edison energizes THE DESIGN PRIZE: 'bright lights' interviews with this year's stellar winners

edison energizes THE DESIGN PRIZE: 'bright lights' interviews with this year's stellar winners

on april 17, 2018, during milan design week, the magnificent ‘teatro alla scala’ played host to hundreds of creative forces across the fields of architecture, art and design that came together to celebrate the second edition of THE DESIGN PRIZE. the star-studded gala ceremony drew the presence of tremendous industry figures — including doriana fuksas of fuksas architects, stefano boeri, ma yansong of MAD architects, maria cristina didero, carlo ratti, and many more — in awarding the extraordinary achievements that took shape over the past 12 months. founded by designboom and abitare magazine, THE DESIGN PRIZE is energised by edison and produced by PRY, and honors the categories of: lifetime achievement; best designer; exhibition; social impact; communication; design curator and design critic; the artistic realm; experimentation; distribution; and best design newcomer.


beneath the opulent ornamentation of a dazzling and dramatic chandelier, the 2018 winners of milan’s official award program were gifted the golden madonnina statuette, this year designed by antonio aricò. against the backdrop of an enchantingly empty teatro alla scala, the winners then shared their insight about how ‘energy’ is defined in the context of their life and work, what drives their creative process, and how the city of milan has significantly shaped the design industry over the course of history. discover the thoughts of THE DESIGN PRIZE stars in the video interviews below and see our full reportage of the event here




architect of the school of toyo ito. pritzker prize winner in 2010. in 1995, co-founded japanese studio SANAA with ryue nishizawa. currently extending the university campus bocconi in milan. kazuyo sejima | website



in speaking to edison about the things that inspire her creative process, kazuyo sejima says, ‘I like to make new public spaces, where people can gather and can spend time together, but also spend independent time.’ 




nominated for her interior projects, mainly for ‘ladurée beverly drive’ in los angeles: marie-antoinette goes to hollywood, and stops over in a pop garden of delights ‘à la française’. india mahdavi | website



‘milan is the capital of the world — the design world! — because milan is one of the only cities in the world that has a design industry,’ india mahdavi says of the city.




for their 2017 shows ‘the boat is leaking. the captain lied.’ (VENICE) and ‘the prada double club’ (MIAMI) fondazione prada | website



‘energy is finding the right people and the right moment to do a risky project!’ describes astrid welter, head of programing at fondazione prada.



SCEWO is the winner of SOCIAL IMPACT 

while technology has quickly progressed, the basic wheelchair design has remained the same. students from the swiss federal institute of technology and the university of the arts in zurich have elaborated a prototype that responds to today’s basic mobility needs of electric wheelchair users. scewo | website



in speaking about his creative fuel, thomas gemperle, founder and CDO of SCEWO says, ‘I’m inspired by cool designs from all over the world, and I always try to combine them and put them together into our own design.’




the project by diller scofidio & renfro and rockwell group is a smart, energy-saving ‘architecture of infrastructure’ that will be used only when needed. the shed | website



in speaking about the city’s of milan’s significance on the design sphere, david rockwell, founder of the rockwell group says it’s ‘a combination of unbelievable spaces that invite artists to riff and be inspired. I think there’s an energy to the city that’s quite unique. for designers it’s a chance to feel like they’re a community. so I think it turns thousands and thousands of strangers into a design community.’




for ‘a brief history of design’ on instagram — rawsthorn’s next book, ‘design as an attitude’, is to be published in spring 2018. in the meantime, she enjoys the visual element of instagram and shows its versatility by adding fairly lengthy descriptions of themed explorations. alice rawsthorn | website



‘I write about design, so it’s design that inspires me,’ says alice rawsthorn of her creative inclinations. ‘I consider myself incredibly lucky to write about such a dynamic, rich and enthralling field that changes constantly. I can never remain static, I constantly have to learn about new things, to reassess my thinking and to reinvent my ideas.’




for ‘items: is fashion modern?’ at MoMA (USA)
an exploration of the past, present, and future of 111 garments, accessories, and accoutrements that have had a strong impact on history and society over the 20th and 21st century. items: is fashion modern? | website



‘people don’t understand how normal design is in milan,’ comments paola antonelli on the city’s energy. ‘people think that knowledge of design must be phantasmagoric, or strange or hyperbolic, but its normalcy that makes milan so strong. I think that kind of literacy of design makes milan such a unique place.’




choreographed 300 drones to mimic a swarm of birds in their ‘franchise freedom’ flying sculpture on miami beach, in collaboration with BMW. studio drift | website



‘I use energy to translate my ideas or transform the things that we want to say towards light or movement, and all our work is about energy,’ describes ralph nauta, founder of studio drift. ‘that is what we always say: the work we make is translation of energy to light or movement — that’s what you feel. so basically, energy is…emotion.’




in 2017, jane withers started a research program about water – responding to the urgent issues around the drinking water crisis such as scarcity and pollution. jane withers | website



in speaking about design’s power to change the world in which we live, jane withers says, ‘the work we’re doing with water is a really critical issue at the moment. often I get inspired by the context of what needs to change and the thought that design can bring a practical, but also a visionary dimension to help change mindsets.’




the brand’s first concern is to work with what already exists. it is their intention to weave themselves into the fabric of the area and then add something of merit rather than imposing a discordant presence. aesop | website



‘milan is so special!’, say sophie bessieux, marketing coordinator new countries, and guilia pagano, cluster manager, italy for aesop. ‘there is so much hidden beauty — you can go down a little street and you will always find something special, beautiful and historical.’




founded by a sardinia-based couple, american designer kyre chenven and italian artist ivano atzori, the interdisciplinary practice explores mediterranean cultural traditions and craftsmanship – an authenticity worth preserving in all its particularities. pretziada | website



in reflecting on their creative influences, kyre chenven of pretziada says, ‘we get to see people develop in their work and we’re able to be a part of that continuation of history, but also the development of new visions.’ meanwhile for ivano atzori ‘it’s definitely nature.’





edison is taking part in the 16th international architecture exhibition of la biennale di venezia by initiating a path towards sustainability and the efficient use of resources. the collaboration between edison and la biennale is based on awareness that energy is one of the fundamental elements of architecture and of the places, spaces and cities of contemporary life.


edison — committed to building a future in which energy is sustainable — is currently working on the design and development of innovative solutions for the sustainable management of energy, environmental and economic resources. in collaboration with architects, companies, the service sector and the public service, the company is also co-developing the smart cities of today and the future.


for the 16th international architecture exhibition, edison will provide la biennale with a ‘smart audit’ solution, which optimally manages energy resources thanks to the IoT and proposes improvement interventions for the main exhibition structures with the most energy intensity and impact. also, edison will provide visitors to the exhibition with free power recharging stations and wifi hotspots where they can stop and get full of energy.


‘there is a close link between architecture and sustainable development,’ comments marc benayoun, CEO of edison. ‘we are therefore honoured to bring our energy and expertise to one of the most prestigious international events in italy. sustainability is a concrete goal for edison and likewise the efficient use of resources is a fundamental element of architecture and contemporary living. indeed, edison has been committed to building a sustainable future for over 130 years.’

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