Made in Italy, Made in England? Talk for ADRI at Middlesex University
The discourse surrounding Italian design often invokes the notion, myth or unofficial brand of 'Made in Italy' as shorthand for indicating the quality and specialness of Italian design. This talk subjects 'Made in Italy' to closer interrogation. It challenges the production emphasis of 'made' with a consumption-oriented understanding of that word; in terms of meaning, products are as much 'made' through their consumption and mediation as they are through their manufacture. It also replace a focus on that which occurs 'in Italy' with a case-study analysis of what happens outside Italy (in England in this example) for better understanding the significance of Italian design. It does this through analysis of a variety of discourses from vanity publishing and press releases, to interviews with designers, manufacturers, retailers, commentators and consumers, and statistical information about sales and magazine circulation. This talk is based on Lees-Maffei's book, co-edited with Kjetil Fallan (University of Oslo), Made in Italy: Rethinking a Century of Italian Design, which is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Academic in 2013.