Prof Ezio Manzini, an Italian design strategist, author and a leading expert on sustainable design, was in the city recently. He was participating in the Srishti-Cumulus Conference organised by Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology, held at Art Walk, RMZ Ecoworld. He spoke about 'design as a platform for the development of democratic values and ideals, as well as a vehicle for generating life-based pedagogies for learning' at the event. Ezio spoke to Harini Naidu on the sidelines of the event about design and the concept of sustainability.
What does design mean to you?
There are two aspects of design. One is the human capability. Design is an observation of reality and the capability of making things happen. So, it is creativity that can be implemented and used as an instrument for every human being to make a change happen. It is only that some are experts in it and hence, their role should be to help others to design their life better.
How do you relate sustainability with the design concept?
Sustainability is about doing things in a certain way. It is the desire to identify the design capability of human beings and bring in the change, which is needed to live their life in a better way.
What are the current projects that you are working on?
I am working on something called 'design for city making'. The issue is how to use design in dealing with communication, strategy and structural design, among others to help in regenerating the cities. This is not only with respect to the physical part but more as a system among people on how they live in cities. I am organising institutions to empathise on the issue.
One thing that you want to change in the way people live?
My personal action has been to turn into a vegetarian. To become vegetarian is not about following a religion but living in a way that is good for the environment. Secondly, I want to travel by bicycle. I believe it is a simple change that people can make in their lives for the betterment of the environment.
You have written few books. What is the current book you are working on?
The title is 'The politics of everyday life'. It deals with the way everybody has or should design their life, decisions that people take in day-to-day activities and the choices they make, for example becoming a vegetarian or going by cycle. These are simple decisions but have a huge impact on the society and the environment
Tips that you can give to reduce the pollution and traffic congestion in the city.
People can use electric bicycle as it is a clever way to move around, or use public transportation. There should be a political message on the same if possible.
Your book speaks more of communities and human sustainability. What made you think of this concept?
People usually think design as art or structural design. It is not their fault as the concept of design has changed drastically over a period of time. Design works as a tool to face complex issues and these issues rest with organising something in organisations. So, you have to create services for these organisations for their improvement and that has to be designed in a systematic way.
What is your favourite Indian food?
I like the Indian bread with the vegetarian curries but Indian food is very spicy.