by everyday life, with particular attention to the contemporary consequences of the object lessons around which the seminar will hinge. Each session will be devoted to the thick description, analysis, and study of a single case history. In addition to a short oral presentation, students in Fifteen Things will be asked to develop semester-long projects that either assume the form of a research paper or a design project.